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Like to get a sweat on whilst you're on the trails? Don't worry, we've got your back. Literally. Dig in to find the best men's hiking shirt for your adventures.
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Steph C

Best Men's Hiking Shirts: Our Top Picks for 2021

Scroll down for the full reviews of our top men's hiking shirts...

Summer is finally here and lockdown is saying its (painstakingly slow) goodbyes,  so it’s time to head out to the hills for some fun. Summer hiking can be hot work though, yes, even in the UK! There are few things worse than walking for miles with your back wet through with sweat and having to wring your shirt out every time you stop.

Or walking into the pub for the PWP (post-walk pint), fully aware that you’re giving off a bar-clearing odour. You’ll need a shirt that’s comfy and that’ll keep you cool and dry - the best shirts are quick drying, breathable and lightweight.

We’ve done our outdoor research on some of the best hiking shirts out there for your summer adventures. Don’t just keep them for warm weather - they’re so good they make cracking base layers for winter trips too.

Best men's hiking shirt

OK, so which is the Best Men's Hiking Shirt?

Best for: multi- activities - Icebreaker Men’s Merino 150

Best for: extremely hot environments - Columbia Silver Ridge

Best for: trail runners - Patagonia Capilene Cool

Best for: long distance walkers and backpackers- Icebreaker Tech Lite Merino

Best for: moisture control - Columbia Zero Rules

Best for: ultralight hikers - Arc’teryx Motus Crew

Best for: those on a budget - Salomon Agile SS

Best for: comfort - Black Diamond Rhythm Tee

Best for: odour control- Outdoor Research Echo

Best Hiking Shirts for Men - Things to Consider  

What's the best material for a hiking shirt?

Merino wool

Merino is used in many hiking shirts as it’s super soft yet breathable. It’s naturally antimicrobial meaning it’s great at reducing odours and keeping those pongy pits at bay - a merino shirt can be worn for days on the trail without being washed.

They’re quick drying so if some sweat does leak through it’ll dry before you’re even aware of it., whereas fabrics like cotton will absorb water instead of wicking it away from the body. However merino hiking shirts can be on the pricy side and can also be less durable. Some products with a high merino content can only be washed in cold water.

Many manufacturers get around this by adding nylon fibres to make them harder wearing. Now, you might think wearing wool in the summer is just plain wrong - we tend to associate merino wool products with warmth after all.

However, merino wool can actually make a great summer product as it can be knit very thinly – you’d be best choosing a hiking shirt with 150gsm – 200gsm (grams per square metre). The merino wool fibres also give a great natural protection against UV radiation – what can’t it do!

A lot of hiking shirts use core spun merino wool. This involves spinning the wool around a super-thin nylon core which creates something that’s stronger and more durable than traditional merino, but still keeps its qualities. Shirts with core spun merino tend to last longer and stand up much better to repeated washing.

Merino wool hiking shirt

Synthetic fabrics

Most synthetic shirts are made from polyester - it dries fast and absorbs less sweat than other fabrics. They’re not as soft as merino shirts, so may not be quite as comfy, but are generally cheaper. They are usually machine washable and can be washed more frequently than merino shirts.

Polyester shirts are often treated with an antimicrobial agent to give some defence against sweaty odours, but this can start to disappear after several washes.

Nylon is sometimes combined with polyester and merino to give a shirt the ability to stretch and to strengthen fabrics.

Sun protection

Some of the best hiking shirts have sun protection built in and the UPF rating indicates how much UV radiation it’ll protect against. The UPF rating can be affected by certain factors such as the type of fibre and the looseness of the weave. Sun protection can become less effective over time with repeated wear and washing.

Comfort

Your shirt needs to feel comfortable from the moment you put it on. The best hiking shirts are those you don’t even know you’re wearing. Anything that doesn’t feel quite right in the comfort of your lounge will be amplified ten times when out on the trail. Check the fit – is it too tight? Too restrictive? Too loose? Having loads of spare material flapping around can be worse than not being able to move freely.

