When you buy through links on our site, as an Amazon Associate we may earn a small affiliate commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Read more.

11 Best Shirts For Backpacking and Hiking

If you’re planning to go on a hike, you must have thought about the clothes you should carry. Picking shirts for hiking can be a difficult task. However, we have done the research work for you and collated a list of the best shirts for hiking and backpacking. Read on to learn about each product in detail.

Top 3 Picks

First, let us closely examine our top 3 picks.

Premium Choice

Icebreaker Men's Tech Lite Short Sleeve Crewe

Best Choice

Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Lite Long Sleeve Shirt

Best In Budget

Columbia Men's Tamiami Ii Long Sleeve Shirt


Best Shirts For Backpacking & Hiking Reviews:

1. Woolly Men's Merino Wool Crew Neck Tee


  • Silky soft.
  • High-performance wicking.
  • Long-wearing odor resistance.
  • Four-season comfort.


  • Not very durable.

The Woolly Clothing Men’s Merino Wool Crew Neck Tee Shirt is a popular choice among people who backpack and hike regularly. It comes with flatlock seams and a tagless interior. If you run hot or live in high-temperature regions, this is an excellent pick for you. 

The product is suitable for hiking, mountaineering, backpacking, trekking, climbing, and everyday use. The fabric is highly porous and thin. It is a lightweight t-shirt and dries pretty fast. It does not collect bad odor very quickly.   

The stretchiness of the shirt offers a great range of movement. The Woolly t-shirt can be washed in a machine with cold water.


  • 100% merino wool: Gives a natural stretch and is itch-free
  • Moisture-wicking: Draws moisture off of the body
  • Odor resistance
  • Fire resistance
  • Breathable
  • Modern fit: Great for work, leisure, play, or travel


This Woolly t-shirt has left its users satisfied. It is incredibly comfortable and versatile. The t-shirt is moisture-wicking, quick to dry, and exceptionally breathable, making it a popular choice among hikers, mountaineers, trekkers, and climbers. Some may argue that the shirt is a little pricey, but most will agree that it is worth the investment.

2. Cloudline Men's Merino Wool Short Sleeve Baselayer T-shirt


  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Sweat-wicking


  • Wrinkles easily

The Cloudline Men’s Merino Wool Short Sleeve Baselayer T-shirt is a versatile pick. It is excellent for camping, traveling, hiking, or even running. The flatlock seams reduce chafing, and the merino wool keeps out the sweat. 

This shirt will make you feel dry in the summer and warm in the winter. It dries out quickly and does not hold foul odor. The shirt is extremely lightweight and has an athletic fit. 

Caring for this shirt is not much of a hassle. It can be machine washed with warm water. It should only be pressed with a cool iron.


  • 87% merino wool
  • Odor resistance
  • Flatlock seams
  • Ultralight fabric
  • Lifetime guarantee


Overall, this Cloudline t-shirt is a great buy. It is pretty lightweight and durable. It has the ideal thickness for a base layer. The shirt is pretty soft for a wool garment and feels great on the skin. 

It is odor resistant, making it a suitable choice for hotter climates. However, it is not meant for everyday use. The shirt should be worn for outdoor physical activities. 

Another remarkable thing about this shirt is that no matter how many times you wash it, no threads will start coming out loose. This t-shirt is entirely worth its price.

3. Icebreaker Men's Tech Lite Short Sleeve Tee


  • Durable
  • Odor resistant
  • Thermal regulation
  • Easy care


  • Comparatively expensive

The Icebreaker Men’s Tech Lite is an elegant and versatile t-shirt. The t-shirt uses natural fibers to give beautiful and high-quality garments. They are also comparatively sustainable. 

The construction of the t-shirt is such that merino wool fibers are twisted around an inner core of nylon fibers. The nylon makes the garment stronger and more durable. The fabric is pretty thin and is an ideal pick for warm weather. 

This Icebreaker shirt dries fairly quickly, owing to the thin and porous fabric. The t-shirt is comfortable for various conditions. It should only be washed at 40 degrees celsius in a washing machine.


  • Multifunctional
  • Quick-drying
  • Breathable 
  • Lightweight
  • UV protection


This Icebreaker t-shirt is excellent for use around the year. The fit is pretty comfortable and provides freedom of movement. It dries out quickly because of how thin and porous it is.

Even in high temperatures, it is very comfortable. The shirt has moisture-wicking properties that’ll keep you free of sweat. No matter how hot it is, the shirt will dry itself during every pause.

It might be a little expensive, but the Icebreaker t-shirt is a wonderful choice for those who regularly hike and climb.

4. Woolly Men's Merino Wool Polo Shirt


  • It doesn’t wrinkle noticeably
  • Odor resistant
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Itch-free
  • Round the year comfort


  • Threads come out easily

This Woolly t-shirt is exceptionally lightweight. It offers good breathability and does not stink up quickly. It makes for excellent everyday wear as well. 

