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Best Hiking Shirts: Reviews of Our Faves for 2023

Man in hiking shirt

In my opinion, the best hiking shirts are those that feel so comfortable you don’t notice them at all, just like the rest of your clothes for hiking. They should be made from fabric that minimises friction, feels wonderfully soft on the skin and doesn’t limit movement in any way. Hiking for hours in varying conditions also means that odour control, moisture management and temperature regulation are all key features of the best hiking shirt material. Not to mention the compatibility of the fabric and cut with the weight of a loaded backpack on your shoulders. Not much to ask from such a simple item of outdoor clothing, right?!

Yes, we didn’t think choosing the best shirt for hiking would be so involved either. So, we’ve tried out a bunch of shirts to see which we love and which perform so well that we don’t notice them at all!

Disclaimer: We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

Ibex 24 Hour Short Sleeve Scoop NeckWomen's100% Merino$$$
Montane Women's Dart Zip T-ShirtWomen'sRecycled polyester$
BAM Origin Longline T-ShirtWomen'sBamboo and organic cotton$
Helly Hansen Lifa Active Solen T-ShirtWomen'sRecycled polyester$
Smartwool Merino Sport 150 Go Far Feel Good TeeWomen'sMerino and polyester$$
Decathlon Domyos Muscle Back Tank TopWomen'sPolyester and elastane$
Isobaa Merino 150 Short Sleeve CrewMen'sMerino$$$
Rockay Tech TeeMen'sRecycled polyester$$
Showers Pass Hi Line Merino Tech T-shirtMen'sMerino and polyester$$$
Trew Weightless Nuyarn Merino TMen'sMerino and nylon$$
Columbia Zero Rules Short Sleeve T-ShirtMen'sPolyester$

The best hiking shirts for women in 2023

Ibex hiking shirt
Ibex shirt close ups

Ibex 24 Hour Short Sleeve Scoop Neck

Eco-conscious: 100% merino and Ibex are Climate Neutral Certified

Of all the different tops I’ve worn for hiking in the last few years, the Ibex 24 Hour Short Sleeve Scoop Neck is possibly the best hiking shirt for women that I’ve tried. I love everything about it! From the loose but fitted cut to the soft fabric and gorgeous colour. But the best part is that I can sweat and sweat in it and it doesn’t smell! I recently did a 6 hour coastal hike in the hot sunshine and sweated buckets, as I’d completely over-dressed, and by the end it smelled as fresh as a daisy.

Don’t tell anyone, but I even put the shirt back in my drawer without washing it! Completely stink free. And because it’s so darn stylish, it’s not just reserved for outdoor activity. Such is my confidence in it’s resistance to odours, I’ve worn it in respectable (well, the pub) scenarios in which people are closer than average to my armpits. Suffice to say, I’ve not lost any friends yet. In fact they all comment on how nice the shirt is!


  • Naturally odour resistant
  • Doesn’t require regular washing
  • Naturally thermoregulating
  • Looks great
  • Super comfortable


  • Pricey!

Find the latest price at:

Montane Women's Dart Zip T-Shirt
Montane shirt details

Montane Women’s Dart Zip T-Shirt

Eco-conscious: Made from 100% recycled APEX ECO fabric and treated with Polygiene for longer wear and less washing

This full-featured hiking shirt offers excellent value for both casual hikers and multi-day trekkers. It’s the only zip neck t-shirt on our list which also makes it one of the most versatile. This feature is especially useful in the shoulder seasons when the temperature fluctuates more and a quick vent at the neck can cool you right down without having to shed a layer. Likewise, I really like the extra height around the neck for sun protection.

Other features include offset shoulder seams to avoid rubbing backpack straps, flatlock stitching at the seams to prevent chafing, and armpit panels to maximise movement and minimise rubbing. Plus, like the Helly Hansen shirt, the extra length at the back makes wearing a backpack much more comfortable.

Finally, the fabric is quick drying and moisture wicking with the ability to deal with odour surprisingly well for a synthetic shirt. This is thanks to the Polygiene odour control treatment that inhibits the growth of bacteria. As such, it’s a superb option for multi-day hiking in changeable conditions.


  • Good odour control
  • UPF 40+
  • Neck zip is super versatile
  • Very comfortable
  • Quick drying
  • Very good for high energy activities
  • Good value


  • A little on the warm side in hotter conditions

Find the latest price at:
Montane | Cotswold Outdoor

BAM Origin T-shirt
Bam tshirt details

BAM Origin Longline T-Shirt

Eco-conscious: Made from bamboo and organic cotton

Like the Smartwool Shirt (below), the Origin Longline T-Shirt by BAM Clothing is as suitable for everyday wear as it is for hiking. With a similar relaxed fit, the shirt feels airy and comfortable in warmer conditions with short sleeves to complement its suitability for summer wear. It also boasts extra length at the hem which is ideal for wearing with hiking leggings and / or a backpack.

