Best Hiking Shirts

Hiking Shirts - Reviews & Guides For 2023

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Hiking Shirts Buyers Guide

Hiking is catching quite a popularity among travelers, especially young explorers. The camping industry consistently introduces new products with better innovation for your convenience. In light of these events, hiking shirts have also witnessed some improvements.

Are you looking to buy a new hiking shirt? You don't want to wear worn-out and old shirts when you have countless new options! However, the competition between the manufacturers to provide the best shirt has led to confusion.

Don't you worry! We are going to help you get the best shirt. Like any other hiking gear, it all comes down to considering certain factors to find the best hiking shirt. Therefore, we bring you a complete guide that will help you understand the proper shirt's requirements.

Whether you need a branded shirt or a cost-effective choice to get the work done, we are bringing you answers to some common questions. Furthermore, you will learn things you might have never known before.

What is a hiking shirt? Is it different from an everyday shirt?

A hiking shirt is slightly different from regular shirts, but you can use it daily. It is more durable with better breathability to provide the best comfort to the wearer. A hiking shirt can be a great choice if you're going hiking, camping, or want to partake in other sports activities.

Similarly, many people choose to wear it as a clothing article for swimming or underwater exploration. Unlike standard shirts, these don't make much sound when you move. Thus, many hunters also use it. A hiking shirt is available in different materials for a different purpose.

In simple words, a hiking shirt is a high-grade shirt designed to withstand wear and tear during camping, hiking, and trekking. It can provide comfort similar to a standard shirt with better breathability and functioning. As there are countless options for hiking shirts according to climate and requirements, it is vital to have an easy to understand guide to help you decide.

Reasons to buy a hiking shirt.

You can probably graze at some of the benefits from reading about the hiking shirts above. However, we are going to elaborate on some of the compelling benefits. Have you heard about hiking pants? Even if not, you might have used camping tents and sleeping bags. All of them are built to be lightweight and help you with your camping endeavors.

Similarly, a hiking shirt provides you the following benefits:

Longer use

The primary benefit of a hiking shirt is that you can use it for a longer time. It doesn't require consistent wash and maintenance. If you get one with antimicrobial properties, then it further reduces these requirements.

You can wear a hiking shirt longer for any activity, even throughout the day, without getting uncomfortable. If you have a multiple day trip and need to pack light, a hiking shirt would be a valuable addition.

Easy to pack

Most of the hiking shirts are made from the fabric that make them compact. You can fold them and further compress them to preserve space in your bag. More importantly, they are very lightweight and don't add much weight to your backpack.

Even insulating or woolen shirts are sleek without bulking up your backpack. Their portability makes them a fantastic addition to your wardrobe.

Light on the body

Hiking shirts offer the best comfort out of all different types of shirts. If you don't like the irritating woolen wear for winters, you can get a hiking shirt as an alternative. They are light and breathable. You don't feel like you're wearing anything. A hiking shirt delicately covers your body.

Heavy-duty performance

Despite its light-sensation, these shirts are highly durable. They can withstand the regular wear and tear of the hiking. Thus, they offer apt protection against the elements of the wild. More importantly, hiking shirts can last for a longer time than standard shirts. You can hand wash them without compromising their integrity, making them highly user friendly.

Better temperature regulation

Even if you buy a shirt with waterproofing or wind-proofing qualities, it will still maintain remarkable temperature regulation. A hiking shirt does a better job of helping you maintain optimum body temperature. It won't let you drenched in sweat too much for the breeze to make you feel cold suddenly.

Similarly, an insulated hiking shirt would make sure to help you keep warm through the body heat. All of these small quantities combine to make a considerable impact on a person.

Helps you maintain performance

If you combine all of these qualities of a hiking shirt, you get optimum performance for yourself. There's no need to take frequent breaks or wait for the shirt to dry up. It reduces the requirement of proper maintenance. What's more? Odor can be a problem for many people who are hiking, as the sweat dries out. However, a hiking shirt wouldn't smell bad and help you feel fresh.

Due to proper air circulation, temperature maintenance, protection against insects, microbes, and even the sun, you can have a better hiking experience. These are the qualities and benefits of a hiking shirt, which makes it a reasonable investment.

Factors to consider when buying a hiking shirt

You must be getting restless to buy your hiking shirt. It's about time we get down to the main factors to consider. This guide intends to be thorough and precise. You can cut down below to find some quick selection guide.

However, if you want to be thorough, we advise you to read ahead and follow through with the complete guide. So, let's begin:

The layering for the shirt

Every hiking enthusiast will advise you to wear layers when you go hiking. Even in a scorching climate like the desert, you need to have a dual-layer for a shirt. What does it mean? It means that you should wear two shirts for hiking.