For a merino wool shirt, this one is quite modestly priced. It comes in a range of different colors.

Despite being extremely thin, this t-shirt will keep you warm when needed. It is perfect for all types of adventures. It is naturally moisture-wicking, which is why you will not have to drown in your own sweat.

The garment does not retain smell and only needs to be washed every ten to twenty uses.


  • Flatlock seams
  • Fire resistant
  • Chest pen pocket
  • 100% merino construction
  • Tagless interior


Overall, this Woolly t-shirt has an excellent fit. It wears out after a few uses, but not many merino wool shirts are available in this price range. It can be worn repeatedly without washing and functions well irrespective of the weather. 

The breathability of the t-shirt is its selling point. It is a great pick for hiking or other adventures. When we look at all of its benefits, the cost is pretty justified.

5. Western Rise Limit Merino Men's Polo Shirt.


  • Odor resistant
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Machine washable
  • Moisture-wicking


  • Develops fuzz easily.

This Western Rise t-shirt is a versatile choice. It can be worn outdoors, indoors, at work, or while traveling. The button-down collar gives it an elegant look. It has a modern slim fit, and the length looks good irrespective of whether you tuck it in or not. 

The fabric is pretty breathable and comfortable enough to be worn for long hours. The merino wool keeps you warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot. It is also very durable and does not itch. 


  • Oxford style knit
  • Lightweight
  • Four-way stretch
  • Temperature regulating


This t-shirt looks like a dress shirt but feels like a sweatshirt. It is very soft on the skin. It appears very casual and fits nicely across the chest and shoulders. The t-shirt is also quite stretchy, allowing you to move in every direction.

The odor resistance is a boon. The t-shirt can be worn for days at a stretch without having to wash it. It wicks moisture, which means your sweat will disappear pretty quickly. The t-shirt also has a front pocket for functionality purposes. It can be washed in a machine.

6. Arc'teryx Motus Crew Neck Shirt


  • UPF protection
  • Durable
  • Quick dry


  • Slightly expensive

The Arc’teryx Motus Crew makes for a great base layer or running shirt. It is pretty comfortable and does not restrict movement. The fabric is very lightweight and breathable. It dries out pretty quickly. It is durable as well as comfortable. 

This is a versatile t-shirt and can be worn for various activities and tasks. It was designed with trail runners in mind. It will keep you cool and dry no matter how hot the weather is. The t-shirt also had built-in reflective blades for visibility at night. 


  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Reflective blade


Overall, this is a very comfortable shirt. It has high-quality flatlock seams. At times, the tightly woven polyester fabric doesn’t allow air to pass through easily, affecting breathability.

It is one of the fastest-drying hiking shirts. It also has a UPF rating of 25, making it an excellent choice for warm climates.  

The shirt has an elegant look. The neck stands out, and there are no visible seams. There is a high level of detail put in the design and quality. This is probably why it comes with such a huge price tag.

7. Minus33 Merino Wool Shirt


  • Easy care
  • 30-day guarantee
  • One year warranty
  • Does not overheat
  • Itch free


  • Rips easily

This Minus33 t-shirt is the perfect pick for being fashionable as well as comfortable. It is pretty light and breathable. The flatlock seams ensure that there is no chafing.  

This t-shirt can be washed in a washing machine. It has excellent moisture-wicking abilities and helps you get rid of any sweat. 

The tagless labeling increases the level of comfort by eliminating the itching and scratching that comes with tags. It makes for a great base layer t-shirt.


  • 100% merino wool
  • Lightweight
  • Flatlock seams
  • Tagless
  • Stretch cuff


This t-shirt is a popular choice for outdoor activities. It is a great base layer and keeps you cool no matter how hot it gets. The itch-free feature is a boon for people with sensitive skin.

The product wicks off all your sweat and feels great on the skin. The stretchable cuff keeps sleeves in place. It allows you to put on jackets and gloves pretty easily. 

This t-shirt is very well stitched, and you will not find any weak spots or loose threads dangling out of it. It is also fire resistant, which means you need not worry about safety hazards.

8. Helikon-Tex Defender Short Sleeve Shirt


  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Anatomic fit
  • Underarm ventilation


  • Less variety

The Defender MK2 is an improved version of the older Defender t-shirt. It is lightweight and can be used on any type of terrain. It also dries faster and wicks off any moisture, making it pretty breathable. 

The t-shirt has excellent functionality and looks sleek as well. The anatomical cut offers a good range of motion. The pockets are handy and not a commonly found feature on hiking t-shirts. The loop for sunglasses just adds to the convenience of this t-shirt.


