Top 5 Best Hiking Shirts 2021:
- Columbia Men’s PFG ZERO Rules Short Sleeve Shirt
- Icebreaker Merino Tech Lite Short Sleeve Low Crew Neck Shirt
- Hanes Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt
- Smartwool Men’s Short Sleeve Shirt – Merino 150 Wool
- Women’s Columbia PFG Long Sleeve Shirt
When thinking about hiking, first thing that’ll come to mind to most people as number one priority is probably footwear, and that makes a lot of sense. While hiking, you’re likely to encounter various weather conditions. It’s wise to be prepared for everything, and solid, high quality shoes will do the job.
But what some people may overlook, is the importance of the clothes you are wearing – especially shirts.
Whether you are going to a dry, sunny place or a wet, rainy location it’s important to be prepared for taking a hike. You’ll want to choose only the best qualities a hiking shirt can offer – breathable, moisture wicking fabric with a quick drying feature.
If you need a new hiking shirt for your future adventures, we’ve selected and reviewed both male, female and gender neutral options for you, so you can make the best possible choice!
So, if you are interested in finding out about best hiking shirts, keep on reading!
Related: The Best Insoles For Hiking
5 Best Hiking Shirts In 2021: Detailed Reviews
1. Columbia Men’s PFG ZERO Rules Short Sleeve Shirt – a remarkable budget-friendly option
Columbia ZERO Rules is a popular choice for hiking, mountaineering and all kinds of other activities. This is a short sleeve option, which means it’s excellent for warm weather.
This shirt is made of 100% polyester with Columbia’s Omni Freeze ZERO Technology that makes the material react with sweat to automatically lower the temperature of the fabric, keeping you cool at all times.
The design of the shirt gives it a classic look and a comfortable stretch. So, if you’re looking for a standard, casual piece, this is a terrific option.
Columbia ZERO Rules shirt also features Omni-Wick Technology. It moves the moisture from skin to the fabric where it’s spread across the surface to ensure rapid evaporation.
While many shirts made from synthetic fabrics don’t have antimicrobial properties, this one is treated with an antimicrobial agent that eliminates odors. This feature makes Columbia ZERO Rules shirt perfect for high temperatures!
Another great thing about this shirt is that it features UPF 50 that will protect you from ultraviolet rays! This is especially great if you have sensitive skin, but even if your skin is not that sensitive, it’s still important to wear a shirt with UPF 30 or above!
Besides hiking, Columbia ZERO Rules shirt is suitable for trekking, running, climbing or everyday use. This makes it a versatile option that’s within a reasonable price range!
- Moisture-wicking, quick-drying material
- UPF 50
- A very popular choice that’s usually sold out quickly
2. Smartwool Men’s Short Sleeve Shirt – Merino 150 Wool– ultimate moisture management
This Smartwool Merino 150 Wool shirt is made of 87% merino wool and 13% nylon. The small percentage of nylon makes up for the fact that merino wool is known to be somewhat less durable than synthetic fabrics.
This blend of materials makes the Smartwool shirt suitable for all weather conditions. Since it’s made of breathable, extremely moisture-wicking materials that are odor-resistant, this shirt is great for warm weather and high temperatures.
Merino wool is a high-quality natural fiber that makes this shirt very soft, comfortable and perfect as a base layer in cold weather. In fact, this is how many hikers prefer to use it, because it’s lightweight and the soft wool feels amazing and cozy against your skin in harsh weather conditions.
Smartwool short-sleeve Merino 150 Wool model is designed to have a comfortable fit that comes in various colors and patterns. The light weight of the materials means it dries quite fast.
There are some downsides to this shirt – it is a bit pricey especially considering that merino wool is not the most durable material. However, in this particular model, the wool is mixed with nylon so durability shouldn’t be a problem!
Considering all this, we have chosen to overlook those downsides, since the benefits this shirt offers significantly outweigh them. So, if money is not a problem for you, this is an outstanding choice that you will not regret!
- Excellent moisture wicking
- High-quality material
- Suitable for all weather conditions
- Antimicrobial quality – odor-resistant
- Not very budget-friendly
3. Women’s Columbia PFG Long Sleeve Shirt – a stylish choice
Columbia PFG long sleeve shirt is a perfect mixture of stylish and comfortable. It is a light and airy model that provides excellent moisture-wicking and quick-drying technology.
This is a button shirt with long sleeves and a UPF 50, which means it is a great option if you have skin that’s sensitive to sunlight. If you plan to go on long hikes where you’ll have to spend a lot of time under direct sunlight, make sure to always wear a shirt with a UPF above 30.
