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

By mattv


When you hit the trails for several hours (or days) at a time, comfort is essential. Hiking shirts are designed with that in mind. Performance shirts are made of material that helps regulate temperature and are constructed to prevent chafing or discomfort when wearing a pack.

Once you try a hiking shirt you won’t go back to wearing your regular clothing on hikes and maybe at home too.

Most hiking shirts are available as tank tops, t-shirt, long-sleeve, and hoodies. The best choice is really about preference for fabric and shirt style.

Going sleeveless is the easiest way to stay cool but leaves arms exposed to the sun. Button-up shirts with collars are popular because they can shade the neck and opened up for airflow. Lightweight long sleeve and hooded shirts provide excellent sun protection. Just add a hiking hat for full UV coverage.

Hiking shirts can be worn in the water for a swim, paddle, or stand up paddle boarding. Choosing light colors also helps protect against bugs.

Best hiking shirts

Check out our recently updated list of the best hiking shirts for men, women, and kids.

What Is a Hiking Shirt?

The best hiking shirts are made of fabric that is designed to wick moisture away from your skin. 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 dry faster.

Most hiking shirts are made with synthetic fibers but Merino wool and bamboo are other options.

Shirts made for hiking are also cut and sewn to provide a full range of motion and to minimize the seams that can cause discomfort.

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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

Best Hiking Shirts

  1. Best Hiking Shirt To Wear Every Day Patagonia Capilene
  2. Best Women’s Hiking Shirt Outdoor Research Argon
  3. Best Men’s Hiking Shirt Kuhl Engineered Polo
  4. Best Button-Up Hiking Shirt Columbia RFG Tamiama
  5. Lightest Weight Shirts For Hiking Shirt Outdoor Research Echo
  6. Best Long Sleeve Hiking Shirt for Women – Arc’teryx Taema Hoody
  7. Best T-Shirt For Hot Weather – Arcty’erx Cormac Crew Neck
  8. Best Sun Hoody For The Price – REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoody
  9. Best Wool Hiking Shirt – Icebreaker Tech Lite II
  10. Best Performance Plaid Shirt – REI Co-op Sahara Button-Up

All of these hiking shirts:

  • Have added anti-bacterial coating to minize odor
  • Can be worn alone or as a base layer
  • Wick moisture and dry quickly

Keep reading to see how these hiking shirts are different.

1. The Wear-It-Everyday Hiking Shirt

Patagonia’s Capilene Daily Cool fabric is so comfortable, we couldn’t pick just one shirt. The performance fabric includes miDor bioSoft for enhanced softness and moisture wicking. These basic shirts feel so luxurious, you’ll want to wear one every day.


Patagonia Capilene Daily Cool

MRSP $35-$59

UPF 34 (average)

Fabric 100% recycled polyester jersey

+ Silky soft + stretchy fabric
+ Really for daily wear

Variable UPF protection

The Capilene Daily Cool shirts have a regular fit, if not a bit roomy. The looser fit helps keep you cool but you may want to size down to wear as a base layer.

Like all Patagonia products, these hiking shirts are designed with minimal environmental impact and sewn in comfortable working conditions for a living wage.

Capilene Daily Cool Tank Top

MRSP $35

PROS + High neckline + wide cut back for sun protection

W Capilene Tank M Capilene Sleeveless

Capilene Daily Cool Tee

MRSP: $39-49

PROS + Solid colors + graphic styles

CONS Pricey t-shirt but low cost per wear

W Capilene Tee M Capilene Tee

Capilene Daily Cool Long Sleeve

MRSP $49-59

PROS + Excellent base layer

CONS – Not warm enough on its own for spring/fall

W Capilene Long sleeve M Capilene Long sleeve

Capilene Daily Daily Hoodie

MRSP $59

PROS + Hood lies flat and doesn’t add bulk

CONS – Size up for a looser fit

W Capilene Hoodie M Capilene Hoodie

2. Best Women’s Hiking Shirt


Outdoor Research Argon T-Shirt

MRSP $55

UPF 20 – light colors/30 – dark colors

Fabric 83% recycled polyester/11% polyester/6% spandex

+ Semi-fitted with rounded hem
+ Raglan sleeves

UPF protection varies

The Argon’s rounded hem looks great with shorts, skirts, and leggings. Our only complaint is that it is only available in 5 colors.

3. Best Men’s Hiking Shirt

Some polos are better than others and this is one of the best. The clever design combines two breathable fabrics for maximum comfort and style. Open mesh at the shoulders and arms make this tee almost as breezy as a tank top.


Kuhl Engineered Polo

MRSP $70

UPF 30 (shoulders + sleeves)/20 (torso)

Fabric 100% polyester

+ Performance shirt with style


The two fabrics are part of the design with contrasting shoulder panels that enhance the fit. If you like the look, also check out the Engineered Krew and Engineered Hoodie.

4. Best Button-Up Hiking Shirt

PFG stands for Performance Fishing Gear but you want the same qualities in a hiking shirt – lightweight and breathable sun protection. There are plenty of pockets plus a fishing rod strap.


Columbia PFG Tamiami II Longsleeve

MRSP $65

UPF 40

Fabric 100% polyester

+ Shoulder vents for air flow
+ Anti-microbial finish
+ Can secure rolled sleeves or get the short sleeve

Style is just okay

Popular clothing items tend to be available in a range of colors and this is no exception. Darker colors absorb the sun’s UV rays, which make clothing feel hotter but also provides more UPF protection.

