When you go out hiking in the woods, what you wear is as important as what you bring with you. A good hiker will make sure to wear comfortable clothes that will protect them from the elements and insects, especially when it comes to shirts.
Fortunately, there are shirts available for virtually every type of hiking environment for men and women to wear. The summer is coming, this guide will look back on the best hiking shirts that 2020 had to other both genders, as well as the pros and cons to each.
- Read more: Top 8 Best Hiking Boots 2020
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- 5 Best Hiking Shirts for Men 2020
- 1. White Sierra Men’s Bug Free Sanibel II – Best for Hiking in Locations with Lots of Bugs and Sunlight
- 2. MAGCOMSEN Men's Shirt – Best in All-weather Environments
- 3. Vapor Apparel Men's Repreve – Best for Hiking for Extended Time in the Sun
- 4. ColdPruf Men's Platinum II – Best for Hiking in Cold Weather
- 5. Outdoor Research Men's Ferrosi Wind Shirt – Best for Hiking Near Water or in Windy Conditions
- 5 Best Hiking Shirts for Women 2020
- 1. White Sierra Women’s Gobi Desert – Best for Hiking in Hot Regions
- 2. WoolX Brooke-Women's Merino Wool Shirt – Best for Cool or Cold Weather
- 3. ExOfficio Women's Bugs Away – Best for Hiking in Warm Places
- 4. Columbia Women's Tidal Tee II – Best for Hiking Near Water and in Sunny Regions
- 5. Miss Fortune Women's Workout T-Shirt – Best for Hot and Cold weather
- How to Choose the Best Hiking Shirts
5 Best Hiking Shirts for Men 2020
1. White Sierra Men’s Bug Free Sanibel II – Best for Hiking in Locations with Lots of Bugs and Sunlight
White Sierra has been family owned and operated since 1979, and they know what to get people to enjoy nature. Their line of clothes are for any kind of outdoor activity, from a picnic in the park to a full-blown hike. Better still, they are fashionable enough for everyday use. Case in point, their bug free Sanibel long sleeve shirt for men.
The White Sierra Sanibel is woven out of 100% nylon. In the clothing industry, nylon is a good material for absorbing sweat and quick drying. This makes it perfect for taking up sweat off a person’s body and getting rid of it, keeping them cool.
The White Sierra Sanibel also contains a special fabric with a UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, of +30. What this means is that the shirt will help block out harmful UV rays from the sun. When hiking in the wilderness for extended periods, the chance of exposure to the Sun’s UV rays is great. The fabric in this shirt will protect a person from the rays.
Insects can also be a major problem while hiking. Flies, ants, ticks, and mosquitoes can carry diseases that humans can get from bites. The White Sierra Sanibel, though, has built in protection, called Insect Shield. Odorless and colorless, Insect Shield uses the repellant Permethrin. EPA approved since 1977, Permethrin has an excellent safety record and repels mosquitoes, ticks, flies, ants, and more. It is safe for all ages and will last for seventy times in the washer.
A final simple yet important feature is the shirt’s roll up sleeves. If you are hiking in warm weather, you can roll up the sleeves and put on some bug spray.
- Made from nylon, provides great sweat protection
- Ultraviolet Protection Factor of +30
- Repels all insects
- Insect repellant lasts seventy times in the wash
- Does not protect face
- Repellant eventually fades
2. MAGCOMSEN Men's Shirt – Best in All-weather Environments
For more than nineteen years, Magcomsen has focused on one thing: delivering quality. The clothes they make are military grade in toughness. At the same time, they are also comfortable. Durability meets fashion with Magcomsen’s rip-stop shirt.
This shirt was woven with the intention of being rip-stop. That is, it is made to be resistant to ripping. The secret is the seams, zippers, and buttons. The long sleeves can be zipped into short sleeves: roll them up and secure them with the button tabs. Perfect for any temperature.
The front of the shirt has chest pockets, allowing for easy storage of small items. The button down collar makes it look fancy enough to wear in public, as well. The back has mesh-lined vents around the shoulders to keep air flowing and keeping a person cool.
- Rip resistant
- Can be made into short sleeve
- Resistant to wrinkles, fading, and shrinking
- Back is vented to let air flow
- Size can be inaccurate
3. Vapor Apparel Men's Repreve – Best for Hiking for Extended Time in the Sun
Based in Hanhan, South Carolina, Vapor Apparel is an industry leader in blank apparel. They dedicate themselves to making clothes using eco-friendly practices and recycled materials. One of their best products on the market is their men’s Sun Protection Performance Long Sleeve Shirt.
Vapor Apparel’s shirts use what they refer to as PURE-tech. This trademark technology provides high-level moisture absorbing features forever. The garment will soak up sweat and get rid of it as quickly.
Next is its anti-microbial tech, which keeps the fabrics fresh and germ free. Aside from keeping smells away, it extends the lifespan of the shirt.
