Recently I put my hands on some of the most popular workwear jackets to compare them on toughness, warmth, and purpose. I live in Kansas, and although I have experience with many different winter work jackets, my favorite jacket for work is the Carhartt J140. It uses a durable 12-ounce water-repellent canvas shell and has a quilted-flannel lining that is very warm and very comfortable.
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Here are my choices for the best workwear jackets for winter work:
- *My Favorite* – Carhartt Quilted Flannel-Lined Duck Active J140 Jacket (click here to view)
- Best Waxed Canvas Jacket – Filson Lined Tin Cloth Jacket (click here to view)
- Best Trucker Style – Tecovas Overnight Trucker Jacket (click here to view)
- Best Extreme Cold Coat – RefrigiWear Iron-Tuff -50F Coat (click here to view)
- Best Extreme Cold Jacket – Carhartt Yukon Extremes Jacket (click here to view)
- Best Classic Retro Style – Dickies Insulated Eisenhower Front-Zip Jacket (click here to view)
- Best Chore Style – Carhartt Blanket Lined Chore Coat (click here to view)
- Best Waterproof Insulated – Carhartt Men’s Insulated Shoreline Jacket (click here to view)
- Best Pre-Washed Canvas – DRI Duck Quarry Washed Cheyenne Jacket (click here to view)
- Best Shirt Jacket – Filson Fleece-Lined Canvas Shirt Jacket (click here to view)
- Best Denim Jacket – Filson Lined Denim Cruiser Jacket (click here to view)
- Best Handmade – Ciano Farmer Denim Co. 12oz Canvas 1936 Type I Jacket (click here to view)
- Women’s Canvas – Carhartt Insulated Washed Duck Active Jacket (click here to view)
- Women’s Extreme Weather – RefrigiWear Iron-Tuff Polar Insulated Jacket (click here to view)
- Women’s Softshell – Carhartt Women’s Water-Repellent Insulated Nylon Jacket (click here to view)
- Women’s Shirt Jacket – Dickies Women’s Duck Hooded Shirt Jacket (click here to view)
As I mentioned above, I love the Carhartt J140 jacket not only because it is durable and warm, but because the quilted-flannel lining is incredibly comfortable to wear. This jacket is warm enough to handle almost all winter conditions, and the shell is wind-resistant and water-repellent.
Here’s a look at my Carhartt J140 jacket:
But even though this is my favorite jacket, it might not be perfect for your climate or for your work needs. For example, this jacket will be too warm for certain milder climates in the southern US. Also, this jacket uses a firm duck canvas, and won’t be a great fit for those of you who prefer a pre-washed shell.
In this article let’s take a closer look at the best workwear jackets so you can decide which one might make the most sense for your job. Let’s also discuss several things to consider when shopping for these types of jackets.
My Favorite Workwear Jacket
Carhartt Quilted Flannel-Lined Duck Active J140 Jacket
The J140 jacket is my favorite work jacket. It has a firm duck 100% cotton canvas outer shell. Yes, it will be a bit stiff at first, but it breaks in just fine with time.
This is Carhartt’s toughest cotton outer shell fabric and one of their warmest linings (quilted flannel). It keeps me plenty warm during Kansas winters. Here’s mine:
This is the current price of this Carhartt J140 flannel lined canvas jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this workwear jacket:
- Shell – This jacket has a heavy duty shell. It is made with Carhartt’s 100% cotton firm duck cotton canvas shell that is durable and both water-repellent and wind-resistant. Firm duck canvas will feel stiff at first, but it breaks in just fine with time. This is Carhartt’s toughest cotton outer shell fabric. Here’s a close-up of the shell fabric on my jacket:
- Lining – This is one of Carhartt’s warmest jackets. It has a quilted-flannel lining that is very thick and comfortable. I have tried over 15 Carhartt jackets, and this is one of the warmest Carhartt jackets that I’ve worn. This flannel lining is why I’ve made this jacket my go-to work jacket for many years. Here’s a close-up of the flannel lining:
- Design – This jacket has a zip-front with a built-in, insulated hood. Cuffed sleeves and waist help trap in the heat. There are two internal pockets, including a zip pocket, that provide you a place to safely store essentials. In my experience, this Carhartt jacket fits true to size.
