If you spend plenty of time hiking in hot weather, you already know the importance of proper clothing. Wearing the right shirt will have a big impact on your experience by keeping you cool and comfortable.
Despite the multitude of products on the market, finding the best hiking shirt for hot weather can be a challenge. The sheer amount different fabrics and features to consider can often become overwhelming for many.
In order to make your life easier, we’ve reviewed and listed the best hot weather hiking shirts on the market. We have compared the key features and relayed our findings to make sure you remain cool on the trail this summer.
Ranking The Best Hiking Shirts For Hot Weather
- Arc’teryx Velox
- Columbia Silver Ridge Lite
- Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily
- Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake
- Kuhl Response
Best Hiking Shirts For Hot Weather Comparison
A lightweight and ventilated shirt that will keep you cool for many years
Comfortable and quick-drying shirt for the hottest weather
Light and airy shirt that will keep you dry and protected
Soft and lightweight hoodie that will keep you cool and safe from the sun
Supremely comfortable shirt for hot weather hikes and summer BBQ's
Breathable, moisture-wicking, comfortable, lightweight, durable
Lightweight, breathable, comfortable, UPF50, durable, quick-drying
Moisture-wicking, versatile, antimicrobial, ventilated
Soft fabric, quick-drying, moisture-wicking, UPF50, lightweight
Comfortable, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, soft fabric, versatile
Clingy at times, body size can run short
Vents can be blocked when carrying your pack
Neck is a bit snug, questionable durability
Expensive, fit is not for everyone
Why Do I Need The Best Hiking Shirt For Hot Weather?
Hot weather can often lead to a brilliant day on the trail. However, staying cool enough to enjoy the experience can be a challenge for many.
Wearing the right clothing is a fundamental step if you want to regulate temperature. One of the biggest factors is often the shirt you wear, which can directly impact the amount of body heat you retain.
Getting best hiking shirt for hot weather will give you the ventilation required to keep your cool. It will also make sure you’re safely protected from the UV rays that come with sunny days in the outdoors.
Getting the right hiking shirt is often the difference between hiking with a smile and getting hot under the collar. If you take the time to find a product that suits your style, you’re one step closer to a great time in the outback.
Hint: If you’re looking to complete your hot weather wardrobe, we have also reviewed the best summer hiking pants
How To Choose The Best Hiking Shirt For Hot Weather
The material your hiking shirt is made from will have a big impact on its hot weather performance. The most common materials used are nylon and polyester, with additional fabrics like spandex and cotton sometimes used in a blend.
The synthetic materials used are adept at wicking away sweat on hot days. They are often extremely lightweight and flexible, allowing for plenty of air circulation.
Another key benefit of polyester and nylon is their quick-drying capability. Whether you’re wet from sweat or have faced an unexpected downpour, you should find yourself dry again in no time.
Anti-Odour & Antimicrobial
Most of the best hiking shirts for hot weather have been treated to resist odours. Hot weather can lead to your clothes feeling less than fresh, so this is a key feature for many hikers.
Many shirts use a special treatment that will maintain freshness for longer. One common technology used is ‘Polygiene’, although some brands will use their own in-house methods.
For anyone embarking on a multiday hike, antimicrobial properties are essential. Having that extra barrier to protect against mold, mildew and bacteria can greatly improve your experience.
The Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of a hiking shirt indicates how much UV radiation a fabric allows to hit your skin. It’s given a numerical value, with most shirts typically offering UPF 50.
Any UPF rated shirt will attempt to block UVA and UVB rays. One of the most common ratings is UPF 50. It will block around 98% of the suns rays, which is enough to significantly reduce your risk of exposure.
It’s worth noting that synthetic materials often come with a higher UPF rating. However, beware that it can become compromised after long-term use if the fabric becomes too stretched.
The last thing you need is a thick and heavy shirt weighing you down when the temperature starts to peak.Thankfully, the best hiking shirts for hot weather are designed to be lightweight.
