Do Carhartt Jackets Shrink? (My Experience w/ Photos)

If you are looking to invest in a Carhartt winter jacket, you might be concerned about sizing, and whether or not you can expect Carhartt jackets to shrink. Having a jacket shrink can be a major issue, and make the work jacket unwearable. Do Carhartt jackets shrink?

While, yes, you can expect 100% cotton Carhartt jackets to shrink some over time, in my experience, the shrinking is minimal, and does not affect what size I order. As with anything, after enough wash cycles, the cotton fabric will shrink a little bit.

I’ve owned a lot of Carhartt jackets over the years, and the jacket I wear the most is the J140 jacket. Here’s a look at my old J140 that has been washed and worn for 5+ years sitting on top of my new J140 jacket:


As you can see, there’s a little bit of difference there, but once you consider how many wash cycles that jacket has been through, and also consider how much rain/sun it has taken on, the change is minimal. I honestly didn’t even notice a change until I compared it.

Ultimately, any shrinking I’ve experienced occurred over the course of several years, and many wash cycles. Also, not all Carhartt jackets are 100% cotton, and if you purchase a Carhartt jacket that isn’t 100% cotton, it is even less likely to shrink.

In this article let’s take a look at a few more photos so you can get a better idea how much a 100% cotton Carhartt jacket will shrink.

Will Carhartt Jackets Shrink?

The most common type of Carhartt jacket is their line of active jackets. These jackets generally come with a cuffed waist, zip-front, attached hood, and are often made with 100% cotton duck. Here’s a look at my new J140:


Again, the fabric can vary from jacket to jacket, and some will use nylon or a fabric blend, but my J140 posted above does use 100% cotton for the canvas shell.

As I mentioned above, in my experience, 100% cotton duck canvas Carhartt jackets will shrink some over time, but the overall amount is minimal, and does not affect what size of jacket I order.

How Much Do Carhartt Jackets Shrink?

Here’s a look at my old J140 jacket, that I have put through a lot over the years, sitting on top of my brand new J140 jacket:


As you can see, the old J140 is a little smaller than the new J140, but overall, the difference is quite minimal considering the old version is 5+ years old. There’s a small bit of shrinking through the arms:


And, yes, the jacket has slimmed up just a little bit down near the waist:


Again, the amount of shrinkage is minimal, and I honestly didn’t even notice until I compared it to my new jacket.

To be completely up front, while I do my best to follow the care instructions, I can’t say that I’m always perfect. If you follow the care instructions perfectly, it will almost certainly help reduce the total shrinkage.

How To Prevent Carhartt Jackets From Shrinking


The first and most obvious way to help prevent your Carhartt jacket from shrinking is to follow the care instructions on the tag. As I just said above, I am not the greatest at perfectly following care instructions, and there’s no doubt this has caused some shrinking.


The other option you have is to buy a Carhartt jacket that uses a fabric that will be less likely to shrink than 100% cotton. Not only does Carhartt offer some fabric blends, they also offer nylon duck jackets.

The two specific types of fabric that I want to mention are the CORDURA Nylon fabric, and the Quick Duck fabric:

  • CORDURA Nylon – This 1000 denier nylon is extremely durable and can stand up to tough work sites. They use this fabric in the Carhartt J133 jacket, which is built for extreme climates. Buying this jacket might be a good option if you are concerned about 100% cotton shrinking on you. Here’s my J133:
  • Quick Duck – Quick Duck is a fabric blend that Carhartt uses to create jackets that are lighter in weight than normal duck fabric, but still have a durable canvas that can stand up to a work site. These fabric blend jackets will be less likely to shrink on you, and might be a nice option. Here’s a look at one of my Quick Duck Carhartt jackets:

The main takeaway is yes, you can expect 100% cotton Carhartt jackets to shrink, but the overall amount of shrinkage will be minimal. In my experience, the change is hardly noticeable. I personally order my normal sizing and don’t have issues.

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

Recent Posts