The 5 Best Hiking Shirts: Reviews and Complete Buying Guide

Man hiking

When going on your next hike, prepare by putting on a good hiking shirt. Hiking presents unique challenges such as sunburn and chaffing, which is why wearing the right shirt is important. For all of our hiking enthusiasts out there we have put together this handy hiking shirts buying guide. Here is a list of reviews of the best hiking shirts currently on the market.

In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top 3 Picks

Top Pick
Little Donkey Andy Men's Stretch UV Protection Long Sleeve Shirt for Hiking, Travel, Fishing, Tactical, Quick-Dry Olive Size M
Runner Up
Carhartt Men's K126 Workwear Jersey Pocket Long-Sleeve Shirt (Regular and Big & Tall Sizes), Carbon Heather, Medium
Best Budget Pick
HISKYWIN Men's UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection T-Shirt Outdoor Long & Short Sleeve Sun Shirt HF101-Slate Green-S
Little Donkey Andy Men's Stretch UV Protection Long Sleeve Shirt for Hiking, Travel, Fishing, Tactical, Quick-Dry Olive Size M
Carhartt Men's K126 Workwear Jersey Pocket Long-Sleeve Shirt (Regular and Big & Tall Sizes), Carbon Heather, Medium
HISKYWIN Men's UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection T-Shirt Outdoor Long & Short Sleeve Sun Shirt HF101-Slate Green-S
$35.99
$24.99
$16.96
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Top Pick
Little Donkey Andy Men's Stretch UV Protection Long Sleeve Shirt for Hiking, Travel, Fishing, Tactical, Quick-Dry Olive Size M
Little Donkey Andy Men's Stretch UV Protection Long Sleeve Shirt for Hiking, Travel, Fishing, Tactical, Quick-Dry Olive Size M
$35.99
-
Runner Up
Carhartt Men's K126 Workwear Jersey Pocket Long-Sleeve Shirt (Regular and Big & Tall Sizes), Carbon Heather, Medium
Carhartt Men's K126 Workwear Jersey Pocket Long-Sleeve Shirt (Regular and Big & Tall Sizes), Carbon Heather, Medium
$24.99
-
Best Budget Pick
HISKYWIN Men's UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection T-Shirt Outdoor Long & Short Sleeve Sun Shirt HF101-Slate Green-S
HISKYWIN Men's UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection T-Shirt Outdoor Long & Short Sleeve Sun Shirt HF101-Slate Green-S
$16.96
-

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Reviews of the 5 Best Hiking Shirts

Comparing and contrasting the best hiking shirts on the market can help you make an informed decision on which one is best for you. Here are our picks for the best overall, runner up, and best budget pick for high-quality hiking shirts.

1. Little Donkey Andy Men’s Stretch Quick-Dry UV Protection Long Sleeve Shirt for Hiking

Little Donkey Andy Men's Stretch UV Protection Long Sleeve Shirt for Hiking, Travel, Fishing, Tactical, Quick-Dry Olive Size M
  • UPF 50+ SUN PROTECTION – UPF 50+ provides maximum protection for long hours in the sun. Our outdoor shirts protect you from harmful ultraviolet rays.
  • MOISTURE WICKING & HIGHLY BREATHABLE – The fishing shirt is breathable and wicks moisture quickly. Opening back mesh vents let in and out a cooling breeze to keep you dry and cool.
  • WATER & SOIL RESISTANCE – Fabric surface is treated to repel water and soil, keeps you dry in humid condition.
  • GENEROUS & EASY-TO-ACCESS POCKETS – 2 generous chest pockets with flaps, and 2 invisible document pockets with zippers, guarantees enough room for your gears.
  • STRETCH & RIPSTOP FABRIC - Made of 4-way stretch fabric that provides full mobility. Summer shirt is lightweight, ripstop and durable, can withstand the rigorous demands for outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, traveling, tactical, camping, mountaineering or fishing.

