Best Men’s Hiking Shirts To Tackle The Trail
One of the first things men overlook in their outdoor wardrobe is the hiking shirt. A good men’s hiking shirt can be tough to find, and it’s easy to throw on an old cotton t-shirt. However, there is a vast range of options for a hiking shirt that will keep hikers cool, comfortable, and dry while on the trail. We spend most of our year hiking and exploring the great outdoors and have tested a ton of hiking shirts. Some of them have been great, some okay, and a few just awful.
It can be tough to find the perfect hiking shirt for men, but there are many options. To help you find the right hiking shirt for men, we’ve put together this handy little guide, packed with some of our favorite hiking shirts from the best outdoor brands.
Best Hiking Shirts For Men
Hiking ShirtProsConsShop Outdoor Research Shirt Echo Series
Ultralight, Comfortable, Various Options, Quick Drying, Handles HeatExpensive, Not Super FlexibleLinkSmartwool Merino 150
Comfortable, Quick Drying, Ultralight, Handles Heat, Anti-MicrobialExpensive, Durability Not As Good As SyntheticLinkPatagonia Capilene Cool Trail
Cool, Ultra Comfy, Classic Tee Look, Minimal Seams, Quick Drying, Fair Trade CertifiedPrice, DurabilityLinkColumbia Silver Ridge Long Sleeve
Durability, Quick Dry Capabilities, Classic Collar Protection, Back Panel, Value, PocketsStyle, Heavier, Not As Comfortable As Other OptionsLinkIcebreaker Tech Lite Crewe
Comfortable, Quick Drying, Ultralight, Handles Heat, Anti-Microbial, Casual CutCasual Cut, PriceLinkOutdoor Research Wayward
Ultralight Collared Shirt, Quick Dry, Super Comfortable, Feature Rich, Collar Protection, PocketsLinkFjallraven Abisko Hike Shirt
Feature Rich, Quick Dry, Super Comfortable, Feature Rich, Snap Collar Protection, PocketsVery ExpensiveLinkREI Co-op Sahara Long-Sleeve Shirt
Color Choice, Quick Dry, Nice Mid-Weight Fabric, Sun Protection, ComfortableMidweight, Not Strictly Focused On HikingLinktasc Performance Carrollton T-Shirt
Cotton, Super Comfortable, Lightweight, Color Choices, CheapCotton, Durability, Not Hiking FocusedLink
Outdoor Research Shirt Echo Series
UltralightComfortableVarious OptionsQuick DryingHandles Heat
ExpensiveNot Super Flexible
Outdoor Research Echo hiking shirts are unique and a staple in our wardrobe. They are among some of the best lightweight, long sleeve hiking shirts, and they come in a variety of styles such as short sleeves, long sleeves, hoodies, and tank tops.
Echo shirts feature a synthetic polyester blend that’s soft to the skin and feels as if you’re not wearing anything. The long sleeve collection of shirts provide full coverage and keep you cool under the sun. It is due to the shirt’s ultralight weight and ability to wick sweat away for fast evaporation. The Echo Hoody is a real stand-out as it is cool enough to wear in the heat but provides excellent UV protection in highly reflective environments like the water or the alpine.
Kayakers, climbers, and runners will love these shirts too. They have UPF sun protection, AirVent™ moisture management, and ActiveFresh™ odor control technology. Flat seam construction ensures no risk of seam irritation when you carry a backpack for hours on end.
Fabric lacks does not stretch a lot which makes them not as comfortable for everyday wear. However, when we’re active, it keeps the shirt in place and dependable. It’s near impossible to have a bad day on the trail with one of these hiking shirts.
Shop For Outdoor Research Echo Series
Smartwool Merino 150
ComfortableVarious OptionsQuick DryingUltralightHandles HeatAnti-Microbial
ExpensiveDurability Not As Good As Synthetic
The Smartwool Merino 150 hiking shirt is a great all-rounder that works for a load of different situations. It’s an active men’s hiking shirt that is breathable and ultra-soft next to your skin. While most think of wool as warm, it handles the heat well and often feels better than a cotton shirt.
There’s a lot about this shirt that gives it some high-grade credentials. First of all, raglan sleeves mean no shoulder seams for extra comfort when you’re carrying a pack. Fabric is wrapped around a nylon core for durability but keeps the soft wool next to the skin for comfort. It’s a tough garment and can be machine washed.
