How To Choose Hiking Shirts

Hiking Shirts

Choosing the wrong hiking attire before heading out into the wilderness can ruin your fun! Everyone is aware that you need good socks, a comfortable pack, and hiking boots or shoes, but what about your shirt? The shirts that feel great on your skin, minimize friction, and don’t limit your movement are the best for hiking. Since there are so many options on the market for outdoor apparel, it’s crucial to choose hiking attire carefully. The three main qualities to look for in hiking shirts are temperature regulation, odor control, and moisture management. You can combine all of these features with the best material, and you’ll be ready to begin your hiking adventure!

So what kind of fabric works best for hiking shirts? Before making a purchase, continue reading to learn about the top picks of the year, the best materials for the hiking shirts, and a buyer’s guide!


There are so many options for hiking shirts when you enter any outdoor clothing retailer—it can be confusing! How can you tell which is the best material? Let’s examine each popular material in more detail:


Simply put, this material is not made for hiking. In warm weather, a cotton shirt can prevent sweat from evaporating. If it gets wet, it will stay wet for a very long time, making moving around uncomfortable. Even though wearing your favorite cotton t-shirt for a hike might seem like a good idea, it’s best to steer clear of that decision.


  • The wet fabric can provide cool relief while hiking in a desert.


  • Prevents sweat from evaporating
  • Is ineffective at wicking away moisture
  • Makes you feel clammy and sticky
  • Locks in odor
  • Is difficult to dry.


Hikers frequently choose fabrics made of polyester and synthetic materials. They are the most prevalent material in outdoor clothing stores and typically fairly affordable. If your shirt gets wet, it will dry quickly because synthetic material is known for its moisture-combatting properties! The only issue with synthetic material is that, if your shirt picks up body odor, it probably won’t stop stinking until you wash it.


  • Low cost and widespread
  • Excellent moisture wicking
  • Does not retain water
  • Blocks UV rays


  • Catches bad odors quickly
  • When wet, synthetic fabric does not provide warmth
  • Synthetic fabric production has an adverse effect on the environment.


The term “blend material” refers to a mixture of nylon and spandex. These blend materials, which use thin, flexible, and soft material, are typically more flexible than polyester and cotton. A shirt with a higher blend is what you need if you’re looking for something that will fit you well and move with your body while you’re hiking. Blend materials don’t have strong odor control, so they retain any unpleasant odors until they are washed. This is their only drawback.


  • Flexible and follows the body’s movement
  • Doesn’t absorb sweat or water


  • Material is not breathable
  • Typically lacks odor control

Merino Wool material:

When you compare the options, this hiking shirt material is the undisputed champion. High levels of breathability and resistance to moisture absorption are two characteristics of merino wool fabric. It’s usually elastic, lightweight, and comfortable. Natural antimicrobial properties in this fabric will aid in preventing the buildup of odors. The fact that merino wool is the priciest is what most people find to be the biggest drawback. Merino wool hiking shirts will unquestionably be a great investment for you if you’re thinking about going on frequent hikes.


  • Provides warmth when wet
  • Is extremely breathable
  • Is naturally antimicrobial
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Odor control
  • UV protection


  • Expensive
  • Drying time is lengthy
  • Disagreement over how wool is produced

Difference Between a Hiking Shirt and a Regular T-Shirt

What’s the big deal? Do hiking shirts differ from regular shirts in any way? There is a noticeable difference, yes.

Numerous technological features found in hiking shirts are absent from regular t-shirts. Because of their propensity to wick moisture and dry quickly, fabrics like merino wool or polyester are frequently used in the best hiking shirts. This kind of technology is simply not available in regular t-shirts.

The next time you go hiking, don’t expect the same level of comfort and performance if you choose a regular cotton t-shirt. It simply cannot be compared!

The Design Feature You Should Really Look For

There are a few shirt design elements that enhance the hiking experience. A flatlock seam is the most desired style, because it improves fit and comfort on the body. These seams are created by placing two pieces of fabric next to one another and sewing the exposed raw edges together. Flatlock seams are undetectable and lessen the chance of irritation. Hiking shirts would be too bulky and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time without these seams.