- Made in the USA – This Carhartt Jacket is still made in the USA. Not all Carhartt jackets are made here in the USA. If you want a list of USA work jackets, visit our article about the best jackets made in USA.
Carhartt does not assign temperature ratings to their jackets, which can make things a bit tricky to understand when comparing jackets. Here is my opinion based off wearing this jacket for years: this jacket will be warm enough to handle winters in most all continental US states (yes, there may be some extreme exceptions).
But it also will likely be too warm for mild winters in the southern US. If you are in a milder climate, and want this Carhartt firm cotton canvas shell, the Carhartt J131 jacket will be a better option for you.
Click here to buy this J140 Carhartt duck jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This jacket has a loose fit, but I order my normal sizing. The extra space gives me room to layer. To read more, visit my article about the Carhartt J140 workwear jacket.
Best Workwear Jackets for Extreme Cold
Let me start by emphasizing that the Carhartt J140 jacket we just discussed above is very warm, and capable of handling most winter conditions. But if you are working in dangerously cold temperatures, there are jackets that offer even more warmth than the Carhartt J140 jacket above.
The first thing to consider when shopping for a workwear jacket for extreme cold weather, is whether you want a drop-tail design that finishes past the waist, or if you want a cuffed waist. A drop-tail provides extra weather protection below the waist, but a cuffed waist is often better at trapping heat, and is easier to pair with a tool belt.
If you prefer a drop-tail design for your extreme weather work jacket, then I would recommend the RefrigiWear Water-Resistant Insulated Iron-Tuff Siberian Workwear Jacket. Refrigiwear opened its doors in 1954, and since day one they’ve been dedicated to making gear tough enough to handle extreme cold conditions. Click here to view this Refrigiwear Iron-Tuff Siberian Jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
If you prefer a cuffed waist jacket for extreme conditions, I would recommend the Carhartt Yukon Extremes Jacket. Let’s take a closer look at this jacket so you know what to expect.
Carhartt Yukon Extremes Insulated Active Jacket
The Carhartt Yukon Extremes Active Jacket is Carhartt’s toughest and warmest jacket. This Carhartt heavy duty jacket uses a durable 500D Cordura nylon duck outer shell fabric. The jacket is insulated with 150 grams of 3M Thinsulate, which is a synthetic insulation that is lightweight and non-bulky, but very good at trapping heat.
This is the current price of this Carhartt Yukon Extremes Jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this jacket:
- Shell – If you are looking for the most durable Carhartt jacket, this is it. This Carhartt heavy duty jacket uses a 500D nylon duck outer shell that is abrasion resistant, wind-resistant, and water-repellent. In my experience, the only drawback is it is a bit noisier than cotton. Here’s a close-up look at the nylon canvas:
- Insulation – This Carhartt Yukon Extremes Jacket uses 3M Thinsulate to insulate the jacket. 3M Thinsulate is very lightweight, which allows this jacket to weigh less than other heavy duty jackets despite the fact that it is Carhartt’s toughest and warmest jacket. My size medium weighs 2.80 pounds.
- Design – This jacket has a zip-front with a built-in, insulated hood. What I like about this jacket is it zips all the way to the base of my chin for extra coverage. It has two insulated hand-warmer pockets and has two internal pockets, including a zip-close pocket to give you a safe place to store essentials. It also has an external zip-close chest pocket.
- Fit – In my experience, this jacket fits true to size, but do expect a loose fit. This loose fit is on purpose so that you have plenty of room to layer underneath this jacket in harsh conditions. Here is my size medium compared to a size medium Hanes undershirt straight out of the package:
Again, the Carhartt J140 we discussed first is my favorite workwear jacket, but if you need something for absolute extreme conditions, this will be the better option. That J140 is very warm, but this Carhartt Yukon Extremes jacket is Carhartt’s warmest and toughest jacket.
