Barbour Border Vs. Northumbria Jacket: A Detailed Comparison

Barbour jackets are synonymous with quality and durability. Two of their most popular models are the Border and the Northumbria.

While both jackets are made by Barbour and have the signature waxed cotton outer, there are some key differences between the two. This detailed comparison outlines the pros, cons, features, and differences between the Barbour Border and Northumbria jackets.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureBarbour BorderBarbour Northumbria
FitSlim, tailoredRoomy, traditional
LengthCropped, below hipsMid-thigh
CollarShirt-styleThroat latch
PocketsHandwarmer pockets, inner pocketsTwo large front snap pockets
CuffsElasticizedOpen with buttons
Color SelectionWider rangeMore traditional palette
Weather ResistanceVery goodExcellent
WarmthBetter for cool weatherWarmer with room for layers
DurabilityExtremely durableExtremely durable
Use CasesUrban and everyday wearOutdoor adventures and very cold weather
Price$379 – $449 USD$379 – $419 USD

Overview of the Barbour Brand

Barbour Border Jacket
Barbour Border Jacket

Before diving into the nitty gritty differences between the two jackets, it’s helpful to understand the history and reputation of Barbour.

Founded in 1894 in South Shields, England, J. Barbour and Sons Ltd specialized in outerwear designed for motorcyclists, sailors, and workers.

The waxed cotton jackets became popular for their water resistance and durability.

Today, Barbour continues to manufacture most of its jackets at the original factory in Simonside, South Shields.

They pride themselves on creating functional, long-lasting outerwear inspired by Barbour’s archives.

Their jackets have even earned several Royal Warrants by providing weatherproof clothing for members of the British Royal Family.

While Barbour has expanded its collections over the years, the waxed jackets remain the brand’s foundation and claim to fame. The Border and Northumbria are two of Barbour’s most iconic jacket silhouettes.

Also Read: Differences Between Barbour Beaufort And Ashby Jackets.

Comparing the Features

The Border and Northumbria share many of the same features you’d expect from a Barbour waxed jacket, including:

  • Water-resistant waxed cotton outer – The cotton is waxed through a proprietary process to make it weatherproof yet breathable. This material stands up to rain, wind, and mud.
  • Corduroy collar – A soft corduroy collar provides comfort at the neck area.
  • Tartan lining – Barbour’s signature tartan lining adds a pop of color and flair on the inside.
  • Multiple pockets – Both jackets have several outer snap pockets for storage and extra warmth.

However, there are some differences between the two models:


  • The Border is a slimmer, more tailored fit while the Northumbria has a slightly boxier traditional fit.
  • The Border is designed to be worn as an outer jacket for city wear. The Northumbria has a bit more room for layering during outdoor adventures.


  • The Northumbria hits at mid-thigh while the Border is a little shorter, ending just below the hips.
  • The Border has a clean, cropped look. The longer Northumbria provides more coverage and protection.

Collar Style

  • The Border has a standard shirt-style collar that lies flat.
  • The Northumbria has a throat latch collar that buttons across the neck as an extra barrier against the elements.


  • The Northumbria has two large front pockets with snap closures.
  • The Border has two handwarmer pockets and two inner pockets.
  • The Northumbria’s chest-level pockets are easier to access quickly than the lower pockets on the Border.


  • The Border has elasticized cuffs that seal out drafts.
  • The Northumbria has open cuffs that can be tightened with buttons.


  • The Border comes in a wider range of colors and patterns beyond the classic olive green.
  • The Northumbria tends to have more limited, traditional color choices like olive, navy, and black.

Also Read: Differences Between Barbour Sylkoil And Thornproof Jackets.

How They Compare In Use?

Now that we’ve covered the major features, how do the jackets stack up in real world use? Here’s a quick comparison of their performance.

Weather Resistance

Barbour Northumbria Jacket
Barbour Northumbria Jacket
  • The waxed cotton fabric on both jackets provides excellent water resistance. Light rain will bead and roll off the surface.
  • The longer length and throat latch on the Northumbria provides greater protection in very windy or wet conditions.
  • However, the tailored Border can still hold up well due to the waxed fabric. It offers sufficient rain protection for everyday wear.