With its long sleeves that can be rolled up and buttons that you can easily undo, this Columbia hiking shirt is amazing for both warm and cold weather.
The classic design and feminine seaming will give you a casual, fashionable look if that is something that’s important to you. It’s nicely tailored to have a snug, comfortable fit.
Synthetic materials usually aren’t odor-resistant, but the lightweight nylon fabric of this model is enriched with antimicrobial treatment, making it completely resistant against odor-causing bacteria!
Being a well known outdoor brand, Columbia offers a variety of shirts that are perfect for hiking and this one is one of them. It is a versatile shirt that you can wear on many occasions.
Overall, this is a good-quality, moisture-wicking, comfortable shirt that comes in number of colors you can choose from, and it has a very affordable price!
- A perfect blend of stylish and comfortable
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- UPF 50
- Synthetic material is not everyone’s cup of tea
4. Icebreaker Merino Tech Lite Short Sleeve Low Crew Neck Shirt – high quality and comfort
Icebreaker is, without a doubt, at the top of the game when it comes to high-quality hiking shirts made of merino wool. They offer a range of amounts of merino fibers (from 46% to 100%!).
This particular model is made of 87% merino wool and 13% nylon. In this case, nylon works great to ensure the durability of merino wool. This means that the Icebreaker Merino Tech Lite shirt is a durable, breathable and moisture-wicking shirt that will help give you the best hiking experience.
It goes without saying that merino wool makes this shirt naturally resistant against odors. The short sleeve design and a perfect fit make Icebreaker ideal for all weather conditions. In high temperatures, it will provide quick evaporation of all moisture, and in cold conditions, it will work great as a base layer to keep you warm and cozy.
On top of all this, merino wool is a natural protector against ultraviolet rays! This means that, no matter what, your skin will most certainly be protected from harmful sunlight that makes it age faster!
All in all, Icebreaker Merino Tech Lite shirt deserves a place on this list of best hiking shirts for many reasons – it is a high-quality, comfortable shirt with moisture-wicking properties and it’s budget-friendly!
We are absolutely sure that this shirt will be a great addition to your hiking shirts collection!
- Breathable, moisture-wicking material
- Perfect for all weather conditions
- Some would question the durability of merino wool
5. Hanes Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt – a great gender-neutral pick
Arguably, there aren’t so many gender-neutral choices to make in this category. However, after carefully gathering all the information and knowledge, we can say that some of the options out there are made to fit everyone.
If we disregard the perfect fit, stylish models or feminine seaming, there are still so many great choices. After all, the crucial qualities that we look for in a hiking shirt (quick-dry, breathable, etc.) are gender-neutral!
All this and more makes Hanes Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-shirt an option worth checking out. It is designed to be a comfortable, relaxed fit, not specifically made for any body type. It also comes in many different colors, so everyone can choose what they like.
The material is 100% polyester, which means it is quick-drying and moisture-wicking! These Hanes long sleeve shirts also have something called FreshIQ technology. It means they are enhanced with antimicrobial treatments that make them odor-resistant!
Its comfortable design makes this shirt perfect for many outdoor activities, including hiking. Considering it’s made of polyester, it’s safe to say it’s a durable shirt that doesn’t require any special care.
Overall, this shirt doesn’t have any major flaws to be pointed out, so it is a great choice if you’re looking for a simple, comfortable, unisex hiking shirt!
- FreshIQ technology – enriched with antimicrobial treatments again bad smells
- Made of a long-lasting, low maintenance material
- Very budget-friendly
- Not the best choice if you prefer soft wool fabrics
Three Most Common Types Of Hiking Shirts
The three most frequent types of hiking shirts you will find are short-sleeve, long-sleeve and button-shirt. All of them have their advantages, so let’s see what it is that they offer:
- Short sleeve hiking shirts are a great choice if you’re looking for a more versatile shirt. This type of shirt is great for warm or hot weather, but can also be used as an underlayer when hiking in harsh winter conditions. In cold weather, it will go the extra mile to keep you warm and cosy.
- If your skin is extra sensitive to sunlight, then maybe a long-sleeve hiking shirt is a better option. Furthermore, if you’re taking a hike in tall grass or bushes, or there are a lot of annoying insects in the area, long sleeves will give you the protection you need. Plus, if you’re ever too hot, you can always just roll up your sleeves!
- Button shirt for hiking is the most versatile option. It works amazing for layering, sun protection, and temperature control. If you want to cool down, you can always unbutton it. On the other hand, you can button up and use it as a base layer. Another great feature of button shirts is that most of them have pockets, which means they provide a little bit of extra storage space that’s much needed when hiking!