Click here to buy this Carhartt Yukon Extremes Jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This jacket has a loose fit, but I order my normal sizing. This jacket used to be called the Carhartt J133 jacket, but was updated in 2020 to this new version.
Best Pre-Washed Canvas Workwear Jacket
Dri Duck Men’s Quarry Washed Cheyenne Jacket
DRI-DUCK is an outdoor and work apparel company headquartered in Kansas. In regards to work jackets, they hang their hat on making durable canvas jackets that also have a worn-in comfort from the very first time you put it on. They don’t believe in stiff outerwear.
Although I personally don’t mind firm jackets (because over time they break in and are very comfortable), if you wish to skip the break-in period, buying a pre-washed canvas work jacket is a good idea. For a pre-washed shell, I like the Dri-Duck Quarry Washed Cheyenne Jacket. Here’s what this jacket looks like:
This is the current price the Dri Duck Cheyenne Jacket at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this jacket:
- Design – The Dri-Duck Cheyenne work jacket is a full front-zip jacket that has a comfortable, but durable outer canvas, warm inner-lining, insulated hood, and a cuffed waist that traps in warmth and pairs easily with a tool belt.
- Canvas Shell – The Canvas shell on this workwear jacket is pre-washed and peached to give it a worn-in feeling on the first wear. This will be different than the firm canvas jackets we discussed first. Firm canvas is more durable, but can feel stiff to wear. This pre-washing process helps break the fabric in. Here’s a look at the pre-washed canvas fabric:
- Sizing – It is worth noting that, in my experience, the Dri Duck Cheyenne Jacket doesn’t fit quite as loose as Carhartt Jackets do. Here is a look at my Dri Duck Cheyenne Jacket sitting on top of my Carhartt J140 Jacket:
- Warmth – It’s tough to compare warmth, because none of these companies publish temperature ratings, but I think this Dri Duck Cheyenne Jacket is capable of handling moderate, but not extreme, winter conditions. I wear it in Kansas and it meets my needs (Dri Duck vs Carhartt). This Cheyenne Jacket is a nice hooded ca replacement to the Carhartt J130 Jacket.
Click here to buy the Dri Duck Cheyenne Hooded Canvas Jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). If you don’t like canvas, and prefer a softshell work jacket, visit our article about the best softshell jackets for work.
Best Trucker-Style Workwear Jacket
Carhartt Blanket Lined Detroit Jacket
If you are searching for a trucker-style work jacket, you have quite a few options. The Carhartt Detroit Jacket is one of Carhartt’s most classic jackets, and they recently updated it to give it a warm blanket lining.
Although it has been around for many years, it has gained popularity in recent years because it was the jacket that Matthew McConaughey wore in the movie Interstellar (source). These types of trucker jackets are fun to wear because they look good both on and off the clock. I’ve worn this jacket for several years – here’s what mine looks like:
This is the current price of this Carhartt Detroit Jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this jacket:
- Style – Although it has been around for many years, it has gained popularity in recent years because it was the jacket that Matthew McConaughey wore in the movie Interstellar (source).
- Canvas Shell – Yes, this jacket uses a canvas shell. My jacket has a 12-ounce duck cotton canvas outer shell. I’ve also seen this jacket available in a weathered duck canvas version, which also uses the blanket lining. Click here to view the weathered duck version of this jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
- Blanket Lining – This Carhartt workwear jacket uses a blanket lining. Carhartt does not temperature rate their products, but in my experience, this Carhartt blanket lining can handle moderate winter conditions that I experience here in Kansas. Here’s a close-up of the lining on my jacket:
- Design – This is a rugged trucker-style casual jacket that can be worn both on and off the clock. Because it has that trucker style, it finishes near the waist. This jacket does not have a cuffed waist and does not come with a hood, but mine does have snaps under the collar where a hood can be attached. It is a full-front zip and has a corduroy collar. If you prefer a hood, visit our article about the best hooded truckers.
- Pockets – My jacket has two hand-warmer pockets on the outside, and one external zip-close chest pocket. There are also two pockets on the inside, including a zip-close internal pocket which gives me a safe place to store essentials out of the weather.
