In this article we compare the different types of Carhartt Active Jackets (also known as “jacs”). Carhartt Active Jackets are built to give you a versatile work jacket that can protect you from the elements, while also having the functionality and comfort to serve as a normal everyday winter jacket. Carhartt varies the warmth, outer-shell fabric, and features of these Active Jackets so that you find one that works best for your situation.
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These are the four different types of Carhartt Active Jackets currently available:
- Carhartt Yukon Extremes Insulated Active Jacket – Combines Carhartt’s toughest shell (500D nylon) with 150g of 3M Thinsulate for insulation. This is Carhartt’s toughest and warmest jacket and is built for extreme winter conditions. It has an attached hood and cuffed waist. This is the updated version of the J133. Click here to view this jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
- Carhartt Duck Quilted Flannel-Lined Active Jacket (J140) – This jacket combines Carhartt’s toughest cotton shell (firm duck) with Carhartt’s second warmest lining (quilted-flannel). This is my favorite work jacket and is the jacket I use for Kansas winters. It has an attached hood and a cuffed waist. Click here to view this jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
- Carhartt Washed Duck Insulated Active Jacket – This jacket uses a washed duck outer shell so it feels broken in on the first wear. It has 80g of 3M Thinsulate for insulation. In my experience, it is warm enough to take on moderate winter conditions. If you are fighting extreme conditions, I’d personally stick with one of the first two jackets above. This is the updated version of the J130. Click here to view this jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
- Carhartt Duck Thermal-Lined Active Jacket (J131) – This jacket combines a tough duck outer shell with a thermal polyester lining for warmth. In my experience, this jacket is best used for more mild winter conditions. This will be a nice option for those who want a durable canvas jacket, but live in a warmer climate where winters aren’t as extreme. Click here to view this jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
I personally love the Carhartt J140 Jacket. It has a wind-resistant and water-repellent shell, and the quilted-flannel lining is the most comfortable lining I have ever worn in any work jacket. Here’s what my Carhartt J140 Jacket looks like:
If you are getting ready to buy a Carhartt Work Jacket, all the different choices can almost overwhelm you and make you unsure of what will work best for you. In this article let’s discuss the following 3 topics so that you can have a clearer picture of the differences between these jackets.
- Types of Carhartt Outer-Shell Fabrics
- Types of Carhartt Lining/Insulation
- Different Carhartt Active Jacket Features
We will also go through a detailed description of some of the most popular Carhartt Active Jackets, including photos, and then compare some of the most similar jackets, for example:
- Carhartt J140 vs J130
- Carhartt J133 vs J140
- Carhartt J140 vs J131
- Carhartt J130 vs J131
Steps to Choosing the Right Carhartt Active Jacket
As we discussed briefly above, Carhartt varies the outer-shell fabric, warmth, and features of these Active Jackets so that you can find an option that fits your situation and climate.
The common theme across all Carhartt Active Jackets is that you can expect them to be hooded, with a cuffed waist and an overall versatile construction that makes them viable for everyday use in most all situations. Some like to describe the style of these jackets as a bomber style.
Deciding which jacket makes the most sense for you comes down to these 3 basic steps:
- Step 1: Decide what type of insulation/warmth you need for your region.
- Step 2: Decide what type of outer-shell fabric you prefer for toughness and comfort.
- Step 3: Decide if there are any type of extra features you will need to help you get the job done (full-swing, flame-resistant, wind-resistance, etc).
Step 1: Deciding on Type of Carhartt Insulation
Carhartt has the challenge of making winter workwear jackets for many different types of climates and conditions. To do this, Carhartt has a wide range of linings which ultimately gives you the consumer the ability to find the right type of warmth for your situation.
The first step to deciding what type of Carhartt Active Jacket is right for you is to determine what type of warmth you need and finding a type of insulation and lining that will give you that warmth.
**As a disclaimer, please understand that the table below is my opinion based on wearing these jackets over the years. Carhartt does not offer a temperature rating for their jackets, and the “warmth” that I’ve assigned to the linings below is just my opinion, and may not reflect Carhartt’s opinion on this matter. Contacting Carhartt directly for warmth advice is my recommendation.