Additionally, flatlock seams lessen the rubbing of backpack straps against shoulders. You can have more enjoyable hiking adventures thanks to this feature, which allows for an excellent fit and flexibility overall.

Buyer’s Guide

There are a few more things to think about before buying your hiking shirt. In addition to choosing the ideal material for your hiking necessities, other features will assist you in making the best decision! So what should one think about before purchasing a new hiking shirt?

Shirt Style

There are three common types of hiking shirts. It’s crucial to think about which of the three will best suit your hiking requirements. There are button-up shirts, long sleeves, and short sleeves.

Short sleeve hiking shirts are a great option for hot, humid weather and can even be worn as a base layer for added warmth underneath other garments, allowing you to wear them during both summer and winter hiking excursions.

A long-sleeved hiking shirt is a good option to keep you warm during winter hikes, shield your arms from the sun during summer hikes, or to shield your arms when walking through bushes. You’ll stay extra warm thanks to the sleeves, and you can always roll them up if it ever gets too warm.

The most versatile shirt style is the button shirts. It’s a wise choice for sun protection and temperature regulation. Unbuttoning the front of your shirt makes it simple to cool your body down when it’s too hot. When you pull the collar of a button-up shirt up over your neck, it can also provide additional sun protection.

Choose a shirt style that will suit your hiking needs. Because there are so many options available, it all comes down to preference.


It’s crucial to feel comfortable while hiking. Choose a hiking shirt that makes you feel comfortable because you’ll be wearing it for a while, sometimes in chilly conditions.

As previously mentioned, the best option is a merino wool shirt. It’s elastic and lightweight. Your body will feel flexible and light. These shirts usually have a tighter fit.

Fitted designs follow your movements, whereas looser shirts allow your body to breathe better. So pick a type that makes you feel better.

It’s almost essential to think about how comfortable your shirt is while wearing multiple layers or a backpack. Consider this as well if you’re going to carry a bag on your shoulders, because it’s widely accepted that some nylon blend materials are uncomfortable on the skin when a backpack is slung over the top.

Antimicrobial Properties

It’s essential to wear an antimicrobial shirt when hiking for an extended period of time. It helps the fabric last longer and keeps your body and shirt smelling fresh. Hiking will be more enjoyable for you overall because effective antimicrobial fabric will fend off microorganisms and bacteria while promoting moisture movement.

As you might have guessed it, merino wool is the best material in terms of antimicrobial properties! Because merino wool naturally fights bacteria, it will keep you and your shirt smelling fresher for longer. There are some synthetic material shirts that use anti-odor technology as well.

Odor Resistant

Cheap hiking shirts lack anti-odor technology that aims to instantly wick away sweat and odor. If you buy a shirt that doesn’t resist odor, your hiking trip might become uncomfortable.

Consequently, when making your purchase, try to pay close attention to all the features listed. Any anti-odor technology will enhance your overall experience, particularly if you plan to hike in a warm climate.


A hiking shirt’s durability is its capacity to withstand any wear, pressure, or damage. The longevity of your hiking shirt will be increased if you select one with superior moisture-wicking and antimicrobial properties.
Before purchasing the shirt, read up on how to wash and dry it. How you treat a piece of clothing after each use determines how long it will last.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors to take into account before purchasing a hiking shirt. Most people frequently make purchases based solely on price or popularity, paying little attention to features. It depends on your priorities whether or not you value the features mentioned in this buyer’s guide. The most crucial thing is to focus on the features that really matter to you so that you can pick the hiking shirt that fits your needs the best.

Final Verdict

If possible, you want a hiking shirt to satisfy each of the requirements listed in the buyer’s guide. All of them should be able to be checked off by the top material for hiking shirts. If you try to prioritize one property over others, the truth is that you’re going to have to make concessions on one or more of them.

Merino Wool is the material that best satisfies the majority of the critical criteria. Merino wool’s only real drawback is that it is quite expensive. Given that it will last for a very long time and has so many more advantages than any other material on the market, it would be a wise investment.

Whether you’re going on a short hike or a long expedition, picking the best hiking shirt for you will keep you feeling comfortable and energetic. Your hiking adventures will go much smoother when you wear a shirt that resists getting wet easily, blocks odor, keeps you warm, has good ventilation, and feels good against your skin. Decide wisely and happy hiking!