With long-term usage, the wool does form pills and slightly falls apart. It’s not significant, and the shirts will last several years, but they show more wear signs than a synthetic shirt. It is typical with natural materials, and the Merino 150 is more durable than a standard cotton t-shirt.
Shop For Smartwool Merino 150
Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail
CoolUltra ComfyClassic Tee LookMinimal SeamsQuick DryingFair Trade Certified
The Capilene Cool Trail from Patagonia is a good choice for a classic t-shirt look but technical performance. A Fair Trade Certified sewn short-sleeved hiking shirt, the Capilene Cool Trail is super soft and feels great to wear. Adding to that unbeatable comfort are technical features in the fabric that allow the shirt to dry quickly and wick moisture from the body.
The HeiQ Fresh odor control is fantastic (and a lifesaver if you’re on a multiday hike). We also cannot help but love that the shirt has 50-100% recycled materials. It’s a comfortable shirt that feels very cool comfortable to wear.
Capilene Cool shirts are similar to the Outdoor Research Echo but have a heavier weight and more stretch. For this reason, we prefer the Echo’s, but Patagonia’s shirts feel more comfortable for everyday wear. They make for tremendous running or gym shirts.
Shop For Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail
Columbia Silver Ridge Long Sleeve
DurabilityQuick Dry CapabilitiesClassic Collar ProtectionBack PanelValuePockets
StyleHeavierCrinklyNot As Comfortable As Other Options
The Silver Ridge shirt from Columbia is a solid option if you prefer a button-up hiking shirt. The shirt has excellent moisture management, thanks to the polyester/nylon blend. The fabric is lightweight and features Omni-Shade technology that provides UPF 40 sun protection. The material is heavier and feels a bit more crinkly than a hiking t-shirt. Its heavier weight gives the Silver Ridge superior durability.
Despite its heavier weight, it is still a cool shirt thanks to a back panel with the fabric. However, that panel is not very functional with a backpack. In addition to a back panel, the shirt has two breast pockets. It’s the versatility of the Columbia Silver Ridge that shines through. It’s an excellent option for the trail but something you don’t need to change right out of after a hike since it looks brilliant. We think it makes a sweet shirt for safari or work wear too.
A real strength of the Silver Ridge is value. It’s one of the most feature-rich hiking shirts but costs less than many competitors’ t-shirts. Columbia makes excellent hiking gear at affordable prices for all, which is why we love them as an outdoor brand. The value does mean you’re sacrificing some performance. If you have the money, there are many better options. On a personal note, I do not wear collared hiking shirts.
Shop For Columbia Silver Ridge Hiking Shirt
Icebreaker Tech Lite Crewe
ComfortableQuick DryingUltralightHandles HeatAnti-MicrobialCasual Cut
The Icebreaker Tech Lite Crewe is a perfect hiking shirt that fits perfectly into everyday life. It features a blend of Merino wool and nylon similar to the Smartwool 150. Its relaxed cut makes it a great choice if you want a casual shirt that can work as a hiking shirt and apres hike shirt. The shirt makes a beautiful base layer, and it works naturally in everyday wear.
The relaxed cut of the Tech Lite is both a strength and weakness as it feels great for a day at home, but it’s less technical-focused for hiking. Regardless it is an incredibly comfortable shirt that has solid performance thanks to the wool/nylon fabric.
The Icebreaker Tech Lite Low Crew T-Shirt also features offset shoulder seams to prevent pesky pack rub, and the lightweight fabric offers sun protection with a UPF rating of 35. It’s a versatile shirt that performs well as a base layer, running shirt, or shirt for lounging around the house.
Shop For Icebreaker Tech Lite Crew T-Shirt
Outdoor Research Wayward
Ultralight Collared ShirtQuick Dry CapabilitiesSuper ComfortableFeature RichSnap Collar ProtectionPockets
If you want an ultralight collared shirt that offers supreme comfort, the Outdoor Research Wayward is a solid choice. It’s a collared shirt with long sleeves that dumps heat better than an impressive cotton t-shirt. The excellent temperature management is due to the shirt’s ultralight weight.