Here are Carhartt’s available linings, and my personal opinion on how they rank from mild warmth to warmest. Just for reference, I would consider the thermal lining something I’d wear on a mild winter day:
Update – As of 2021, Carhartt has replaced the Arctic lining and now uses 150g of 3M Thinsulate in the Carhartt Yukon Extremes Active Jacket. This is Carhartt’s warmest Active Jacket.
If your area experiences very cold winter days, then my advice is to stick with one of the three warmest types of insulation (Sherpa, Quilted-Flannel, or Arctic).
The Arctic insulation is the warmest and is created for extreme winter conditions common in the northern US. Here is a look at the ultra-warm Arctic insulation:
The Carhartt Yukon Extremes Arctic Active Jacket (J133) combines this arctic insulation with Carhartt’s toughest outer shell fabric (Cordura Nylon). It is Carhartt’s toughest and warmest jacket.
If you are in the deep south and experience mostly mild winters, sticking with one of the 4 mildest types of lining (Thermal, Fleece, Blanket, or Quilted-Nylon) might be best. For example, here is a look at the fleece lining:
I live in Kansas and although we don’t experience the extreme winters common to the northern parts of the US, we do get some dangerously cold winter days.
I use the quilted-flannel lining and it is plenty warm enough for this region. Here is a look at my quilted-flannel lining:
This is my favorite Carhartt jacket (J140) and the one I wear for Kansas winters (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). It is extremely warm and gives me the toughness I need.
Step 2: Deciding on Type of Duck Outer Fabric
Just like Carhartt has a wide range of linings, they also offer a wide range of outer shell fabrics so that you can find one that is tough enough to handle what you are going to throw at it, but also has the comfort and flexibility you are looking for.
In general, the tougher the outer fabric, the stiffer the jacket will be. All Carhartt Active Jackets break in over time, but the firmer, stiffer outer-shells will take some time. If you do not like stiff jackets, you might want one of the fabrics that has more of a broken-in feeling off the rack.
Here are your options for outer shell fabrics for the Carhartt Jackets:
|Outer Fabric Duck||Details|
|Extremes Nylon||Toughest; Wind/Water Resistant|
|Firm Cotton||Toughest Cotton; Wind/Water Res.|
|Traditional Cotton||2nd-Toughest Cotton Shell|
|Washed Cotton||Tough, but Broken-in Feeling|
|Sandstone Cotton||Tough, but Broken-in Feeling|
|Quick Duck||Lightweight, Flexible Blend|
Update – As of 2021, Carhartt no longer offers the Sandstone fabric. To read more about this change, and what alternatives exist, visit my article about Carhartt Sandstone Duck.
The 500-denier Cordura Nylon is Carhartt’s toughest hard shell. It is abrasion-resistant, water-repellent, and wind-resistant. Here is a look at the 500-denier Cordura Nylon outer shell used in the Carhartt Yukon Extremes Active Jacket:
The Firm Cotton Duck outer shell is also extremely tough and gives you another ultra-tough option in case you prefer the feel of cotton over nylon. Here is a look at the Firm Cotton Duck outer shell:
The Quick Duck is a type of outer-shell fabric that Carhartt created that is softer and more flexible than the firmer shells (and much more lightweight) but is still tough enough to stand up to many work environments. Here is a close-up look at the Quick Duck fabric:
As you can see, the Quick Duck still has that canvas toughness, but when you wear it, the fabric feels much easier to move around in than some of the stiffer shells. I like to say it is toughness without stiffness.
Step 3: Choosing Important Extra Features
All Carhartt Active Jackets are similar in that they can be a winter jacket you wear almost anywhere, not only for work but just as your everyday winter jacket. But there are specific situations, especially specific work situations, where you might need certain features to help make the jacket right for you.
