The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - Lao Tzu
As the pace of life gradually gets faster and faster, it’s important to try and find a way to occasionally slow down and escape the turmoil of the rat race.
It’s crucial to our physical and mental wellbeing to find and hold on to a semblance of peace and inner calm, and there’s no better way to do that than by hitting the trails and experiencing nature in all of its unfettered glory.
Hiking used to be seen as a niche pursuit, and the ramblers who greedily flung themselves headlong into it were always viewed with jealousy and awe, as the rest of us never knew were, and how they found the time to devote to their ambulatory hobby.
But as Lao Tzu said, you have to start somewhere, and the best way to start, and make the most of hiking, is by taking that first step.
Before you do set off though, you’re going to need to prepare for that journey. And while it’s easy enough to find the right boots that’ll help you to reach your destination, sometimes it’s all too easy to forget about the rest of the clothing that you’ll need.
While they may not have the same sort of gravitas as boots, the shirt you’ll wear on your adventure can mean the difference between enjoying your sojourns into nature and finding the whole experience miserable.
That's why we’ve found five of the best men’s hiking shirts that you can wear on your adventures so that you can just grab one and go. Because when it comes to hiking, the clothes you wear really do make a difference...
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
As passionate about the outdoors as you are, Columbia makes clothes to keep you comfortable whatever the weather and regardless of the conditions that you find yourself hiking in.
The Lite version of Columbia’s popular Silver Ridge, is a polyester, soft fabric shirt with shoulder vents that are designed to let air flow around your body and keep you cool when it’s warm and regulate your body temperature when things get a little colder.
With a UPF rating of forty and Columbia’s patented Omni-Shade technology, which involves the clever application and of chromium dots liberally spaced throughout the material of the shirt, the Silver Ridge is designed to protect you from the worst that the sun can throw at you on those Summer days when you just have to hit the trails.
A lightweight button shirt that comes with all the bells and whistles, like a brace of breast pockets and sleeve ties that’ll hold your cuffs in place when you roll them up on those blazing hot hiking days, the Silver Ridge is a hiking buddy that no serious stroller can afford to be without.
- The Omni-Shade technology and UPF rating is a blessing in disguise that you won’t even know is there, but will be more than appreciated when you’re out in the wilderness.
- It’s light, so it’s comfortable enough to wear under a jumper or jacket when the rain clouds are gathering and is ideal for summer camping trips.
- The Silver Ridge is made using anti-microbial fabric, so even if you do build up a healthy sweat and have no deodorant on hand, it’ll help to keep any unwanted odor in check.
- The Silver Ridge Lite, according to some reviews, isn’t the most durable hiking shirt that you’ll hang in your wardrobe.
- It looks good, comes in a range of different colors, and does everything that Columbia says it will. It just doesn’t last as long as you hope it will or want it too.
Wherever you want to go, ExOfficio makes the clothes that you’ll want to wear both on your journey, and when you get there.
For the last thirty years, they’ve been one of the foremost brands in travel clothing and put everything that they learned during that time into every item of clothing that they manufacture.
Featuring velcro fasten chest pockets, and a hidden zipper fastening on the right pocket which makes it doubly secure, mesh panels under each arm and three-position mesh panel (so that it can be fully adjusted between closed and open) on the back, the Air Strip is made to keep you cool, calm and focused on whatever you’re doing while you’re wearing it.
Fast drying with a UPF of 30 and three-position sun collar to stop your skin from sizzling in the noon-day sun, the Air Strip is a custom-tailored, desert hikers shirt of choice that’ll keep the heat at bay, and hold it close, when you need it too.
It even has a loop over the left pocket to hold onto the things, like sunglasses, that you’ll need in the trail and are all too often left behind when you need them the most.
- Light and airy, the Air Strip is made to keep you safe from the sun and warm when the winter weather gathers and that’s exactly what it does.
- If you’re hiking in the desert, you’ll whisper an additional prayer of thanks to ExOfficio for the three-position panel on the back and the mesh under-arm panels. If you’ve been out in the desert heat, you’ll know exactly what we mean.
