The 14 Best Hiking Shirts of 2022, Tested by Outdoor Experts

We hiked and ran hundreds of miles on trails to find the best hiking shirts

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody
Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody. Photo by Nathan Allen / TripSavvy.

One of the most important things you need for a good hike is clothing that fits well, feels good, and is appropriate for the climate and weather in which you're hiking. You might get away with apparel that’s not ideal during a 45-minute workout. But on a five or six-hour hike? It could be less than fun if your shirt is rubbing in all the wrong spots, feels scratchy, or needs to be adjusted constantly. Finding a great go-to hiking shirt will make apparel a nonissue—so you can focus 100 percent of your energy on enjoying the trek.

We tested more than a dozen hiking shirts. Here are the best ones you can buy now.

Best Overall: Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Shirt

Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Shirt

Patagonia

What We Like
  • Lightweight material

  • Long hemline

  • Sweat-wicking

  • Odor control

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing

There’s a lot I love about this T-shirt. Thanks to the scoop neck, roomy sleeves, and drop-tail hem, the cut is very flattering, which all make for a perfectly comfy T-shirt that lays nicely on my body and feels equally as appropriate on the trail and out at lunch. The fabric is very airy and breathable, so it’s perfect on a warmer-weather hike when you want just a thin layer on top of your skin.

A silver-salt-based additive reduces odor in the fabric, and I found that I could wear this shirt multiple times without it smelling offensive. As you’d expect from Patagonia, this shirt is made of at least 50 percent recycled fabric and made with Fair Trade and Bluesign practices—meaning it’s good for the workers creating it and the environment. Find the men’s version here.

Note: Our male tester did find the sizing ran a bit small. Our tip is to size up one past your standard size.

Sizes: XS to XXL | Fit: Regular | Fabric: Polyester | Planet and Social Impact: Fair Trade Certified sewing, recycled materials, meets bluesign certification

Runner Up, Best Overall: Smartwool Merino 150 Base Layer Top

Smartwool Merino 150 Base Layer Top

Smartwool

What We Like
  • Comfortable material

  • Long hemline

  • Sweat-wicking

  • Odor control

  • Great base layer

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing

One of the best things about merino wool is that it feels soft and cozy yet wicks sweat away just as well as more synthetic-feeling materials. The fabric’s natural moisture management powers are evident in this T-shirt from Smartwool. 

A mix of merino and nylon makes the shirt comfortable and stretchy so that it feels good on your body throughout a long day of wear. It’s so comfortable and fits so well that I’ve been wearing it as an everyday shirt instead of reserving it for sweaty activities. Speaking of sweat: This T-shirt dries reasonably quickly as you sweat and never seems to get stinky, even after a long day of activity. We've taken this shirt out on multiple high-output runs before needing to wash, which also helps the product's longevity.

A UPF 20+ rating also helps protect your skin from the sun—something I deeply appreciate on a long hike when I may not be as diligent as I should be about reapplying sunscreen to my shoulders. I also love the color options and how long the T-shirt is. The fit is slim but still relaxed enough that I don’t feel like it’s squeezing me in or limiting my movement and comfort. Find the men’s version here.

Sizes: XS to XL | Fit: Slim | Fabric: Merino wool and nylon | Planet and Social Impact: Merino wool is ZQ-certified, and some colorways use a plant-based dye technique

Smartwool Merino 150 Short Sleeve
TripSavvy / Nathan Allen.

Best Budget: REI Co-op Sahara T-Shirt

REI Co-op Sahara T-Shirt

REI

What We Like
  • Good style

  • Comfy and soft

  • Performed as well as any shirt on this list

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing, really

Don't be fooled by the "best budget" superlative. This is a damn-good shirt that performed as well as the Capilene Cool and Merino 150. At least one of our testers liked it better than both of those shirts. And if you haven't taken REI's house brand seriously, it's time to start. The Co-op makes some of our favorite outdoor gear products, and the Sahara shirt further legitimizes the brand.