Here are some of the features that you can find in certain Carhartt Active Jackets. Again, these features are not in all Carhartt Active Jackets, but you will need to weigh the importance of these features and decide if you think you need to find an active jacket with one of these specific features:
- Full Swing Technology – Carhartt Full Swing Jackets are made with gusset-style paneling through the back and shoulders so that you have more stretch and recovery, giving you a full range of motion with your arms. This is important if you will be using you arms a lot, for example chopping firewood, shoveling snow, or driving fence posts. Here is a look at a Full Swing gusset-style back:
- Flame Resistance – Pretty obvious here. If you need flame resistance, Carhartt does offer a Flame-resistant Active Jacket.
- Wind Fighter, Rain Defender, & Storm Defender Technology – Worried about the elements? These three types of Carhartt Technologies help defend you against wind and precipitation. Rain Defender is for light precipitation, and the Storm Defender is for heavier precipitation.
Comparing Different Types of Carhartt Active Jackets
All Carhartt Active Jackets come with a built-in hood, full-zip front, cuffed waist, triple-stitched main seams, and a general design that makes them quite versatile and easy to use for many different types of tasks, including just running everyday errands. But let’s discuss specifics.
As you probably know, Carhartt uses style numbers to differentiate their jackets. For example, the Carhartt Yukon Extremes Active Jacket is style #J140. Below, I will include both the name of the Active Jackets and their style numbers so that you know exactly what jacket we are discussing.
I will discuss each of the most popular Carhartt Active Jackets separately, then also do a brief comparison. Let’s start by doing an in-depth breakdown of what are probably the 5 most common types of Carhartt Active Jackets:
Carhartt Arctic Quilt-Lined Yukon Active Jacket (J133)
- Outer-Shell Fabric: 1000-denier Cordura Nylon
- Insulation: Arctic Insulation
- Technologies: Rain Defender, Wind Defender
Update – As of 2021, Carhartt has replaced the J133 with an updated version which is style 104458. Just like the J133, this new version is still Carhartt’s toughest and warmest jacket. To read more about this updated version, and how it compares to the J133, visit my article about the Carhartt Yukon Extremes Jacket.
This Carhartt Active Jacket is part of Carhartt’s Extremes Yukon series, which provides outerwear for the most extreme winter conditions. This particular Active Jacket combines Carhartt’s toughest outer shell (Nylon) with Carhartt’s warmest insulation (Arctic).
This is the toughest and warmest jacket that Carhartt offers. If you are working/living in the northern US or Canada where you experience extreme and dangerous winter conditions regularly, this is the Active Jacket that is likely best for you.
This Active Jacket is wind-resistant, water-repellent, and abrasion-resistant. It can stand up to tough work environments and light precipitation like snow, and is strong enough to keep the winter wind from freezing you out. It has zippered interior chest pocket so you can safely store essentials like your phone and keys.
This Active Jacket has a loose fit so that you have plenty of room to layer and to move around inside this jacket. I ordered my normal sizing. Here is a look at mine (size medium 6’3″ 200 pounds):
Carhartt Duck Quilted Flannel-Lined Active Jacket (J140)
- Outer-Shell Fabric: 12-ounce Heavyweight Firm Cotton Duck
- Lining: Quilted Flannel
- Features: Wind-Resistant, Water-Repellent, Rugged
This is a work jacket made in the USA. Not all Carhartt jackets are made in the USA. This is another ultra-warm, ultra-tough option. It combines Carhartt’s toughest cotton outer shell (firm cotton duck) with Carhartt’s second warmest lining (quilted-flannel).
Even though the arctic insulation is Carhartt’s warmest, this flannel lined canvas jacket is also ultra-warm and will provide plenty of warmth for most all situations.
The Firm Duck shell is wind-resistant, water-repellent and very tough. As I said earlier, this is the jacket that I use for Kansas winters and it provides me with plenty of warmth even for those extremely cold winter days.
This jacket has a durable, firm cotton duck shell. With that toughness does come the drawback that this jacket will be a bit stiff off-the-rack, so give it time to break in. Like all Carhartt Active Jackets, this J140 active jacket has an insulated hood, cuffed waist, and full front zip.
The quilted-flannel lining is extremely comfortable to wear and provides plenty of warmth. There is a zippered internal chest pocket for storing essentials. This Carhartt jacket has a loose fit, but in my opinion runs true to size (Carhartt jacket sizing). I did not size up.