The Vapor Apparel Shirt is also meant to provide 50+ UPF protection against UV rays. It gives someone an effective protection against solar radiation. It is so effective, the Skin Cancer Foundation certifies it, and so you know that it is good.
This shirt comes in more than twenty-two different colors, so there is bound to be one that will suit your taste. Since it is a performance shirt, though, washing it may require a delicate touch. Machine wash and then let it air dry in order to maintain its properties. It will be worth the extra care, though: this is not only great for hiking, but also any outdoor activity!
- Made from recycled materials
- Keeps germs and odors from forming
- UPF of 50+
- Quick to get rid of sweat
- Comes in 22 different colors
- Needs to be handled with care
- Has to be air dried after washing
4. ColdPruf Men's Platinum II – Best for Hiking in Cold Weather
ColdPruf Baselayer’s motto is simple and to the point: “we own cold.” Their quest is to create warm and toasty clothes that will improve your outdoor life. With their Men’s Platinum Performance Neck Top, they seem to have gotten the concept of a warm base down to a fault.
The Platinum II neck top is a dual-layer shirt meant to provide the most warmth possible. The inner layer is 100% polyester of their own design while the outer is blend of polyester and merino wool. The materials help to absorb heat and thus trap it inside the shirt, keeping the wearer warm at all times. Meanwhile, the mix of merino wool and polyester will soak up water like a sponge and then evaporate it. The whole Crew contains antimicrobial materials to prevent long last odor.
To prevent any discomfort, the Crew has stay-put cuffs, no tags, and the seams are all flat. The odds of it chafing the skin are thus small. The Crew is also thin enough to wear something on top of it, but provides enough warmth to wear on its own.
- No tags
- Great at getting rid of sweat
- Keeps you warm as possible
- Protects against odor
- Can be worn by itself or as base layer
- Can be a size too big
- Can be itchy for some people
5. Outdoor Research Men's Ferrosi Wind Shirt – Best for Hiking Near Water or in Windy Conditions
According to its description on Amazon, the Outdoor Research Men’s Ferrosi Wind Shirt is “More than a shirt, not quite a jacket.” It seems to be a sort of hybrid between the two different types of clothing. Like a jacket, it has several zippers on it and the neck, arms, and pocket. The seams are also completely flat, making for extra durability. The appearance and texture, though, seem more like that of a shirt.
The Wind Shirt has 86% nylon and 14% spandex in its design. It is built to be lightweight and breathable, and resistant to wind and water. A person can wear it when hiking in places that have bodies of water and see frequent wind, like near mountains. In that kind of geography, wind and water can slow a person down when they least expect it. This wind shirt might be one of the best ways to resist the harsh elements while hiking.
- Flat seams make it extra durable
- Zippers for neck, arms, and pockets
- Resistant to wind and water
- Unnecessary zippers on forearms
- Can be itchy for some people
5 Best Hiking Shirts for Women 2020
1. White Sierra Women’s Gobi Desert – Best for Hiking in Hot Regions
Another shirt made by White Sierra, this is their Gobi Desert long-sleeve for women. It is made from 100% pure polyester and comes in fourteen different colors. Like nylon, polyester is good at absorbing moisture and then evaporating it. The quick drying properties make it easy to wash when you are out hiking in the wilderness.
Additional features include a side zip pocket for people to place their valuables. If the weather gets too hot to handle, the sleeves can roll up. The biggest feature, though, is the mesh venting on the back of the shirt, allowing air to pass through.
The name Gobi Desert invokes images of a hot and sunlit landscape, which is why White Sierra named the shirt so. The material it is made from will protect you from the sun’s heat and UV rays, with a rating of 30 UPF. Altogether, the shirt is for those who go hike in regions with hot temperatures and sunlight.
- Quick drying materials
- Comes in fourteen different colors
- Vents on back to let air pass through
- UPF rating of 30
- Size issues around the chest area
2. WoolX Brooke-Women's Merino Wool Shirt – Best for Cool or Cold Weather
The WoolX Brooke Merino Wool shirt will keep person nice and warm at all times. Made from 100% merino wool imported from Australia, this shirt is perfect for hiking on a cool autumn day or a winter snowstorm. Thanks to merino’s natural properties, it will repel smelly bacteria, making odor history. Like many hiking shirts, the Wool Brooke will suck up sweat and get rid of it to keep you comfortable outside. As a bonus, it is 100% machine washable and will not shrink after washing, or your money back!
Like the Coldpruf Platinum Neck Top, the Wool Brooke is wearable by itself or as a base layer for more clothing. While it will maintain body warmth, it is recommended to wear extra clothes when hiking in the cold. Thanks to its design, though, women can wear it in different seasons, making it versatile.
A possible flaw in this shirt, though, is the quality of the material used. Some customers complained that holes started appearing in the shirt after a few times in the wash. It should be treated with extra care in order to ensure its longevity.