Where it doesn’t compete with the Smartwool shirt is in its ability to deal with a build up of odour, making it best suited to day hikes rather than multi-day trips. More than a day of wear and you’ll start to notice it becoming a bit stinky, though certainly not as bad as some synthetic options.

The 160gsm fabric is super soft on the skin and nicely breathable. Plus, it also has a UPF of 50+.

Overall, it lacks some of the design features preferred for heavy and prolonged use on the trail. But if it’s a comfortable and protective shirt you’re after, that’s also super stylish, this is the best on the list.


  • Stylish
  • Comfortable
  • Cool and airy
  • Extra length at the hem
  • UPF 50+


  • Odour builds up after a day
  • Doesn’t dry very quickly

Find the latest price at:
BAM Clothing

Helly Hansen Lifa Active Solen T-Shirt
Helly hansen tshirt details

Helly Hansen Lifa Active Solen T-Shirt

Eco-conscious: Made of 60% recycled polyester and treated with recycled coffee grounds for UPF protection and odour control

Like the Montane shirt, the lightweight Helly Hansen Lifa Active Solen T-Shirt is a synthetic hiking shirt. It’s made of 60% recycled polyester and 40% polypropylene with a treatment added to the fabric which absorbs odour for longer wear time and less washing. The Solen treatment is not only naturally odour resistant, but it also provides excellent protection from the sun giving the shirt an UPF rating of 50+.

Uniquely, the UPF protection and odour control are thanks to S.Café technology. Through a high pressure, low temperature process, the fabric is infused with recycled coffee grounds which never washes out. Clever stuff, and good for our planet, too.

Design-wise, the shirt features underarm panels and slightly backset shoulder seams for minimal abrasion when moving and wearing a backpack. It also has a little extra length at the back hem which stays nicely put under a backpack harness. A soft tape at the back of the neck further prevents irritation, and it even has reflective strips between the shoulder blades for visibility in low light or nighttime running.

I love the lightweight fabric which feels as good on the tennis courts and running trails and it does on short to multi-day hikes in the summer.


  • UPF 50+
  • Coffee infused sun and odour resistance
  • Very comfortable
  • Relaxed fit
  • Lightweight fabric
  • Dries quickly


  • Umm… still looking!

Find the latest price at:
Helly Hansen

Smartwool merino shirt
Smartwool shirt closeups

Smartwool Women’s Merino Sport 150 Go Far Feel Good Tee

Eco-conscious: Contains 56% merino wool from non-mulesed sheep

This loose-fitting t-shirt from Smartwool provides the perfect balance of style and function that is equally fitting for multi-day backpacking trips as it is for everyday wear, and everything in between. The Smartwool Women’s Merino Sport 150 Tee contains 56% merino wool for excellent temperature regulation and odour resistance (I’ve worn this shirt for 5 days straight without a whiff of nastiness!). But because it is blended with polyester, the fabric is more durable for such a lightweight shirt, and dries more quickly than the shirts on this list that have higher merino content.

I love the long cut which doesn’t ride up underneath a backpack waist belt. Plus, the short cap sleeves are airy and loose to allow for extra airflow. These, together with the flattering v-neckline and loose fit make the shirt feel more like a vest, but with greater protection from the sun and from backpack straps.

To add to the comfort levels, this shirt features flatlock seams to minimise chafing, and the fabric is ultra soft. A superbly comfortable hiking shirt for warm conditions.


  • Flattering shape
  • Airy armpits
  • Excellent odour control
  • Extra length


  • I’d prefer not to have the logo on the front – but I’m clutching at straws!

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Smartwool

Decathlon Domyos Tank Top
Decathlon hiking vest

Decathlon Domyos Muscle Back Tank Top

This Domyos Muscle Back Tank Top won’t win any prizes on the sustainability front, but it sure is a winner on your bank account! Made from 82% Polyester and 18% Elastane, this stretchy tank top is super durable and will last you for years offering superb value for money. There’s little that is negative to say about it, other than its lack of eco-friendliness, though durability is certainly a factor in that.

It dries super quickly, is lightweight and breathable, and feels comfortable and soft on the skin. Additionally, the fitted cut is neither clingy nor baggy, further adding to the comfort that it offers.

It’s available in an array of different colours so that your summer hiking, biking, running and fitness wardrobe is well and truly covered!


  • Stretchy
  • Great value
  • Comfortable
  • Quick drying
  • Durable


  • No eco-credentials

Find the latest price at:

Used gear banner

The best hiking shirts for men in 2023

Isobaa merino shirt
Close up of Isobaa shirt

Isobaa Merino 150 Short Sleeve Crew

Eco-conscious: Made of 100% merino wool from non-mulesed sheep

As the only 100% merino wool shirt on this list, the Isobaa Merino 150 Short Sleeve Crew gets top marks from a sustainability point of view. The shirt is also totally biodegradable once it’s no longer wearable, and Isobaa use recycled and recyclable packaging. But its eco-credentials aren’t the only thing that we love about this hiking shirt. It boasts seam-free underarm gusset panels to minimise rubbing, and the backpack friendly shoulders have offset seams to maximise comfort.