Here is a look at the Carhartt J140 Duck Quilted Flannel-Lined Active Jacket (J140):
Carhartt Sandstone Duck Quilted Flannel-Lined Active Jacket (J130)
- Outer-Shell Fabric: 12-ounce Heavyweight Cotton Sandstone Duck
- Lining: Quilted Flannel
- Features: Broken-In Sandstone Shell
Update – As of 2021, Carhartt has replaced the J130 with an updated version which is style 104050. Just like the J130, this new version uses a pre-washed shell so that the canvas has more of a broken-in feeling on the first wear. But there are also some differences. To read more about this updated version, and how it compares to the J130, visit my article that compares the J130 vs 104050.
First, let’s distinguish this Sandstone J130 Jacket from the J140 Jacket we just covered. Comparing the Carhartt J130 vs J140 comes down to the difference in outer-shell fabrics.
This Carhartt Sandstone J130 Jacket has the Sandstone Cotton Duck, which is tough, but has more of a broken-in feeling off the rack. The Sandstone Cotton is pre-washed, which helps break it in, and also helps prevent shrinking.
I’ve also worn this jacket over the years. Here’s a look at my J130:
The trade-off is the Firm Duck of the J140 jacket covered previously is a bit tougher, and is both wind-resistant and water-repellent. The Sandstone Cotton Duck of the J130 is not certified water-repellent.
Now, let me say although, yes, the Sandstone shell is not certified as water-repellent, (in my experience) this doesn’t mean precip is just going to leak in all over this jacket.
In my experience the Sandstone shell still has provided a small bit of water protection (but again, officially, it is not certified water-repellent).
It is important to understand that despite that, this Carhartt Sandstone Active Jacket (J130) will be very warm and tough enough to stand up to most work conditions. Even though it has a broken-in feeling, don’t confuse the Sandstone for a soft-shell, flimsy jacket. It is still very tough.
Mainly, it comes down to comfort. Do you want more of a broken-in feeling for your jacket instead of the stiff, firm feeling? This is what makes the Sandstone Cotton Duck so popular is some people prefer their jacket to have a more comfortable, broken-in feeling off the rack.
The firm-shell jackets do break in over time and just because they are firm, doesn’t mean they are uncomfortable to wear, but you can skip the break-in process by purchasing the Sandstone Duck.
Again, I actually wear the J140 the most (firm shell) and the firm outer-shell doesn’t bother me, but you will need to decide if you’d rather have the firm shell, or the pre-washed Sandstone shell.
Buy this jacket if you need toughness, but do not want a firm, stiff shell off the rack. In many ways (in my opinion comparing Carhartt J140 vs J130) buying this jacket (J140) is like buying the J130 already broken in. Yes, the J130 shell does provide a bit more toughness and protection, but overall (in my opinion) it is close.
Carhartt Duck Thermal-Lined Active Jacket (J131)
- Outer-Shell Fabric: 12-ounce Heavyweight Traditional Cotton Duck
- Lining: Thermal
- Features: Water-repellent, Wind-resistant
This is the mild winter option. This particular Carhartt Active Jacket (J131) is perfect for those in the deep south who need a mild winter jacket that can stand up to light precipitation and tough work environments.
The Heavyweight Traditional Cotton Duck fabric gives you a tough canvas shell that is both water-repellent and wind-resistant. The thermal fleece lining is one of Carhartt’s more mild linings.
Yes, it will provide warmth (medium-warmth), but understand that this is not the option you want to go with if you are facing extreme winter conditions (stick with J140 or J133).
This Active Jacket has the insulated hood, cuffed waist, full-front zip, and a zippered internal pocket for storing essentials. Again, this Carhartt Active Jacket is best for mild winters where the temperature stays in the 40’s and 50’s. This is not for a sub-freezing environment.
This jacket runs true to size and I do not recommend sizing up or sizing down.
