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The 10 Best M-65 Field Jackets for Men in 2021
Throughout history, the U.S. military has unintentionally inspired many fashion trends. One of the most well-known is the M-65 field jacket for men. The M-65 was created in the 1940s at the height of WWII and is distinguishable from other field jackets thanks to its four front pockets.
Designed to be functional and durable, the M-65 has always been decidedly utilitarian and masculine. Aside from active-duty soldiers wearing M-65s, Elvis Presley was photographed wearing his in the 1950s and Robert De Niro wore one in 1976’s Taxi Driver. That endorsement from some of the world’s biggest stars skyrocketed the M-65’s popularity.
People started to notice that M-65 jackets weren’t just useful, but looked great on and could be worn all year. That versatility helped the M-65 stand the test of time and today, nearly 80 years later, designers reimagine the style every season.
1. Alpha Industries M-65 Field Jacket (Heritage)
Alpha Industries is an American company founded in 1959. Almost since the beginning of its inception, Alpha Industries has made clothing for the U.S. military. Specifically, Alpha has been making M-65 field jackets for the military for well over 50 years. It’s safe to say they’ve perfected their craft.
Remaining true to classic military styling, Alpha’s M-65 jacket is oversized and features shoulder epaulets. There are drawstrings at the hood, waist, and hem, along with four exterior pockets and two interior pockets. The jacket is both wind- and water-resistant, and the addition of the button-in ALS/92 liner (sold separately) makes it a solid winter coat. The liner is made of durable, ultra-light ripstop nylon and features knit cuffs, so it can also be worn as a standalone jacket.
2. Rothco M-65 Field Jacket
Rothco makes its M-65 field jacket to precise military specs for an authentic fit and feel. The water-repellent cotton/polyester blend twill fabric keeps you warm and dry regardless of what the weather throws at you, while the hidden drawstring hood can be deployed easily when you need it – and zippered back into the collar when you don’t.
This M-65 jacket comes with a quilted polyester liner jacket that can also be worn on its own in milder weather. With the liner fully buttoned into the exterior shell, you have a true all-season jacket. An authentic snap-button storm flap and button-down epaulets finish the look.
3. Propper Men’s M65 Field Coat Jacket
The Propper men’s M65 field coat is a classic, straightforward version that hits every mark. It’s made of a lightweight blend of 50% cotton sateen and 50% nylon, and it’s finished with a DWR (durable water repellent) that’s resistant to both moisture and dirt.
There’s an adjustable drawstring at the waist on the jacket’s interior, and the hood packs completely into the stand collar. The best feature of the Propper M65 field coat is its removable quilted liner, which buttons in completely. The jacket is lined, so it can also be worn as a lightweight shell on its own without the liner in.
4. Brandit Men’s M-65 Classic Jacket
Brandit is a French label with a penchant for creating utilitarian styles, so its M-65 Classic Jacket is a natural fit. The machine-washable jacket comes in nine colors, including several camo options.
The soft, thick quilted interior liner is detachable, although the jacket itself is quite warm even without it. Its hood can be zipped completely into the collar and there are diamond-shaped extensions on the cuff – a notably thoughtful touch. These extensions keep your wrists covered (and therefore, warm and dry) even if you have to reach for something.
Although Brandit didn’t treat the M-65 jacket with a DWR, the material naturally repels some water, buying you enough time to get out of a heavy storm and under shelter. Please note, these jackets are cut especially large, so pay special attention to sizing when ordering.
5. Miltec Multitarn Camo M65 Field Jacket
If you’re looking for a camouflage jacket that’s not just stylish but actually functional as well, here it is. Miltec’s Multi-tarn M65 field jacket features classic military styling, but adds a touch of refinement. The stand collar is adjustable, the front storm flap snaps closed, the zipper and other hardware are heavy-duty brass rather than plastic, and the stowaway hood features adjustable drawstring closure.
The jacket’s outer shell is made from a blend of tough 65% polyester/35% cotton, which is treated with a water-repellent finish. It’s also fully lined inside and features a separate button-in thick quilted liner for colder weather. Both the jacket and liner are machine-washable.
6. Rothco Camo M-65 Field Jacket
Like its “standard” M-65 field jacket for men, Rothco makes its camo version to exact military specifications. The ultra-tough cotton/polyester blend twill fabric is wind- and water-resistant, plus it stands up to scratches, tears, and other abrasions.
Inside the jacket, a fully removable quilted polyester liner adds a substantial amount of warmth. Both the outer jacket and the inner liner can be worn on their own or together, so this Rothco M-65 field jacket is essentially like getting three in one. Hook and loop tabs at both the collar and cuffs ensure even your neck and wrists stay dry, with or without a pair of gloves on.
7. Helikon Genuine M65 Jacket
Helikon makes its genuine M-65 field jacket for men from what it calls “NyCo,” a blend of 50% nylon and 50% cotton. It’s warm, durable, abrasion-resistant, and repels water and everyday dirt nicely. There are drawstrings at the hood, waist, and hem, along with hook and loop cuffs and a velcro stand collar.
This men’s field jacket also includes a complete inner liner that can be removed in warm weather and easily buttoned back in during winter months. The jacket’s interior is also lined, so it can be worn comfortably all year-round with or without the liner.
This is certainly not the least expensive field jacket on our list – nor is it the most expensive – but Helikon’s quality is top-notch and well worth the investment.
8. Brandit Men’s M-65 Giant Jacket
Brandit’s “Giant” M-65 field jacket for men puts a decidedly modern twist on the military classic. As the name implies, this jacket is especially oversized. Most M-65s are cut on the larger side, to allow for wearing bulky layers underneath.