- Then there’s the additional protection that the collar gives your neck - it’ll stop it frying like a well-done steak in the afternoon sun. And that alone is worth the Air Strip’s price tag.
- And it doesn’t just come in one color. Or one style. There’s a color for everyone, and if you prefer your sleeves a little shorter, the Air Strip is also available as a short-sleeve shirt.
- The fit doesn’t suit everyone. Some reviews complain about it being too baggy and others moan about it being too tight.
- It’s a shirt that you’re either going to love or hate and there’s no way to tell which camp you’ll fall in until you wear it. The Air Strip is definitely a suck it and see hiking shirt.
Mountain Hardwear creates, in their own words “performance apparel and equipment to empower outdoor athletes to live boldly”.
Performance is everything for Mountain Hardware and all of their clothing is rigorously tested and made to endure the harshest of conditions.
Made from lightweight polyester, the Canyon Longsleeve has side and rear vents and a UPF of fifty which makes it one of the most comfortable shirts you’ll ever wear on a warm hiking trip. But that’s not all, as it’s also fashioned from anti-microbial material and has a reinforced sun collar, because Mountain Hardwear knows that you can’t be too careful out there.
And for those of you who like to look sharp straight from the tumble dryer, the Canyon is also made from wrinkle-free material, so you can save time on ironing and pull it straight out of your rucksack confident in the knowledge that you’ll look like a million dollars as soon as you put it on.
- With a UPF of fifty, rear and side vents, and a sun-proof collar that’ll protect you from the harshest of rays, the Canyon serves up all the protection that you’ll need from the midday heat whether you’re out in the mountains or the woods.
- It’s made by Mountain Hardwear. They know what it means to be out there and they make their clothing accordingly. It’s an all-weather, all-purpose hiking shirt that’ll put a smile on any hikers face.
- It’s not the best fitting shirt you’ll ever buy. For some reason, the sizes seem to be off, so you’d be better getting a bigger size, which will almost certainly fit. Go big and you should be fine.
Craghoppers have a simple ethos. Go prepared and get the most from your adventure.
For over fifty years they’ve designed and manufactured the most rugged and ready clothing for any, and all, outdoor pursuits, and they don’t take what they do lightly. The Kiwi Classic is a hiker’s favorite, and while it only comes in one color, it’s the only shirt that you’ll ever need.
The polyamide fabric that it’s made from is tough, comfortable, and durable and able to stand up to the rigors of humping a backpack around all day, and it’s UPF of thirty means that it'll stand up to a beating from the sun too.
It’s also the only shirt on our list to feature built-in insect repellent, which will make sure that all the creepy crawlies and flying bugs that you’ll meet on your travels will keep their distance.
Tailored using Craghoppers SolarDry technology, that’ll make sure you stay dry as long as the sun is in the sky, and with enough pockets and loops and functional hiking accessories to keep the most ardent weekend warrior going, the Kiwi Classic is exactly what its name says it is. A classic.
- Made for the outdoors, the Kiwi Classic is fashioned to keep you warm, or cool, whatever the weather you head out in.
- The insect repellent that’s built into the fabric lasts for around seventy conventional washes and should last almost as long as the shirt does.
- Fifty years of outdoor clothing innovation is nothing to be sniffed at or ignored. Craghopper knows what they’re doing and they do it well.
- The Kiwi Classic is plagued by the same issue that seems to weigh heavily on the shoulders of almost every hiking shirt. It’s sized too small.
- If you want a shirt that you're sure will fit, get a size, or if you’re the overly cautious type two sizes, bigger than you need and your Kiki Classic should feel as though it was made to fit you, and you alone.
Icebreaker believes that there’s a better way to do everything and that nature has all the answers that we need, which is why sustainability isn’t just a slogan they use and blithely throw away, it lies at the core of everything that they do.
And it’s also why the Tech Lite is the only short-sleeved hiking tee-shirt on our list. Because it’s the only tee shirt that you’ll ever want to wear in the blistering hot sun.
Made from a combination of Merino wool and nylon, the Tech Lite provides all of the breathability, odor resistance, durability, and quick-drying performance that you’ll need, whatever the conditions that you find yourself in. Machine washable, the Tech Lite is designed to keep you safe from chafing and won’t rub you raw when you need it to keep you warm and dry, or cool in the afternoon sun.
