Carhartt Sandstone Detroit Sherpa Lined Jacket

An excellent combination of practicality, durability, comfort, and price


Carhartt Sandstone Detroit Sherpa Lined Jacket

Good quality, well fitting clothes not only help you stay comfortable throughout your work day, they can also increase your personal safety, and boost the impression you make on your clients.
The new Detroit-style jacket from Carhartt, J297, offers an excellent combination of practicality, durability, comfort, and price.
The exterior of the jacket is made of 12-ounce 100% cotton sandstone duck canvas. Canvas is a broad term that refers to any plain-woven fabric, usually made of cotton (traditionally made of hemp fibre). Because of it's durability, canvas is widely used for all types of work clothing - pants, overalls, bibs, shirts, and the like. 'Duck canvas' refers to a heavy canvas made of plied (twisted) yarns to keep the material from twisting on itself. It's breathable, water-resistant, and somewhat wind proof. Untreated, canvas fabric is stiff and rough to the touch. 'Sandstone' refers to a micro-sanding treatment process that makes the canvas softer.
So there you go. The J297 has the all the benefits of canvas - durability, breathability, water-resistance, and some wind resistance - and it's been treated and pre-washed to make the fabric softer.

Sherpa lining - 100% polyester  

Since this jacket is meant for cooler weather, a Sherpa lining has been added to the main body. While the name, and the look of the material might suggest Yak wool, this isn't the case. The Sherpa lining is made of 100% polyester, spun into a soft, versatile pile knit. In fact, it has the feel and softness of lamb fleece. Polyester is very durable, resistant to mildew and abrasion, quick drying, and when the fibres are made hollow they have good insulating properties. What all this means is that the J297 will keep you warm and comfy in cold weather.

Quilted nylon sleeves
The inside of the sleeves are lined with a nylon fabric rather than Sherpa, which makes the jacket a bit lighter overall, and the sleeves roomier - without being too baggy. Besides, you don't need as much insulating material on your arms.

Triple stitched seams
The main seams are triple stitched, adding to the overall durability of the jacket. You'll also find a metal zipper, which I much prefer over nylon. The pull tab is large enough that you can securely grasp it even if you're wearing gloves.

Durable metal zipper with large pull tab
The J297 comes in 10 sizes from Small Regular to 3X Large Tall, plus four manly (or what some people refer to as drab) colours - walnut, brown, petrol, and army green. Of course, you can't assume all body sizes can be pigeon-holed into these 10 categories. So, Carhartt has provided adjustable metal snaps at the cuffs and at the waist. These enable you to tweak the fit somewhat. They also come in handy if you wear a thick hoodie underneath.
Another nice feature on this jacket is the pleated bi-swing back. This provides more 'give' when you bend over, or stretch your arms to reach or grasp something. It also prevents the jacket from rising up too much at the back.

Adjustable metal cuff snaps
There are five pockets on the J297. At the top left is a chest pocket, about 4" wide and 5" deep, with a zipper closure. The lining looks and feels to be canvas. Though I find it too narrow, it will easily hold a mobile phone, pack of smokes or the like.
At the lower-front are two 6" wide and 5" deep pockets with zippers. Oddly, the lining is different - a soft, somewhat stretchy material that seems to be made of nylon. I've noticed that wood chips and the like stick to the material, and are a bit of a nuisance to remove. I'd be reluctant to stuff a handful of screws into either of these pockets.

Top pocket canvas lining

Lower-front pocket lining

There are also two inside pockets. On the right is a 5" by 7" pocket with a hook and loop fastener. It's just large enough to store a notebook or wallet. The H&L fastener is a good choice, because it's quicker to open than a zipper.
On the left side is a much smaller zipped pocket. As with the outside pockets the zipper is slanted - easy to open, but it's only 4-1/4" wide, so awkward to stick a hand into. I've been using it to store odds and ends I don't need to access very often.
I'm 6' with a medium build, and the 'Large' size fits me perfectly - even though my wife tells me my arms are as long as a gorilla's. The back of the jacket is 27-1/2" long (from just below the collar to the waist). It's long enough that it doesn't ride up over my pants, particularly when bending or stooping over.
The J297 is a cool to cold weather jacket. I really like it's light weight. Where it really shines though is in the level of comfort and warmth. I live on the west coast where winter temperatures of late are about 2°C. With just a work shirt under the J297 I can work outside morning till noon without feeling cold. Without a sweatshirt or hoodie on though, it does feel a bit loose. However, the looser fit means that some cooler air circulates in the jacket as I work, so I don't feel like I'm baking with it on.
I'm super pleased with the Carhartt 297 - it's durable, practicality, comfortable, warm, and reasonably priced.


  • 12-ounce, 100% cotton sandstone duck canvas
  • 100% polyester Sherpa lining
  • 2 lower-front pockets with zipper closures
  • Left-chest outside pocket with zipper closure
  • 2 inside pockets
  • Snap adjustable cuffs and waist
  • Pleated bi-swing back
  • Triple-stitched main seams
  • 10 sizes from Small Regular to 3X Large Tall
  • Available in Walnut, Brown, Petrol, and Army Green colours
  • 60-day refund

AVAILABLE FROM:Find a Retailer
MODEL #:J297
MADE IN:Mexico (from US made materials)
Carl Duguay, January 2012
Discover more great woodworking reviews!
Subscribe Now and get instance online access to our library filled with exciting woodworking information.
Continue to stay connected to the latest tool reviews with our bi-monthly woodworking magazines!