- Repels odor causing germs
- Gets rid of sweat
- Machine washable
- Will not shrink in wash
- Best if part of layers of clothes
- Holes can appear after washing
3. ExOfficio Women's Bugs Away – Best for Hiking in Warm Places
This nylon rip-stop shirt is lightweight and able to keep out the sunlight and the insects. It has a sun guard rating of UPF 30+ and features flow thru ventilation. This means that the shirt allows for the movement of air through the front and back to keep a women cool at all times. It is quick drying and will get rid of that nasty sweat that comes with hiking.
Like the White Sierra Bug Free Sanibel, the ExOfficio Breez’r contains Insect Guard. It has that trusty bug repellant permethrin in it to ensure it stays effective in the shirt’s life. This is perfect for any women who enjoys the joy of hiking in the outdoors.
- UPF rating of 30+
- Repels insects
- Lets air flow through front and back
- Issues with shirt sizes
- Buttons potentially too small
4. Columbia Women's Tidal Tee II – Best for Hiking Near Water and in Sunny Regions
This shirt was born to last longer. Made from an interlock of 100% polyester, the Tidal Tee combines several great aspects. It is quick to dry, will soak up sweat and get rid of it as fast, and it has a UPF rating of 50. The raglan sleeves allow for high levels of mobility while providing comfort.
This shirt has the added benefit of being made by Columbia. Columbia is well known for creating a wide variety of quality clothes for athletes and outdoor activities, giving the Tidal Tee an edge in respect. This shirt is ideal for someone who wants to go hiking in summer weather or head down to a nearby river to cool off.
There do not seem to be any major issues or drawbacks to this shirt. The only inconvenience may be the limited number of colors that it comes in, though.
- High levels of mobility
- Gets rid of sweat fast
- Comes in small number of colors
5. Miss Fortune Women's Workout T-Shirt – Best for Hot and Cold weather
This is not an outright hiking shirt, but it is the #1 bestseller in women’s hiking shirts on Amazon. The Miss Fortune yoga Tops is a versatile piece of clothing. Made from 95% polyester and 5% spandex, it is flexible and dries fast. The block design adds to the stylish appearance, heightening its appeal. It also comes in both a short sleeve and long sleeve version, providing for both warm and cold weather.
It is important to remember that this is not strictly a hiking shirt. It is meant for any type of exercise that leads to a lot of sweating. As such, it may be better suited to people with a casual interest in hiking rather than enthusiasts. The high mobility and quick drying is a good feature, though, so it would good for a beginner.
- Best seller on Amazon
- Flexibility and quick to dry
- Comes in short and long sleeves
- Not meant solely for hiking
- Tighter on the bottom than top
How to Choose the Best Hiking Shirts
Before you hit that “add to cart” button, there are some things that you need to consider. First, exactly what type of hiking do you see yourself doing? Is this something you want to do casually or are you willing to spend several days at a time in the wilderness? Whatever your answer is, preparation is key!
1. Stay away from Cotton and Silk!
First, do not wear a cotton shirt, no matter how comfortable it may be! Cotton soaks up sweat like a sponge, but it does not get rid of it, so it stays wet. If you do not mind the stickiness, you can wear it in the heat, but in freezing weather, that can lead to hypothermia.
The same can go for silk: it feels nice, but it has usually not suited for rugged terrain or for dealing with odor
2. Wool is your Friend
Now that that is out of the way, it should be important to consider the material you want your hiking shirt to have. Modern wool clothing does not itch as it did in the past, and merino wool is comfortable, breathable and does not keep odor. Synthetics like polyester or nylon are cheaper, but they can smell, so some are treated to prevent it.
3. Keep an Eye on the Weather
Before you go out hiking, you need to keep in mind the weather and climate of your location. If you are heading out in the winter or in a mountain region, then the Wool Brooke or Coldpruf Platinum are good. If it is very cold, though, do not rely on them alone. You need to wear several layers of clothes to prevent frostbite and hypothermia. These shirts are great to act as a base layer.
4. Guard Against Bugs
If you go somewhere with many bugs, then the Insect Guard shirts are for you. Do not think that it will keep you safe completely, though! Be prepared to put spray on any exposed skin or you will be bitten.
5. Function over Fashion
Above all, you should think about function over fashion. Nobody cares if they look good if they get tired and miserable in the wilderness. You should also keep an eye on the cost. If something looks too expensive, you may find a cheaper but effective alternative.
Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the world, but if you are not prepared, it could end badly.
Buying the right kind of gear is important when it comes to hiking, and shirts are some of the first pieces of clothing that come to mind. Do not settle for your normal, everyday shirt for a hiking trip: get a shirt that will last and protect you. Whether it is from bugs, wind, or the temperature, there are plenty of hiking shirts for men and women to choose.