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Little Donkey Andy’s Stretch Long Sleeve Shirt for Hiking is one of the most amazing shirts for hiking that we have found, so we had to nominate it for our best overall pick for the best hiking shirts. It comes in five colors including blues, greens, and neutrals that are perfect for hiking. Everything about this shirt is especially made for outdoors adventures, from the fabric to the construction.

The manufacturer recommends that you look at the sizing chart carefully as their sizes run above average. Among the benefits of wearing this shirt hiking are protection from sunburn and UV rays, lightweight feel, resistance to dirt and water, and breathability to prevent sweating. You can easily convert the shirt from a short to long sleeve for wearing in all kinds of weather.

Pros:

  • UPF 50+ protects you from the sun
  • Resistant to water and stains
  • Button-up design
  • Has large chest pockets with zippers
  • Stretchy and durable spandex/polyester blend

Cons:

  • Expect to order several sizes below your usual size because of how large the sizing is
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2. Carhartt Men’s Workwear Jersey Pocket Long-Sleeve Shirt K126

Carhartt Men's K126 Workwear Jersey Pocket Long-Sleeve Shirt (Regular and Big & Tall Sizes), Carbon Heather, Medium
  • Carhartt Company Gear Collection
  • Original fit
  • Rib-knit crewneck and cuffs
  • Side-seamed construction minimizes twisting
  • Left-chest pocket with sewn-on Carhartt label

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Carhartt is known for producing top of the line work clothes and outdoor clothes. They make work shirts that are perfect for hiking and other activities. The blend of cotton and polyester is comfortable and soft to prevent chafing. The lightweight breathability of the fabric is what makes it awesome for hiking because it prevents you from getting too sweaty.

There are a ton of color options available so you can find a shirt to fit any outfit. You can choose between the many colors while keeping in mind that the sizes for this shirt run true to the original fit. The chest pocket is durable so you can carry some supplies in it as well.

Pros:

  • Wear to work or on a hike
  • Lightweight soft material
  • Lots of color choices
  • Carhartt logo and classic style
  • Not tag on the neck

Cons:

  • The “original fit” means that this shirt is a little loose which could cause chafing
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

3. HISKYWIN Men’s UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection T-Shirt Outdoor Long & Short Sleeve Sun Shirt

HISKYWIN Men's UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection T-Shirt Outdoor Long & Short Sleeve Sun Shirt HF101-Slate Green-S
  • √ 100% Polyester - Soft, sleek, lightweight, breathable, moisture wicking, quick drying, TWO-WAY air circulation
  • √ UPF 50+ (UV Block) Tee shirts provides Permanent protection against harmful ultraviolet rays - NO MORE SUN DAMAGE
  • √ Athletic fit, crew neckline, flat lock seams to reduce chaffing. Multi-functional elastic 4 way stretch fabric that is durable and resilient without compromising movement
  • √ Recommended for keeping cool and UPF 50+ sun protected while doing outdoors sports, including fitness, jogging, cycling, golf, fishing, hiking, traveling, boating, climbing, running, beach days and other outdoor sports activities
  • √ Tips: Hand washable. Don't use laundry detergent, because it will destroy the sun protection layer.

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This hiking shirt is a great choice for those who are worried about protecting their skin from the sun. There are long sleeve and short sleeve options available of this 100% polyester hiking shirt and it also comes in a variety of colors including several camo options. One of the best things about this shirt is how it helps to keep you cool even on the hottest days.

For hiking and other outdoor activities wearing this shirt will protect your skin as well as keep you comfortable for longer by preventing sweat and allowing your skin to breathe. This shirt needs to be hand washed without detergent or the layer that protects against the sun will be ruined by the detergent.