As I mentioned above, it’s probably fair to describe this jacket as a sort of trucker style jacket or maybe even a bomber style jacket. Just remember that it will finish near the waist. This type of workwear jacket is perfect for those of you who do not want an attached hood.
Click here to buy this Carhartt Detroit Jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This Carhartt Detroit Jacket has a relaxed fit and, in my experience, fits true to size.
Best Retro-Style Classic Workwear Jacket
Dickies Men’s Insulated Eisenhower Front-Zip Jacket
This Dickies Insulated Eisenhower Jacket has a classic design that finishes near the waist and, just like the Carhartt Detroit Jacket above, this jacket blends in nicely both on and off the clock. It has a retro style that some may compare to the style of a mechanic’s jacket.
This is what this Dickies Men’s Insulated Eisenhower Front-Zip Jacket looks like:
This is the current price of this Dickies Eisenhower work jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this workwear jacket:
- Material – The shell of this jacket is constructed of 65% polyester and 35% cotton twill, which makes it wrinkle resistant and easily machine washable with minimal shrinkage. It is also vat-dyed, which gives it excellent color retention. This jacket has a double brass zipper front closure.
- Type of Lining – A quilted nylon taffeta lining that can handle mild to moderate winter conditions. In my experience, this won’t be warm enough to handle extreme cold temperatures. You can also buy this jacket in an unlined version.
- Features – This Dickies work jacket features slash front welt pockets as well as a hidden interior pocket (see photo below). There is also a pencil pocket located on the left sleeve. This is a collared jacket with no attached hood.
- Water Resistance – This jacket is water-resistant. Don’t expect it to take on a monsoon, but it will repel light precipitation to help keep you dry.
- Fit – A waist-length, classic fit that is cut true to size and generous throughout the chest and shoulders. There are adjustable tabs at the waistband as well as a two-piece sleeve with a one-button cuff. Don’t expect this jacket to go past your waist.
Click here to buy this Dickies Men’s Insulated Eisenhower Workwear Jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This is not a flame-resistant jacket. To read more about sizing, visit our article about Dickies Jacket Sizing.
Other Workwear Jackets to Consider
Best Unlined Canvas Work Jacket
The Filson Tin Cloth Work Jacket is perfect for those of you who live in a milder climate and need something that is rain-repellent and very durable. This jacket has a oil finish added to it for extra abrasion resistance. It is made with 14-ounce heavy duty Tin Cloth canvas.
Best Chore Style Work Jacket
Canvas chore coats are both durable and functional. The extra pockets provide ample storage space for those working around the farm. They also blend in nicely as a casual jacket. The Patagonia Chore Jacket is made with 12.9-ounce canvas fabric and features six pockets for storage, including an internal zip close pockets for essentials.
Click here to view this Patagonia Chore Jacket (affiliate link takes you to Patagonia.com). This jacket is also available in a women’s version. Click here to view the women’s version of this jacket (affiliate link takes you to Patagonia.com).
Best Waterproof Insulated Work Jacket
The Carhartt Insulated Shoreline Jacket combines warm insulation with a waterproof membrane to provide you a workwear jacket to help you get through those cold, wet work days. This jacket is made with a 7.3-ounce nylon shell. It has an attached hood and plenty of pockets for storage.
Click here to view this Carhartt Insulated Shoreline Jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). To read about more options for those cold, wet days on the job, visit our article about the best insulated waterproof jackets.
Best Shirt Jacket for Work
There are a lot of shirt jackets on the market today, but I personally like to use canvas shirt jackets for work. These types of shirt jackets are much more durable than flannel. This Filson Fleece-Lined Jacket is made with durable 10-ounce cotton canvas and has a warm 7-ounce fleece lining.
Click here to view this Filson Shirt Jacket (affiliate link takes you to Filson.com). For other warm shirt jackets, visit our article about the best insulated shirt jackets. If you prefer a Sherpa lining, visit our article about the best Sherpa-Lined Shirt Jackets.
