Best Hiking Shirts – With Comparison Table (2019) - Mountain IQ

Best Hiking Shirts – With Comparison Table (2019)

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This review discusses the best hiking shirts for outdoors currently on the market. 

Check out our comprehensive guide on the hiking shirts for men and women to ensure you make the right decision based on your kind of adventure, climate, level of skills and budget.

Read More Hiking Clothing Reviews: Base Layers | Down & Rain Jackets | Fleeces | Gloves | Boots

Best Hiking Shirt

SmartWool Merino 150

It is a versatile option for hiking during various seasons thanks to the density of the fabric of SmartWool Merino 150. It is designed to be as durable as possible without compromising on the breathability of the shirt. This makes it a superb option for a myriad of activities, including, backpacking and hiking.

Available at:

Top 5 Hiking Shirts - Comparison Table

Take a look at the comparison table below before moving on, it might help you make a quick decision based on the most important specs.

Gear

Rating

Material

Design

Sleeve Type

#1

SmartWool Merino 150

Best Overall

Nylon and Merino Wool Blend

Crew Neck

Short Sleeve

#2

Columbia Tamiami II

Best Shirt for Women

Mesh and Polyester Blend

Button Up

Long Sleeve

#3

Columbia Silver Ridge

Best for Summer Trekking

Polyester

Button Up

Long Sleeve

#4

Arc'teryx Motus SS

Most Versatile

Polyester

Crew Neck

Short Sleeve

#5

Mountain Hardwear Wicked

Best Budget for Odor-Eliminating

Polyester

Lightweight Crew Neck

330g

1. Best Overall Hiking Shirt

​SmartWool Merino 150

5/5 Overall Rating

It is a versatile option for hiking during various seasons thanks to the density of the fabric of SmartWool Merino 150

It is designed to be as durable as possible without compromising on the breathability of the shirt. This makes it a superb option for a myriad of activities, including, backpacking and hiking.

The flatlock seam that the shirt is constructed with, prevents the nylon and wool blend from causing unnecessary friction or chafing.

It wicks away moisture really and well and has a snug, yet mobile fit.

Thanks for the odor-control feature to the shirt, it offers additional comfort during hot day hikes. You can also use it a base layer.

Available at:
Main Features
  • Crew neck design with flatlock seams for optimal comfort and function
  • Made from Merino Wool, a quick-drying ventilated material (antimicrobial fabric)
  • The athletic design fits well and allows for sufficient movement
What we like
  • Versatile
  • Good odor-control
What we dislike
  • Sizing can run a bit small.
Key Takeway

This shirt is durable and comfortable. It is a versatile option that you can use in various seasons on its own or with a fleece or a long sleeve shirt.

2. Best Shirt for Women

Columbia Tamiami II

5/5 Overall Rating

The mesh lining worked into the polyester of the fabric makes this shirt really breathable. 

With an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 40, it offers a tremendous degree of sun protection. 

Moreover, the shirt boasts omni-wick features that draws moisture away from the skin  relatively quickly, keeping you dry and cool.

The roll-up sleeves give you the freedom of exposing your arms, should you wish to do so.

The combination of sun protection and moisture control makes this a good option for trekking near the water. 

The soft, lightweight feel to the shirt does help with breathability.

Available at:
Main Features
  • UPF for sun protection
  • Mesh lining in the back for ventilation 
  • A stylish close-fit design 
What we like
  • Comfortable 
  • Slim
  • Breathable, lightweight fabric
What we dislike
  • Does not have antimicrobial elements
Key Takeaway

The design and cut of this shirt makes it an appealing option for women. The advantages of omni-wick and UPF make this shirt a good investment for hiking near the water.

3. Best Summer Trekking Shirt

Columbia Silver Ridge

4.5/5 Overall Rating

Made from polyester, this shirt offers a great value. It wicks moisture well and allows for sufficient air circulation. 

It has a UPF rating of 50+ which is the highest protection rating available.

Moreover, the construction intends to deal with moisture and heat well, keeping you dry and comfortable throughout most treks.

We like the sleeve tabs and pockets that offer a more all-round shirt that is convenient.

Because it dries well and ventilates air, it is most appropriate for warmer conditions, as opposed to three-season versatility.

Available at:
Main Features
  • Long sleeves, a collar, and a UPF50+ rating
  • Polyester material draws moisture away from the skin
  • Practical pockets with loop and hook closures 
What we like
  • Versatile option
  • High sun protection factor integrated into the fabric 
  • Light
What we dislike
  • Doesn't have antimicrobial properties for odor control 
Key Takeaway

The sun protection of this shirt makes it a summer essential, while its stylish design should offer a good comfort from the trail to the peak.

4. Most Versatile Hiking Shirt

Arc'teryx Motus SS

4.5/5 Overall Rating

This is a top quality option that is suitable for various activities, including: running, hiking, backpacking, and climbing. 

The combination of polyester and polypropylene in the shirt’s design makes it a  durable apparel even on demanding trails.

Since fabric helps to regulate temperature well and ensures a faster drying time, moisture is not retained in the shirt, which doesn't irritate your skin.

There is a great deal of mobility in this shirt because it is designed with flatlock seams that don't cause excess friction and chafing.