However, the “Giant” jacket is intentionally extra generous, cut to be almost baggy. The interior removable liner is exceptionally soft, lined with a sherpa-like fleece material and finished with soft knit cuffs and collar.
This M-65 jacket is made of 100% cotton and has an interior drawstring waist and hem. Distressed, weathered-looking patches on both sides of the chest lend a great vintage look.
9. Rothco Vintage M-65 Field Jacket
This is the third Rothco M-65 field jacket on our list, but it’s truly in a league of its own. This vintage M-65 truly looks like one of the early military-issued versions. In comparison to modern-day iterations, this one is noticeably pared-down.
The classic M-65 four pockets are there, but you’ll notice the collar is a bit different. This one is less like a modern stand collar and more like the original revere collars, although the hood still zips into it regardless. Epaulets adorn both shoulders and the 100% cotton fabric is amazingly soft.
In fact, it feels as if it’s been washed hundreds of times! If you’re looking for an authentic “old” military jacket, here it is.
10. Genuine US Military Issue M-65 Field Jacket
Living up to its name, the U.S.-made Genuine Military Surplus’ Genuine U.S. Military Issue M-65 field jacket is heavy-duty and looks like an exact replica of the originals. Its weight alone tells you it’s the real deal.
The jacket is made of 50% nylon twill and 50% cotton, a super tough blend that stands up to abrasions, water, and anything else Mother Nature has in store. Three color options are offered, all of them authentic military-issue. Drawstrings at the hood, waist, and hem, keep the cold out and the warmth in.
While this jacket doesn’t come with a liner, it is compatible with most standard-issue liners.
History of the Men’s M-65 Jacket
The original version of what we now know (and love) as the M-65 field jacket was designed by the United States Army in 1943. It was fittingly called the M-1943 or, more informally, the M-43. The jackets were created purely for function and practicality: they provided additional storage, particularly for ammunition, and they kept the soldiers warm, dry, and relatively protected from harsh elements.
M-65s officially went into action in 1944, when the U.S. Army Third Division invaded Italy. Soldiers who tested the jackets in the field gave their stamps of approval and the military continued to make minor modifications and improvements, determined to perfect the design. The final version of the M-65 field jackets got reinforced zippers, epaulets on the shoulders, more durable synthetic fabrics, and stand collars with hidden deployable hoods.
Eventually, the military also replaced all buttons on early versions of the jackets with zippers and snaps, a decision that likely saved a great deal of time and frustration.
Field jackets for men have traditionally been made of fabrics that are light- to medium-weight but are exceptionally durable, such as cotton twill and ripstop nylon. These materials can easily be layered with other clothing and are suitable to wear year-round. In fact, it is widely believed that M-65 field jackets started layering in the world of fashion!
M-65s have also historically been hip-length and come with drawstring or belted waists and hems, which, again serves just as much function as form. The shorter jacket length meant it likely wouldn’t get caught on overgrown vegetation or impede soldiers’ movements, while the cinch-able waist and hemline helped considerably with heat retention. Another constant in terms of the design is the four distinct, oversized front pockets.
These “bellows pockets” are sewn with single pleats to make them expandable, and feature button or snap closures at the top. These pockets are ideal for holding ammunition, notebooks, small tools, and even snacks.
M-65 field jackets were used heavily during the Vietnam War, where their design was seriously put to the test. Heavy rains, relentless humidity, mud, and other harsh weather conditions are near-constant in Vietnam, which meant that the American soldiers wore their M-65s, well, constantly. The U.S. military kept M-65 field jackets in service until 1980, when they were phased out to make way for new – but very similar – uniform pieces.
Today’s M-65 jackets for men are more about fashion, although they pack plenty of punch in terms of functionality as well. They’re cut a bit slimmer and come in a wide range of colors and fabrics, such as linen and wool.
In what is no doubt a nod to the jackets’ rich histories and traditions, modern-day styles are still unmistakably M-65s, with four front pockets, hidden hoods, and epaulets at the shoulders. The minimal, utilitarian styling is subtle enough to fit right into virtually any man’s wardrobe, which is likely how M-65’s have managed to stay so absurdly relevant all this time.
M-65 Jacket FAQs
Who could have guessed that a jacket style designed to create additional storage for U.S. troops would still be so popular, nearly 80 years later?
Are M-65 jackets warm?
M-65 jackets themselves provide a medium level of warmth. They’re physically on the lighter side, but often come with a thick, quilted liner that adds a great deal of warmth and helps retain heat. In most cases, the outer shell jacket and the inner liner can be worn together or individually. M-65s are typically made of durable, weather-ready materials that keep harsh elements like wind and rain at bay.
Who made the original M-65 field jacket?
The very first M-65 field jackets for men were designed and manufactured by the U.S. military in the 1940s. After making several modifications, they were widely used throughout the next few decades, most notably in the Vietnam War.
Is it ok to wear military jackets if you aren’t in the military?
This is an excellent question, and the short answer is yes – under certain conditions. A jacket is just a jacket, so anyone can wear an M-65 field jacket for men. However, it is not okay to wear a military jacket with patches, medals, badges, or other decorations if you haven’t served in the military.
It’s not uncommon to find vintage M-65 jackets in thrift stores and private sales that still have original decorations. If you encounter this, carefully remove them before wearing the jacket. Then, contact a local Salvation Army or military surplus shop to inquire about what to do with the decorations.