How To Choose The Perfect Hiking Shirt?
Like most people, you probably don’t want to waste your money on terrible purchases. So it’s important to know what exactly to consider before buying a hiking shirt. These are some of the key things you should really think about before you decide which one to buy.
Choosing the material is maybe the most important thing you’ll have to do. If your hiking shirt is made of a fabric that’s not suitable for numerous weather conditions, it could affect your entire hiking experience. There are some materials you can choose from, like merino wool and polyester, but there are also some you should avoid, like cotton, and here’s why:
- Polyester and synthetic materials are great for wet climates. They are exceptionally moisture wicking and even when they get wet, they will dry pretty quickly. They are also a lot cheaper compared to other fabrics. One downside to these synthetic materials is that they do not have microbial properties, which means they aren’t odor-resistant. So, if your shirt gets stinky, it will stay that way until you wash it.
- Merino wool is, although pricey, undoubtedly the coziest option. Many people don’t like the way polyester feels on their skin (despite its many hiking-friendly qualities) so they will opt for a more expensive but softer option. This is an amazingly breathable, odor-resistant natural fiber that will feel great on your skin. However, it is not as durable as synthetic materials, which is not the best thing considering its price.
- Cotton is the most widely used material and it is perfect for everyday life. But when hiking, this may not be the best choice. It’s not a breathable material and it can actually stop your sweat from evaporating. Also, if it gets wet, cotton will dry much slower than other materials.
2. Sun Protection
- During hiking, you’ll probably be exposed to direct sunlight for many hours. It’s only wise to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet rays in every way possible. Besides sunscreen, you should also wear protective clothing.
- Make sure that your hiking shirt is UPF 30 or above. Everything below that is not considered to be UV-protective. Additionally, the color and the material also play a role in this. Lighter colors are known for repelling UV rays more than darker ones. Polyester and nylon are also good repellants of UV rays, compared to other fabrics, like cotton.
3. Antimicrobial Quality
- Hiking shirts with antimicrobial properties have a great advantage – they keep you odorless! This is great if you’re going on a longer backpacking adventure. Most shirts that have antimicrobial features are made of merino wool.
- Unfortunately, polyester and synthetic materials usually don’t offer this kind of odor-resistance.
See Also: The Best Rain Poncho
How To Take Care Of Your Hiking Shirt
If you wish to know how to take good care of your hiking shirt, we have some useful tips and tricks for you.
It won’t come as a surprise that merino wool is a little bit more delicate than synthetic materials, so it requires a bit more attention. You can throw it in the washing machine with your other clothes, just make sure to always use cold or warm water (never too hot), and to use a medium spin. Using a fast spin cycle will most likely shred it to pieces.
Keep in mind that merino wool shirts don’t need to be washed as often as polyester ones. Washing them too often can actually shorten their lifetime.
We have one more amazing trick for you – make your hiking shirt bug-resistant!
If you’re going on a hike to areas with a lot of insects like mosquitoes or flies, it’ll be very useful to have a bug-resistant shirt.
You can make this at home simply by using something called permethrin. Permethrin is a chemical that is safe to use as an odorless insect repellant. You’ll have to repeat the process of home permethrin treatment after every five or so washes, but it is an amazing trick to protect yourself from annoying bugs!
Final Thoughts & My Recommendation
There are many options available on the market, but we’ve chosen top 5 hiking shirts that have all the crucial qualities – moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabric that protects you from sunlight and offers comfort in all weather conditions.
We’ve made this list carefully and without bias to provide you with all the information about hiking shirts you will need on your next shopping spree. To sum up, these are our top choices:
Top Pick for Men: Columbia Men’s PFG ZERO Rules Short Sleeve Shirt
- This Columbia PFG ZERO Rules shirt with Omni Freeze and Omni Wick technology will provide you with ultimate moisture wicking, quick drying and UV Protection. This is, without a doubt, an absolute winner!
Top Pick for Women: Icebreaker Merino Tech Lite Short Sleeve Low Crew Neck Shirt
- The features that this combo of merino wool and nylon offers are beyond amazing. With a natural, odor-resisting fiber like merino wool, you will feel comfortable and protected throughout your entire hike!
Premium Gender Neutral Option: Hanes Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt
- If you’re looking for a more gender neutral shirt, with a simple design that will fit any body types, than Hanes Cool Dri T-shirt is just the right model for you! It has all the qualities that a hiking shirt should have, like moisture wicking, quick drying and it’s breathable. Its affordable price is just another plus!