5. Lightest Weight Shirts For Hiking

Outdoor Research makes this list a few times. The Echo line is their lightest offering and the lightest weight hiking shirt, weighing in at a mere 2.25oz/63g for women and 2.8oz/79g for men, about half of comparable shirts. The Echo shirts were recently update for a modern fit, ultra quick-dry, and even softer fabric.


Outdoor Research Echo

MRSP $35-$75

UPF 15/20

Fabric 100% recycled polyester

+ Lightest weight fabric
+ Reflective logo
+ Regular fit for town and trail

Fabric can snag but doesn’t pill

Echo Tank

MRSP $35

PROS + Lots of styles and colors

W Tank W Crop Tank M Sleeveless

Echo Short Sleeve Shirt

MRSP $46

PROS + Barely there feeling

W Echo Tee M Echo Tee

Echo Long Sleeve

MRSP $52

PROS + Women’s sizes XXS-XXL/ men’s S-XXXL

CONS No thumbholes

W Echo Long Sleeve M Echo Long Sleeve

Echo Quarter Zip

MRSP $69

PROS + 9″-10″ zipper

CONS – No thumbholes for men’s version


Echo Hoodie

MRSP $59

PROS + Ponytail port in hood for women
+ Sizes up to 4X and patterns

CONS – Hood fits loosely with no adjustment

W Echo Hoodie M Echo Hoodie

6. Best Long-Sleeve Women’s Hiking Shirt

This hoody provides maximum sun protection in a lightweight fabric that dries almost instantly. The hood stays in place without a cord and fits over a hat or under a helmet.


Arc’tyerx Taema Hoodie

MRSP $90

UPF 50

Fabric 100% Phasic LT polyester (80% recycled)


+ Scuba-style hoodie stays in place

+ PFC-free DWR coating repels water

+ High collar protects neck

+ Thumb loops

+ High collar protects neck

It’s $100 after tax but keep an eye out for deals

In addition to the quality and craftsmanship Arc’teryx is known for, this is one of the first products crafted under the Fair Trade certified program.

If you’re not looking for a sun hoody, Taema line also includes a tank top, crew neck tee, and logo tee.

7. Best Hot Weather + High Activity Shirt

Most hiking shirts are 100% polyester but that doesn’t mean they are the same. The Arc’tyerx Cormac shirts for men and Taema shirts for women use that fabric plus designed for maximum temperature management. This lightweight shirt is ideal for high output activities and hot temperatures.


Arc’teryx Cormac Crew Neck

MRSP: $70

UPF 50+

Fabric 100% Phasic LT polyester

+ Fit and style lines enhance airflow
+ DWR coating sheds moisture
+ Ultra light at only 3.9oz/110gm

Higher cost

Both these t-shirt lines were recently updated fabric and cut in all the styles. The soft and stretchy material is a great base layer in all seasons. As Arc’teryx is known for, this is a high quality garment whose performance matches its style.

We’re partial to the t-shirt but the long sleeve and hoody are also excellent.

8. Best Budget Hiking Shirts

Quality doesn’t have to be expensive. This is the only sun hoodie with a drawstring closure. While that may not be necessary for all conditions but is essential in a place like the Colorado Sand Dunes where the wind and sun can be equally powerful.


REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie

MRSP $50

UPF 40

Fabric 92% polyester/8% spandex


+ Hood has internal drawstring
+ Thumb loops

Loose fit

The rest of the Sahara line is worth a look too.

Sahara Tank Top

MRSP $25

PROS + Cut longer at the back

CONS – No men’s version

Sahara T-Shirt

MRSP $30

PROS + Tall and XXXL for men + 2X for women

+ Women’s version has a flowy fit with rounded hem

W sahara t-shirt M sahara t-shirt

Sahara Long Sleeve

MRSP $35

PROS + Good range of colors, sizes + tall

CONS – No women’s version

9. Best Wool Shirt For Hiking


Icebreaker Tech Lite II

MRSP $80

UPF 20

Fabric: 150 g merino wool jersey


+ Natural odor resistance

+ Durable


– Pricey but low cost per wear

All of the synthetic hiking shirts include odor resistance but this 100% Responsible Wool Standard tee doesn’t need it – wool has built-in odor resistance. The regular fit has a little bit of room plus the stretch of merino wool. There are plenty of deals to be had on this tee, especially with graphic versions.

10. Best Hiking Shirt For Trail + Town

Plaid is known as a fabric for the outdoors but this shirt is built for heat instead of cool.


REI Co-op Sahara Long-Sleeve Button-Up

MRSP $65

UPF 40

Fabric 94% nylon/6% spandex

+ Back vents for air flow
+ Plenty of pockets
+ Sunglass loop
+ Lots of colors options plus men’s tall

Fit doesn’t work for every body

In addition to the hook-and-loop closure chest pockets, there is a secret side zipper pocket for cards or a key. The sleeves are convertible and a sunglass loop helps keep those shades scratch-free.

I’m partial to athletic clothes that pass for regular clothes and the plaid shirts definitely do. This button-up is also available in solid colors for women and men.

Honorable Mention

Most of these hiking shirts focus on keeping you cool and dry. This shirt is thicker and meant to keep you warm and dry. It may be too warm for hottest summer days but it works well on its own in spring and fall.


REI Co-op Active Pursuits Quarter Zip

MRSP $50

UPF 50

Fabric 92% polyester/8% spandex

+ Collar with 9″/10″ zipper
+ Thumbholes
+ Thick enough for cooler weather

Color selection

Many of these hiking shirts are ultra thin and ready for high heat and activity. This long sleeve shirt is a little bit heavier, enough that is warm enough to be worn along or over a t-shirt in cooler temps. The quarter zipper makes it easy to vent some heat while the collar provides neck protection.

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

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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