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Everyone will agree that boots are essential to the success of a long hike, but when it comes to shirts, many don’t notice the difference between technical and regular models. The best hiking shirts are built to last a lifetime while supporting you on your outdoor explorations. Starting from the fabric, hiking shirts provide features that outperform normal clothing, keeping your body insulated and sweat free for hours on end.

We have selected the best hiking shirts available on the market, with products designed for both warm and cold climates. Long sleeve and short sleeve shirts should both have their space in your backpack, especially if you are setting out for a multi-day adventure in uncertain weather. Luckily, we are here to help you spend less time choosing and more conquering peaks.

For more of our top hiking apparel recommendations, check out these popular articles:

Hiking Shirts for WomenHiking Shirts for Hot Weather

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Quick Answer - The Best Hiking Shirts

  1. Columbia Silver Ridge Lite
  2. Icebreaker Tech Lite Crew
  3. Columbia Thistletown Park Raglan
  4. Marmot Aerobora
  5. Columbia Bugasweat
  6. Patagonia Bandito
  7. Columbia Silver Ridge 2.0 Blocked
  8. KUHL Optimizr
  9. REI Co-op Active Pursuits
  10. Flylow Royal

 

Comparison Table - Best Hiking Shorts

PictureNameMaterialMoisture WickingStyleUPFSleeve LengthPriceRating
Columbia Silver Ridge LitePolyesterYesButton-up40Long$$4.6
Icebreaker Tech Lite Crew87% Merino Wool / 13% NylonYesCrew Neck20Short$$4.5
Columbia Thistletown Park Raglan67% Polyester / 33% CottonYesCrew-neck15Long$$4.5
Marmot AeroboraPolyesterYesButton up25Short$$4.8
Columbia Bugasweat77% Cotton / 23% Polyester FleeceNoCrew NeckN/ALong$4.9
Patagonia BanditoRecycled PolyesterYesButton up25Short$$4.4
Columbia Silver Ridge 2.0 BlockedNylonYesButton up50Short$4.8
KUHL Optimizr86% Polyester / 14% SpandexYesButton up40Short$$4.2
REI Co-op Active Pursuits89% Polyester / 11% SpandexYesPartial Zip50Long$$4.4
Flylow Royal85% Polyester / 15% SpandexYesButton up50Long$$4.2
PictureNameMaterialMoisture WickingStyleUPFSleeve LengthPriceRating

MULTI-DAY HIKING PACKING LIST

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Print out this free hiking packing list to prepare for your next adventure.


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Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Shirts for Hiking

Columbia Silver Ridge Lite

Specs
  • Material: Polyester
  • Style: Button-up
  • UPF: 40
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Sleeve Length: Long
Features
  • Pulls Moisture Away From Body
  • Treated To Help Prevent Sunburn
  • Ventilation Ports Allow Air To Flow Around The Shoulders

BEST FOR: WEEKEND HIKING

If you like combining a stylish button down shirt with all the features of a traditional hiking shirt, you should pick up the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite Plaid shirt. This shirt is great for hiking, with vented back panels that enhance it’s breathability, as well as Omni-Shade fabric that blocks UVA and UVB rays to help prevent sunburn if you plan to hit the trails in the warm summer months. The Omni-Wick fabric helps to pull sweat away from the body, keeping you from sticking to the shirt like you would in a traditional button down. If you do feel that you’d be better off in a short-sleeve shirt, that’s alright — the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite Plaid Shirt has roll-up sleeves that can be kept in place with tab holders.

Icebreaker Tech Lite Crew

Specs
  • Material: 87% Merino Wool / 13% Nylon
  • Style: Crew Neck
  • UPF: 20
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Sleeve Length: Short

BEST FOR: BACKPACKING TRIPS

If you’re one of those guys who enjoys setting out on a backpacking trip with the least amount of weight on your shoulders, the Icebreaker Tech Lite Crew Shirt is a great choice. This short sleeve shirt with UPF 20 fabric helps to shield you against the harsh morning sunshine, while the quick drying material helps to keep you from ending up sopping wet if you get a particularly slippery catch. Thanks to the flat shoulder seams you don’t have to worry about chafing, even when you are traveling with a heavy pack. The blend of merino wool and nylon creates a perfect combination between strength and stretchiness. Plus, thanks to its moisture wicking properties, you’ll be able to wear it for more than one day in a row without smelling.

