Best Hiking Shirts – Expert Review

Updated: February 13, 2024

For the best and most comfortable hiking shirt, I highly recommend the SmartWool Merino 150. It's made from moisture-wicking, soft and breathable material, which stopped me from sweating up a storm on my previous hikes!

You can't go wrong with the Columbia Bahama II UPF 30 (comes in short and long sleeves) either. Made from UPF 30 fabric to blocks UVA and UVA rays and preventing sunburns and skin damage, it's the perfect hiking shirt for the sweltering summer months.

And then there's the Arc'teryx Cormac Crew, one of my favourite hiking clothing brands overall. Their shirts are a bit on the expensive side, but worth every penny when it comes to supreme comfort and versatility to match cold and hot climates. 

Best Hiking Shirts (Top Picks)

Smartwool Men's Merino Short Sleeve Tee, Light Gray Heather, Small

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Columbia Men's Bahama II Long Sleeve Shirt, Night Tide, X-Large

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Most Versatile

Arc'teryx Cormac Crew

Arc'teryx Cormac Crew SS Men's | Performance Tee for High Output in Hot Weather | Black Sapphire, X-Small

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Top Shirts For Hiking (Detailed Reviews)

We reviewed over 18 hiking shirts for this article. Below are the best hiking shirts that made our short list.

  1. SmartWool Merino 150 - Best Overall
  2. Columbia Tamiami II
  3. Columbia Silver Ridge - Best for Summer
  4. Arc'teryx Cormac Crew SS - Most Versatile
  5. Mountain Hardwear Wicked - Best Value

Read our complete buyers guide for hiking shirts.

Best Overall Hiking Shirts

1. SmartWool Merino 150

Smartwool Men's Merino Short Sleeve Tee, Light Gray Heather, Small

4.6/5 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.

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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 Takeaway

The SmartWool Merino 150 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. Columbia Tamiami II

Columbia Men's Tamiami II Short Sleeve Shirt

5/5 Overall Rating

The mesh lining worked into the polyester of the fabric makes Columbia Tamiami II 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.

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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 Columbia Tamiami II 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. Columbia Bahama II UPF 30

Columbia Men's Bahama II Long Sleeve Shirt, Night Tide, X-Large

4.5/5 Overall Rating

Made from polyester, Columbia Bahama II UPF 30 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.

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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 Columbia Bahama II makes it a summer essential, while its stylish design should offer a good comfort from the trail to the peak.

4. Arc'teryx Cormac Crew SS

Arc'teryx Cormac Crew SS Men's | Performance Tee for High Output in Hot Weather | Black Sapphire, X-Small

4.6/5 Overall Rating

Arc'teryx Cormac Crew is a top-quality option that is suitable for various activities, including: running, hiking, backpacking, and climbing. 

With its 100% polyester DAO finish, the Cormac Crew is durable apparel even on demanding trails. Its unique design gives wearers freedom of movement and moisture management, allowing moisture vapour to escape by regulating your body temperature and elevating comfort inside the shirt. 

Although, this is a short sleeve shirt, it provides protection from exposure to ultraviolet radiation at high altitudes. This is especially helpful when the hikes get too hot, and you cannot bear any long sleeve tops. 

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Main Features
  • Great breathability
  • Versatile (base layer/T-shirt)
  • Pull On closure
  • Machine washable
What we like
  • Available for men and women
  • Can be used in sun or on snow
What we dislike
  • Pricey
  • Low UPF rating
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, the Arc'teryx Cormac Crew is an option that does not leave you in the lurch but offers significant breathability and comfort. 

5. Mountain Hardwear Wicked Tech 

Mountain Hardwear Men's Wicked Tech Short Sleeve, Moon Moss, Medium

5/5 Overall Rating

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

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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, Mountain Hardwear Wicked Tech provides with superior odour 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. 


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.


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. 


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.

About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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