Materials like nylon and polyester are naturally light enough to allow sufficient airflow. In addition, the fabric used is often thin enough to aid breathability, which in turn minimizes the weight of your shirt.
It’s worth noting that reduced weight can come at a cost. Thinner material occasionally means decreased durability, so make sure you prioritize build-quality if you’re looking at the lightest shirts.
Deciding whether to choose long or short sleeves is a matter of personal preference. They both have unique benefits, making each option best suited to a different type of hiker.
Some hot weather hikers prefer the sense of freedom that comes with wearing a short-sleeved shirt. It provides maximum ventilation and will help to keep you cool.
The downside comes in the form of sun exposure. Leaving your arms uncovered will increase your risk, even if you choose to wear sun cream.
Long sleeves are often recommended for hiking under the sun. The UPF protection provided to your skin is essential for many, while it will also stop scrapes and scratches for anyone that enjoys bushwhacking.
Most long-sleeved shirts can also be rolled up when necessary. Despite their decreased ventilation, they are the most versatile choice.
Hiking shirts generally come in two different styles: Button-up or crew. Different hikers prefer different styles, which can vary based on performance and fashion preference.
If you’re looking for adaptability, a button-up shirt is your best bet. It will give you the freedom to open and close the front as required, while they often provide a handy pocket.
Another advantage of button-up shirts is the wider neckline. It will allow you some extra ventilation, providing you get a loose enough fit.
Crew neck hiking shirts closely resemble a regular t-shirt. Simple in design, they are often the most lightweight and flexible.
Another advantage of crew shirts is their reduced packing size. Just make sure you get the right fit, otherwise the tighter neckline could be a recipe for overheating.
The way your hiking shirt fits can have a big impact on its ventilating ability. In general, you should look for a relaxed fit that’s loose enough to accommodate some airflow.
The main aim when choosing the right fit is to avoid anything overly tight. Although a fitted shirt might look fashionable, it will often restrict ventilation and reduce mobility.
It’s worth noting that button-up shirts tend to have a looser fit, while crew will be slightly tighter. If you’re ordering a crew shirt and want to make sure you have plenty of breathing space, it might be worth ordering a larger size.
Best Overall Hiking Shirt For Hot Weather
Finding a hot weather hiking shirt that excels in every category was not an easy task. However, we were blown away by the overall performance and genuine quality offered by the Arc’teryx Velox.
The shirt had a light and airy feel every step of the way, with the natural fabric breathability proving second to none in the blistering heat. The ‘Libro’ stretch polyester fabric is designed to move and circulate air throughout the shirt, which was evident by its reliable cooling ability.
Another strong suit for the Velox was its moisture-wicking ability, which combines well with its quick-drying capabilities to promote comfort on sweaty hikes. The seam construction and sizing gave a comfortable feel throughout, while the stitching and material quality offers the high levels of durability we’ve come to expect from Arc’teryx.
If you’re looking to invest in a top-quality hiking shirt that will stand the test of time, we whole-heartedly recommend the Arc’teryx Velox. Its ability to keep you cool and comfortable is impressive, while the build-quality is good enough to withstand the toughest thru-hikes.
- Great breathability
- Ventilated feel
- UPF rating could be higher
Best Short-Sleeve Hiking Shirt For Hot Weather
If you prefer wearing a short-sleeved shirt during your warm weather adventures, we highly recommend the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily. We found it to be exceedingly comfortable upon review, using a versatile crew design that is a great companion on easy day-hikes and more challenging trips.
The dryness offered by the Cool Daily is enough to cope with any weather. Its moisture-wicking properties have proved to be superb on test, while any sweat was found to dry out incredibly quickly.
As you might expect from its style, the lightweight and ventilated design offered great freedom of movement. The UPF 50 sun protection rating is also superior to most of the competition, despite the exposure limitations that come with a short-sleeved shirt.
Overall, we were mighty impressed by the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily. It’s ability to make sure you’re cool, comfortable and dry in hot weather is unquestionable. It’s the perfect option for anyone looking for a more ‘relaxed’ hiking shirt style.