We were taken aback at how soft and comfy this shirt is and how high-performing it was on the trails—both hiking and running. Mainly polyester, with a bit of spandex, makes this shirt stretchy and quick-drying. It's not quite as good at blocking stink as some of the merino wool options on this list, but a microbial treatment helps. It's rated at UPF 30. And, since it's our budget pick, we suggest loading up on a few of the seven colors offered.

Sizes: S to XXXL | Fit: Regular | Fabric: Polyester and Spandex | Planet and Social Impact: Not listed

REI Co-op Sahara Short Sleeve
TripSavvy / Nathan Allen.

Best Splurge: Ibex 24-Hour Scoop Neck Tee

Ibex 24-Hour Scoop Neck Tee

Ibex

What We Like
  • Comfortable material

  • Sweat-wicking

  • Odor control

  • Great base layer

What We Don't Like
  • Line dry

  • Pricier option

One of the downsides of 100 percent merino wool clothing is it can stretch out. But not this shirt from Ibex. Despite being made completely out of the naturally sweat-wicking and odor-resistant material, this T-shirt has a bit of stretch. I found it doesn’t stretch out throughout the day, despite containing no nylon or spandex.

The fit is flattering, thanks to the normal fit and scoop neck. And an additional technology in the fabric gives it a slightly cool touch, which helps keep you from feeling too warm. I’ve worn this shirt on its own and also as a base layer underneath a fleece and outer shell, and really love how flat it lays. It doesn’t rub, the fabric dries quickly, and it can handle a few wears before it needs to be washed—making it a great choice for long trips and hiking on vacation when you might not have any other option than to re-wear your clothes a few times. Get the men’s version here.

Sizes: XS to XL | Fit: Regular | Fabric: Merino wool | Planet and Social Impact: Not listed

Best Sun Protection for Men: Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody

Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody

Black Diamond

What We Like
  • High UPF rate (50+)

  • Great fit

  • Super comfy

  • Good at blocking odor

What We Don't Like
  • Absolutely nothing, which is kind of annoying

We keep thinking we'll find something we don't like about the Alpenglow Hoody. Or that we'll find a sun shirt we like better. No dice. This shirt is simply that good. We've been testing it for about half a year now, which has included hundreds of miles of running, hiking, backpacking, and biking. It's included fly fishing, date nights, pool parties, bouldering, Zoom calls, and probably other things we're forgetting. Almost all the testing happened in Southern California and Colorado, where we all know the sun loves to show itself. And we still love this hoody.

Black Diamond uses UPF 50+ and a proprietary cooling technology called BD.cool to make this shirt super comfy and protective in many settings. And it employs Polygiene odor control, which does a surprisingly good job at masking stink. Underarm gussets boost range of motion, which is usually good for outdoor pursuits.

Sizes: S to XL | Fit: Regular | Fabric: Polyester and Elastane | Planet and Social Impact: Not listed

Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody
TripSavvy / Nathan Allen.

Best Sun Protection for Women: prAna Sol Protect Top

prAna Sol Protect Top

Moosejaw

What We Like
  • Soft fabric

  • Lightweight

  • UPF 50+

  • Snaps on sides

What We Don't Like
  • Not odor-resistant

This shirt is one out of a handful in prAna’s Sol Protect line—which, you guessed it, have high UPF ratings to keep your skin safe on sunny outdoor adventures. While that’s a pretty stand-out feature, I also need to mention how stinkin’ soft and comfortable this long-sleeve is. Like, buttery soft. This makes it a top you’ll want to wear on hikes, in everyday life, and even at the beach or other sunny outdoor spots when you might need to throw on a little cover-up after your skin has reached its limit.

It also works equally well by itself, as a layer over a tank top, or short sleeve, thanks to roomy sleeves. The snaps on the side of each hem are an excellent bonus style detail. The only downside? This shirt isn't odor-resistant.

