10 Best Liner Jackets for Men in 2023, Tested by Style Editors


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Aug 14, 2023

10 Best Liner Jackets for Men in 2023, Tested by Style Editors

Our product picks are editor-tested, expert-approved. We may earn a commission through links on our site. Why Trust Us? Barbour's Powell Quilted Jacket and Relwen Windzip's Jacket are two of our top

Our product picks are editor-tested, expert-approved. We may earn a commission through links on our site. Why Trust Us?

Barbour's Powell Quilted Jacket and Relwen Windzip's Jacket are two of our top picks.

WITH MILITARY ROOTS and outdoor bonafides, liner jackets are first and foremost a reliable layer to keep you warm without hampering your movement. These thermal liners were initially designed to be worn under other, heavier winter jackets to help lock in body heat. For awhile now, stylish guys have been wearing liner jackets as standalone outerwear and the look has really caught on. Since they were never meant to be seen, original designs were minimalist with two or three pockets, if any. Military liner jackets had quilted stitching in either an onion shape or vertical lines, as opposed to the common horizontal lines you see today. Many new liner jackets replicate these stitching styles.

Part of the transition to the liner jackets we see today was the innovation of lightweight packable down jackets for outdoor adventures. Outdoor clothing brands like Patagonia, North Face, and Eddie Bauer took inspiration from military jackets and added features like a high neck and inset pockets. These jackets worked as thermal layers as well as standalone coats. Another useful upgrade is water-resistant materials. Original liner jackets were not water proof because they were never meant to get wet, but modern dual-purpose jackets will help keep you dry. Whether you go with a vintage or modern look, liner jackets are handy for the same reasons they always have been. You can add some warmth to your favorite midweight fall jackets or rock them solo as a lightweight-but-warm coat. So get ready to take on the cold weather with some of the best liner jackets available today.

You may associate Barbour with waxed canvas jackets, but the British icon makes excellent quilted coated as well. Inside the quilting of this jacket is a 50-gram polyester fill that provides exceptional insulation. A high collar with a corduroy lining also serves to lock in your body heat. If you already own a Barbour waxed cotton jacket, the Powell serves as an actual liner as well, which allows you to get some extra milage out of your weather-resistant outerwear during the coldest months.

We're big fans of the way this jacket walks the line between refined and rugged. You can rock it with a pair of boots, a flannel shirt, and some jeans on the weekend. Then throw it over a collared shirt, dress pants, and some nice derby shoes on your way to the office. Either way, this liner jacket is right at home.

Vintage influences are very clear on this updated take on a field jacket from Topman. The onion quilting, deep neck, and olive drab are all there. Modern features are mixed in like a boxy fit, wide up cuffs, and inset hand pockets. An additional pocket was added on the chest as well. This update crosses over from a layering piece that works alone to a standalone coat. Put this under your favorite denim, canvas, or waxed cotton jacket to get some extra warmth.

Topman does an excellent job of honoring the classic details while providing a modern look. We love that this as a casual jacket to throw over a hoodie for those crisp fall days. It also looks great with jogger and jeans.

According to Relwen's head designer, the inspiration behind the Windzip line was sleeping bags. That sounds pretty cozy, and this liner jacket lives up to it. The inner fabric is soft and supple on your skin, while the exterior is water-resistant with enough give to fend off rips and move with your body. This jacket is so lightweight that it is truly a layering piece. It works alone with just a t-shirt under it as it does with a hoodie underneath and a shell jacket on top.

Along with all the functional features—like a high standup up neck, duel zip-and-snap front closure, and a huge exterior chest pocket—we love the color assortment Relwen went with. No basic browns and navy blues here. There is a chalky light gray, an ocean green, and a stormy sky blue. Our favorite color is the muted orange.

Alpha Industries sells the ALS-92 liner jacket as an actual liner for the famous M65 jacket. This is a direct replica of the military liner jackets that established the style. You've got a deep cut neck, so that you can unzip your M65 jacket a bit. Large elastic cuffs keep the sleeves in place under the outer jacket sleeves. The distinct onion-shaped quilting is even true to the vintage design. Just as with those originals, this thermal layer looks great when worn as a stand alone jacket.

Our editors like jacket as an alternative to hunting down an original piece from the '70s or '80s. It provides the kind of military-civilian crossover look that never goes out of style, like a peacoat or camo pants. Rock it with a pair of jeans and some moc toe boots for a perfect autumn fit.

A fundamental example of a packable liner jacket, optimized for travel and outdoors activities, can be found in the Patagonia Nano Puff Down Quilted Jacket. The renowned adventure apparel company has been making liner jackets for decades and pioneered their use in the outdoors community. Designed to fold up into its own pocket, you don't get much more packable than this. It is ideal for camping, hiking, or single bag travel.

The check board quilting pattern on this jacket not only provides a unique look, it keeps the recycled polyester filling optimally distributed to lock in your body heat. We love this jacket as a versatile cold weather layer to put over a sweatshirt or under a fleece jacket.

Read more: Best Patagonia Jackets

Ralph Lauren made the brilliant move of combining a classic military liner jacket with a four-button blazer. Sometimes called a fielding blazer, a four button blazer has the typical three center buttons, plus a fourth by the neck to close the jacket all the way up. Cuff buttons and suede elbow patches complete the blazer look, but the whole thing is made out of quilted nylon in the traditional onion pattern. It is a perfect blending of two very different menswear classics.