- Wicks moisture well
- Ventilated feel
- UPF 50+
- Long-term durability
- Can sometimes feel clingy when wet
- Body length runs a bit short
Best Button-Up Hiking Shirt For Hot Weather
If you love the look and feel of a button-up hiking shirt, you will enjoy wearing the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite. Its hot weather specific design is perfect for sunny days on the trail, with its ventilating ability far exceeding our expectations.
The design features ‘hidden’ back vents that are made to keep you cool and combat the dreaded ‘sweaty back syndrome’. Despite their limited ability when covered with a pack, we found the shirt to have an ‘airy’ feel that performs superbly in the heat.
The moisture-wicking properties offered by the Silver Ridge were also impressive, while the fabric proved to be quick-drying enough to maintain comfort on longer hikes. It also fought odours well, with the antimicrobial treatment making sure your shirt stays fresh at all times.
Finding a button-up shirt that can cope with serious heat isn’t always easy. However, the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite is more than capable of matching your hot weather hiking ambitions.
- Versatile enough for trail and casual wear
- Quick-drying ability
- Comfortable fit and feel
- UPF 40
- Back vents can be compromised when wearing a pack
- Comparatively heavy
Best Hooded Shirt For Hot Weather Hiking
If you’re looking for maximum skin coverage during the hottest summer days, the Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake is well-suited to your needs. The ultra-lightweight design features a hood and thumbholes than will make sure you’re fully protected from the elements.
Unlike the other products on this list, we found the Crater Lake to have a more ‘snug’ and conforming fit. Despite the conception that tight fitting clothes lack ventilation, we were amazed by the breathability on offer that was more than adequate to maintain a comfortable body temperature.
We found the Crater Lake to be equally impressive at wicking away sweat, while the thin and light material drys incredibly quickly. In addition, its UPF 50+ rating was one of the best upon review and is more than capable of coping with extreme sun.
For those who want to prioritise skin coverage while still remaining cool, the Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake ticks all the boxes. Lightweight, comfortable and moisture-wicking; it’s more than capable of improving your hot weather hiking experience.
- Maximum skin coverage
- UPF 50+
- Super lightweight
- Stretch material supports mobility
- Soft and comfortable fabric feel
- Neck hole is a bit tight
- Relatively snug fit is not for everyone
Best Casual Hiking Shirt For Hot Weather
Upon reviewing the response button-up shirt, we found all the hallmarks of quality and comfort that we have come to expect from Kuhl. It’s a well rounded shirt that performs admirably under intense heat, both on and off the trail.
The versatility this shirt offered was head and shoulders above the rest. Its wrinkle-free design and comfortable fit makes it ideal for travelling to the trail or taking a relaxing summer stroll.
Once you start hiking, the Response’s ability to wick away sweat and provide ventilation is sure to exceed your expectations. The shirt feels light and breathable at all times, making it a perfect day-hiking companion.
Anyone looking for a hiking shirt that is versatile enough to be used for more than just hiking will be happy with the Kuhl Response. Its comfortable fabric and stylish design makes it a hit at parties, while its ability to deal with hot weather should not be underestimated.
- Soft fabric
- Wrinkle-free design
- Light and airy feel
- Great for casual wear
- Outstanding comfort
- Classic Kuhl fit doesn’t suit every hiker
Finding the best hiking shirt for hot weather is never an easy task. Trying to decipher the countless products available can be a chore, with every option providing a host of different features.
The shirts we have recommended in this guide are all designed to perform on hot weather hikes. Each option is best suited to a different hiking style, making it easy to find the one the works for you.
Here at SnowSunSee, we’ve made it our mission to make sure you maximize your time on the trail. Once you’ve found a shirt that meets your needs, it will undoubtedly improve your time in the outdoors.
James is the founder of SnowSunSee. He started skiing when he was five years old and has been a qualified ski instructor for 8 years. He has taught skiing in many countries, including UK, Europe, Japan, China and Malaysia. When he’s not on the slopes, James spends his time travelling the world one trail at a time.