The shirt’s UPF 50+ fabric is a blend of nylon, polyester, and spandex. Spandex used in the shirt gives it superb flexibility. As a long sleeve collared shirt, it does not hinder reach or movement—it would make a great shirt for climbing. It also has some nifty features such as two breast pockets, snap closure for the collar (sun protection), a hidden security pocket, and roll-up sleeve tabs.
The only complaint about the shirt is due to its lightweight; it can feel a little sloppy. Traditional collared shirts have a stiff appearance, but that does sacrifice performance and comfort.
Shop For Outdoor Research Wayward
Fjallraven Abisko Hike Shirt
Feature RichQuick Dry CapabilitiesSuper ComfortableFeature RichClassic Collar ProtectionPockets
Ideal for summer trekking or time spent outdoors when the weather’s good, the Abisko Hike Shirt SS from Fjallraven is a firm winner. It feels fantastic, too! Constructed from high-quality polyamide, this offering from Fjallraven allows for breathable, breezy comfort as you explore the great outdoors.
The shirt is super feature-rich. There’s extra ventilation to allow excess body heat to escape, multiple pockets, press buttons, and it even stashes away in the breast pocket. That’s an excellent feature for multiday hikes as it stores easily in the backpack.
A bonus is the zip pocket with mesh lining, the perfect spot for anything you might need close to hand – from a passport if you’re in transit to a pocketbook if you feel like making some notes on your sojourn. The shirt is similar to the Outdoor Research Wayward but has more features that drive the price tag up. It also feels a little stiffer and stylish than the Wayward.
Shop For Fjallraven Abisko Hike Shirt
REI Co-op Sahara Long-Sleeve Shirt
Color ChoiceQuick Dry CapabilitiesNice Mid-Weight FabricSun ProtectionComfortable
MidweightNot Strictly Focused On Hiking
We love that you get to unleash your inner explorer with the REI Co-op Sahara Long Shirt. So for a timeless traveling look, we’re super into this one! It falls into a midweight category between the ultralight Wayward and heavier Columbia Silver Ridge.
It’s all built for being active, whether that’s hiking or traveling to a new country. This lightweight shirt from REI is made from polyester fabric that resists wrinkles, dries quickly for comfort, and wicks away sweat from the body. It has some pattern options that help break up the monotony of solid colors.
It has some excellent features, such as two front breast pockets and roll-up tabs for the sleeves. For me, the cut and technical capabilities of the shirt make it shine, such as UPF protection, long sleeve cuffs, underarm panels to reduce odor, and a spandex blend for easy movement.
Shop For REI Co-op Sahara Shirt
tasc Performance Carrollton T-Shirt
CottonSuper ComfortableLightweightColor ChoicesCheap
CottonDurabilityNot Hiking Focused
Tasc shirts use organic cotton, bamboo viscose, and spandex in construction. The result is a highly comfortable shirt that will hold up pretty well. Because it’s cotton, I consider this a great men’s hiking shirt for light hiking and then to hit the town after the wilderness.
I’m a big believer in a classic t-shirt and always opt for solid colors over graphic tees. I also love a simple classic cotton T-shirt or a performance fabric that handles sweat and the sun. It’s a shirt that feels well adapted to your everyday life but can offer enough performance for an average hike. The best part is the price as it’s the cheapest shirt on this list.
Shop For TASC Carrollton Shirt
Why You Should Wear A Hiking Shirt
Consider a hiking shirt an essential piece of outdoor gear. It’s vital for your health and safety for several reasons.
Most important is a shirt’s ability to wick moisture away from the body and keep you dry. Sweat is the body’s vital tool in the maintenance of temperature. Water or sweat pulls heat away from the body’s surface, and as it evaporates, it transfers that temperature to the air. It is a great way to stay cool on a hot day, but it can pose a real risk in cold temperatures.
Our bodies can not predict temperature shifts, so the thermometer drops at higher elevation or the setting sun sweat can be a liability. Hiking shirts are vitally important in any environment that will see temperature swings and cool weather.
Hiking shirts often have antimicrobial properties which stop bacteria from causing odor. It’s also more hygienic when you’re on a multiday hike and have to wear a sweaty shirt multiple days in a row.