Nobody loves that chafing sensation of a raised seam rubbing your skin raw, so the best men's hiking shirts will have flat seams. The most popular type is a Flatlock seam, which has no layers underneath to irritate skin.  

Hiking shirts merino wool or polyester

Types of hiking shirts

Short-sleeved T-shirts

These are versatile, lightweight and generally wick away sweat. Made from both merino wool and synthetics, some have extra features such as pockets, mesh for extra ventilation and reflector panels.

Their downside is that they don’t protect your arms and neck from the sun or bitey insects.

Long-sleeve T-shirts

These provide better protection for your arms, but they’re mostly either crew or V-neck so they won’t protect your neck. It’s also difficult to roll the sleeves back if you get really hot.

They may be more suited to slightly cooler weather, however many long sleeve T-shirts are breathable and have odour control built in. They're also a natural insect repellent, as they cover more of your skin (this will protect you from the sun, too)

Button-up shirts

A button-up hiking shirt has the advantage of letting you choose to let more air in by partially unbuttoning them. They usually come with long sleeves and a collar, which gives better protection from the sun and from insects.

Sleeves can usually be rolled back if desired and they often have other features such as a chest pocket or mesh panels.

best men's hiking shirt - long sleeve hiking shirt

The verdict

The best hiking shirt for you will largely be a matter of personal choice and what you’ll be using the shirt for. If you’re going somewhere hot, or you’ll be doing lots of high-intensity stuff such as trail running, you’ll need a shirt that sucks the sweat from your body, like the Patagonia Caprilene Cool.

If you’re back-packing along a long trail, you’ll want a shirt you can wear for days without washing, so the Icebreaker Tech Lite may fit the bill nicely. Going to be camping? Check out our best tent brands and shelters for a good night's kip.

Walking somewhere slightly cooler or feel the cold? You’ll appreciate the extra warmth of the Salomon Agile.

You’ll also need to think about the fit of your shirt. Some are designed to cling to the body, whereas others give a much looser fit for greater freedom of movement. It depends on what feels best for you. You also need to consider whether you prefer a short or longer sleeve shirt.

Comfortable  and moisture wicking men's shirts for hiking

FAQ

How do I wash my hiking shirt?

If it's made from merino, you’ll need to handle it with slightly more care than a synthetic shirt. Merino shirts are best washed on cooler cycles with a medium spin. Try not to put them in a drier – excessive temperatures can shrink them faster than lockdown shrank the rest of our wardrobe.

Due to the antimicrobial properties of merino wool they don’t need washing as often as synthetic shirts. Washing them only when they really need it will extend their life.

Don’t use fabric softeners to wash hiking gear, they block the tiny pores which give them their wicking properties. It’s a good idea to wash your sweaty hiking gear as soon as possible instead of leaving it to fester at the bottom of the laundry basket – the odour will fester and be much more difficult to get out. If you can’t wash your gear straight away, hang it up to let it dry out.  

Synthetic shirts can generally be washed on a normal cycle, ideally around 40C. Again, avoid putting them into the drier if you don’t want them to shrink. Both Merino and synthetic shirts are pretty quick drying – don’t hang them up if they’re wet from the machine though as they could stretch out of shape. Lie them out somewhere flat instead.  

Check out the washing instructions for each shirt on the label to be on the safe side.

Should I go for a long-sleeve or short-sleeve hiking shirt?

Obviously, it's completely up to you, but if you're somewhere with lots of bugs, a long-sleeve hiking shirt will act as a natural insect repellent. Shirt-sleeves would be cooler in hotter weather, but would protect your arms less from the sun and of course, don't forget the farmer tan lines.

Can't I just wear a normal shirt?

Of course you can! But if you're going on a long distance walk or just do a lot of backpacking trips, it might get to the point where you think it's worth investing. A normal shirt will do the trick just fine, but it won't necessarily be the best at temperature regulation, odor resistance or drying quickly.

