25+ Best Hiking Shirts For Men, Women, and Kids

When you hit the trails for several hours (or days) at a time you want to feel super comfortable in your clothing. The best hiking shirts help you stay comfy in a way that regular shirts do not. Once you try a hiking shirt you won’t go back to wearing your regular clothing on hikes.

In this guide (updated April 16th, 2022), we cover everything you need to know about the best hiking shirts. You will learn all about the best brands, hiking shirt features to look for, cool new styles, fabrics, and much more.

Scroll down for our newly updated list of the best hiking shirts for men, women, and kids.

Best hiking shirts for men and women

Table of Contents

What exactly is a hiking shirt?

Hiking shirts are designed with a purpose. They are made of fibers that manage moisture and are constructed in a way to prevent chafing or discomfort over long days of hiking.

The best hiking shirts contain a blend of synthetic fibers and sometimes merino wool. Bamboo is also used for some shirts.

These synthetic fibers wick moisture away from your skin. They also disperse moisture across the fabric. In warm temperatures, the moisture will evaporate keeping you cool and dry. In colder temperatures, this will decrease heat loss. Finally, hiking shirt fabric should improve overall airflow to accelerate the evaporation of moisture.

Ordinary shirts are not recommended since they often contain a high percentage of cotton. Cotton is not a moisture-wicking fiber and will lead to discomfort on the hiking trails. Avoid cotton hiking clothes. Stay comfy.

The purpose of hiking shirts is moisture management by wicking, dispersal, and improving airflow.

In this guide, we show you the different styles of hiking shirts that you can get including base layers, T-shirts, short sleeve hiking shirts with collars, long sleeve hiking shirts, and hiking shirts for hot and cold weather. We recommend investing in a variety of styles for different seasons and climates.

Top brands of hiking shirts

Zero in on these brands. They offer the best quality products.

Key features of a great hiking shirt

There are many things to consider before you buy a top-quality hiking shirt.

Let’s explore the features that you should look for in a shirt to wear hiking.

Materials

What your hiking shirt is made of is the single most important factor. So, what are the best hiking shirt materials? Let’s review the options.

Cotton – As previously stated, avoid cotton clothing.

Bamboo – Bamboo hiking shirts are a great option if you want a natural material. Bamboo is a form of rayon that will wick moisture in the Winter which keeps you warm. It is breathable so it will keep you cool and dry in the Summer.

Synthetic materials – Most hiking shirts are a blend of polyester (for moisture management), nylon (for durability), other synthetic materials such as lycra/spandex (for stretch/fit), and merino wool. Go for these options. Combined, they provide excellent performance. These types of hiking shirts are called technical hiking shirts. Hiking shirts that are a blend of synthetic materials are the best shirts for hot weather hiking, and also the best shirts for desert hiking.

Merino wool – Provides insulation, is antimicrobial thus odor-resistant, and has decent moisture management qualities. Merino wool hiking shirts are great to have for Fall, Winter, and Spring hikes since they will also keep you warm and insulated.

Comfort + Fit + Design

Weather/climate – For warm weather a loose fit is optimal, and for cooler weather look for a more fitted size and shape of a shirt. You should get both hot weather hiking shirts and cool weather hiking shirts for your hiking clothing wardrobe.

Ventilation – Most weather conditions require ventilation to stay comfortable. Buttons and zippers located in the front or armpit areas help to ventilate your body. A breathable hiking shirt is a good idea if you are hiking in hot and humid climates. Button up hiking shirts will keep you cool and well ventilated.

Fabric weights – Polyester and merino wool shirts are available in different thicknesses such as lightweight or midweight. Be sure to check the weight per square area of various shirts to get a good idea of thickness. The thicker the fabric, the more insulation. Also, a thicker fabric will wick more moisture away from your skin keeping your skin dry and comfortable. A lightweight hiking shirt is ideal for hot weather.

Sleeve length – It’s a good idea to have a couple of short sleeve hiking shirts, and long sleeve shirts in your hiking wardrobe. Then you are covered for all conditions. In Spring, Summer, and Fall, I wear or carry both in my daypack. In Winter, I will carry a variety of hiking shirts and fabric weights for layering purposes. That’s how you stay comfortable.

