For more than two-and-a-half centuries, waxed canvas has been the ideal crossroads of utility and style. Beginning with the Royal Navy, who waxed canvas sails to continue their excursions in whatever weather happened to befall them, down to fishermen who required it when capturing their deadliest catches, it’s a tradition, an art, and a stylish way to keep rain off your back.
Though a waxed canvas jacket is slightly anachronistic, it does something that a load of synthetic weatherproof fibers just won’t do: Look damn good while you wear it.
Getting clothing that can shrug off rain is easy, but you’re going to end up looking like Paddington Bear, or some lost mountaineer who is way overdressed, particularly for the spring showers that crop up, or the autumn winds which nip, but do not bite. For those in-betweener months, or for merely having a lightweight, easily carried, good-looking piece for any season, nothing beats one of the 15 best waxed canvas jackets for easy style and survival in the worst – or best – weather.
Age Old: In 1962 this jacket defined what a modern waxed canvas jacket could be, with straight lines and a mobile fit. Though Levi’s itself has gone through many ups and downs when it comes to quality, they’ve barely touched the trucker jacket, which is why it’s still favored by ranch hands and guys who haul long-distance for a living.
Underthink: Carhartt usually assumes that you know how to wax your own jacket, but if you need to hit the shooting range or the hunting blind in a hurry, this comes waxed up for your wearing pleasure. Unlike many other waxed items, this has a polyester backing that allows it to be machine washed without a hitch.
Taylor Stitch Beach Jacket
Warming Trend: A wonderful day at the beach can quickly turn uncomfortable when a sea squall rolls in. Light enough for wearing around when the rays are beating down, but able to duck and cover should the weatherman’s lies be exposed by sudden storms, the colors of the Beach Jacket look great while lounging on the lido deck, and the construction stands up to years of sand and sun.
Impermeable: Taped down seams, inner zippers and drawstrings galore, and external storm flaps make this an affordable enemy of moisture. While most waxed canvas jackets can handle rain dropping in sheets, this stops it coming in from the sides, or the restless waves beneath.
L. L. Bean Town and Field
Eternal Sportsman: The Town and Field can be seen on nearly every street in America the moment the weather turns to hell. The traditional L. L. Bean cut might not be flashy, but it is the build that many heavier alpine jackets are modeled after, because it works. British Millerain and brass accents all add a weathered look as the days turn into weeks of wear.
Barbour International Duke
Old Timer: First made in the ‘30’s, the Duke is as much about honoring the past as looking toward the future. That’s nice, but what we cared about most was that it keeps you warm through brutal weather thanks to the quilted lining and funnel collar that prevents wind and wetness from sneaking past its bulwark defenses.
Barbour X Deus Ex Machina Horace
Rode Hard: Barbour is a known quantity, but Deus Ex is an Australian upstart that is still getting traction in the motorcycling world, with a keen sense of modern style. Heavy-duty and given the look of vintage wear, Horace proved to be a wonder to behold, with lots of leather detailing, and a stowable companion that looked good right out of the saddle bag.
Working Out: For roaming the streets, any piece of waxed canvas can get you by, but when you need a full range of motion, you need a Filson. Loads of easy-access pockets for tools, and helpful gussets right where it counts. Putting up fences, laying down pipe, or just laying back are all easier in the Short Cruiser.
Indigo Wool Chore Jacket
Carryall: Woven from a pair of indigo wools, this is less about doing hard labor in the field than it is about more modern chores, like going to work or meeting with clients. Striking when worn with a suit and tie, and complete with interior pockets for phone, wallet, pens, and other sundry office gear, it’s strictly business.
In The Fight: Bearing all of the hallmarks of a mil-spec jacket, but also intended for the comfort of the casual wearer, the Sapper is combat ready, yet still plush. The insulated lining is polyester that holds heat in when closed, but also ventilates well for those partly cloudy days. A stashable hood handles the fully cloudy ones.
Iron & Resin X Vanson Leathers Mojave
Heirloom Grade: We’d be happy with just about anything from I&R or Vanson, but their combined might is greater than the sum of their parts. Built specifically for Spring riding, the Mojave is good for a stroll around the hot streets, and will keep your temperature well-regulated while astride your favorite two-wheeled steed; motorized or otherwise.
Vince Military 3-In-1
Civvies: Made in olive drab to celebrate its military roots, the 3-in-1 has vents at the back for springtime outings, but zips into a battle-ready stance without a second of hesitation. Loads of pockets inside and out give you an embarrassment of storage space for all your extra ammo magazines…or lip balms.
Vegan Leather: The cut, and quadruple-pocket look comes straight from the original Trialmaster leather jacket, but this one doesn’t use hide of any kind, preferring waxed cotton. It fits a bit slimmer than traditional Trialmasters, so it doesn’t have a dated look, and it more than stands up to weather and even road rash, should you need to lay your bike down.