Best Denim Workwear Jacket
The Wrangler Rugged Wear Work Jacket is an unlined jacket that fits nicely over a flannel during mild to moderate winter conditions. It is made with 100% cotton and features a classic button-front design that finishes near the waist. It has two chest pockets and two hand-warmer pockets for storage.
Click here to view this Wrangler denim jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). To read about more denim options, visit our article about the best denim work jackets.
Best Women’s Canvas Work Jacket
This Carhartt Washed Duck Insulated Women’s Workwear Jacket features a pre-washed canvas shell so it doesn’t feel stiff to wear. It is insulated with 80 grams of 3M Thinsulate for warmth. This type of insulation is very popular because it is very good at trapping heat, but non-bulky and lightweight.
Click here to view this Carhartt Washed Duck Insulated Women’s Work Jacket available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This jacket is styled like all other Carhartt Active Jackets, meaning it has an attached hood with a cuffed waist and a fit that gives you room to move.
Best Women’s Shirt Jacket for Work
If you are a woman shopping for a jacket to use for mild conditions, a shirt jacket will be a nice option. Many people prefer wool shirt jackets because not only are they comfortable and warm, they are naturally water-repellent and very good at trapping heat even when wet. Filson’s wool shirt jacket is made in the USA with 18-ounce wool.
Click here to view this Filson women’s wool shirt jacket (affiliate link takes you to Filson.com). This jacket had a built-in cape that covers the shoulders and chest for extra weather protection. For more wool options, visit our article about the best wool work jackets.
5 Things to Consider When Buying Workwear Jackets for Winter
Bi Swing Back
A bi-swing jacket provides you with more range of motion through your shoulders and back. If you are shopping for a work jacket, finding a bi-swing option might help ensure that you retain your freedom of movement even while wearing a firm canvas shell.
This can be particularly important for activities such as splitting firewood, shoveling snow, or any other job that needs full range of motion through the shoulders and arms. Most bi-swing workwear jackets have gusset panels on the shoulders which allow your arms to move more freely, and prevent the jacket from feeling like a straight jacket.
If you would like a bi-swing back jacket, the Fislon Tin Cloth Jacket on our list at the top of the page has an bi-swing “action” back. To read about more options, visit our article about the best bi-swing work jackets.
Do you need an attached hood for your work jacket? Although there are plenty of hooded canvas jackets on the market today, you can also find a lot of jackets that don’t come with an attached hoods. Some of these hood-less jackets will have snap buttons under the collar so you can attach a hood if needed.
If you prefer a hood, be sure to consider the size of the hood. Some workers need a hood that can fit over the top of a hard hat. In general, most workwear brands do a good job of creating a hood that has some versatility, but if you wear a hard hard, it’s worth considering the size of the hood.
How many pockets do you need? Most work jackets have front hand-warmer pockets, and some sort of internal chest pockets. I prefer work jackets that have a zip internal pocket that gives me a safe place to store essentials like my phone, wallet, and keys.
Here’s a look at the zip internal pocket on my Carhartt J140 workwear jacket:
Drop Tail or Cuffed Waist
Do you want a drop-tail waist or a cuffed waist on your work jacket? A drop-tail waist gives you added weather protection past the waist, but a cuffed waist help trap in heat, and is also easier to pair with a tool belt.
As you can see above, my Carhartt J140 flannel lined hooded workwear jacket has a cuffed waist, which gives it a sort of bomber style (best Carhartt bomber jackets). But, again, one drawback to a cuffed jacket is it doesn’t provide protection below the waist. If you want the added weather protection, a a canvas work coat may be best.
For extreme weather, having a work jacket that zips all the way to the chin can be a nice benefit. This helps keep the wind and weather off your neck while you work. Here’s a look at how the Carhartt Yukon Extremes Jacket zips all the way to my chin:
If you are searching for a workwear jacket to use in extreme cold weather, a zip-to-chin design can really help trap in extra heat around the chin, neck, ears, and face. To read more about this jacket, visit my Carhartt Yukon Extremes Jacket Review.