Pros:

  • Lots of color options
  • Keeps you dry
  • Keeps you cool
  • Comfortable
  • 100% polyester
  • Best for sun protection

Cons:

  • Requires hand washing and does not allow for the use of detergent
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

4. BALEAF Women’s UPF 50+ Sun Protection T-Shirt SPF Long/Short Sleeve Outdoor Performance Hiking Shirt

BALEAF Women's UPF 50+ Sun Protection T-Shirt SPF Long/Short Sleeve Dri Fit Lightweight Shirt Outdoor Hiking Charcoal Gray Size L
  • 【Sun Protection】:UPF 50+ fabric provides maximum sun protection against harmful ultraviolet rays
  • 【Cool & Dry】:Technical fabric wicks moisture away from your skin and dries quickly for extra comfort
  • 【Comfortable】:Raglan sleeves and flat-seam construction ensure a full range of motion and help reduce chafing
  • 【Skin-friendly】: The lightweight fabric is soft against the skin making the sun shirts feel light and forgiving on the skin. Tag-free collar for added comfort
  • 【Occasion】:Relaxed fit offers casual comfort by itself, great for running, hiking, fishing, traveling or any other your favorite outdoor activities. Machine washable

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One trick for women shopping for the best hiking shirt is that you can shop for men’s hiking shirts, but simply go down a few sizes. However if you are looking for a more feminine and flattering cut that is also made especially for hiking, we recommend the BALEAF Women’s UPF 50+ T-Shirt. There are lots of pretty colors to choose from.

You can wash these in a washing machine as well as tumbling them dry on low, making maintenance for this shirt easier than ever. The sleeves whether long or short have been designed specifically to reduce the effects of chafing from motion, just one of the many reasons why this shirt is so perfect for hiking trips.

Pros:

  • Lots of color options
  • Short or long sleeve
  • Powerful sun protection
  • You can machine wash and dry
  • Keeps you dry
  • Prevents chafing

Cons:

  • There are seams on the shirt which if too tight could irritate the skin over time
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

5. Hanes Men’s Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt UPF 50+

Sale
Hanes Men's Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt UPF 50+, XX-Large, 2 Pack ,Graphite
  • Rapid-dry interlock jersey knit wicks away moisture to keep you cool and dry
  • Contemporary fit
  • 50+ UPF rating provides excellent protection against harmful UV rays
  • Double-needle stitching in neck, sleeves and bottom hem for added durability
  • All the comfort of Hanes with our famous tag-free neckline

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our pick for the best hiking shirt that is a budget pick is the Hanes Men’s Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt with UPF 50+. It is a great budget pick because it comes with not one but two long sleeves shirts with the purchase. You can choose for a rainbow of bright colors or go with the classic blacks and whites.

Made out of 100% polyester, you can depend on this shirt to keep you comfortably safe and dry throughout all of your outdoor adventures such as hiking, camping, and sports. The material will protect your skin from the sun to prevent skin cancer and sunburn. Both the collar and sleeves have been specially designed to reduce the effects of chafing.

Pros:

  • Keeps you dry
  • You can print on these
  • Protects against the sun
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Very comfortable
  • Great value budget pick

Cons:

  • The fabric is thin so it is not as effective at sun protection as some shirts
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Buying Guide

In our review section we gave you a list of the best hiking shirts on the market. Now we can delve deeper into the different features of hiking shirts to give you a better idea of what you should be focusing on while shopping. Before we go too deep into the features, let us take a quick look at why you should get a shirt specifically for hiking.

What Are the Benefits of a Hiking Shirt

If you are wondering what the benefits are of wearing a hiking shirt over a regular shirt, we are about to explain. Hiking shirts do not have to be expensive and there are a few things about them that strongly benefit you to wear one on your next hiking trip. Here are the main benefits to wearing a high-quality hiking shirt:

Sun Protection

One of the main things that these high quality hiking shirts have in common is that many of them are made with special blends of fibers, or have a coating on the outer layer of fabric, which makes these shirts highly protective from the rays of the sun. While hiking or doing other outdoor activities the prolonged exposure to the sun can cause a variety of health problems.