Sizes: XS to XL | Fit: Regular | Fabric: Recycled Polyester, TENCEL Lyocell, Elastane | Planet and Social Impact: Uses 85 percent recycled polyester

Best Lightweight: Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie

Outdoor Research

What We Like
  • Ultra lightweight

  • UPF 15

  • Hood

  • Finger holes

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing

Hiking on a hot and sunny day (think: Utah or Arizona) presents a few challenges. You want to be cool and comfortable, but you also want to protect your skin from the blazing sun. This hoodie lets you do it all. It’s shockingly thin and lightweight. It honestly barely feels like you have a shirt on. But you do, and it has sun protection built into it. There’s even a ponytail hole to slip the hood on and protect your head. I also found that the material is extremely good at wicking away sweat, so I never felt like I was sitting in a wet shirt even after working up a sweat. Available in sizes 1X-3X here. Find the men’s version here.

Sizes: XXS to XL | Fit: Regular | Fabric: Polyester | Planet and Social Impact: Made with 100 percent recycled materials

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie
TripSavvy / Nathan Allen.

Best Moisture-Wicking: Arc'teryx Quadra Crew Shirt

Arc'teryx Quadra Crew Shirt

Arc'teryx

What We Like
  • Stretchy material

  • Relaxed fit

  • Softer than other synthetics

  • Great sweat-wicking

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing

Sometimes polyester workout shirts feel almost plasticky. Made of sweat-wicking polyester, this shirt from Arc’teryx is softer than other synthetic fabrics, and it has a surprising amount of stretch. It works well as a baselayer in colder weather or on its own when it’s warm out—since the fabric is so thin and breathable, I never felt overheated in it, even on a warmer day. 

The shirt seems basic in style and cut, and it is—but that’s what makes it great. The upshot: It’s a high-quality basic long sleeve that you can wear on many different hikes. Proof that you don’t always need bells and whistles to make something worth your money. 

Sizes: XS to XL | Fit: Regular | Fabric: Polyester | Planet and Social Impact: Not listed

Best for Sustainability: Mammut Trift T-Shirt

Mammut Trift T-Shirt

Moosejaw

What We Like
  • Stretchy

  • Minimal seams

  • Naturally odor-resistant

What We Don't Like
  • Only comes in black

I like this T-shirt as a base layer because it’s the right amount of tight to layer perfectly under another item, and the wool blend material feels nice next to your skin. Different fabrics are woven together to create zones for optimal temperature regulation in the chest, stomach, and middle of the back.

It also helps to know that Mammut follows the Responsible Wool Standard, which means the wool comes from farms that prioritize animal welfare, proper grazing, and quality land management practices. The brand is also part of the Fair Wear Foundation and is committed to providing fair and safe working conditions for garment workers in its supply chain. Find the men’s version here.

Sizes: XS to XL | Fit: Athletic | Fabric: Merino Wool and Polyamide | Planet and Social Impact: Responsible Woold Standard and Fair Wear

Best Merino Wool: Minus33 Woolverino Wool Raglan T-Shirt

Minus33 Woolverino Wool Raglan Tee
Minus33 Woolverino Wool Raglan Tee.
What We Like
  • Super soft and comfy

  • Warm but also lightweight

  • Great for running and traveling

What We Don't Like
  • It's spendy

New Hampshire-based Minus33 has been making some of our favorite merino wool threads since 2001. And we love the Raglan tee for many reasons. This is a do-everything workhorse shirt that performs well hiking, trail running, at the gym, on a plane, or rock climbing. We'll pack this on almost every trip because its lightweight style compresses very small, and it can be worn multiple days without stink. Plus, it can work as a baselayer or stand-alone shirt.

Minus33 employs a core-spun technology to create its proprietary Woolverino fabric. Not to get too in the weeds, but it's a nylon core wrapped in an outer sheath of merino wool and a touch of spandex. The result is a highly functional and high-performing garment that works in many climates and activities. It also naturally has a UPF 20 rating. Now, this shirt is expensive. But if you're looking for a solid shirt that should last a long time, this is it.

Sizes: S to XXXL | Fit: Athletic—size up if you don't want it skin-tight | Fabric: Merino Wool, Nylon, and Spandex | Planet and Social Impact: Not listed

Minus33 Woolverino Short Sleeve
TripSavvy / Nathan Allen.