What's the best material to look for in a hiking shirt?

The best material in our opinion is merino wool. Polyester and other synthetics do the trick just as well, but merino wins our vote for a being a lot more sustainable and kind to the environment, and a lot more durable too.

ourComparison

Outdoor Research Echo Tee Hiking Shirt

we love the stylish two-tone design

Black Diamond Rhythm Tee

a great all-rounder – use it as a base layer in winter

Salomon Agile SS T-Shirt

the stash pockets are a nice touch

Arc’teryx Motus Crew Hiking Shirt

the fit keeps the shirt close to your body – no annoying excess material

Columbia Zero Rules Hiking Shirt

stylish and comfy, yet keeps you cool

Icebreaker Tech Lite Merino

One hiking shirt is all you need for a multi-day adventure

Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight Hiking Shirt

it’s made from recycled polyester which is a pretty good plus in our book

Columbia Silver Ridge Long Sleeve Shirt

It’s stylish enough to wear on or off the trail

Icebreaker Merino 150 Big Tee Hiking Shirt

even when wet it won’t feel clammy against your skin

final score

90

%

final score

88

%

final score

81

%

final score

81

%

final score

88

%

final score

86

%

final score

86

%

final score

86

%

final score

86

%

The Good

  • Fast drying AirVent fabric
  • UPF 15 sun protection

The Good

  • Nuyarn fabric dries five times faster than normal merino hiking shirts
  • Good odour control

The Good

  • Side stash pockets are handy for stowing money or keys
  • AdvancedSkin ActiveDry technology for fast drying

The Good

  • Flatlock seams help reduce chafing
  • Superlight Phasic FL bi-component fabric for superior moisture management
  • Arc’teryx are committed to transition 80% of their products to Fair Trade certification by 2025

The Good

  • Omni-Freeze Zero sweat activated cooling material keeps you from overheating
  • Modern classic fit with comfort stretch

The Good

  • Durable merino corespun wool blend helps regulate body temperature
  • Can be machine washed at 40 degrees unlike other merino shirts

The Good

  • 83% of Patagonia’s line is Fair Trade Certified sewn – more than any other clothing brand
  • Slightly dropped hem stops the shirt riding up when you’re on the trail

The Good

  • Mesh-lined shirt
  • Vented back improves breathability
  • Front button closures and button-down cuffs allows you to adjust to suit – sleeves can be rolled back if needed

The Good

  • Merino core spun wool is hard wearing, plus helps regulate body temperature
  • Stylish rib crew neck

The bad

  • Sun protection is lower than that offered by other hiking shirts of this type
  • Very thin – can be rather see-through

The bad

  • Not much in the way of reflective banding
  • It tends to pile underneath pack straps

The bad

  • Some find the tight fit around the shoulders uncomfortable
  • Not as durable as other shirts

The bad

  • Holds a lot of moisture
  • Ventilation is not as effective as mesh shirts
  • No odour resistance

The bad

  • Sizing is small – you may need to order up a size

The bad

  • Not as soft as hiking shirts with a higher merino content

The bad

  • Not as durable as other shirts
  • Not the warmest – you’ll need to layer up in cooler weather

The bad

  • The loose-fitting cuffs can get caught when layering
  • The sizing is large to the point of being baggy