Collars – A collared hiking shirt offers additional sun protection and is a good idea in high-altitude locations or near the equator. If collars are not your thing you can also get hiking t-shirts or long sleeve hiking shirts with a crew neck.

Hooded – You can get hooded hiking shirts that offer excellent sun protection or keep your head warm in cooler temperatures.

Sun protection (UV protection + UPF Rating)

Harmful ultraviolet rays can penetrate the fabric of any shirt. Look for a hiking shirt that has a UPF rating that falls in the range of 0-50. This is a great feature if you happen to be extra sensitive to the sun.

Moisture-wicking

Moisture is uncomfortable in all climates and temperatures. In hot climates, perspiration can cause chafing. If it is cold out and you are sweating the moisture can become dangerous and cause hypothermia. This is why a high-performance hiking shirt should be mandatory. As discussed, synthetic fibers, particularly polyester, will wick moisture away from your skin. This promotes comfort to the maximum.

Quick dry

A second element to moisture management is quick-drying fabric. Some fabric is designed to disperse moisture across the garment so that it will evaporate more quickly, thus keeping you dry and comfortable.

Antimicrobial properties + odor resistance

Nobody likes stinky moldy clothing. Right? When considering your options look for antimicrobial properties or treatment.

Merino wool is naturally antimicrobial. This fiber performs the best.

Polyester can be very stinky. Nylon is not much better. Thus, seek out a shirt that has antimicrobial treatments applied if made out of either material. It will help prevent terrible odors.

Durability

Everyone appreciates products that are long-lasting. That’s just good value. The most durable synthetic material is nylon. Polyester is also pretty good. Lightweight merino can be prone to tearing and holes from moths.

Okay, now you know what you should look for to make a good decision. Let’s take a look at the top-rated hiking shirts for 2020.

Pro tip: Stock up on hiking shirts during the off-season (Winter for most people) to get a huge discount! REI has some big discounts (up to 50%) in January-February since they want to clear out the previous year’s stock ahead of the Spring hiking season.

The Best Hiking Shirts For Men

These are our top picks for a variety of conditions and uses, and also the best options for both long sleeves and short sleeves. They are primarily polyester hiking shirts, some are blends.

Short sleeve men’s hiking shirts

These are the best hiking shirts for men that have short sleeves, including crew necks and polo shirts with collars. In hot weather, you want to stay cool, dry, and thus comfortable. All are lightweight, quick-dry, moisture-wicking hot weather hiking shirts that also provide some sun protection.

Kuhl Engineered Polo

  • Incredible moisture management
  • Breathable open-knit panels
  • 100% polyester
  • Odor resistance
  • UPF 20/25 sun protection
  • Collar for extra sun protection

Also available in a crew T-shirt.

Kuhl Airkuhl Polo

  • Super soft comfortable fabric
    • 85% Ultra-soft premium Polyester 15% Spandex
  • Saddle-stitched seams are less bulky for added comfort
  • Best moisture management and breathability
  • Cool athletic style with collar
  • Odor-resistant properties
  • UPF 50 sun protection (best on this list)

REI Co-op Sahara T-Shirt

  • Best affordable hiking T-shirt
  • Quick-drying 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex fabric
  • Antimicrobial treated
  • Great for multi-day hikes
  • UPF 30 sun protection

Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Shirt

  • Another great affordable hiking shirt
  • 100% recycled polyester (Capilene) that is soft and feels like cotton
  • Underarm gussets provide added mobility and reduce chafing
  • Moisture-wicking and quick-drying for comfort
  • HeiQ Fresh odor control

Check Price: Patagonia | REI | Backcountry

Arc’teryx Cormac Crew T-Shirt

  • Most comfortable hiking T-shirt
  • Lightweight, perfect for hot climates
  • Airy, quick-drying, moisture-wicking, Ostria stretch-knit fabric (100% polyester)
  • UPF 50 sun protection
  • Seams that reduce chafing

Check Price: REI | Arc’teryx | Amazon

KUHL Response Shirt

  • Quick-dry, moisture-wicking 100% polyester
  • A Collared shirt that protects the neck from UV rays
  • UPF 30 sun protection
  • Buttons offer extra ventilation
  • A great option for traveling that involves hiking or backpacking adventures

Long sleeve hiking shirts for men

A long-sleeve hiking shirt is more useful than you might think. Even in the Summer, it is a good idea to throw a long-sleeve shirt in your pack. The weather might change quickly. Or, it may be mandatory for sun protection in very hot climates. Otherwise, you will need a long-sleeve shirt as an extra layer to keep warm in cooler seasons, cold weather climates, or on snowy Winter hikes.