  • Lightweight
  • Aero-tech fabric
  • Velcro chest pockets outside
  • Zipper chest pockets inside
  • Shades holder


This is a great shirt that can be used as a base layer for more than just hiking. It is thin and porous, making it a good regulator of temperature. This t-shirt will keep you warm on chilly days and cool on hot days. 

The stretchy fabric allows you to move in any and every direction with much ease. It is also very soft and comfortable. The pockets are a great addition and hold up very well.

It is a wonderful pick for uniformed officers to use as a base. Among hikers, it is a common pick.

9. Columbia Men's Long Sleeve Shirt


  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Moisture-wicking


  • Not a great fit around sleeves.

The Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Lite Long Sleeve Shirt is a wonderful choice for hiking and everyday use. It provides comfort in all types of weather. It is also quite functional.

The material gives it an elegant look without compromising on comfort. It comes with a UPF rating of 40, providing excellent protection from harmful UV rays. 

It pulls moisture away from the body and is pretty breathable. Despite being long-sleeved, it does not feel tight. 


  • Lightweight
  • Zipper front pockets
  • Button-down cuffs 
  • UPF 40
  • 100% polyester


Overall, this Columbia t-shirt provides excellent value for money. It helps you keep off your sweat and breathe freely. Sun protection is an added benefit for scorching areas. 

While the t-shirt dries out quickly, it does not get rid of odor at the same rate. It takes a considerable amount of time to lose foul odor, as compared to other hiking shirts. 

It is a well-stitched shirt that is incredibly durable. The fabric has a silver chloride antimicrobial treatment embedded in it. 

This shirt is excellent for not just hiking but boating and other outdoor activities as well.

10. Columbia Men's Tamiami Ii Long Sleeve Shirt


  • Quick dry
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Odor resistance
  • Antimicrobial 
  • breathable


  • It does not fit as expected.

This Columbia t-shirt is an excellent choice for the sun as well as the water. It is lightweight and breathable. The fabric wicks off moisture and does not leave you sweaty. 

The t-shirt is treated with antimicrobial elements to fight bacterial growth. It also comes with a UPF rating of 40, making it a great choice for warmer regions, where sunburns are common. 

It is a convenient garment with multiple pockets and roll-up sleeves.


  • UPF 40
  • 100% polyester
  • Roll-up sleeves
  • Ultra-light ripstop fabric


The Columbia Tamiami t-shirt is a very comfortable and functional choice. It is also a pretty stylish pick. 

It is best known for its protective features. The 40 UPF protects you from the harmful UV rays of the sun. The fabric is light and breathable, so you do not end up drowning in your own sweat. It is also treated to keep you safe from any bacterial growth.

It is an excellent choice for hiking and fishing. This t-shirt is available in multiple colors and sizes. Be sure to follow their size chart and not depend on standard sizes when purchasing the product.

11. Woolly Men's Merino Wool Polo Shirt


  • Quick dry
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Increased airflow


  • Wrinkles easily
  • Threads come out loose

The ExOfficio Men’s Air Strip Long Sleeve t-shirt is an elegant choice. It provides comfort alongside fashion. Whether you’re navigating hot areas or the waters, this shirt does not disappoint.

The 3-position sun collar and UPF 40 rated fabric to shield you from the sun and keep you cool and comfortable. The shirt has vents that allow movement and ventilation.


  • UPF 30
  • Bluesign approved fabric
  • Straight hem
  • Lightweight
  • Chest pocket
  • Security zip in the right pocket
  • Sunglasses slot


This t-shirt is very convenient and functional. It can be worn on multiple occasions and stays comfortable irrespective of the activity. 

It is lightweight and keeps your sweat off of you. The UPF rating protects you from the sun’s harmful rays and is highly advantageous for people who cannot tolerate harsh sunlight.

We would definitely recommend this garment for hot locations while hiking or even for professional looks.

Buying Guide

You may be overwhelmed with all the options available at hand. Making the right choice is never easy. A lot of factors influence the shirt choice for a hike, such as color and material. Read on to find out the different considerations before selecting a hiking shirt.


Hiking and backpacking shirts are available in a range of different materials. You must carefully choose the fabric best suited for your hike.


Ultrafine merino wool is an excellent choice for hiking shirts. It is itch-free and naturally breathable. These shirts dry out sweat pretty quickly and do not carry a foul odor. 

Wile wool does a good job of regulating your temperature; some people find their skin having a bad reaction to it.


Experienced hikers have often warned others that “cotton kills.” While cotton shirts are incredibly comfortable, they are not meant for physical activities.

You should avoid cotton shirts as they do not dry quickly and are poor insulators. They do not wick the moisture off of your skin.


Synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester are pretty durable. They make for great hiking shirts as they dry out quickly. 