If you are fair skinned then you should be even more concerned with skin protection, but everyone can benefit from a little protection because too much sun can cause a higher risk of skin cancer. Wearing a shirt that is made with sun protective materials is good for your health and helps to prevent sun poisoning, burns, and sun spots on your skin.

Increased Comfort

When you are walking all day your arms and legs are moving back and forth, rubbing your clothes, arms, and thighs against each other. This is a recipe for chafing. Men especially struggle with nipple chafing from physical activity if not wearing the right kind of shirt.

Hiking shirts are made to withstand friction while causing the least amount of stress on your skin. The blend of fabrics used in a high-quality hiking shirt should be soft and lightweight. The softness and design of the shirt is made especially for hiking so that you can have the best experience.

Staying Clean and Dry

If you are prone to sweating, a hiking shirt can help. If you get too sweaty every time you go hiking and the embarrassment stops you from going, a good hiking shirt is probably what you need to fix the problem. Some materials will trap in moisture and let your sweat build up beneath the fabric on your skin, eventually soaking through the fabric.

Hiking shirts and other sports clothing are made from specific types of fabric that are resistant to moisture, breathable, and help to prevent sweat stains. The surface of the fabric may also be coated with a protective layer that makes it more water resistant and dirt resistant so you can have more fun while worrying less about keeping clean.

Features You Should Consider When Shopping for a Hiking Shirt

Here is a comprehensive list of all of the features that are most important to consider when shopping for a hiking shirt. It can be easy to be overwhelmed with the variety of options on the market, which is why we put together this hiking shirt buying guide to give you a basis of what features to look for when shopping.

Price

You do not have to break your bank to get a good shirt for hiking. If you want a budget option you should go for a long sleeve shirt that is UPF protected and is breathable enough to prevent sweat stains. A shirt like this can cost less than $20.

If you want to get one of the best hiking shirts on the market for yourself or as a gift, then you can expect to pay up to $50 or more. Features that will increase the price of the hiking shirt include not only the materials used, but also the construction of the shirt including pockets, zippers, etc.

Color

Another thing to consider when shopping for hiking shirts is what color you would like it to be. You are more likely to remember to wear your special hiking shirt if you actually like how you look in itt, so take some time to find a shirt that looks nice and comes in a color that you like. There should be no limit on what colors a hiking shirt comes in, but common colors include neutrals, blues, and greens.

The color can be more important than you think. You have probably heard that black fabric makes you hotter, and it is true that in general dark colors trap more heat. While that is true, darker colors may also be preferable for hiding stains and dirt considering you will be outside in this shirt.

Comfort

It is important that your shirt be comfortable. If it isn’t you will not want to wear it and it will defeat the purpose of buying it in the first place. Most hiking shirts are made out of very soft fabrics as they are meant to be worn during physical activities to prevent chafing. Here is a list of factors that will have an effect on the comfort and should be considered:

  • The material

Cotton is a popular material for sports clothes because it is very lightweight. Cotton is not however naturally weatherproof or sun proof. Synthetic man made materials can be blended with cotton to create a strong and soft fabric that is very comfortable. Nylon and other synthetics are usually pretty comfortable especially when they are stretchy.

  • The size

Making sure that the shirt is the right fit for your body is important for picking a comfortable shirt for hiking. If it is too small it could leave indentions where the seams are or even cut off circulation around your arms/shoulders. If the shirt is too loose on the other hand then you may have to deal with an increased risk of chafing.

Sun Protection

For those with sensitive skin the most important feature of a good hiking shirt may be how well it protects your skin from the sun. If you want the most skin protection, buy a hiking shirt that is UPF 50+. Here are a list of the benefits to buying a hiking shirt that protects your skin from the sun:

  • Anti-aging

The sun is guilty of bringing out wrinkles and sun spots on our skin. To prevent the signs of aging, protecting your skin from the sun is advised. The chest and shoulders are the areas most affected by sun damage in the case of hiking, so both a long and short sleeved shirt can do a lot to help out with preventing sun spots and wrinkles.