  • The Northumbria runs warmer thanks to the roomy fit allowing more space for layers.
  • The Border is lighter weight and better suited for cool spring and fall temperatures. Its slimmer fit makes it less ideal for retaining heat in the winter.


  • Both jackets are extremely durable and built to last for years. The cotton takes wax well and stands up to abrasions.
  • Proper re-waxing is recommended every 2-3 years to maintain water resistance. This process reinvigorates the fabric.
  • With care, either jacket should withstand decades of wear. Vintage Barbours still perform beautifully due to the quality construction.

Style & Use Cases

  • The Border has a more refined, tailored look for everyday wear. It’s at home in urban settings.
  • The Northumbria’s traditional styling works well on adventures outdoors like hiking or camping trips.
  • The Border slips on more seamlessly over business attire if you get caught in an unexpected shower.
  • For hunting or truly wet conditions, the Northumbria is the better pick.

Prices: How Much Do They Cost?

Both jackets are sold at similar price points since they are both manufactured by Barbour.

The Northumbria typically retails between $379 – $419 USD depending on the outlet.

The Border costs around $379 – $449 USD on average.

Pricing can vary by place of purchase, sales, and availability. Barbour does make its jackets somewhat accessible by offering lower-priced models like the Border and Northumbria. More premium Barbour jacket styles can cost $500+ USD.

For the quality and heritage of the brand, both the Border and Northumbria provide good value at their prices. With proper care, the jackets should last for many years making them a sound investment.

Sizing and Fit Guidance

Since the Border and Northumbria have different fits, sizing varies slightly between the two:

Northumbria Sizing

This jacket runs generously, allowing for layering underneath. Size down if you prefer a more tailored look.

  • XS: best suited for chests 30-32″
  • S: chests 34-36″
  • M: chests 38-40″
  • L: chests 42-44″
  • XL: chests 46-48″

Border Sizing

The Border has a trimmer silhouette, so order your usual size for the right fit.

  • XS: chests 32-34″
  • S: chests 36-38″
  • M: chests 40-42″
  • L: chests 44-46″
  • XL: chests 48-50″

Barbour’s sizing charts provide exact garment measurements. Refer to their size guides if you’re between sizes or unsure about fit.

Also Read: Should You Get James Leather Jacket?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between Barbour classic Northumbria and border?

The main differences are fit, length, and styling details. The Northumbria has a roomier, traditional fit while the Border is more tailored and cropped. The Northumbria also has a longer length, throat latch collar, open cuffs, and chest-level pockets.

What is the difference between the Barbour jackets?

Barbour makes many jacket styles beyond just the Border and Northumbria. Key factors that set the different jackets apart include fit, length, use cases (casual vs functional), and styling details like collars and cuffs. But all Barbour jackets have the durable waxed cotton outer.

What is the difference between Beaufort and Northumbria?

The Beaufort is styled like the Northumbria with a longer length and full fit. Key differences are the Beaufort has a corduroy collar, inner zip liner, and zippered sleeve pocket not found on the Northumbria. The Beaufort also costs a bit more.

Is the Barbour Northumbria made in England?

Yes, the Northumbria jackets are made at Barbour’s factory in Simonside, South Shields in England. All Barbour jackets are still manufactured in England.

Final Thoughts

When choosing between the Barbour Border and Northumbria, consider your lifestyle needs:

  • For a smart, refined city coat, go with the Border.
  • For maximum weather protection and utility, pick the Northumbria.
  • If you’ll wear it as an everyday jacket, either style works well. Pick based on your fit preference.
  • For intense outdoor use or cold climates, favor the Northumbria.

Both deliver the traditional waxed jacket experience synonymous with Barbour. Ultimately, the right choice comes down to your priorities in fit, style, and intended use. With proper care, you can expect your Barbour to become a staple of your wardrobe for life.

Clayton S. Johnson

Well, I am Clayton who writes, manages, and does overall stuff for this website. I live somewhere in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and used to have a full-time job. But the pandemic taught me to do more do with my life. So, I quit my job and travel a lot! Since I have tons of time now, I write about all the stuff I have done, used, and have first-hand experiences.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.