Military wear never goes out of style. Well, truth be told, some military-style items do come and go. But there’s a piece of garment that seems to be timeless. It is the M-65 field jacket. Actually, its proper name is M-1965. The jacket was introduced in 1965 and it was a US military field jacket. Its utilitarian design made it popular with soldiers. It was widely used in the Vietnam War as well as in several other war conflicts.
But, it was just the beginning of the story. Soon enough, the jacket became popular among civilians. Furthermore, it was embraced as a sort of subversive symbol by rebel youth, social activists, and counterculture champions. The likes of John Lennon, Jane Fonda, Woody Allen, and many more, spread the glory of the jacket. Finally, it conquered Hollywood, appearing in countless movies. Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, Al Pacino in Serpico, and Silvester Stallone in Rambo: First Blood, sealed the iconic status of the jacket.
Since then, it’s a ubiquitous piece of garment. You can see it on runways and in the streets. It is worn by men and women. Top models and celebrities wear it, as well as homeless people under the bridge.
Why Is M-1965 Field Jacket So Special?
I could write a glorious review, but the facts speak for themselves. This jacket was introduced 55 years ago and it’s still as popular as ever. There’s always some kind of magic involved in such longevity. However, I’ll only touch upon some strong facts and let you discover the magic on your own.
First of all, it was designed to endure. It is no surprise for a military piece of wear, though. But, we do appreciate durable garments more.
Timeless appeal is another core quality of the M-65 field jacket. Crisp lines and a clean silhouette make the design simple yet effective. It’s a rare example of a successful design without a trade-off between form and functionality.
Then, there’s versatility. It also encompasses looks as well as utility. The jacket is useful against almost any climate thrown at it. Ingenious design anticipated layered clothing. You can wear it without a liner over a simple t-shirt. When it’s colder, you can add a liner and a layer or two, to stay warm.
So, to make it short, it’s a rugged, durable, stylish, and versatile jacket.
Best Field Jacket – Our Top Picks
Alpha Industries Men’s M65 Field Coat
While our picks are presented in no particular order, we had to start with this one. If you’re looking for historical value, look no further. Initially, the original M65 field jacket was created and manufactured by Alpha Industries. Over the years several other companies were included, but Alpha Industries and two daughter-companies were the sole sellers at the very beginning.
The jacket features small adjustments to fit today’s style better, but it’s almost invisible. Overall, Alpha Industries cherishes its history and tradition, so all typical features are the same as they were 50 years ago. They even stick to their slightly oversized, loose-fit design (so you can add a couple of layers if needed). Therefore, the company recommends buying one size smaller than your usual size.
- High quality
- Authentic design
- 4 outer and 2 interior pockets
- Water and wind resistant
- Collar with a hidden hood
- Drawstrings at hood, waist, and hem
- 5 different colors
- Machine washable
- Liner sold separately
Rothco M65 Field Jacket
You can’t really invent the wheel with these jackets, so they all resemble each other. Rothco was inspired by the original design but made a couple of changes. The jacket is available in 7 different colors. Lower pockets have velcro flaps. Also, it has hook and loop cuffs.
While Rothco typically produces affordable and decent items, this jacket stands out. It is affordable, but the quality is excellent. Moreover, it comes with a quilted, button-in liner for additional warmth.
- Great value for money
- Velcro pockets
- 100% polyester liner can be worn alone
- 7 colors
- 12 sizes
- No internal pockets
- Olive green is too dark
Propper Men’s M65 Field Coat Jacket
Propper is another traditional US Army supplier. They started in 1967, and today, they are probably the main US military uniform supplier. While they have expanded their production line, and their products are available for civilians, all of their clothes are built from military or law enforcement specifications. So, they proudly stand alongside Alpha Industries as a long-time manufacturer of the M-65 field jacket.
Their model is somewhat thinner and lighter, though. Therefore, it’s a little bit more suitable for warmer weather. However, if it gets cold, you can add a high-quality liner. Actually, with a liner, it probably becomes the warmest M-65 jacket.
- High quality
- Lighter than the competition
- Very warm liner
- High level of water resistance
- All classic features
- No inside pockets
- Plastic zippers ( Some people think that YKK plastic zippers are an upgrade, though)
Brandit Men’s M-65 Giant Jacket
Brandit is a relatively new company offering high-quality items at a fair price. Their M65 field jacket is probably the most stylish one. While it still has all the recognizable features of the legendary jacket, it is also different.
For starters, it is made of 100% cotton, instead of the traditional 50% cotton and 50% nylon/polyester. Two pretty large logos and sergeant stripes make it more remarkable. As the name suggests, it is pretty big and it comes with a thick liner. Brandit also makes a classic M-65 model.
- Great quality
- 100% cotton
- Thick and warm polyester liner
- Available in 7 different colors
- Size Chart is inaccurate
Every couple of years, military-style clothes invade our closets. There are lots of good reasons for these trends. Military apparel is versatile and practical. Typical, simple designs are easy to match with other clothes. And it makes us feel more confident and at least an inch taller. While the popularity of military style fluctuates, the M-65 field jacket, with its timeless appeal, is here to stay.
It has stood the test of time for more than 50 years and is still going strong. If you have never owned one, maybe it’s time to get this iconic fashion item. If it’s good for Brad Pit and Rihanna, maybe it’s good for you too. It’s also one of the most popular jackets among hunters and homesteaders. So, whether you go for a utility or fashion statement, the M-65 won’t disappoint you.