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

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 with a heavy pack.

The best hiking shirts contain a blend of synthetic fibers that 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.

Merino wool and bamboo are also used for some shirts.

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.

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.

What To Look For in a 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 wicks moisture, which helps keeps you warm in cool weather. It is also breathable to keep you cool and dry in 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 (for odor resistance). Combined, they provide excellent performance. These types of hiking shirts are also known as technical shirts and work for all activities as well as comfort in heat and humidity. Hiking shirts that are a blend of synthetic materials are the best shirts for hot weather and desert hiking.
  • Merino Wool – Wool provides insulation, is antimicrobial and odor-resistant, and has good moisture management qualities. Merino is the softest wool and is comfortable in all seasons. Natural fibers keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Some added stretch improves the fit and drape of wool shirts.

Comfort, Fit + Design

  • Weather + Climate – For warm weather, a loose fit improves air flow and breathability while for cooler weather, a more fitted size and shape of a shirt keeps in body heat. There is a place for both hot weather hiking shirts and cool weather hiking shirts for your hiking wardrobe.
  • Ventilation – Most weather conditions require ventilation to stay comfortable. Buttons, vents, and mesh n the front, back, or armpit areas increase air flow.
  • Fabric Weight – Polyester and merino wool shirts are available in different weights and thicknesses. 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. Lighter weight fabric will be more breathable.
  • Sleeve Length – It’s a good idea to have a couple of short sleeve hiking shirts, and long sleeve shirts to be prepared for all conditions.I wear or carry both in my daypack in summer, spring, and fall. In winter, I make sure to have a variety of hiking shirts and fabric weights for layering. Long sleeve shirts aren’t only for cooler weather. They offer sun protection for sensitive skin, kids who shun suncreen, and long days in strong sun.
  • Collars – A collar offers additional sun protection and is a good idea in high-altitude locations or near the equator. A collar is higher on the neck than a crew cut. Get even more coverage by popping it up. If polos and collared shirts are not your thing, a buff or bandana can also cover the neck.
  • Hoods – Hiking shirts with a hood offer additional sun protection or warmth 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.

All fabrics provide some degree of protection. For more protection, look for darker colors, denser weaves and polyester and nylon. Of course, the first two of these may make a shirt feel hotter.

Moisture-Wicking

Moisture (i.e. sweat) is uncomfortable in all climates and temperatures. In hot climates, perspiration can cause chafing. In the cold, damp clothing can become dangerous and cause hypothermia. This is why a high-performance shirt should be mandatory for hiking.

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 smell bad and nylon is not much better. Look for shirts that have an antimicrobial treatments applied to minimize odors. Using deodorant diligently can also help.

How To Remove Odors from Activewear

Odors and stains tend to linger in synthetic fabrics. Remove them with a detergent designed for athletic wear. The key is ozone and/or enzymes that break down the fats that cause these problems. Covering the smell isn’t an ideal so solution so try these fragrance-free detergents that will get the job done. Powder formulas can also work better than liquid. Throw it in at the bottom of the machine for best results.

Refresh all your athletic clothes by soaking them in a tub with one of these detergents for an hour or two. The color the water turns is both surprising and satisfying. I have renewed old leggings this way and it is much cheaper and sustainable than replacing clothing.

Rockin’ Green Platinum Active Wear Detergent

Rocking’ Green was one of the first active wear-specific detergents and still leads the pack. The plant-based enzymes remove dirt and stink without leaving anything behind. The sensitive skin formula is safe for babies and is also biodegradable. The barely-there tea tree oil scent helps block future odors. Use with hot water to remove built-up odors or cold to preserve elastic and technical fabrics.

Active Wear Laundry Detergent

This formula is designed for athletic clothes with plant-based enzymes. For those with concerns/and or sensitive skin, it is also SLS-free, phosphate-free, gluten-free, and septic safe. This detergent is a top pick because it works with warm as well as cold water, which is the washing instruction for most athletic wear.

Defunkify Free & Clear Laundry Detergent Powder An enzyme-based detergent, Defunkify meets EPA Safer Choice standards and is safe to use for babies and young children as well as sensitive skin. Try this formula if you need stain removal as well as odor reduction. It also includes a water softener for hard water areas.

Oxiclean Versatile Stain Remover Add Oxiclean to your favorite detergent to boost its effectiveness. The oxygen formula breaks down the oils and proteins in odors and stains. This powder has 100 more cleaning uses in and around the home.

Durability

Everyone appreciates products that are long-lasting. That’s just good value. The most durable synthetic material is nylon. Polyester is also close behind. Lightweight merino can be prone to tearing and holes from moths but is more robust with added polyester and/or spandex.

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.

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 Crew Neck For Men

If you don’t want a hood, check out this well-cut crew neck with a cool logo graphic down the side of each arm. This style of hiking shirt offers extra sun protection at high altitudes or warmth on cool mornings and is lightweight enough to wear running.

  • 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
  • Rounded hem
  • UPF 20 or 30 sun protection (depends on color)

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


The Best Hiking Shirts For Kids

Keeping kids comfortable and happy on the trails is paramount to ensure a good time for all. A hiking hat, hiking shoes, and kids gear will help little ones keep moving on the trail.

Kids’ smaller size makes them more susceptible to overheating or getting cold so a moisture-wicking base layer is a must. In summer, long sleeves minimize the sunscreen battle.

Here are some great hiking shirts for kids:

Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Sun Hoody

Think of this as a summer sweatshirt. The performance top for babies, toddlers and big kids with a hood for sun protection is great for every outdoor activity in summer, from hiking to water sports. It is also available without the hood.

  • 50-100% recycled polyester
  • Minimal stitching for comfort
  • Stretchy for mobility and high range of movement

The baby, girls, and kids sun hoodies are all half price at Patagonia as of November 2022.

REI Co-op Kids’ Sahara Sun Hoody

REI Co-op brand always offers great performance at a lower price. The Sahara shirt line is a best-seller in all sizes. The kids shirt also comes as a longsleeve T-shirt without a hood and a girls long-sleeve with a slightly wider neckline and different colors.

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

Columbia OmniShade Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

When a solid color shirt just won’t do it, these performance shirts also have cool graphics. Amazon has a wider range of colors and images for boys and girls.

  • Recycled polyester
  • UPF 50 sun protection
  • Graphic tee

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