Base Layer

A base shirt that will help with maintaining sweat, humidity, and other similar factors. Conventionally, a full-sleeve t-shirt would be a good option for a base shirt. P

proper wicking and breathability with apt size for fitting should be primary considerations here. It shouldn't be too loose, nor should it be too tight to provide discomfort.

Second layer

Now, for the second layer, you need a shirt that offers proper insulation or ventilation for temperature control. It is a protective layer, so it needs to withstand obstacles like rocks, stones, and branches.

More importantly, depending on the climate, it will most likely be used to provide warmth. As a general hiking rule, the second layer should always be an insulating type. You can wear a loose fit for the second layer without any problem.

Consider the climate

The purpose of your shirt will depend on the climate for hiking. Make sure to check the maximum and minimum temperature of the area. Check for rain and other weatherly conditions before you plan hiking for the site. All of these factors will help you make a better choice for a hiking shirt.

According to climate, you might have the following requirement:


Hiking in tropical weather invites a lot of sweat as it is a humid environment with a lot of moisture. It would be best to have a hiking shirt with high breathability to ensure that proper air circulation is maintained. A lightweight shirt that is easy to carry would be a big plus. Wicking quality should be the best to offer fast drying.

Wicking is essential to prevent excessive cooling or feeling 'wet' when hiking. That could exhaust you. More importantly, a hiking shirt for tropical regions should provide apt sun protection and thoroughly cover your arms. It would be great if you could find a shirt with extra qualities like antimicrobial and insect repellent qualities.


For hiking in a desert region, you would need two different types of hiking shirt. For daytime, you need light fabric with high breathability. Much like tropical, it should cover your limbs, and sun protection quality would be excellent. Deserts tend to have high wind flow. Hence, wind resistance would be excellent quality in the shirt.

It shouldn't provide too much opening. Otherwise, you will have grains of sand and dust that could irritate the skin. Nights in the desert can be cold, and you would need proper insulation for them. You would need a shirt that has apt insulation without causing any problem. For that, you can rely upon the second layer of the shirt.


Determining a proper hiking shirt for a temperate climate could be tricky because you need a versatile shirt. You need a shirt that has both wick and insulation properties, at least for the base. The second shirt should have wind and water resistance to be able to withstand the unpredictable nature.

A crucial factor here is the seam of the shirt. You need a comfortable fit that won't cause too many problems for your skin but still firmly grasp it. Apart from that, you'd have to compromise some comfort and assume the worst you might face in a temperate climate.


Mountains are going to test your merit, and the same applies to your shirt. You need a durable shirt to withstand the extreme challenges of the mountains. A versatile and weatherproof shirt would be essential. You need articles that maintain proper flow for breathability and offer the utmost comfort.

Other factors would depend on the temperature of the mountains for the fabric. If you are going into denser woods, you'd need proper insect repellant. Alpines, in general, could be pleasant, and there isn't much you need to consider other than comfort. It all breaks down to temperature and weather conditions.

Type of fabric

Polyester or nylon

This is the best option for a hiking shirt, especially for a base. It has remarkable wicking qualities, dries out faster, and doesn't smell bad. You can easily find them with antimicrobial and anti-odor properties. Most of them have recyclable or cost-effective material for affordability.

Polyester or nylon could be an excellent choice for a year-round base shirt.


Gone are the days of itchy and irritable wool that could be highly uncomfortable to wear. Hiking shirts primarily utilize merino wool that is more breathable and even have wicking qualities. More importantly, they dry out quickly and don't release any odor. Overall, the fabric is delicate and soft on the skin.


A fleece shirt is more like a jacket. This material is still soft, with thick fibers made of polyester. They are warmer despite the polyester design. A fleece material will be the right choice if you want a durable second layer while you go camping.


Alternatively, you can use a cotton second-shirt instead of fleece. These have poor wicking qualities but absorb sweat efficiently. A cotton hiking shirt could enable you to have better breathability and comfort. However, it is not suitable for a colder climate.

Properties of the fabric


It allows your shirt to quickly pull the moisture or sweat from your body (skin) and drain it away. Wicking is an excellent quality to get in a shirt. Especially if you think you're going to sweat too much or plan on hiking in humid temperature.


Insulation doesn't mean that your clothes will provide warmth. It means that the hiking shirt that you wear will contain your body temperature. Thus, it will keep you warm by using the body's temperature. Insulation is generally great for the second layer of the shirt.


It is a general rule of thumb for any camping and hiking activity to always have waterproof quality. Your tent, sleeping bag, jacket, even shirt should be waterproof. If your shirt is waterproof, it will prevent you from getting soaked in the water.


Let's put it this way: a windproof shirt will prevent a breeze from fluctuating your temperature too much. In some cases, windproof to prevent dust particles from getting inside and brushing against your body. It is a good quality to look for to avoid getting sick from the cold winds hitting your body that has elevated temperature.