The gusseted design of the underarm area also offers easy movement needed for occasional trail scrambling.

Although, this is a short sleeve shirt it has a 25 UPF rating, which is not the highest but still offers a great deal of protection when the hikes gets too hot and you cannot bear any long sleeve tops.

Silver ions in the shirt’s fabric help with eliminating odor.

Available at:
Main Features
  • Great breathability
  • Versatile (base layer) 
  • Polyester fabric for fast drying time
  • Reflective blazes
What we like
  • The use of flatlock seams helps prevent chafing  for longer
  • Available for men and women 
What we dislike
  • Pricey
Key Takeaway

For those looking for a great short sleeve shirt that can be used for layering or on its own on hot day hikes, this is an option that does not leave you in the lurch but offers significant breathability and comfort. 

5. Best Budget Odor-Eliminating Shirt

Mountain Hardwear Wicked 

3.5/5 Overall Rating

Polyester is a light and smooth material with quick drying time, which makes Mountain Hardwear Wicked a keeper.

The incorporation of an antimicrobial finish to the design provides the shirt with superior odor control.

It is also a helpful option should you trek at night, as it has a reflective trim to it. 

Available for men and women, this shirt caters to everyone’s needs.

On strenuous and easy hikes alike, you can rely on the flatlock construction of the design keeping you comfortable throughout.

The shirt draws moisture away from your skin really well, keeping you dry.

Available at:
Main Features
  • Antimicrobial finish to prevent odor
  • Flatlock design and polyester fabric
  • UPF30+ rating
What we like
  • Comfortable and soft
  • Quick drying 
  • Reflective trim for night athletes
What we dislike
  • The fabric risks snagging
Key Takeaway

For the day and night athletes, this shirt provides with superior odor control and moisture regulation, allowing you to keep up the pace without being concerned about whether your shirt is holding up its end of the bargain. 

Hiking Shirt - Buyer's Guide (Key Features)

In order to make an informed decision as to the kind of shirt you invest in it, is helpful to understand what you ought to look for when making your purchase. Be sure to consult the buyer’s guide for some ideas. 

Material

Due to the strenuous nature of hiking, it is advised that you choose a shirt with a material that dries quickly, and that draws moisture away from your skin, with relative ease. The last thing you want to be stuck with is a shirt that retains moisture and is not breathable.

Merino Wool and Polyester have a number of advantages and understanding these benefits will aid you in making an informed decision. What is good about polyester shirts is that they dry faster and, thankfully, retain less moisture. It does not, however, match up to Merino Wool’s superior breathability and natural odor-resistant elements.

However, where Merino Wool beats Polyester with odor-resistance is loses when it comes to durability. The nice thing about Polyester shirts is that they are more durable than Merino Wool and are generally much cheaper.

The shirts that are treated with an odor-resistant finish win the top prize.

In order to combat the durability issue of Merino Wool, the shirts that are blended with Nylon, usually last longer. Because these materials wick away moisture really well, you can be certain that your body temperature is regulated better with either of these materials and you are kept cool on the hot days.

Sun Protection

Taking sun protection into consideration, one would like to know that you are making a wise choice. The shirts that have a UPF rating inform what level of sun radiation they are able to block. Shirts with 30+ to 50+ block a lot of radiation and thus minimise harmful exposure should you be hiking in the summer.

An alternative to UPF-rated shirts are shirts that have longer sleeves. The long sleeve should not be misinterpreted as warmth only. Shirts with long sleeves provide you with versatility. They protect your arms in the heat and give you a bit of warmth in the cold.

Shirts that are designed with tabs for you to roll-up your sleeves comfortably are usually better.

Durability

What makes a hiking shirt worthwhile is its capacity to withstand the intensity of the environment for hours at a time. There needs to be a degree of certainty that the backpack on your shoulders won’t wear through the material. Or that it will lose its benefits after a few washes.

Synthetic fibers, like polyester, are made to endure tough conditions and support freedom of movement, adding to the comfort of the shirt.

The way the seams of your shirt are constructed adds to the durability factor. Flatlock seams, while providing you with a comfortable soft fit, are also incredibly flexible and make the shirt all the more durable. 

Comfort

There are a few factors that contribute to the comfort of the shirt you choose.

The first is breathability. In order to provide you with breathability, mesh paneling that is integrated into the design of your shirt gives the material the capacity to circulate air and keep you cool.

Another feature is the fit - shirts that intend to fit the contours of one’s body while maintaining some stretch, allow for easier mobility.

The feel of Merino Wool and Polyester is an additional consideration, while wool has a more plush feel, the lightweight feature of polyester contributes to its comfort.

The construction of the seams in these shirts helps eliminate unnecessary friction. Flatlock seams prevent chafing and make the shirts more comfortable to wear.

Odor Control


Since hiking is a high impact activity it requires the shirts to last longer. Because your shirt will have to absorb a lot of sweat, it is helpful to know whether it works at eliminating the bacteria to some degree.

What adds to Merino Wool’s appeal is the fact that it has intrinsic antimicrobial elements. The fact that it works to eliminate odor naturally makes it the best option for a higher price.

Thankfully, chaper synthetic fibers can be treated with antimicrobial layers, in order to make them prevent the odor-causing bacteria from spreading.

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