Best Fleece: Eddie Bauer Super Sevens Fleece Pullover Hoodie

Eddie Bauer Super Sevens Pullover Fleece Hoodie
Eddie Bauer Super Sevens Pullover Fleece Hoodie.
What We Like
  • Incredibly lightweight

  • Comfortable

  • Does a fairly good job of keeping the body warm without over-heating it

  • Packs into its own pocket

What We Don't Like
  • Seemingly thin material scares us a bit

The recently launched Eddie Bauer Super Sevens Pullover Fleece Hoodie has quickly become one of our favorite versatile pieces of outdoor gear. Part of the Super Sevens Kit, the hoodie is incredibly lightweight and packs down into its own pocket, making it suitable for travel or stuffing into your backpack for an extra layer. The PrimaLoft fabric does an excellent job of trapping heat, but because it is so thin, it doesn't seem to overheat much. The fleece is part of Eddie Bauer's First Ascent line, focused on high-octane outdoor pursuits.

We've taken this pullover fleece on many hikes, fly fishing, traveling, and stand-up paddleboarding. It performs well in those activities and looks good enough to wear to a restaurant or a Zoom call.

Sizes: S to XXL | Fit: Athletic | Fabric: Recycled polyester, polyester, and nylon | Planet and Social Impact: Made with some recycled polyester

Eddie Bauer's Super Sevens Layering Kit
TripSavvy / Nathan Allen.

Best Trail Running and Hiking: The North Face Wander Short-Sleeve

The North Face Wander T-Shirt

Courtesy of The North Face

What We Like
  • Super comfy

  • Quick drying tech works well

  • UPF 50

What We Don't Like
  • If you've got a dog or cat at home, be prepared for this shirt to collect hair in the washer and dryer

On a list where we seemed to emphasize comfort as much as performance, The North Face's Wander shirt is still one of the most comfortable shirts in this article. The recycled polyester mixed with an elastane-knit jersey makes this shirt buttery soft. We also love the fit of this shirt, the FlashDry moisture-wicking tech, and how breathable it is from the jersey-knit fabric. We're not sure if it's the jersey-knit fabric or something else, but this shirt collected a disturbing amount of dog hair while washing and drying. We'd pull it out of the dryer, and it'd be the only garment with clumps of dog hair. It was odd, but all of the other benefits of this shirt heavily outweigh that weird quark.

All of the shirts on this list could certainly be used for trail running. But we like this one best for all the reasons listed above. The unique quick-drying material and UPF 50 rating make this shirt ideal for long days on the trail. And at a fairly reasonable price, it's tempting to stock up on a few.

Sizes: XS to XXL | Fit: Regular | Fabric: Recycled polyester and elastane-knit jersey | Planet and Social Impact: Recycled polyester

The North Face Wander Short Sleeve
TripSavvy / Nathan Allen.

Best Baselayer: Black Diamond Rhythm Tee

Black Diamond Rhythm Tee

Black Diamond

What We Like
  • Stretchy

  • Minimal seams

  • Naturally odor-resistant

What We Don't Like
  • Holds a lot of static electricity

As someone who doesn’t typically love form-fitting T-shirts, I was surprised to love how this slim-fit option from Black Diamond looked and felt on me. It’s made with unique merino wool that’s lighter and dries quicker than the standard material and is combined with just enough nylon to make it comfortably stretchy. The seams give it a little more shape than your average boxy T, so it’s actually quite flattering for a technical shirt.

At just 69 grams, it’s the lightest of the merino wool shirts on this list—making it an excellent choice for backpacking, running, or any other activity where every bit of weight really matters. Find the men’s version here.

Sizes: XS to XL | Fit: Slim | Fabric: Merino Wool and Nylon | Planet and Social Impact: Not listed

Best Style for Women: Vuori Mudra Fitted Tee in White Heather

4.5
Vuori Mudra Fitted Tee
What We Like
  • Soft, ribbed fabric

  • Stretchy

  • Stylish cut

  • Great neutral color options

What We Don't Like
  • Not odor-resistant

I love Vuori’s activewear because it perfectly melds style, comfort, and performance. This ribbed T-shirt is excellent for anyone looking for a hiking top that’s heavy on the style but still has enough performance features to make it a legit option among a crowd of technical tops.

