The best hiking trips are the ones in which you get to experience those addictive adrenaline jolts in a responsible and controlled way. The danger is real, but so is your preparedness for it. Of course, proper hiking apparel is a big part of being prepared. Start with top-rated shirts and you’ll be ready to take on any challenge while hiking!
But how can you identify the best hiking shirts ? First of all, you need to look at heat insulation. Reliable outdoor shirts can keep you warm without suffocating your skin and making you sweat. A one-way breathing system is used for the fabric, allowing air to circulate but keeping the warmth inside. Secondly, UV protection is also a must for a good walking shirt or trekking shirt. A minimum of 50 SPF is required for all outdoor activities.
We’ve looked at the most popular options on the market, according to shirt reviews and consumer choice. We narrowed down the list and present you with the top 10 best shirts for hiking to choose from.
How To Choose A Shirt For Hiking – Buying Guide
Most of the best outdoor shirts use synthetic fibers in order to achieve their intended effects. Therefore, you can expect almost all of the hiking shirts you check out to have ‘100% polyester’ written on the label.
At the same time, you’d be mistaken to think all fabrics of the best outdoor shirts are the same. The method of fabrication and the extra processes for treating the material can lead to hugely different results. Some of them are better for solar protection, some of them are infused with anti-microbial substances for keeping away bad odors, and so on. All the best backpacking shirts will achieve heat insulation and allowing your skin to breathe and cool off, so only the extra perks listed above can differ from one item to another.
Top-rated hiking shirts come in different sizes so you get to choose the item that will fit you best. Be sure to check the product sizing guide to make sure the one you choose will indeed come in the measurements you expect.
Just because the best outdoor shirts are so functional and full of useful perks doesn’t mean style is not also a factor. You can stay stylish or remain faithful to your preferred clothing colors while sporting a lightweight shirt, too. First of all, bear in mind that almost all of them have several color options to choose from. Second of all, you’ll be happy to see that some hiking shirts are designed according to the latest activewear trends. Just browse through our list of the best men’s hiking shirts above and choose your fave!
How long will your outdoor shirt last you? Well, there are two things which can damage your new clothing item. The first one is improper wash and care. To prevent this, simply check the label and respect the washing instructions there (more on that below).
The other one is how much the straps of your backpack are rubbing against the fabric of your shirt, contributing to tear and wear. Unfortunately, this one can’t really be prevented, but you can rest assured that top-rated hiking shirts, such as the ones on our list above, have a long product life.
Solar protection is a must if you’re hiking to higher altitudes or if you’re having your outdoor adventure in the summer. The sun’s rays can be very damaging to your skin. Many beginner hikers had a nasty surprise to find themselves with a sunburn underneath their clothes, just because they hadn’t considered solar shield clothing.
To have or not to have sleeves: that is the question. Paraphrasing aside, if you have a hard time deciding on the issue of sleeves, think of it like this. If you want mostly a walking shirt that also protects you from the sun, but which you’ll use in warm weather and in the city, go for a T-shirt. If you’re going hiking in high altitudes, even in summer, you should opt for long sleeves, as it can get chilly once you climb up a mountain.
All of the best shirts for hiking are designed from synthetic fibers that provide good heat retention and solar protection in spite of being very light. The weight of your trekking shirt will not be a problem, therefore, while backpacking, so you don’t need to worry about it. Of course, if you need to know the exact weight of the item, you can check the product description, since the manufacturer usually specifies it.
Some of the items in our list above also boast of having antimicrobial properties. This means that the fabric they are made of was treated with special substances in order to keep bacteria away. Even if you sweat during your hike, you won’t be susceptible to any bad odors, because the traces of moisture developed on your skin will not decompose into the sweaty smell that we all hate.
All polyester fabrics like the ones in the best lightweight hiking shirts on the market are designed to be comfortable. Some of them are even designed for an extra level of comfort, with an ultra-soft feel, and this is specified in the description.
If you’re worried your new trekking shirt might disintegrate at the seams, look for an extra sturdy one with double-needle sewing. Our first option at the top of list above fits the bill in this regard.
Q: What Is The Difference Between A Regular Shirt And Hiking Shirt?
Regular shirts that are meant to be worn during a casual city-dwelling day have almost nothing in common with proper shirts. They may both look like shirts, but regular ones will only make you warmer than you’d be if you walked around wearing a T-shirt and that’s it.
Top-rated hiking shirts offer you much more, such as proper heat insulation (you won’t be too cold, but you won’t get too hot in them either), good skin breathing through the fabric, solar protection and more.
Last, but not least, you can use shirts in a layering system for the best results, and you’ll be protected from extreme temperatures and the elements in all hiking conditions. No regular shirt can help protect you like that, and going on a hiking trip without proper apparel can actually prove to be dangerous.
Q: How to Wash My Hiking Shirts?
Most synthetic hiking shirts are pretty easy to wash and need no special washing regime. Just make sure you read their label and check for the product care instructions. You’re most likely going to find very straightforward recommendations for machine washing. As long as you don’t allow the temperature to exceed the one indicated on the label of your trekking shirt, you’re not going to have any unpleasant surprises.
Furthermore, since hiking shirts are made from special synthetic fibers, you can also expect a long product life as long as you respect the washing instructions on the label.
Q: Why Do I Need A Special Hiking Shirt? Can’t I Just Wear My Gym Shirt?
While gym shirts may be also designed to keep moisture away, that’s the only regard in which they are similar to hiking shirts. First of all, the best backpacking shirts and hiking apparel are designed to withstand a longer active time than your average gym session. Secondly, top-rated hiking shirts also come with built-in sun protection to protect you from the powerful sun rays you’re exposed to outdoors.
Thirdly, the matter of heat insulation should also not be taken lightly: gym shirts are not designed to protect you from the cold while hiking in cold weather, but outdoor shirts are. Therefore, gym shirts and shirts for hiking are most definitely not interchangeable.
Globo Surf Overview
Going on a hiking trip is a delightful experience and you will surely weather everything the journey throws at you, as long as you embark on it well prepared. A professional shirt will allow you to retain comfortable heat, while also allowing your skin to breathe. This way, you have nothing else to focus on but the way ahead and where you set your next foot down. Enjoy your next hiking trip!
More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:
- Winter Hiking Boots
- Rain Pants
- Garmin Watch
- Survival Kit
- Hiking Baby Carriers
- Survival Books
- Bug Out Bag
- Gore Tex Jacket
- Drone For Gopro
- Lightweight Backpack
Do you have a bad experience using a regular gym shirt instead of a reliable shirt for hiking? Any funny stories to share about hiking and proper apparel? What’s your favorite brand of shirts you’ve owned so far? Have fun and let us know what your favorite shirt is, in the comment section below!