Sun protection

You would always need to carry a sunscreen lotion for optimum protection against the sun. However, some clothes come with UPF, also known as Ultraviolet Protection Factor. If you plan on hiking in a sunny environment, consider a shirt with a higher UPF rating. It will protect your skin against damage from UV rays of the sun.


This is an excellent quality to look for, especially for your base shirt to provide apt wicking. Apart from that, breathability is vital to maintain proper airflow. It prevents the shirt from getting too uncomfortable for you. Breathability may come from other qualities such as the fitting, size, and seam of the shirt.

A Quick Guide to Help You

While the above-given guide is a full-fledged article that spares no detail, here we have a quick buying guide. Now, these points are still crucial for you to read if you've read the more comprehensive guide. However, if you chose to skip the thorough guide and want a quick buying assistance, this one would do the job.

How does it feel?

The feeling of a hiking shirt is vital to ensure a comfortable hiking experience. It shouldn't be too heavy to slow you down. The lighter the hiking shirt is, the better. However, some insulated shirts may not be too light.

The seam is an integral aspect to consider while determining the fitting for size. It shouldn't rub against your body, or you will end up getting blisters. In some cases, scratches and cuts with boils could form. For a base shirt, choose the size that fits you best without being too loose or too tight. As for the second layer, you can have a more easygoing choice for more comfort.

Who Are You Hiking With?

Why does it matter to consider who you're hiking with? If you're a parent who is hiking with kids, you will need durable clothes to withstand them. You might often have to carry them with you, so you can't compromise the breathability.

If you bring snacks and drinks, whether you're traveling with kids or friends, you should have easy to clean hiking shirts for the best experience. Hiking shirts for kids need to be more comfortable and adequately insulated. Kids don't sweat too much, so you can trade wicking for better insulation.

The Duration of The Hike

How long will you hike for? This will impact how you will smell and if you should carry extra hiking shirts. Suppose you plan on hiking for two or more days. While camping, you would need an extra shirt. Easy to wash hiking shirt with antimicrobial properties would be a great choice.

If you plan on hiking in the desert, the night time will get cold, so the second shirt should be well-insulated. That's why the hike's duration will impact the type of hiking shirt you will buy and carry with you. An Anti-odor shirt becomes vital for long hiking trips.

Wash & Maintenance

Of course, it all breaks down to how frequently you would have to wash a hiking shirt. Do you need to spend on its maintenance too much? Well, the good news is, hiking shirts can withstand rough handling. So, you can wash and store them however you want.

The maintenance requirement is minimal. A hiking shirt would last much longer than any other standard shirt. However, you would have to check and see the washing the hiking shirt requires. Often, some hiking shirts have a specific requirement.

Price Factor

As we’ve mentioned before, you shouldn’t consider the brand of the shirt for hiking. What’s more important is the features and qualities they offer. So, make sure to buy the one that has most of what you would need for hiking.

How much does a hiking shirt cost? That would be something for you to consider. You can't go over the budget. Even if you choose not to have an antimicrobial or waterproof hiking shirt, you can still get a very decent hiking shirt. You don't necessarily require UV protection or wind resistance. These are all perks.

Remember, the most important factor is the comfort and functionality of a hiking shirt. Anything else is extra, a perk. So, don't spend excessively on these shirts that it makes a hole in your budget. However, they can be worth their price because they have a better life than regular shirts.

FAQs: Best hiking shirts

Q: Can I wear a denim shirt, jacket, or jeans?

A: You should avoid denim anything for hiking. It is usually very tight and uncomfortable. More importantly, it might restrict your movement and prove to be highly ineffective. Fashion should be the last thing in your mind when going hiking. Comfort should be first. The functioning of your clothes is the most vital aspect of hiking.

Q: Is a shirt with a zipper a better choice?

A: Buying a shirt with or without a zipper is a personal preference. However, for a base shirt, you should have a t-shirt. The zipper for the second layer of the shirt depends on your use for it. Many people find it convenient than buttons to loosen up or provide better fitting. However, others find the zip to be restrictive and uncomfortable.

Q: Do antimicrobials mean I don't have to wash the shirt?

A: No. Antimicrobial is a quality that prevents the buildup of bacteria and germs. Some fabrics may be great at avoiding their buildup, but that's not the only thing that makes a shirt dirty. You have dust, sweat, and moisture. In other words, while antimicrobial quality may postpone the washing requirements, you will inevitably have to wash your shirt. Proper hygiene is essential for hiking.


There's no need for you to contemplate premium brands for a real hiking adventure. Hiking can be an exhaustive task, mainly if you're new to it. If you genuinely want to experience the 'fun' aspects of hiking, you need comfortable clothing. Comfortable clothes start with a proper shirt selection.

As long as you follow this guide, you will have a perfect shirt. Always consider your budget and remember, functionality is more important than fashion. With this buyers' guide for a hiking shirt, you will manage to get the best choice available! / - © Copyright 2020