Kuhl Airkuhl Hoody Long-Sleeved Shirt

This is an amazing, modern hiking shirt with a hoody for extra sun protection or warmth on cool days. Here is Jack Barker from the Hiking Daily team sporting this shirt out in the field. We love this one and all the Kuhl hiking shirts.

  • Ultra-soft super comfy fabric
    • 85% Ultra-soft premium Polyester, 15% Spandex
  • Abrasion and snag resistance for added durability
  • Five-panel hood
  • Thumb loops to keep sleeves in place
  • Less bulky saddle stitching
  • UPF 50 sun protection

Check Price: Kuhl | Backcountry

Read our complete review of the Kühl Airkühl Hoody.

AIRKUHL Hoody long sleeved hiking shirt for men
Kuhl Airkuhl Hoody Long-Sleeved Shirt – Photo by Aidan Murphy.

Kuhl Engineered Hoody For Men

  • 100% polyester fabric
  • Super comfortable and lightweight stretchy fabric
  • Very breathable
    • Mesh vents help keep cool and dry
  • Thumbholes
  • Kangaroo pocket
  • UPF 20/25 sun protection

Check Price: Backcountry | Kuhl

Arc’teryx Cormac Hoody For Men

Another cool long-sleeved hoody for hiking. We love this style of hiking shirt since it offers extra sun protection at high altitudes or warmth on cool mornings.

  • Lightweight, comfortable technical hoody shirt
  • Super breathable material allows moisture to escape
  • Quick-dry fabric
  • Articulated design for ease of movement
  • Great for hikes or trail running
  • Thumb loops to keep the shirt in place
  • UPF 50+ fabric

REI Co-op Sahara Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

This is an affordable, lightweight, moisture-wicking, basic long sleeve hiking shirt.

  • Crew neck long-sleeve hiking shirt
  • 92% polyester, 8% spandex moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabric
  • Simple yet effective, good for layering
  • UPF 30

REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie

If you want a little more sun protection check out this hiking shirt that keeps the sun off your neck.

  • 3-panel hood offers shade when the sun is too hot
  • 92% polyester, 8% spandex
  • Thumbholes keep the shirt in place
  • Wicks moisture and dries quickly
  • Anti-microbial treatment helps reduce odors
  • UPF 50+ fabric provides incredible sun protection

REI Co-op Active Pursuits Quarter-Zip Shirt

  • Smoother Polyester 2.0
  • 92% polyester, 8% spandex
  • Anti-microbial treatment
  • Super stretchy comfortable fit
  • Breathable yet warm for cooler days
  • Partial zip offers extra ventilation
  • Sleeve thumbholes keep the shirt in place – great for an aggressive hiker or trail runner
  • A seam-free shoulder provides long-lasting comfort when carrying a backpack
  • UPF 50 – top sun protection
  • Zip up collar offers extra sun protection

Patagonia Men’s Capilene Cool Daily Hoody

  • Versatile technical hiking long-sleeved shirt
  • Quick-drying, moisture-wicking recycled polyester
  • Lightweight stretchy fabric
  • Minimal stitching to reduce chafing
  • Keeps you cool or warm when required
  • Deep hood for extra sun coverage
  • Odor control

Check Price: REI | Patagonia


The Best Hiking Shirts For Women

Some of the best hiking shirts that we recommend for women are the exact same shirt as we recommended for men. Let’s call them the hiking shirt staples! The technical specifications and features are identical, just different sizes and shapes. However, you will also find some shirts below that are uniquely designed for women. Let’s take a look!

Short sleeve hiking shirts for women

These are the best options for hot weather and climates.

