Heading out to your favorite manicured trail is all well and good, but when you’re preparing for a real off-grid adventure, a common shirt isn’t going to be enough. Lightweight tees and comfortable, form-fitting shorts are preferable, sure, but if you find yourself in the thick of the brush, spending countless hours under the sun, or traversing difficult terrain, you’re going to want something a bit more robust. Luckily, the outdoor industry understands that the casual hike might always take an unexpected turn; even more so for those who seek to brave the world’s toughest backcountry trails.
Since the beginning of the industry’s endeavor for more efficient outerwear, it became immediately clear that heavy, cumbersome garments were a deterrent, rather than an ally. They were hot, low on airflow, and generally uncomfortable. In order to evolve, manufacturers began to experiment with lightweight textiles, and today, the implementation of water and moisture-resistant fabrics has become commonplace. As a result, protective outerwear is the best that it’s ever been, boasting UPF-rated sun protection, abrasion-resistant attributes, and a slew of interesting traits that keep the wearer cool, dry, and focused on the task at hand. Below, we’ve aggregated a handful of our favorite on-trail examples, helping you to find the next great hiking shirt for your upcoming adventure.
Patagonia Men’s Long-Sleeve Sol Patrol® II
Patagonia is a staple of every outdoor guide on the planet, and when it comes to picking out the best shirt for your next overland endeavor, you’re right on track with the Men’s Long-Sleeve Sol Patrol II. This versatile fishing and travel shirt has all the traits that you’d want from your outdoor companion, including a 50+ UPF sun protection rating, a fast-drying polyester ripstop fabric, and a Fair Trade Certified sewn silhouette, offering cool-wearing qualities that would make any lesser-outfitted trail-goer wry with envy. Plus, if you’re a fan of ethical, sustainable clothing, the brand has your back with its recycled fabric manufacturing practices, which place an emphasis on thoughtful creation.
Fjällräven Abisko Trekking Shirt
Like Patagonia, Fjällräven is one of the most recognizable names in the outdoor industry. The brand’s claim to fame comes in the form of formidable backpacks, but its outdoor lines, including its jackets and shirts, have been contrived in much of the same vein as its transcendental utility pieces. Inspired by Sweden’s Abisko National Park, the aptly-named Fjällräven Abisko shirt is a tough, warm-weather variant that calls upon moisture-wicking fabrics, an extendable collar, and lightweight, ventilating stretch fabric to do its bidding, resulting in one of the genre’s most stylish (and capable) offerings.
HUK Tide Point Solid Long-Sleeve
HUK hasn’t been on our radar for long, but from what we’ve seen, they’re an easy inclusion into any outdoor list. The brand’s Tide Point Solid Long-Sleeve shirt is a prime example of the company’s trail-inspired chops, calling upon a performance-focused button-down front, a lightweight and breathable moisture-wicking fabric, and two-way stretch, allowing for an enhanced range of comfortable movement throughout the day. But if you find yourself getting a bit hot under the summer sun, don’t fret; the shirt also boasts a laser-perforated underarm and back, promoting adequate airflow and breathability as you take on the terrain.
Columbia Silver Ridge Lite Long-Sleeve
Columbia’s SilverRidge Lite Long-Sleeve is one of the most tasteful offerings on our list, and for good reason. Not only does it encompass all of the aesthetic pleasantries of a common formal shirt, but it’s also been built for an easy transition into the outdoor realm, thanks to its moisture-repelling Omni-Wick fabric, 40 UPF sun protection rating, and the company’s proprietary Omni-Shade technology, which blocks UVA and UVB rays, and acts as a deterrent for long-term skin damage. To round things out, additional venting has been added to the rear, working in tandem with the Silver Ridge’s antimicrobial treatment to keep you dry, moisture-free, and devoid of odor.
Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long-Sleeve
Mountain Hardwear’s Canyon Long-Sleeve is yet another amazing offering from the virtuous outdoor brand. It features an ultra-lightweight demeanor, wrinkle-resistant fabrics, and quick-drying tech, making it perfect for the professional who’s looking to take a quick trail-top jaunt before heading home at the end of the day. But that’s not all. The shirt also adopts a suite of interesting features, including a ventilated back, core, and sides, as well as a zippered chest pocket, sun collar, and UPF 50 sun protection, helping you to stay outside longer.
Arc’teryx Elaho Long-Sleeve
The Arc’teryx Elaho Long-Sleeve is a testament to the company’s endless pursuit for perfection. Staying true to the company’s distinctive design terminology, the Elaho draws on the technical traits of its compatriots, adopting an Alatorne air-permeable stretch fabric, a zippered shoulder pocket, and UPF 30+ sun protection, giving it an edge on some of the genre’s less-innovative offerings. Instead of waiting until you’re hot and sweaty, the Elaho begins ventilating as soon as you put it on, meaning that you’ll be able to utilize its rugged, but refined silhouette from the moment you step outside. Worried about its durability? Don’t be. The shirt has also been imbued with a substantial amount of gusseted reinforcement, allowing it to take on whatever it is that you might throw at it.
KUHL Airspeed LS
KUHL’s Airspeed LS has a highly-performative name, and we’d be lying if we said that it wasn’t in reference to its inherent design aspects. From the get-go, the shirt was designed to take on the world’s hottest environments, thanks to its articulating five-panel sleeves, the company’s proprietary AirVolution performance fabric, and moisture-wicking technologies. On top of its ventilated characteristics, it’s also quick-drying, offers UPF 30+ sun protection, and boasts one of the more refined architectures on this list, making it a perfect choice for either the workplace or the outdoor space.
Filson Feather Cloth
Filson’s Feather Cloth shirt has already earned its keep, thanks to the transcendental name that it’s attached to. But, even if it didn’t boast the Filson name, it’d still be one of the most attractive offerings on the market, thanks to its breathable cotton construction, pre-washed Feather Cloth, and double-needle construction, which has been implemented to reinforce the garment over years of heavy wear. Since it has a pleated back, wearers will be treated to a full range of motion throughout the shoulders; a godsend if you’ve ever dealt with less-malleable constructions and fabrics. To round things out, the brand has added two pockets to the shirt’s front, allowing it to take on an array of utility items, accessories, or essential outdoor peripherals.
ExOfficio BugsAway Arcan
ExOfficio hasn’t necessarily been a go-to for us in recent outdoor guides, but we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to include the BugsAway Arcan on our list. Not only does the garment provide may of the same attributes as its competitors, including a durable, lightweight nylon, quick-drying technologies, abrasion, and water-resistant fabrics, and a UPF 50 sun protection rating, but it also brings an odorless permethrin-based Insect Shield to your off-grid arsenal, proving relief from pesky critters as you carve your path through the wilderness. If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry, the shirt still boasts enhanced breathability, ventilation, and a zippered security pocket for your important items.
Orvis Bush Shirt
Orvis’ Bush Shirt rounds out our list as a quintessential piece for every outdoor arsenal. Each example features a tightly-woven pure cotton construction, a 6.2-ounce Bush Poplin, and button-through pleated pockets, complementing its great-looking silhouette. To keep sweat at bay, it calls upon moisture and dust-wicking characteristics and draws inspiration from standard expedition/safari gear that’s been proven over the past century, due to its continuous evolution and use. The shirt is also well-outfitted when it comes to smaller, less-noticeable traits, calling upon a left sleeve pocket, spread collar, and adjustable cuffs to keep you as efficient as possible on the trail.
The 12 Best Hiking Shorts For Men
Now that you’ve found the most formidable torso piece for your upcoming journey, head over to our guide on the best hiking shorts for men to ensure that your legs get the protection (and airflow) that they deserve.