Available in a rainbow assortment of colors, the Tech Lite has both crew and V neck options, so whatever your preferred style, this shirt has it, and you, covered. If you want a shirt that you can depend on in the most arduous of circumstances, you don’t need to look any further.
- The merino wool and nylon combination that Icebreaker uses to make the Tech Lite make it breathable when you need it to be and warm when the cold sets in. It’s an all conditions hiking shirt that won’t let you down.
- With a staggering list of colors and styles available, whatever your taste in shirts is, there’s a Tech Lite that’s been made to suit you.
- All of the technology and breathability that’s built into every single one of these shirts? It comes at a price and that price is durability. According to a worrying amount of reviews, Icebreaker’s Tech Lite’s don’t last anywhere near as long as they should. Which given the jaw-dropping price that you’ll pay for one, isn’t exactly reassuring.
Best Men’s Hiking Shirts Buying Guide
What Is Hiking?
Hiking is the undertaking, or pursuit, of long vigorous walks in the countryside or nature. The preferred term for longer walks in America and Canada, in the United Kingdom and Europe, it is also known by the slang expression ‘rambling’, a term that has recently started to pass into common usage in North America. In Australia, it is also known as ‘bushwalking’ and in New Zealand is also called ‘tramping’
First coming to prominence in the eighteenth century, due to the Victorian love of Romanticism and its association with the countryside and nature, hiking has become an increasingly popular pastime and way of spending time outdoors with relatively little expenditure. It has also found favor with people looking for a low-impact way of improving their health and level of general fitness.
What Is A Hiking Shirt? What Should I Look For When Buying One?
A hiking shirt is a shirt that has been designed to be comfortable to wear outdoors while hiking, regardless of the weather conditions. Ideally, a hiking shirt should be lightweight and made of a durable material that will provide its wearer with a degree of protection while carrying a backpack or strolling through dense undergrowth.
Most shirts that are made specifically for hiking or outdoor pursuits will have a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating and the higher the rating, the more protection the shirt will give its wearer from the sun. In addition to a UPF factor, some hiking shirts have reinforced sun collars which offer a greater degree of protection for their wearer’s necks when the sun is at its highest and hottest. They’ll make sure you won’t sizzle like a steak if you can’t find adequate shade.
While keeping their wearers safe from the sun, a lot of hiking shirts also feature built-in vents that are purposely designed to maximize the amount of air flowing around the wearer’s body which keeps them cool in the hottest conditions and can also help regulate body temperature in colder conditions.
In addition to the previously mentioned, some hiking shirts also use anti-microbial and insect repellent material to keep their wearers safe from all manner of tiny flying hazards and odor issues that can be problematic in the wild.
Even though they can’t stop the full force of Mother Nature, hiking shirts have been designed to offer their wearers a greater degree of protection that normal clothing would, a combination of some, or all of the previously mentioned features should, and will, offer some additional comfort while on the hiking trail.
Which Men’s Hiking Shirt Is The Best One For Me?
That entirely depends on the type of shirt that you like to, and are more comfortable, wearing. Do you prefer a long sleeve or short sleeve shirt? Or are you more comfortable in a tee-shirt? Do you want high UV protection or do you value being cooler more? Or, do you require a combination of both that provides the best of everything that a good hiking shirt has to offer? And then there’s the insect question. Would you rather they left you alone or are you not bothered by them? Once you know the answer to all of those questions, you’ll be ready to pick your ideal hiking shirt.
If it was up to us though? We’d go for the Craghopper’s Kiwi Classic every single day of the hiking week and twice on Sunday. It’s smart, casual, goes well with most hiking gear, has a competent UPF factor, built-in vents, and is insect repellent. Oh, and it’s also a much more affordable option than all of the other shirts. But that said, at the end of the day, the choice is yours and it’s about which shirt suits you best and what you’re looking for. Whatever that is, there’s a hiking shirt on our list for you. So all that’s left to say is, happy hiking and we’ll see you out on the trails in your brand new shirt.