These fibers release heat, which is why you don’t sweat as much. It even keeps you warm as the temperature drops. 

However, these shirts may stink up quickly. Besides this one minor drawback, these are the most preferred fabric for hiking.


Silk is the ideal choice for slightly cool weather. It gets rid of moisture from your skin comparatively slower than other fabrics. SIlk shirts are soft, luxurious, and lightweight. However, they are prone to odor and do not respond well to sunlight.

Sleeve Length

The length of the sleeves is usually dependent on the average temperature of the hike. If you’re hiking in warmer areas, short sleeves will do the trick. Colder regions, on the other hand, would require you to wear long sleeves.

Elevation also influences the sleeve length. While going for a high hike, you should wear long sleeves, even if it’s the middle of the summer.

Those prone to sunburns should also choose long sleeves.

Sun Protection

All shirts come with some level of sun blocking. 

If your skin doesn’t react well to harsh sunlight, or if you plan on hiking in sunny areas, it is advised to invest in a shirt with an above-average UPF rating. 

UPF rating is to clothes; what SPF rating is to sunscreen. It determines how helpful the shirt is in blocking the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The higher the UPF rating, the better the garment will protect you from the sun. 

Choose shirts that have a UPF rating of greater than 15. Anything less than 15 is considered ineffective. 

A lot of factors influence the UPF rating of garments. Something as basic as washing might affect the UPF rating of clothes.


Darker colors are better at absorbing UV rays. Lighter colors, on the other hand, help repel the UV rays.


Synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon are the best option for blocking UV rays. Cotton is not quite preferred for hiking as it is least effective when it comes to blocking UV rays.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Backpacking and hiking can be somewhat daunting. Deciding on a good hiking shirt is just one part of the task. Before you head on to a hike, you may have a few more questions bothering you.

Let’s dive into some of the most commonly asked questions. 

Question 1: Are Shoes Or Boots Better For Hiking?

When picking out footwear for hiking, you should remember the following points:

  • They should protect your feet from cuts or damage.
  • They should be comfortable and not blister your feet.
  • They should be lightweight. Hiking consumes a lot of your energy, and lightweight footwear will be a great help.

Hiking Boots

A lot of people prefer hiking boots over shoes as they are more protective. They also offer ankle support. These boots are an excellent choice for hiking in snowy or rainy conditions. Owing to their leather build, they are warmer as well. 

If you plan on using hiking boots, do not take brand new boots to your hike. It would be best if you broke them in first.

Hiking Shoes

With casual hiking gaining popularity, hiking shoes too are becoming more common. They are much more comfortable than boots and are an excellent choice for recreational hikers.

Hiking shoes are more flexible than boots and do not need breaking in. They are also pretty breathable.

Question 2: What Should I Eat Before A Long Hike?

If you plan to go on a long hike, it is crucial to eat appropriately before the hike. A few things to keep in mind are: 

  1. Hydrate well. Have a minimum of 4 cups of water.
  2. Do not leave on an empty stomach.
  3. About 1-3 hours before the hike, consume a combination of complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. Here are a few simple combinations:
  • Whole wheat bread with banana and peanut butter
  • Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
  • Greek yogurt along with berries
  • Peanut butter and apple
  • Nuts and raisins
  1. When going on longer hikes, you should snack at least once every hour. Let’s have a look at some snack ideas.
  • Peanut butter
  • Crackers
  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Beef jerky
  • Whole-grain tortillas
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Energy bars
  • Dried fruit
  1. Certain foods must be avoided before you venture on to a long trek.
  • Burgers
  • Cheese
  • Fries
  • Candy bars
  • Spices
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Milk

Question 3: What Equipment Is Needed For Hiking?

When on a hike, you should be prepared for any and every possible situation. Let us discuss some of the hiking must-haves.

  1. Navigation: A trusty compass and topo map are essential. They will keep you from getting lost.
  2. Illumination: Make sure you’re carrying emergency lights in case you do not make it back by sunset.
  3. First-Aid Kit: A comprehensive first-aid kit is critical. You should be prepared to deal with any minor injuries.
  4. Sun Protection: No matter what the weather looks like, you should always carry sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats.
  5. Food & Water: Staying hydrated is perhaps the most important thing on a hike. Carry enough water and food to help you sustain your energy.
  6. Insulation: Weather can be pretty unpredictable on hikes. It is better to carry an extra layer of insulation to keep you warm and safe.

The Final Verdict

Finding the right shirt for hiking and backpacking may be tricky. We hope this guide helps you in making the perfect choice for your needs. A few things you should not compromise on while looking for a hiking shirt are moisture-wicking and light fabrics. 

These will make your hiking expeditions quite comfortable. Choose a shirt that fits your budget as well as your requirements.

Happy hiking!

Also Read:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top