Good question! The answer is twofold. As capable as they are, synthetic jackets will eventually break down. And once they do, they’re actually more difficult to repair compared to their waxed counterparts, which require re-waxing only sparingly. Secondly, waxed jackets are known for their unique patina. Like your favorite jeans, their propensity to fade and crease over time, redistributing their oily finish to different parts of their exterior, is a huge part of the appeal. And today, there’s never been more ways to get your wax on. From brush-busting countryside coats to burly parkas to Bond-ian truckers, there’s a waxy number for practically everyone in 2023—and almost definitely one on this list that’s perfect for you.
The Best Waxed Canvas Jacket, Overall
Chances are, Barbour is the first name that comes to mind when you think of waxed jackets. For well over a century, the iconic British brand has outfitted the countryside set in rugged waxed cotton gear, and today, the Bedale remains its most popular silhouette. It’s built with Barbour’s Silkoil fabric, a 6 oz. waxed cotton canvas that’s lightweight, pliable, and super durable. It comes with nifty details like handwarmer pockets, snap flap waist pockets, a protective storm flap, and a luscious corduroy collar. Take a peak inside and you’ll find Barbour’s signature Tartan cotton lining and a zipper detail for adding a wool or quilted lining for extra warmth. (You can also purchase a hood, which snaps into the collar for even more rain protection.) All of those details amount to an insanely durable and versatile jacket that works for three seasons—four, if you’re really pushing it.
The Modern-Day Waxed Canvas Jacket
Icons like the Barbour Bedale are hard to beat, but Flint and Tinder’s flannel-lined trucker jacket is a modern classic in its own right. The slightly cropped silhouette is flattering on almost everybody, which is the natural outcome when you crib inspiration from vintage denim jackets. The spot-on fit alone would be enough to earn it a spot on this list, but of course, it’s got plenty of cold weather bona fides too. It derives its warmth from a substantial-yet-soft 7 oz. waxed sailcloth from Martexin, which makes it one of the few options on this list to use an American-made fabric. Plus, the body is fully-lined with a polyester blanket fabric that’s plenty warm and soft enough to wear with just a T-shirt (or, for that matter, without a T-shirt). On top of that, it’s cut, sewn, and finished in the USA, which keeps the carbon footprint low and the quality high.
The Hog-Wild Waxed Canvas Jacket
Favored by motorcyclists around the world, the Belstaff Trialmaster is the quintessential British racing jacket. Celebs like Daniel Day-Lewis and Ewan McGregor are big fans, but you don’t have to have an Emmy or an Oscar to look like a high-wattage star wearing one. (You don’t have to know anything about motorcycles, either.) That angled chest pocket sure makes it easy to whip out your road map, though.
The Cinematic Waxed Canvas Jacket
Waxed canvas jackets tend to appeal to the scruffy-faced, shit-kicker-wearing types (y’know, close relatives of those brolic seafarers and their fish oil-soaked jackets). The Mfpen Commute coat does not. Like all great trench coats, the Commute coat offers volume and a beautiful drape. It’s louche and elegant, like an Old Hollywood movie star. But it ain’t just handsome to look at: It’s made from an extra-durable ripstop cotton which is then waxed to keep you dry through the most dramatic rainstorms. It’s dashing over a suit, rakish over a knit polo and jeans, or just plain cool with a thrashed hoodie and a pair of shorts.
The Blizzard-Beating Waxed Jacket
You know that one very swaggy photo of Snoopy in a big red puffer jacket? Turns out, they made it a real thing. And, if you can believe it, it’s even better than the cartoon. RRL’s expedition-ready parka features a waxy oilcloth fabric that’s milled in England by a factory that’s been in the business of waxed fabrics since the 1880s. On top of that, the whole shebang is stuffed in heat-retaining poly-fill, lined with deep-pile fleece and trimmed with faux fur at the hood. In other words, you’ve got the guts of the coziest duvet with the shell of a weatherproofed military tent.
The Get-It-Done Waxed Jacket
When there’s work to be done did, Dickies is the BS-free brand to get shit done. The new Lucas jacket doubles down on the brand’s iconic Eisenhower jacket with the same silhouette, but with some extra oomph packed into it. It features a hardy waxed cotton canvas shell trimmed with luxurious corduroy at the collar and an insulating flannel lining to keep you warm when you’ve got a cold hard list of chores left to tackle. But even if your “chores” are more like getting groceries and returning a pair of shoes, Lucas will make you look rugged as hell.
Plus 13 More Waxed Canvas Jackets We Love
Already Own a Perfectly Patinated Wax Jacket? Here’s How to Re-Wax It
Step 1: Clean your jacket by using a damp cloth to wipe away dust and debris.
Step 2: Prepare the wax. Waxes can come in different forms. Some come in a tin which you then place in warm water in order to melt the wax. Other waxes are sold as a bar which must be softened with heat, often with a heat gun or hair dryer.
Step 3: Apply the wax. For tinned wax, dip a sponge or a clean rag into the wax and wipe the jacket evenly. For bar wax, rub the bar all over the jacket, applying the wax evenly. Then use a heat gun to melt the wax into the fibers of the jacket.
Step 4: Allow the jacket to dry. Hang your jacket to dry for about 24-48 hours, keeping it away from other clothes or objects to avoid staining anything with the still-wet wax. And voilà! Good as new.