The slightly cropped hem (hits just above the hip) and ribbed fabric are very on-trend and, honestly, so comfy. It pairs well with any high-waisted hiking pants if that’s your style (it sure is mine!). As someone who typically prefers oversized and long hems, I was surprised at how good I felt wearing this top. It did a pretty good job of wicking sweat, too—the parts that got a little sweaty didn’t stay that way for long. This might just be my new go-to when it comes to trail-to-bar tops.

Sizes: XS to XL | Fit: Slim | Fabric: Modal Rayon and Elastane | Planet and Social Impact: Not listed

Final Verdict

The Smartwool Merino 150 and the Patagonia Capilene Cool T-shirts are pretty much neck-and-neck for the top pick. The Patagonia T-shirt got a slight edge thanks to the more flattering cut of the shirt, a little more breathability, and the surprisingly low price point. But honestly, you can’t go wrong with either if you’re looking for a comfortable shirt that wicks sweat, reduces odor, feels comfortable all day long, and wears well on the trails and in everyday life. The Smartwool Tee is also preferable if you’re planning to layer over it since it’ll give you that next-to-skin wool insulation you need to stay warm and comfy on any cold-weather trek.

Eddie Bauer Resolution Short Sleeve
TripSavvy / Nathan Allen.

Other Hiking Shirts We Tested

Patagonia Capilene Cool Merino Graphic Shirt (view at Backcountry): This is a solid trail-to-town shirt that our testers liked a lot. Capilene Cool is an extension of Patagonia's famous Capilene baselayer fabric focused on hot summer days. This is a good pick for those primarily hiking or living in hot temperatures. We had some issues with it shrinking after washing and drying, so our pro-tip is to size up a level, hang dry, or both.

Eddie Bauer Resolution Short Sleeve (view at Amazon): If we had a runner-up for the best budget category, that's where we'd slate this one. There wasn't anything we didn't like about this shirt. We just liked the REI Sahara shirt a bit better. Eddie Bauer uses its proprietary FreeDry moisture-wicking material and some odor-control tech. It's a relatively classic regular fit that our testers enjoyed.

Merrell Tencel Tee (view at Merrell): Like the Patagonia and Eddie Bauer shirts above, we really liked this shirt. We just didn't have a superlative category for it. But it's a solid shirt that's a bit heavier. It's rated for UPF 20+, is water and sweat-resistant, and has four-way stretch, making this one of the comfier shirts we tested.

Product Selection

When selecting products for this roundup, we tapped into our knowledge, experience, and expertise of brands and shirts. We also conducted some internet research to find the most popular—and highly rated—hiking shirts on sites like REI, Backcountry, and Amazon. We've owned some of these shirts for years; others we got specifically to test for this article. We wanted to include products that fit various people, outdoor pursuits, and price ranges when narrowing the list.

How We Tested

All of the shirts included in this roundup were tested hiking, running, doing other high-output outdoor activities, lounging around the house, and running errands. We considered the fit and style of the shirts. We tested for odor-blocking and moisture-wicking. We tested the shirts as stand-alone options and baselayers underneath hardshell and softshell outers. All told, we logged hundreds of miles running, hiking, backpacking, skiing, paddle boarding, and walking the dog in these shirts. Testing was conducted primarily in the Northeast and Southern California, with stops in the Colorado Rockies and Midwest.

Hiking shirt testing
TripSavvy / Nathan Allen.

What to Look for in a Hiking Shirt

Fabric

The fabric makes the shirt. (See what we did there?) Look for a hiking shirt constructed of breathable material with sweat-wicking capabilities (meaning it dries fast) and odor-resistant technology. Sun protection in the form of UPF is also a great addition. Flat seams or seamless fabric can also go a long way in preventing uncomfortable rubbing and chafing. Merino wool is naturally quick-drying and odor-resistant—and not scratchy like other non-merino wools, but synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon can also get the job done.