The bad

  • Sizing can be on the large size
  • May not be warm enough if it drops cooler

Breathability

95

%

Durability

80

%

Moisture-wicking

95

%

Eco score

90

%

Breathability

90

%

Durability

85

%

Moisture-wicking

95

%

Eco score

80

%

Breathability

85

%

Durability

70

%

Moisture-wicking

90

%

Eco score

80

%

Breathability

75

%

Durability

80

%

Moisture-wicking

85

%

Eco score

85

%

Breathability

85

%

Durability

80

%

Moisture-wicking

95

%

Eco score

90

%

Breathability

80

%

Durability

85

%

Moisture-wicking

90

%

Eco score

90

%

Breathability

85

%

Durability

75

%

Moisture-wicking

90

%

Eco score

95

%

Breathability

85

%

Durability

80

%

Moisture-wicking

90

%

Eco score

90

%

Breathability

80

%

Durability

85

%

Moisture-wicking

95

%

Eco score

90

%

Colour/pattern

pewter/ chartreuse, baltic, black/ pewter, burnt orange/ paprika, pebble

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$$

Material

AirVent 100% polyester

Colour/pattern

nickel, black

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$$

Material

Nuyarn – 57% nylon 43% merino

Colour/pattern

Ashley blue, white, black, night sky, vivid blue, balsam green, cherry tomato, blithe, goji berry, fiery red

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$

Material

100% polyester

Colour/pattern

remix, glade, black, ignite, limitless, beacon, iliad, robotics, utopia

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$$$

Material

100% bicomponent polyester fabric

Colour/pattern

grey heather, stone green, bright indigo, black, azul, carbon heather, new olive, bright gold, wildfire

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$

Material

100% polyester ZERO interlock

Colour/pattern

black, gritstone heather, midnight navy, flint, brazilwood, awesome, rocket, shore, balsam, curry

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$$$

Material

87% merino wool 13% nylon

Colour/pattern

borealis green, black, fire, forge grey, superior blue, iggy blue

Style

short sleeve

Price

$$

Material

up to 100% recycled polyester double knit

Colour/pattern

fossil, white, black, city grey, sage, Columbia grey, olive green, elderberry, night shadow, red jasper, steel

Style

collar, long sleeve

Price

$$

Material

100% nylon

Colour/pattern

drift and royal navy

Style

short sleeve

Price

$$$

Material

87% merino wool 13% nylon

Why we like it

we love the stylish two-tone design

The Good

  • Fast drying AirVent fabric
  • UPF 15 sun protection

the bad

  • Sun protection is lower than that offered by other hiking shirts of this type
  • Very thin – can be rather see-through

Colour/pattern

pewter/ chartreuse, baltic, black/ pewter, burnt orange/ paprika, pebble

Material

AirVent 100% polyester

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$$

Another great option for warm hikes and runs, the Outdoor Research Echo is made from AirVent polyester fabric that’s light but breathable. As you’d expect from a shirt of this type, it’s fast drying and porous.

Raglan sleeves and flatlock seams keep the chafing at bay and you can wear it to the pub straight from the trail with confidence thanks to the Polygiene odour control. You also get some sun protection, although this isn’t as high as other shirts out there.

Breathability

95

%

Durability

80

%

Moisture-wicking

95

%

Eco score

90

%

No items found.

final score

90

%

Outdoor Research Echo Tee Hiking Shirt

Check latest price

Black Diamond Rhythm Tee

Best for: comfort

Why we like it

a great all-rounder – use it as a base layer in winter

The Good

  • Nuyarn fabric dries five times faster than normal merino hiking shirts
  • Good odour control

the bad

  • Not much in the way of reflective banding
  • It tends to pile underneath pack straps

Colour/pattern

nickel, black

Material

Nuyarn – 57% nylon 43% merino

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$$

The merino wool and nylon blend is super stretchy so moves with your body. It’s so soft and comfy you won’t even know you’re wearing it. Despite the stretchiness it retains its shape even after being worn for a few days on the trot and because it’s breathable it makes an excellent base layer.

The weight is comparable to a synthetic hiking shirt – it’s about a third lighter than standard merino shirts and is quick drying.

Breathability

90

%

Durability

85

%

Moisture-wicking

95

%

Eco score

80

%

No items found.

final score

88

%

Black Diamond Rhythm Tee

Check latest price

Salomon Agile SS T-Shirt

Best for: those on a budget

Why we like it

the stash pockets are a nice touch

The Good

  • Side stash pockets are handy for stowing money or keys
  • AdvancedSkin ActiveDry technology for fast drying

the bad

  • Some find the tight fit around the shoulders uncomfortable
  • Not as durable as other shirts

Colour/pattern

Ashley blue, white, black, night sky, vivid blue, balsam green, cherry tomato, blithe, goji berry, fiery red

Material

100% polyester

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$

A super light t-shirt with mesh panels under the arms which increases ventilation and lets your pits breathe. It’s slightly heavier and thicker than similar shirts, so would be a good option for early spring or late autumn or as an extra warm base layer.