REI Co-op Sahara T-Shirt – Women’s

  • Classic hiking T-shirt
  • UPF 30 sun protection
  • 92% polyester, 8% spandex
  • Antimicrobial treatment prevents odors
  • Shoulder seam design helps prevent pack chafing
  • Most affordable short sleeve hiking T-shirt

Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Shirt – Women’s

  • Soft Capilene polyester
    • 50% polyester, 50% polyester jersey
  • Wicks moisture and dries quickly
  • miDori bioSoft finish is soft and wicks faster
  • UPF 50+ fabric
  • A great affordable hiking shirt

Check Price: REI | Patagonia

Outdoor Research Argon T-Shirt – Women’s

  • 83% Recycled Polyester, 11% Polyester, 6% Spandex
  • Flatseam construction
  • Excellent moisture management and wicking
  • Lightweight, breathable
  • Active Fresh odor resistance treatment
  • Shirt-tail shape hem
  • UPF 20 or 30 sun protection (depends on color)

Athleta Uptempo T-Shirt – Women’s

  • 93% recycled polyester, 7% spandex
  • Lightweight brushed jersey fabric
  • Quick-drying, breathable, moisture-wicking
  • Semi-fitted design, not too tight or loose

ExOfficio BugsAway Caddis Shirt – Women’s

  • Hiking in insect territory?
    • Permethrin treatment helps keep bugs off
  • 53% polyester, 38% nylon, 9% elastane blend
  • Moisture-wicking, breathable, stretchy fabric 
  • Handy chest pocket
  • UPF 50

Long sleeve hiking shirts for women

Sometimes, long sleeves are mandatory. For sun protection, bug protection, or simply to stay warm.

Kuhl Engineered Hoody For Women

  • 100% polyester
  • Cool, modern, stylish hiking shirt
  • Super comfortable and lightweight stretchy fabric
  • Mesh vents help keep cool and dry
  • Thumbholes
  • Kangaroo pocket
  • UPF 20/25 sun protection

Check Price: Backcountry | Kuhl

Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoodie – Women’s

  • 100% recycled polyester jersey
  • Cool, stylish, versatile technical top
  • Lightweight stretchy fabric moves with your body
  • Moisture-wicking, quick-drying
  • Minimal seams for extra comfort
  • Deep hood for sun protection

Check Price: REI | Patagonia

REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie – Women’s

  • 92% polyester, 8% spandex
  • Moisture-wicking, quick-dry, super soft, and comfortable fabrics
  • 3-panel hood for sun protection or warmth
  • Shaped hem for extra coverage and backpack protection
  • Thumbholes
  • UPF 50 sun protection

REI Co-op Sahara Solid Long-Sleeve Shirt – Women’s

  • Great for hot climate hikes
  • Button up long sleeve shirt
  • Vent in the back keeps you cool
  • Zip pocket located in side seam
  • 94% nylon, 6% spandex lightweight, moisture-wicking, quick-dry fabric
  • Packs up small and light
  • Treated for odor resistance
  • Roll-up sleeves convert to short-sleeves
  • UPF 50 + collar for sun protection

Outdoor Research Women’s Echo Hoodie

  • 100% recycled polyester
  • 3-panel hoody with pony port
  • Flat seams for comfort
  • Ultralight, breathable, moisture-wicking
  • Stretchy for ease of movement
  • Thumbholes
  • Odor resistant
  • AirVent moisture management
  • UPF 15/20 sun protection

Check Price: Outdoor Research | Backcountry | Amazon | Moosejaw

REI Co-op Take Your Time Pullover – Women’s

  • Cute, soft, warm pullover top for hiking
  • 93% polyester, 7% spandex wicks moisture
  • Zip pocket

The Best Hiking Shirts For Kids

Keeping kids comfortable and happy on the trails is paramount to ensure a good time for all. Because kids are smaller they are more susceptible to overheating or getting cold. Be sure to invest in a hiking outfit for your children. A hiking hat, hiking socks, and a hiking shirt is a good starting point. Here are some great options for kids.

REI Co-op Sahara Tech T-Shirt – Kids

  • Comfortable lightweight polyester fabric
  • Moisture wicking T-shirt for kids
  • Quick-dry
  • UPF 15+ sun protection

Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Sun Hoodie (Boys | Girls)

  • 50-100% recycled polyester
  • Performance top for kids with hood for sun protection
  • Stretchy for mobility and high range of movement
  • Minimal stitching for comfort
  • Also good for water sports

REI Co-op Sahara Sun Hoodie – Kids

  • Lightweight soft polyester fabric
  • Thumbholes keep sleeves in place and hands covered
  • Comfortable flatlock seams
  • Wicks moisture
  • Quick dry
  • UPF 15+ sun protection

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