Like the other merino shirts on our list, this Isobaa option will go for days without the need for washing it. The lack of synthetic blend does mean that it is a little less durable than other options. But if you look after it and wash it as little as possible it will certainly go the distance.

Finally, we love that the form-fitting, stylish design works perfectly as a base layer as well as stand-alone shirt on warmer days.


  • Exceptional odour control
  • Very eco-friendly
  • Gusseted armpits
  • Extra length at back
  • Stylish


  • Not as durable as merino/synthetic blends

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rockay tshirt

Rockay Tech Tee

Eco-conscious: Made from 100% recycled polyester and Rockay also remove 536g of plastic trash from the ocean for every t-Shirt purchased.

Another worthy winner of our eco-choice badge in the men’s hiking shirts selection is the Rockay Tech Tee. To create this lightweight and highly breathable shirt, Rockay collaborated with SEAQUAL, an initiative that is dedicated to giving new life to marine plastic waste. The result is an eco-friendly t-shirt that is made from 50% recycled polyester and 50% Seaqual polyester. Rockay also remove an additional 536g (57 bottles) of plastic trash from the ocean for every t-Shirt purchased.

Aside from its impressive eco-credentials, the Tech Tee is the most lightweight hiking shirt on our list with UPF50+ sun protection, making it ideal for hiking in hot conditions. Yes, you don’t get the natural odour resistance offered by merino, but the fabric is treated with Polygiene anti odour technology to help fend off the growth of bacteria.

The Tech Tee also boasts flat locked seams and no shoulder seams to minimise backpack strap rubbing. Additionally, the shirt has underarm panels to ensure that no rubbing and chaffing can occur in your pits! Finally, because it’s so lightweight and airy, it’s an excellent choice for running and sports during the summer season.


  • Lightweight and airy
  • No shoulder seams
  • Polygiene anti-odour treatment


  • Pricey for a synthetic shirt

Find the latest price at:

showers pass merino t-shirt

Showers Pass Hi Line Merino Short Sleeve

Eco-conscious: Merino wool is a sustainable fabric with odour resistance, which means less washing

This super stylish merino short sleeve from Showers Pass seamlessly covers all your lifestyle needs. It’s as at home on the trail as it is at the office, making transitioning between the two a doddle! Although it is designed as the perfect cycle commuter shirt, we also love how well it deals with hiking adventures. The 18.5-micron merino / polyester blend creates an exceptionally soft finish that is lightweight, moisture wicking and naturally odour resistant. Plus, the even balance of wool and synthetic fabric on the sleeves and back means that the fabric doesn’t hold as much moisture as higher percentage merino fabrics — a well thought-through touch that manages sweat in all the right places.

The extra length at the back makes carrying a backpack more comfortable, and the popper buttons at the neck make for quick and easy ventilation when the going gets tough on the trail. A superb option for summer hiking, biking and living!


  • Doesn’t hold water
  • Good moisture wicking
  • Stylish


  • Not as technical as other options

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Showers Pass

Trew Merino t-shirt for hiking

Trew Weightless Nuyarn Merino T

Eco-conscious: Merino wool is a sustainable fabric with odour resistance, which means less washing

Long distance hikers and adventurers, your ideal shirt has arrived! This bad boy will go for miles and miles without smelling. We’ve worn it all day, everyday for a whole week of movement (including some high energy fun!), before it needed washing. Less washing means less deterioration of the fabric over time, not to mention the positive environmental implications. It also looks gorgeous, feels sumptuous and does all the things you’d expect from high percentage merino fabric. The 125 Superfine NuYarn Merino is combined with 15% nylon and performs significantly better than traditionally spun merino: loftier, stretchier, faster drying, warmer and stronger.

The Weightless Nuyarn T is slim fitting with extra length at the back hem. It also has flatlock seams and side seams that cut towards to the back for greater comfort, fit and movement.

An big thumbs up from us, and one of the best hiking shirts on our list that feels so good we hardly notice we’re wearing it!


  • Exceptional odour control
  • Stretchy and slim fitting
  • Quick drying, for merino


  • Seams at the shoulders

Find the latest price at:

Columbia Zero Rules Short Sleeve T-Shirt
Columbia tshirt

Columbia Zero Rules Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Those that struggle with chafing or have sensitive skin will love the super silky finish of the Columbia Zero Rules Short Sleeve T-Shirt. Made from 100% polyester, the soft fabric isn’t just created for comfort. The Omni-Freeze ZERO technology of this new line of Columbia hiking shirts feature tiny blue rings on the inside of the shirt that concentrate a cooling agent close to your skin. It makes the most of your sweat to help keep your temperature low in hot conditions. Very cool indeed! The fabric also provides UPF 30 sun protection making this sporty-looking shirt ideal for hiking in hot conditions.