  • Lower risk of cancer

Skin cancer can be caused by too much exposure to the sun. Fair skinned people need to be even more aware of this, because in some cases skin cancer can be deadly. Wearing a shirt with UPF protection while you are hiking is a good idea for reducing the risk of developing skin cancer.

  • Prevent sunburns and sun poisoning

Extended exposure to the sun can leave you with long term effects such as increased signs of aging and an increased chance of developing a case of deadly skin cancer. Other risks that are involved with sun exposure that will make you feel bad almost right away are sunburn and sun poisoning. A sun protected shirt can help.

Maintenance

Some hiking shirts require that you hand wash them. This is because a washing machine can ruin the sun protection. If the UPF layer is applied to the top coat of fabric then there is a chance that harsh cleaners could completely remove it.

Because there is no way to tell if you washed away the sun protective coating or not, the best thing to do is to play it safe and wash the shirt exactly how the directions describe. If you know that you won’t take the time to hand wash the shirt, then make sure that you look for a shirt that allows you to machine wash it without messing up any of the features.

Short or Long-Sleeve

We recommend going for a long-sleeve lightweight shirt for hiking. You will be able to wear it in all seasons whether as a stand alone piece or layered up with a jacket. The long sleeves will protect more of your skin from the sun, and if you want them to be short all you have to do is roll them up to your forearms or biceps.

FAQs

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about hiking shirts.

Can you machine wash a UPF shirt?

UPF shirts are a type of shirt that is made out of sun protective fabrics that protect your skin from the dangerous effects of the sun such as burns and skin cancer. Whether or not you can machine wash a UPF shirt depends on the manufacturer, but in many cases the answer is no. It is best to hand wash a UPF shirt so that you do not risk removing the protective coating from the outer layer of the fabric.

The manufacturer should provide you with a guide to how to care for your shirt, but if you are unsure the best solution is carefully hand wash the shirt and to avoid any sort of harsh detergents. In some cases it is required that no detergent at all be used while washing a UPF shirt because the harsh chemicals in the cleaners could cut through the protective layer, making it less effective.

Some shirts are perfectly safe to be put in the washer and dryer, and many people prefer these because it is less hassle than having to hand wash the shirt each time. If you are unable to use detergent while washing the shirt it will become even more difficult to control how clean it is and if you sweat a lot the shirt could have bad odors. Dry cleaning is also usually not an option for UPF shirts.

Is a tight or a loose fitting shirt better for hiking?

Whether a tight or a loose shirt is more comfortable is an age old question. For everyday wear it comes down to personal preference, but for hiking the fit of the shirt can be even more important. If the shirt is too loose it can cause chafing as it rubs against your skin. Most people purchase hiking clothes for the purpose of minimizing chafing, so maybe loose is not always better.

If the shirt is too tight there are a different set of problems to watch out for. Seamless stitching is best for hiking shirts because if it is too tight around the seams it can leave painful imprints in your skin. If the shirt is super tight you are also more likely to sweat through it which can be embarrassing. To avoid chafing and sweat stains it is best to find a shirt that is somewhere in the middle and is perfectly fitted to your body without being too tight to cut off circulation and promote sweat stains.

Conclusion

In conclusion our favorite hiking shirt and our best overall pick is the Little Donkey Andy Men’s Stretch Quick-Dry UV Protection Long Sleeve Shirt for Hiking. Pair this hiking shirt with a pair of high quality hiking shirts from the same company and you are truly ready to go for your next hiking trip. Little Donkey Andy makes really high-quality outdoors clothing.

If you want a dry, soft, and protectant hiking shirt and you do not want to pay a premium dollar for it, we recommend the Hanes Men’s Long Sleeve Shirts with protection from the sun. These shirts will keep your dry because they are lightweight and breathable, they also protect your skin from sunburn and skin cancer which is very important.