Layering

If you’re hiking in colder weather, you want to make sure your hiking shirt can layer with whatever you need to add on top to stay comfortable. It’s good to wear merino wool as the first layer since it’s soft and insulating yet breathable so that it won’t get stifling hot under a fleece and heavier outer layer. You may also prefer a thinner synthetic fabric at your first layer. It all depends on what fits underneath your outer layers and what feels most comfortable for you. Quick-drying fabric is always a must.

Style & Fit

Again, a good hiking shirt is all about its fabric. You want to find a soft, breathable, fast-drying, and odor-resistant shirt. Extra fabric features include sun protection (UPF 50+ is excellent while a UPF rating of 30 to 49 is excellent), offset seams to prevent chafing from your backpack, and bug-repellent capabilities. Merino wool is a standard option that is exceptionally soft, but if you're looking for something cheaper, polyester and nylon are great options. Your type of fabric will largely depend on your hiking conditions, budget, and preference.

That said, hiking shirts come in various styles such as short-sleeve, long-sleeve, button-up, and more. Short sleeves are great for hikes in warmer weather and can be a great base layer when layering for colder climates. Long-sleeve offers extra protection from the sun and getting scratched by debris on a trail. Button-up shirts are great for temperature control and layering, as you can unbutton them when you get cold or throw them over another shirt if you're trying to keep warm.

Aside from finding a hiking shirt that will work across multiple seasons, a great hiking shirt will be versatile for different activities. You can wear them running, working out, on fishing trips, or on family vacations, and some of the more stylish options look great when you're eating out on vacation.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I wash and care for hiking shirts and clothes?

    Most hiking shirts and clothes are durable and resilient. But the material may dictate how you should wash and care for the shirt. So always read the tag or care instructions on the brand’s website before washing. You can toss most hiking shirts in a washing machine but may want to avoid fragranced detergent and fabric softener, which could interfere with the shirt's ability to soak up any moisture or sweat.

    Many synthetic fabrics and merino wools may need to be line-dried to avoid shrinking the material or causing pilling. It may be a pain, but we always hang dry our technical hiking and outdoor gear in general. Always read the label before throwing your hiking shirts in the dryer.

  • How can I get the smell out of my hiking shirt?

    There's nothing worse than taking your shirts out of the washing machine or dryer and smelling sweat. Don't wait to wash your shirts to prevent a build-up of unpleasant odor. Once you're off the trail, toss your gear into the washing machine. You can also invest in laundry detergent formulated for sports or a mild odor-eliminating product. Be sure to check the shirt's tags or the retailer's website to ensure that the detergent or odor eliminator is compatible with the shirt's material.

  • What are the benefits of hiking-specific shirts?

    The most significant benefit of a hiking-specific shirt is that it’s made to wick away moisture and dry quickly. This moisture management will ensure you’re comfortable on a long hike and reduce rubbing of your clothing and uncomfortable chafing. That being said, you don’t necessarily need a shirt that’s marketed for hiking specifically.

    Athletic shirts meant to be worn for different types of workouts can be easily used as hiking shirts. It all comes down to picking the right material and a comfortable fit. Odor resistance helps a lot, too, especially if you plan to sweat in the shirt a few times before you get a chance to wash it.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Amy Marturana Winderl has tested and reviewed outdoor gear for nearly a decade. She once spent a year traveling the US in a camper and visiting National Parks from Ohio to Washington state and everywhere in between. She’s hiked in every climate, from the humid mountains of the Adirondacks to the desert floor of Bryce Canyon, and has many preferences for her clothing and gear. She has been contributing to TripSavvy since 2021.

Nathan Allen, TripSavvy's outdoor gear editor, also contributed to the research and testing for this roundup. He is a lifelong hiker and is quite particular about the clothing he uses for outdoor activities—especially those that last a long time or are high-output. He is fortunate enough to live next to an extensive trail system in Southern California and runs and hikes on them every day year-round.

Article Sources
TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Skin Cancer Foundation. "Sun-Protective Clothing."

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