Reflective inserts keep you safe at dusk and the fit is just right for freedom of movement – not too light and not too loose.

One of the fastest drying shirts out there.

Breathability

85

%

Durability

70

%

Moisture-wicking

90

%

Eco score

80

%

No items found.

final score

81

%

Salomon Agile SS T-Shirt

Check latest price

Arc’teryx Motus Crew Hiking Shirt

Best for: ultralight hikers

Why we like it

the fit keeps the shirt close to your body – no annoying excess material

The Good

  • Flatlock seams help reduce chafing
  • Superlight Phasic FL bi-component fabric for superior moisture management
  • Arc’teryx are committed to transition 80% of their products to Fair Trade certification by 2025

the bad

  • Holds a lot of moisture
  • Ventilation is not as effective as mesh shirts
  • No odour resistance

Colour/pattern

remix, glade, black, ignite, limitless, beacon, iliad, robotics, utopia

Material

100% bicomponent polyester fabric

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$$$

If you prefer a synthetic hiking shirt then the Arc’teryx Motus may be the one for you. It delivers great performance when on the trail, whether you’re running or hiking. The trim fit, anatomical patterning and stretchy material helps the shirt to stick to your body which delivers a superior wicking process to help you keep your cool.

It comes in a variety of  colours and you don’t need to worry about being caught out on the road at dusk – reflective blades help keep you seen.

Breathability

75

%

Durability

80

%

Moisture-wicking

85

%

Eco score

85

%

No items found.

final score

81

%

Arc’teryx Motus Crew Hiking Shirt

Check latest price

Columbia Zero Rules Hiking Shirt

Best for: moisture control

Why we like it

stylish and comfy, yet keeps you cool

The Good

  • Omni-Freeze Zero sweat activated cooling material keeps you from overheating
  • Modern classic fit with comfort stretch

the bad

  • Sizing is small – you may need to order up a size

Colour/pattern

grey heather, stone green, bright indigo, black, azul, carbon heather, new olive, bright gold, wildfire

Material

100% polyester ZERO interlock

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$

Get outdoors, active and sweaty with Columbia’s Zero Rules hiking shirt. This shirt literally has your back - the cooling fabric actually reacts with your sweat to lower temperatures and keep things cool even during the most strenuous workout. With a built-in antimicrobial treatment, you can enjoy that post-hike beer with confidence.

Breathability

85

%

Durability

80

%

Moisture-wicking

95

%

Eco score

90

%

No items found.

final score

88

%

Columbia Zero Rules Hiking Shirt

Check latest price

Icebreaker Tech Lite Merino

Best for: Long distance walkers and backpackers

Why we like it

One hiking shirt is all you need for a multi-day adventure

The Good

  • Durable merino corespun wool blend helps regulate body temperature
  • Can be machine washed at 40 degrees unlike other merino shirts

the bad

  • Not as soft as hiking shirts with a higher merino content

Colour/pattern

black, gritstone heather, midnight navy, flint, brazilwood, awesome, rocket, shore, balsam, curry

Material

87% merino wool 13% nylon

Style

crew, short sleeve

Price

$$$

Another one from the Icebreaker stable, the Tech Lite is a great versatile go-anywhere, do-anything hiking shirt. Just throw it on and you’re set for the day. It’s stretchy and highly breathable, plus it’s one of the best hiking shirts for odour resistance - your mates will thank you for wearing it.

The corespun wool construction means you’re dry in next to no time. Icebreaker reckon it’ll last a week without needing washing – multi-day hike anyone? If you're really serious about great gear for the trail, check out some of the best hiking socks to pair with your shirt.