The cut of the shirt is fairly standard with an articulated panel on the sleeves for a greater range of movement. It also features flatlock seams throughout.


  • Very good at keeping you cool
  • Super soft finish
  • Good UV protection


  • Gets stinky after a couple of wears

Find the latest price on:

Types of hiking shirts

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the style, shape and fit of their clothing. In this article we cover three types of shirts for hiking.

  • Tshirt

    Short sleeve t-shirts

    These are ideal for summer hiking in areas where bugs aren’t a problem and are the best hiking shirts for hot weather. They are super comfortable and can be worn directly next to the skin or with a fitted base layer underneath.

  • Long sleeved shirt

    Long sleeve shirts

    If you need a little extra protection from the sun and/or nibbling bugs, long sleeve shirts are an excellent option. Some prefer a simple long sleeve t-shirt, whilst others enjoy the versatility of a button-up, collared shirt. These can be unbuttoned for greater airflow or done right up with a popped collar to really cover up.

  • Vest


    For very hot conditions wearing a vest or tank top is the best way to feel cool on the trail. These are good options for those who don’t ming applying suncream constantly, and they allow good airflow and coolness. They also don’t get as sweating (and stinky!) as shirts with sleeves do. However, they offer little protection from the sun and from the pressure of backpacks on your shoulders.

What to look for when choosing the best shirts for hiking

Properties of the best hiking shirts

To provide optimal comfort on the trail, the best shirts for hiking should have the following properties:

  • Quick drying
  • Moisture wicking
  • Odour resistant
  • Breathable
  • UV protective
  • Durable

Fabric type

In the ideal world, the best hiking shirt material should offer all of the above properties. Unfortunately this isn’t always case, although some shirt fabrics do a pretty great job at trying!

Merino wool

Good at: Moisture wicking, odour control, temperature regulation, providing warmth when wet, breathability, UV protection
Bad at: Drying quickly, rinsing your bank account!


Good at: Drying quickly, moisture wicking, not holding water, UV protection
Bad at: Odour control, providing warmth when wet

ABOUT COTTON: Although it may be tempting to just grab your favourite cotton tee shirt to hike in, this is best avoided when possible. Cotton holds water, dries very slowly and as a result, can give you a chill, gets very stinky and can cause chaffing.

Fabric thickness

Most shirts for hiking are lightweight and fairly thin. This is to ensure that air flows through the fabric easily to help prevent you from sweating too much. However, some hiking shirts, like the Mammut Trovat, are a little thicker and provide extra warmth when hiking during those in between times.


It goes without saying that you need to choose a hiking shirt that is appropriate to your size. However, this can vary wildly, depending on your preference. Some people like their shirts to be super baggy, whilst other prefer a skin-tight fit.

The best hiking shirts should ideally not be either of these. To provide optimal comfort, a hiking shirt should be loose fitting but not baggy. There should be a little room for air to flow between the shirt and your body to help keep you cool.

A shirt that is overly baggy can cause chaffing. This is most often a problem when carrying a backpack. The excess fabric can end up bunching or riding up underneath your backpack causing pressure points and resulting in repeated rubbing of the skin. Not pleasant!

A shirt that is too tight can also cause rubbing and discomfort at the armpits. It can also ride up underneath a backpack if it is too short. But mostly, a tight-fitting shirt can prevent airflow from keeping you cool.

Design features of the best shirts for hiking

  • Flatlock seam

    Flatlock seams

    It’s important to have seams that are as discreet as possible to avoid any unnecessary rubbing. Flatlock seams prevent ensure that the fabric is not folded over where it is joined but stitched together on a flat overlap.

  • Shoulder of shirt

    Seamless shoulders

    Some of the best hiking shirts position their shoulder seams so that they are not right on top of the shoulders. Or, the design of the shirt is such that there are no seams at the shoulders at all. The purpose of this is to prevent rubbing when wearing a loaded backpack.

  • Shirt sleeve

    Armpit panels

    Many hiking shirts have traditional armpit seams run up the side of the torso and join the arm of the shirt at the armpit. However, to avoid unnecessary rubbing, and to enable unrestricted arm movement, some shirts are designed with an additional panel inserted at the armpit. This eliminates the seams all meeting right in the armpit and can be much more comfortable for the wearer.

Whether you’re just out for a short day hike, or embarking upon a multi-day adventure, choosing the best hiking shirt for you will keep you comfortable and protected. And that equals more enjoyment on the trail and happy hikers everywhere!

hiking leggings gear guide

About the author


Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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