Carhartt J140 vs J130
- J140: Carhartt Duck Quilted Flannel-Lined Active Jacket
- J130: Carhartt Sandstone Duck Quilted Flannel-Lined Active Jacket
Update – The J140 jacket still remains, but as I mentioned earlier, Carhartt has replaced the J130 with an updated version which is style 104050. Just like the J130, this new version uses a pre-washed shell so that the canvas has more of a broken-in feeling on the first wear. But there are also some differences. To read more about this updated version, and how it compares to the J130, visit my article that compares the J130 vs 104050.
Many buyers end up looking for a comparison of the Carhartt J140 vs J130.
Simply put, the difference only exists in the outer shell fabric. The J140 has the Firm Cotton Duck shell and the J130 has the Sandstone Cotton Duck shell.
Other than that, these jackets have the same overall design (front zip, cuffed waist, insulated hood) and have the same type of Carhartt lining (the quilted-flannel lining). This means that the overall warmth and look of these two jackets is very similar.
Now, even though the difference is simply the outer-shell fabric, that difference has several implications. Here are the main differences you need to consider when comparing Carhartt J140 vs J130:
- Outer-Shell Fabric: Firm Cotton Duck (J140) vs Sandstone Cotton Duck (J130)
- Feeling: The Firm Cotton Duck (J140) is going to have a stiffer feeling off the rack than the Sandstone Cotton Duck (J130). The Sandstone Cotton Duck is pre-washed and has the broken-in feeling off the rack.
- Toughness: Although the Sandstone Cotton Duck (J130) is still very durable and able to stand up to tough work environments, the Firm Cotton Duck (J140) is going to be the tougher of the two. In fact, the Firm Cotton Duck is the toughest cotton shell fabric that Carhartt produces.
- Protection: Here is where most people miss it when trying to compare the two. Most people say “the Firm Cotton is tougher”, and although that is true, there is also the added weather protection that must be considered. The Firm Cotton Duck is certified water-repellent and wind-resistant while the Sandstone Cotton Duck is not.
Carhartt J140 vs J130 Advice – Buy the Firm Cotton Duck (J140) if you need something that is rugged and can stand up to tough work conditions. Buy the Sandstone Duck (J130) if you do not like the stiff outer-fabric and want something off the rack that has a bit more flexibility.
Carhartt J133 vs J140
- J140: Carhartt Duck Quilted Flannel-Lined Active Jacket
- J133: Carhartt Arctic Quilt-Lined Yukon Active Jacket
Update – The J140 still remains, but as I mentioned earlier, Carhartt has replaced the J133 with an updated version which is style 104458. Just like the J133, this new version is still Carhartt’s toughest and warmest jacket. To read more about this updated version, and how it compares to the J133, visit my article about the Carhartt Yukon Extremes Jacket.
Carhartt J133 vs J140 is another popular comparison because these are two of Carhartt’s toughest and warmest jackets, but there are differences. Here’s what you need to know:
- Outer-Shell Fabric: The Carhartt J133 Extremes Yukon Arctic Active Jacket has Carhartt’s toughest outer-shell fabric: the Cordura 1000-denier Nylon Duck. The Carhartt J140 Duck Cotton Quilted Flannel-Lined Active Jacket has the firm cotton duck outer shell. Both are ultra-tough (even though the nylon is considered to be the toughest). This allows you to choose which fabric you like better: nylon (J133) or cotton (J140).
- Lining – One of the biggest differences between the Carhartt J133 vs J140 is the inner lining. Both have ultra-warm linings, but they aren’t the same. The J133 Yukon Arctic Jacket has the Arctic insulation, which is the warmest insulation Carhartt offers. The J140 Duck Cotton Active Jacket has the quilted-flannel lining. Ultimately, both are very warm. J140 on left, J133 on right:
- Sizing – The J133 is a bit bulkier than the J140. This is likely due to the J133 being built for extreme winter environments, therefore it is a bit roomier so that you have space to layer if needed. Here is a size medium J133 (black) sitting underneath a size medium J140 (brown):
- Extremes – The J133 is part of the Carhartt Extremes Yukon series of outerwear, which is the toughest and warmest outerwear that Carhartt creates. If you need the toughest and warmest, stick with the J133. Perfect for northern US and Canada. The J140 is also very tough and warm, and will do the trick in most situations. I use the J140 in Kansas and it is plenty warm and plenty tough. Both can help give you protection from wind and rain and snow.
