Waxed canvas jackets are readily associated with rugged outdoorsmen and skilled tradesmen. It makes sense. The fabric used in this outerwear was inspired by jackets made early sailors, who originally crafted jackets from oiled sailcloth. In the early 20th century, textile mills developed a process for finishing cotton with paraffin wax, creating fabric that was flexible, warm, durable and weatherproof.
Though many brands have adopted lightweight waterproofing technologies like Gore-Tex, countless companies still produce hard-wearing waxed-canvas outerwear. It's tough, water-resistant and has gone largely unchanged over the past century. Although it's occasionally been adapted to suit to newer silhouettes. (You'll see what I mean.)
These are our favorite examples, old and new, available now.
For the money, this is one of our favorite options. A soft flannel liner offsets the rugged, waxed sailcloth exterior. Flint and Tinder opts for the original fabric used for waxed jackets, sailcloth, instead of canvas. The OG textile ages like leather or selvedge denim.
This lightweight Waxed Trucker Jacket from Marine Layer has a windbreaker look to it, but it's waxed with a Scottish water-repellent finish, lined with fine blanket for warmth, and fully closable with a zipper and snaps.
Buck Mason's Highland Jacket pays homage to waxed jackets of yesteryear with its rich brown and green color way. The shape's traditional, too, but this option fits truer to size and more tailored. TLDR: it's more elevated. Made with fabric sourced from the Halley Stevenson mill in Scotland, this iteration is dry waxed and blanket-lined, too.
We'd be remiss not to mention Barbour, an icon of British luxury since 1894, in a roundup of waxed jackets. The brand definitely didn't invent the waxed jacket, but it certainly helped broaden its reach. This Ashby Jacket comes waxed, of course, with a contrasting corduroy collar, a plaid liner, and plenty of Moto references.
Universal Works' original Chore Jacket was a simple workwear design inspired by the brand's founder's father, who wore a chore coat almost every day. This version is nearly the same save for the waxed cotton exterior and the contrasting cord collar.
American Trench's Field Jacket takes cues from more robust coats, hence why it hits just below the hips. You can take on any weather in this one while still looking plenty stylish.
The Upland Coat is another classic waxed jacket, this time courtesy of L.L. Bean. But there's a big twist hidden in this one: the jacket's entirely machine washable. Weird, right? The brand worked with its supplier to forge a signature process that'd provide the durability needed to survive a wash cycle.
Designer Billy Reid applies the technical know-how of a waxed jacket to the simple chore coat shape. Easy to wear and even easier to care for.
Handmade in LA, Rogue Territory's Supply Jacket references Lee's original Stormrider jacket, and is finished with a Japan-made liner and satin sleeves. These run a little small, but will stretch at the shoulders and elbows.
Streetwear, meet the utilitarian's favorite outerwear style. This one comes by way of NYC brand Aimé Leon Dore, in a rich Oxblood color. The shape's similar to others on this list, but it's finished with brass buttons and a black cord collar.
UK-based Burrows & Hare embraces the best thing about a waxed cotton jacket: its ability to brave rain, sleet, and snow. Think of this option as the ultimate rain coat: it's sleek, waxed, water-repellent, and finished with a parka tail.
Originally just a family-owned manufacturer, Peregrine — owned by the UK-based Glover family — turned its focused toward clothing, but UK-made, vintage-inspired clothing at that. This is The Bexley, military-referencing jacket cut from a Millerain-made waxed cotton fabric. It has a soft hand feel and all of the features you'd expect from something weatherproofed.
If you’re going to own one, you need to know how to take care of it.