Columbia Thistletown Park Raglan

Specs
  • Material: 67% Polyester / 33% Cotton
  • Style: Crew-neck
  • UPF: 15
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Sleeve Length: Long
Features
  • Built With A Mix Of Two Materials For Extra Warmth
  • Moisture Wicking Technology To Keep You Dry After A Sweat
  • Soft Against The Skin

BEST FOR: THE CASUAL ADVENTURER

If you’re the kind of guy who loves adventuring, but also enjoys the more casual side of things, the Columbia Thistletown Park Raglan T-Shirt may be the shirt for you. The soft cotton and polyester blended fabric feels extremely comfortable against your skin, making you want to wear this shirt every day. This shirt comes in three different combinations of colors, all meant to make you feel in perfect harmony with the nature that surrounds you. This comfortable shirt for everyday wear is soft and durable, with the addition of a moisture wicking technology that helps you stay dry even when you break a sweat.

Marmot Aerobora

Specs
  • Material: Polyester
  • Style: Button up
  • UPF: 25
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Sleeve Length: Short
Features
  • Breathable, Quick-drying Fabric
  • Flat Seams For Increased Comfort
  • Pocket On The Chest For Carrying Small Items

BEST FOR: THE LIGHT PACKER 

If you’re looking for a great hiking shirt that will easily fit in your carry on without taking up much space, the Marmot Aerobora shirt may be the one for you. It’s a great shirt to have in your bag in preparation for a spontaneous hike or climb, packed with all the features you’d expect in a traditional hiking shirt. 

The AirExchange fabric is extremely breathable, has quick drying capabilities, and is stretchy enough that it won’t get in the way if you need to make any big reaches during a climb. The moisture wicking polyester fabric ensures that you won’t feel weighed down and sweaty, even after the most intense hiking trail. The single patch pocket is perfect for carrying any small essentials you may have.

Columbia Bugasweat

Specs
  • Material: 77% Cotton / 23% Polyester Fleece
  • Style: Crew Neck
  • UPF: N/A
  • Moisture Wicking: No
  • Sleeve Length: Long
Features
  • Side Zip Pocket For Storing Small Items
  • Cotton And Fleece Blend For Extra Warmth And Comfort
  • Includes A Coat Hanging Loop

BEST FOR: THOSE COLDER DAYS 

Sometimes you just need a top that you can toss in your day bag and throw on your body when it gets a bit too cold out on the trail, and the Columbia Bugasweat Crew Top is exactly what you need. The cotton and polyester fleece blend fabric ensures you’ll feel comfortable and warm, even on the coldest of treks. 

The side of this top holds a small zip pocket, allowing you to bring whatever essentials with you that you may need without having to worry about a bag weighing you down. This top is extremely versatile – if you’re not wearing it on the trail, it can make the perfect sleep shirt during those cold winter months. The design of this crew top is extremely clean, coming in black or grey, making it perfect for any situation, on trail or off.

Patagonia Bandito

Specs
  • Material: Recycled Polyester
  • Style: Button up
  • UPF: 25
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Sleeve Length: Short
Features
  • Made With Recycled Materials
  • Lightweight
  • Fast-drying

BEST FOR: ALWAYS BEING ON THE MOVE

The Patagonia Bandito Shirt knows how to deal with a guy on the run — the 100% recycled polyester fabric is light and breathable, and contains a permanent odor control treatment, so you aren’t left sweaty and smelly at the end of a hard day of adventuring. This shirt is almost made for being worn in the hottest of conditions, with its UPF 25 sun protection and eyelet vents under the arms that offer maximum airflow when you’re on the move. 