- Weight – Even though the J133 is the warmer and tougher jacket, it actually weighs a bit less. My size medium J133 weighs 2.94 pounds, and my size medium J140 weighs 3.16 pounds:
Carhartt J133 vs J140 Advice – Both of these jackets are ultra-warm and ultra-tough. They have the same basic Active Jacket appearance (hooded, zip front, cuffed waist etc). It comes down to this: how warm and how tough do you need? If you need the toughest and warmest, stick with the J133. Just remember, it is made with the tough Nylon outer shell, and it can be a bit stiff and noisy to move around in when first worn. If you prefer cotton, choose the J140.
Carhartt J140 vs J131
- J140: Carhartt Duck Quilted Flannel-Lined Active Jacket
- J131: Carhartt Duck Thermal-Lined Active Jacket
If you are comparing Carhartt J140 vs J131, there are quite a few differences. These two Carhartt Active Jackets are similar in appearance, but they are built for different climates. Here’s what you need to know:
- Outer Fabric – Both of these jackets have a tough cotton-duck outer shell that is water-repellent and wind-resistant.
- Lining – This is where the major difference exists between the Carhartt J140 vs J131. The J140 has the quilted-flannel lining, which is Carhartt’s second warmest lining. The J131 has a thermal-fleece lining, which is one of Carhartt’s lightest linings. The J140 is built for cold-weather climates and the J131 is built for mild-winter climates.
Ultimately, these two jackets are easy to differentiate. The Carhartt J140 is built for cold weather and the Carhartt J131 is built for deep-south mild winter climates.
Carhartt J130 vs J131
- J130: Carhartt Sandstone Duck Quilted Flannel-Lined Active Jacket
- J131: Carhartt Duck Thermal-Lined Active Jacket
Update – The J131 jacket still remains, but as I mentioned earlier, Carhartt has replaced the J130 with an updated version which is style 104050. Just like the J130, this new version uses a pre-washed shell so that the canvas has more of a broken-in feeling on the first wear. But there are also some differences. To read more about this updated version, and how it compares to the J130, visit my article that compares the J130 vs 104050.
Just like the Carhartt J140 vs J131 we discussed above, there are a lot of differences between the Carhartt J130 vs J131. Not only do they have different outer-shells, they are also built for different climates. Here’s what you need to know:
- Outer-Shell – The Carhartt J130 has the Sandstone Cotton Duck outer shell, which is pre-washed and gives it a more broken-in feeling off the rack. The Carhartt J131 has the traditonal firm cotton duck that has a more rugged, stiff feeling to it off the rack.
- Protection – The Carhartt J131 (traditional duck) is both water-repellent and wind-resistant. Although the J130 Sandstone Cotton Duck is still tough and can stand up to most work sites, it is not certified water-repellent. That said, it still provides quality protection and the difference between these two outer-shells mainly comes down to comfort and feeling.
- Feeling – The J131 traditional duck is going to be firm and stiff off the rack. It will take some time to break this jacket in. The J130 Sandstone Duck is pre-washed and will feel broken-in off the rack.
- Lining – This is the major difference between these two jackets. The J130 has the quilted-flannel lining (Carhartt’s second warmest lining) and the J131 has the thermal-fleece lining (one of Carhartt’s lightest linings). The J130 is built for cold climates and the J131 is built for mild climates.
Carhartt J130 vs J131 Advice – These are two very different jackets. The J130 Sandstone Quilted-Flannel jacket combines the pre-wasehd Sanstone Cotton duck that has a broken-in feeling with the quilted-flannel lining, which is Carhartt’s second warmest lining. The J130 is the broken-in shell with an ultra-warm lining built for those in cold-weather climates who don’t like stiff outerwear.
The J131 is something else entirely. It has a firm shell with one of Carhartt’s lightest linings: the thermal fleece lining. This J131 jacket is built for mild-winter climates.