This jacket is about as elevated as a liner jacket can get. We like it as a mid-weight semi-formal jacket by itself. It can also work as liner for a topcoat or tweed blazer. We've also seen it layered really nicely with a jean jacket or canvas trucker jacket underneath.

Cole Haan added a few features to this liner jacket that make it more of a standalone outerwear than most of the other options on this list. An elastic bomber style collar and snap cuffs are not classic liner jacket features, but work well here. The whole thing is still light enough to function as an thermal layer and pack up for travel.

Our editors like this one as a causal all-purpose jacket that can dress up for the office. As the name suggests, it is a great transitional piece for the fall and winter, when you don't really know what to expect from the weather.

Collars are not a traditional feature on liner jackets, but the few menswear brands that are adding them are making it look good. Rains makes a really nice quilted liner jacket with a collar and two large hand pockets. Snaps and open sleeves give a sporty coach's jacket look. The fit is very boxy and modern with slightly elongated sleeves.

The way Rains combines modern looks with functional weather-repellent design has won over our editors. This liner jacket could easily be spotted on a fashion week runway, but is built tough enough to handle a camping trip in not-so great weather. If you live in an area like the Northeast where spring and fall throw a ton of wind and rain at you, this is a great everyday jacket option. The collar and matte black finish make it dressy enough for work and formal occasions as well.

Sticking pretty close to the vintage military liner jacket design, Outdoor Voices put a new spin on it with an earthy tope color and luxurious insulation. The quilting of this jacket is packed with 80% goose down and 20% goose feathers, which keeps it super fluffy, like a brand new pillow. Walking around in this jacket is about as close as you can get to bringing your down comforter along with you when you leave the house.

Sure, it looks nice, but what sold us on this jacket is how damn comfortable it is. Throw it over a hoodie and some joggers with your favorite running shoes and you can tackle any weekend to-do list. If you like to sleep in a jacket when you go camping, then we highly recommend this one.

When it comes to pure performance as an insulated layer—the original purpose for liner jackets—it is hard to beat the Pertex Quantum Down Cardigan from Goldwin. The outer shell is made from a specially designed nylon called Pertex Quantum that is water repellent and rip resistant. Inside the quilting is a packing called Kodenshi Down Insulation, which is 27% down, 20% rayon, and 8% feathers. To maximize body heat around your core, the down is concentrated toward the middle of your body.

This jacket is on the thicker side, as far as liner jackets go, which means you will need a looser fitting jacket to go over it. We like the look of it as a top layer, not least of all because it is weather resistant. As a layering piece, this jacket takes you more into winter when the temperature really drops. It can go solo for the fall with just a t-shirt underneath.

Liner jackets are a very specific category that come with some handy features. Since they were originally meant as an inner layer, liner jackets are necessarily lightweight and packed with thermal insulation. Of course, some jackets are warmer than others, based on the insulation used. But all of them will lock in your body heat to keep you warm. So keep that in mind when considering seasonal wear. Unlike other lightweight jackets, such as jean jackets and windbreakers, liner jackets are for chillier weather.

Due to their thin profile and flexible fabric, all liner jackets fold up into easily packable bundles. However, some are designed as specifically packable jackets and are advertised and even named accordingly. If you are looking for a packable jacket for travel or work commutes, almost any liner jacket will do but those that are designed specifically for packing will save you a little extra space.

Almost all liner jackets fit into one of two categories, depending on how high the neck closes. Designs that stick closer to the original military inspiration have wide open necks, often with a V shape similar to cardigan. These ones generally have pack pockets and give off a military surplus vibe. Which means that they play well with workwear and some high fashion looks. Jeans and boots are always easy to pair with military style liner jackets.

The other main category of liner jackets are the outdoors apparel versions. These typically feature a high neck, usually with a zipper. Pockets are inset, often with just two hand pockets and maybe an inner pocket. Outdoors apparel liner jackets go well with athleisure and any workout apparel. Since they match with semi-formal attire, they make for good office jackets. You can mix them in with preppy fashion like rugby shirts, chinos, and loafers.

Brad Lanphear is a style pro with more than a decade of experience testing and styling men's jackets, including liner jackets. For this story, he and Deputy Commerce Editor Christian Gollayan tested over 25 liner jackets and evaluated their insulation, construction, and just how great they looked. They also combed through hundreds of five-star reviews from e-commerce sites they trust, and also scanned through countless Reddit threads like r/malefashionadvice, for unbiased opinions on the best liner jackets to shop.

Best Jackets

Fall Jackets for Men | Men's Jackets on Amazon | Spring Jackets for Men | Waxed Canvas Jackets | Bomber Jackets | Leather Jackets | Heated Jackets | Hiking Jackets | Winter Jackets for Men | Men's Parkas | Men's Puffer Jackets

Best Thermal Layers

Thermal Underwear | Thermal Shirts | Winter Pants | Compression Pants | Undershirts

Brad is a contributing style commerce editor. After a decade working for menswear brands including J.Crew and Ralph Lauren, Brad switched from selling fashion to writing about it. His words have appeared in Huckberry, Heddels, and The Manual.

Christian Gollayan oversees e-commerce content for Men's Health and Women's Health. Previously, he was the Associate Managing Editor at TheManual.com. Christian's work has also been featured in Food & Wine, InStyle, the New York Post, and Tatler Asia.

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