The bar-tack venting along the back of the shirt aids in breathability, keeping you cool and comfortable even in the most humid environments. This shirt has two large front pockets, allowing you to keep your necessities with you even when you’re on the move. The snaps instead of buttons on the front of the shirt allow you to have your own superman moment when you take it off, giving you the ability to use one fluid motion instead of having to fiddle with button holes.

Columbia Silver Ridge 2.0 Blocked

Specs
  • Material: Nylon
  • Style: Button up
  • UPF: 50
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Sleeve Length: Short
Features
  • Durable, Moisture-wicking Fabric
  • Designed To Allow Airflow In To Keep You Cool
  • Two Chest Pockets To Store Essentials

BEST FOR: CASUAL TO ADVENTURER 

Sometimes even a casual button up can be hiding something. The Columbia Silver Ridge 2.0 Blocked Shirt looks like a traditional button up shirt, and can be worn if you’re needing some smart-casual attire, but it doesn’t stop there. This shirt has nylon fabric, combined with a modern technology that allows moisture to be wicked away from the skin, keeping you from sticking to the fabric during even the most humid adventure. 

The fabric also has added UPF 50 sun protection, meaning you don’t have to worry about getting burnt if you’re out hiking in the blazing midday sun. The vented design of the shirt allows for air to flow through it, ensuring you stay cool and sweat free throughout your adventures. The two chest pockets are perfect for storing any essentials, and they are extra secure with hook-and-loop closures, ensuring nothing will fall out of them.

KUHL Optimizr

Specs
  • Material: 86% Polyester / 14% Spandex
  • Style: Button up
  • UPF: 40
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Sleeve Length: Short
Features
  • Stretchy Fabric For Maximum Freedom Of Movement
  • Stylish Design For Both Urban And Natural Environments
  • High Sun Protection

BEST FOR: THE TRAVELER 

Whether you’re going out on the town for the evening, or hiking through a national park, the KUHL Optimizr shirt is perfect for any occasion. While it appears as a casual collared shirt in appearance, the KUHL Optimizr has performance fabric with a 4-way mechanical stretch, providing you the ability to move around freely in whatever activity you are undertaking. The fabric is also extremely breathable and moisture wicking, with UPF 40 sun protection. There’s no need to bring out the iron for this shirt, as it’s wrinkle free right out of the bag and easily transitions from a work function to climbing up the side of a mountain.

REI Co-op Active Pursuits

Specs
  • Material: 89% Polyester / 11% Spandex
  • Style: Partial Zip
  • UPF: 50
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Sleeve Length: Long
Features
  • Traps Air To Keep Warmth From Escaping
  • Deep Neck Opening For Extra Ventilation
  • Thumbholes To Keep Sleeves In Place

BEST FOR: THE COLD RUNNER

The REI Co-op Active Pursuits Half-Zip Shirt has a four way stretch that will allow you to move freely along a trail. Its polyester and spandex blend fabric ensures that moisture and sweat is wicked away, while trapping in air to keep you warm and comfortable, even on those cold winter morning runs. 

The neck opening is deep, allowing you some extra venting if the day is hotter than normal. The thumb straps keep the shirt in place even when you’re running fast along a trail, where a normal shirt wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pace. The UPF 50+ sun protection assures that you won’t end up burnt to a crisp when you’re training in the midday heat.

Flylow Royal

Specs
  • Material: 85% Polyester / 15% Spandex
  • Style: Button up
  • UPF: 50
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • Sleeve Length: Long
Features
  • Double Chest Pockets For Storing Small Items
  • Stretchy, Durable Fabric Blend
  • Quick-drying

BEST FOR: THE MOUNTAIN BIKER

It’s never easy finding the perfect shirt to wear when you’re burning rubber on the trails, but the search ends here — The Flylow Royal Shirt is built with a fabric blend of polyester and spandex, ensuring that you’re kept cool and comfortable in hot weather. Additionally, it stays comfortable and easy to wear if you happen to get a little bit wet in the rain. 