Types of Hiking Shirts
Hiking shirts generally fall into a couple of categories. The best distinction is by material. Most hiking shirts use a synthetic material such as polyester, nylon, or a blend of both in construction. Another option for a hiking shirt is an organic one, such as wool or cotton. In general, we do not recommend cotton hiking shirts unless you’re hiking in the desert.
On top of the material, you can separate shirts by cut or style. You have short sleeves, long sleeves, button-downs, and hoodies. They all have their advantages. Most shirt lines have several options to choose from for a shirt.
What Kind of Hiking Shirt Do You Need?
We spend most of our days scrambling and hiking in the Canadian Rockies. It has near-freezing temperatures at elevation and lots of UV exposure in alpine conditions. With that in mind, we hike mostly in long sleeve synthetic shirts that provide UV protection, keep us cool, and dry at elevation. It’s incredible how much your body cools off at elevation due to sweat.
MaterialProsConsCottonComfortable, Cheap, Variety of Shirts,Heavy, Slow Drying, Bacteria GrowthWoolAnti-Microbial, Quick Drying, StrengthExpensive, HeaviestPolyesterLightweight, Stretch, Anti-Microbial, CheapSynthetic, DurabilityNylonLightweight, Strength, Durability, Anti-MicrobialHeavier and More Expensive Than Polyester, Synthetic
CutProsConsShort SleeveComfort, BreathabilityLacks UV ProtectionLong SleeveGreat ProtectionWarmer Than Short SleeveButton DownStyle, Superior ProtectionGoofyHoodyExcellent UV Protection, ComfortHood Can Be A Burden
ClimateMaterialForestsWool, SyntheticJungleLong Sleeve SyntheticDesertCotton Shirt or Synthetic Long SleeveAlpineSynthetic Long Sleeve or Button Down
How to Choose the Best Men’s Hiking Shirt
There are a few things to consider before you start shopping for that hiking shirt you’re after. Here is what you should be paying attention to when selecting a hiking shirt.
Fabric plays a big part in just how helpful a shirt is going to be for you. While all-natural materials feel soft next to the skin, they can lack the engineered specifications of synthetics.
For example, nylon in its various forms can be breathable and to possess wicking capabilities, which means quick drying – something you want on a hike in a hot country. Then again, natural materials like merino wool might be better suited to colder climates.
Some synthetic fabrics allow for a nice amount of stretch, too, so that you get the freedom of movement you need when you’re out on a hike. Another neat feature is the sun protection of a variety of hiking shirts for men- some go as far as UPF 50, while others are lower. Some even have odor control fabric!
Then there are the blends; for the best of both worlds, some hiking shirts for men use a mix of natural fibers – they can wrap wool around a nylon core. With this sort of fabric, you get both functionality and comfort.
Style isn’t just about the colors and prints used on a men’s hiking shirt. Though that does come into play – depending, obviously, on how much you care about looking the part when you’re out on a hike or traveling – another sort of “style” is the one that dictates what type of shirt it is.
There are button-up shirts for a more classic look. These can be short or long-sleeved; some shirts have roll-up sleeve systems in place, so they can be effective both long and short-sleeved, depending on what you want (and the temperature, of course).
Men’s hiking shirts with buttons are pretty versatile in that they can often slip seamlessly from the trail to the town.
After that, there are tees, which are a little more casual and athletic – versatile in a different way, since you can use them for activities other than hiking, such as jogging, yoga, working out, or simply hanging out at home.
A tee (short or long-sleeved) is a good idea for a base layer in terms of hiking. Button-up shirts have not worked so well for us underneath two or more layers and tend to be our go-to for hikes in hotter climates. When hiking somewhere cold, a tee is much more preferable if you’re going to be layering up.
Whether or not you can safely wash a hiking shirt is something you will want to consider. Especially if you are heading off on a long-term trip and will be away for months, the ability to wash a hiking shirt – in any sort of way – is something you’ll want.
Months-long trips like these are where you cannot be too fussy about something delicate that needs ultra-specific cleaning conditions to stop it from getting ruined in the laundry.
However, if you plan on short day hiking trips or just hiking from home, you can probably manage a hiking shirt that is a little more demanding, which needs only warm, gentle washes and such. If you are on a multiday hike, you will want something odor-resistant or quick-drying that you can wash quickly overnight.
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