With so many colours to choose from you’re bound to find a shirt to suit your taste.

Breathability

80

%

Durability

85

%

Moisture-wicking

90

%

Eco score

90

%

No items found.

final score

86

%

Icebreaker Tech Lite Merino

Check latest price

Why we like it

it’s made from recycled polyester which is a pretty good plus in our book

The Good

  • 83% of Patagonia’s line is Fair Trade Certified sewn – more than any other clothing brand
  • Slightly dropped hem stops the shirt riding up when you’re on the trail

the bad

  • Not as durable as other shirts
  • Not the warmest – you’ll need to layer up in cooler weather

Colour/pattern

borealis green, black, fire, forge grey, superior blue, iggy blue

Material

up to 100% recycled polyester double knit

Style

short sleeve

Price

$$

Pull on this hiking shirt for all your high-intensity activities - Patagonia’s lightest technical t-shirt keeps you cool with its excellent moisture wicking and fast drying properties. HeiQ odour control helps keep you fresh when you’re working hard - day after day. They’re made from 52% to 100% recycled fabric so you’ll be helping the environment to boot.

With a classic crew-neck design and sewn-in sleeves, the Capilene Cool is versatile and one of the comfiest hiking tees out there. It’s a little on the thin side when temperatures fall, so you may need an extra layer.

Breathability

85

%

Durability

75

%

Moisture-wicking

90

%

Eco score

95

%

No items found.

final score

86

%

Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight Hiking Shirt

Check latest price

Columbia Silver Ridge Long Sleeve Shirt

Best for: extremely hot environments

Why we like it

It’s stylish enough to wear on or off the trail

The Good

  • Mesh-lined shirt
  • Vented back improves breathability
  • Front button closures and button-down cuffs allows you to adjust to suit – sleeves can be rolled back if needed

the bad

  • The loose-fitting cuffs can get caught when layering
  • The sizing is large to the point of being baggy

Colour/pattern

fossil, white, black, city grey, sage, Columbia grey, olive green, elderberry, night shadow, red jasper, steel

Material

100% nylon

Style

collar, long sleeve

Price

$$

With more technology than you can shake a walking pole at, the Columbia Silver Ridge long sleeve shirt features their signature Omni-Wick fabric which literally sucks moisture from your body so it can evaporate super-fast.

The casual fit helps you feel and look great on and off the trail, and the long sleeves add a layer of protection from the sun – you also get an impressive UPF 40 sun protection. The synthetic fabric has been treated with antimicrobial elements which helps prevent bacteria growth – one of the best hiking shirts for odor control.

Velco fastening breast pockets are handy for stashing keys and money.

Breathability

85

%

Durability

80

%

Moisture-wicking

90

%

Eco score

90

%

No items found.

final score

86

%

Columbia Silver Ridge Long Sleeve Shirt

Check latest price

Why we like it

even when wet it won’t feel clammy against your skin

The Good

  • Merino core spun wool is hard wearing, plus helps regulate body temperature
  • Stylish rib crew neck

the bad

  • Sizing can be on the large size
  • May not be warm enough if it drops cooler

Colour/pattern

drift and royal navy

Material

87% merino wool 13% nylon

Style

short sleeve

Price

$$$

Whether you’re on the hill or hitting the shops, the Icebreaker 150 Big Tee packs a stylish punch. Made from 87% merino core spun wool, this relaxed fit t-shirt feels great against your skin. The unique design of the seams minimises chafing and even when slightly damp it feels dry to touch, so you’ll avoid that sweaty back sensation.

The high merino wool content helps keep you cool when things heat up, plus it’s 150gsm which keeps it light. Core Spun technology gives the Merino wool greater durability so this hiking shirt will be with you for many adventures to come.

Breathability

80

%

Durability

85

%

Moisture-wicking

95

%

Eco score

90

%

No items found.

final score

86

%

Icebreaker Merino 150 Big Tee Hiking Shirt

Check latest price

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