The stretchy fabric allows for easy movement on your bike, wicking away moisture and drying quickly if you do happen to get wet. You don’t even have to worry about getting caught in the sun, as this shirt comes equipped with UPF 50+ sun protection. You’ll be feeling like royalty in this shirt, the custom stitching detail and black pearl snaps giving it a casual western feel, even though it’s packed with amazing features.

Hiking Gear Course
Hiking Gear Course

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN A SHIRT FOR HIKING

MATERIAL

The main point of consideration when purchasing a hiking shirt should be the fabric. When you’re completing an activity that could leave you hot and sticky from sweat, you need a shirt that can wick away the moisture and stay breathable, so picking the wrong fabric could end in disaster on the trail.

COTTON

Even though we’re often told that pure cotton shirts are the most comfortable, this doesn’t exactly apply to hiking shirts. Cotton holds in your sweat as it blocks it from evaporating, which in turn makes you feel sticky, often ending up stuck to the fabric by the end of your hike. What other fabrics may be the best choice?

SYNTHETIC FABRICS

Polyester, which you may normally be told to stay away from, is one of the best choices when it comes to picking a hiking shirt. Polyester is able to wick away moisture and sweat, and is extremely lightweight and breathable, which helps in keeping your body temperature regular throughout your trek.

MERINO WOOL

Although the merino wool tops have some good qualities, they aren’t particularly fast at drying and tend to soak up more moisture than a synthetic fabric.Although the merino wool tops have some good qualities, they aren’t particularly fast at drying and tend to soak up more moisture than a synthetic fabric.

Although the merino wool tops have some good qualities, they aren’t particularly fast at drying and tend to soak up more moisture than a synthetic fabric.

 

DESIGN

You should be looking into whether the shirt has buttons or zips, which can allow the regulation of temperature to happen quickly. Having a high collar can also ensure that you don’t end up with a nasty sunburn.

 

COMFORT

The fabric that the shirt is made of has a large contribution to whether or not a shirt is comfortable, meaning that one that is made from a light and breathable fabric will keep you feeling more pleasant on the trail.

Having a flatlock seam, where two of the seams are sewn together without actually crossing over one another can stop chafing from occurring, as you aren’t having a thick seam rubbing against you. Another positive of a flatlock seam is that they hold a lot of strength, which can help the shirt take a beating if it needs to.

How your shirt fits can also affect how comfortable you feel in it. Some shirts are made to fit quite snugly to the contours of your body, while others are looser to ensure breathability. You should choose your fit based on your own personal opinion, but reading up on how other people feel about the sizing and fit can help you make your decision.

 

DURABILITY

You would expect a hiking shirt to be able to withstand the impacts of wearing it outside, which could mean getting wet from the rain, getting muddy, being snagged on branches etc. Natural fabrics are more likely to start pilling or tear, whereas synthetic fabrics tend to have a big more stretch to them.

Although, when washing synthetics, you must read the washing instructions in order not to damage them, so you can preserve them and they can be worn for a long time. The best feature of synthetic fabrics is that they are almost always quick drying, meaning you can give them a quick wash in the sink and then leave them out to dry, and it shouldn’t take more than a few hours.

 

ANTIMICROBIAL QUALITIES

When considering a hiking shirt, you need to be wary of the fact that these kinds of activities will cause you to produce a lot of sweat, and therefore the fabric of your shirt will definitely be exposed to absorbing quite a large amount of that. A lot of hiking shirts are marketed as being treated with antimicrobial mediums, meaning that it eliminates odor causing bacteria from growing on the fabric and causing your shirt to smell.

Merino wool has naturally occurring antimicrobial properties, but polyester and other synthetics will need to be treated with antimicrobial mediums.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

UPF RATING

The capacity of clothing to protect the skin against dangerous ultraviolet rays, ranging from 0 to 50.

POLYESTER

A synthetic fabric commonly used in hiking shirt because of its ability to dry fast and wick moisture.

CREW NECK STYLE

A shirt with a round neckline.

ANTIMICROBIAL

The capacity of a shirt to repel bacteria and reduce odor.

READ MORE

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

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