Choosing the best backpacking shirt is very important because it not only impacts your body temperature, but it also plays a crucial role in terms of mobility and stamina. As there are many different styles and materials to choose from, it is integral to know which ones from the following list would benefit you the most.
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Quick Gear Recommendation
Below is a list of our favourite backpacking gear that you check quickly if in hurry. Scroll down to read the rest of the article.
- Best Tent Under $100: Winterial Single Person Personal Bivy Tent
- Best Hammock Tarp: Eno, Eagles Nest Outfitters Profly Rain Tarp
- Best Pillow: Trekology Ultralight Inflating Travel/Camping Pillows
- Best Knife Fixed Blade: Spyderco Delica Folding Knife
- Best Chair: Helinox Zero Ultralight Compact Camping Chair
- Best Mess Kit: Light My Fire 8-piece Bpa-free Meal Kit
- Best Cookset: Stanley Base Camp Cook Set
- Best Towel: Rainleaf Microfiber Towel
- Best Flashlight: Peakplus Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight
Hatchet: Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
- Best Multitool: Gerber Suspension Multi-plier
- Best Power Bank: Portable Charger Jackery Bolt
- Best Binoculars: Carson High Definition Waterproof Binoculars
Before you read the full review of each of the products, take a look at the following information which will help you in making your decision.
How To Choose The Best Backpacking Shirt
The first step in deciding the best Backpacking Shirt is knowing the different styles and their respected benefits and under what conditions they are best suited.
Full-Sleeve Shirts provide you with amazing benefits. They not only offer you protection from the sun, but they also make for excellent protection against any shrubs or bushes you might be traveling through.
That’s not all, they make for excellent insulation under colder climates, and if you might be traveling through hotter regions, all you would need to do is fold your sleeves, and thus it can be adjusted to your needs.
A half sleeve shirt would be perfect for hot climates, but even under colder conditions, it would serve as a fantastic warmer under the other lays of clothing you might be wearing. It is an absolute essential when it comes to trekking or camping.
A button-down shirt serves many purposes; not only does it give you the option of using its color as a means of blocking out the sun, but it can also be unbuttoned to increase the cooling rate. Furthermore, its sleeves can be rolled under hotter climates, and it can be also be used under cold conditions.
Most button-down shirts also have pockets, which is an added benefit.
What Materials To Choose From
There is a wide variety of different materials which are used to create shirts. However, not all of them are best suited to your backpacking and adventure needs.
It is one of the most expensive materials used in shirts which are specially made for outdoor use. It earns its value for a number of reasons. This type of material is breathable, which is a valuable property. It would help your skin feel fresh and won’t let unnecessary moisture building up, keeping your skin healthy.
It has antimicrobial properties that would prevent odor from building up in your shirt. This means it would not require very frequent washing.
This material is known for its ability to keep moisture away from your skin.
Synthetic fibers are an excellent companion if you are encountering damp and wet climates. This material possesses amazing water-absorbing properties; thus, it will keep your backs dry.
It is cheaper than Merino-Wool. However, it does not have microbial properties; thus, it would require regular washing to avoid odors building up.
This type of fabric is a blend between spandex and polyester and is durable, light, and very flexible. So if you want something that moves with your body and is well-fitted, this is the fabric for you.
The downside is that they do not provide much breathability to your body, and lack odor-control compared to synthetic and merino wool.
Cotton is not a good fabric to have on your back if you are hiking or camping as it offers very little breathability to your body and does not dry quickly after being wet. Which could be a significant disadvantage in windy or cold climates. It can trap sweat, which could prolong the period where it is wet.
Important Properties To Consider
Comfort could arguable be one of the most essential things while picking a hiking shirt. It is made of many components, which include how the seams are sewn, the overall fit, the material, and the flexibility.
Some people might prefer shirts with body-fitting some might feel comfortable in loose shirts. It depends on the personal choice of the user. The loose shirts would allow more air-flow and breathability while the body-fit shirts would move with your body.
2. UPF Rating
Checking a shirt’s UPF rating is an integral part of choosing the right one for your next adventure. Although all shirts would provide you with decent protection from the sun, however, if you are someone with sensitive skin, you should go with shirts with a higher UPF rating.
3. Extra Properties
Some shirts go the extra mile by providing you extra properties. If you are going to a region with a lot of bugs, you should get a shirt with built-in mosquito repellent. If you are on a long trip trekking, you should consider getting a shirt with strong microbial properties so it can last long periods without requiring a wash.
Review of the Best Backpacking Shirts
This shirt is made out of polyester, which allows you to have quick-dry properties. The sweat-wicking material keeps sweat away from your body, keeping your body cool and dry.
However, the material is not soft, and to some, it might be coarse and uncomfortable.
The shirt has a 3-button placket so you can adjust the fitting. It also features rib-knit cuffs, which would play a role in insulating the body heat and providing a somewhat body-fit feel.
The polyester material would require regular washing, so it’s not ideal for long trips.
The collar to shirt ratio is off, and the collars are somewhat oversized. To some, it would provide an added advantage as protection against the sun. However, some might feel it annoying.
- Quick Dry
- Sweat-Wicking material
- Rib-knit cuffs give a body-fit feel
- 3-Button placket allows for adjustment
- Coarse Material
- Requires regular washing
- Over-sized collars
This Half-sleeve V-neck shirt is a great companion backpacking shirt. The material used is a blend of 90% polyester and 10% spandex. This shirt is not only lightweight but also very soft and comfortable.
It has a 4-way stretch fabric, which makes it flexible and allows for air-flow, thus not allowing excessive moisture build-up. The material used is moisture-wicking, which would keep your body dry and cool. It would be perfect for hot and damp climates.
This could also be used as a layer under other articles of clothing during cold conditions.
This has a UPF 50+, which means it would keep your skin safe from UV rays from the sun as well.
They come in a wide variety of designs and colors, so you could pick the one most suited to your taste
- 4-way stretch Fabric
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- UPF+ 50 protects against UV rays
- Wide Variety of Designs
- The shoulders are not well sewn
- V-Cuts are not placed in the middle
This Icebreaker Merino shirt has Merino-Wool and a 13% mix of Nylon. This shirt is very breathable, which won’t allow unnecessary moisture building up in your body, keeping it fresh and healthy for upcoming days of trekking.
This also fabric also has strong microbial properties making it very odor-resistant and perfect for long treks. However, Marino-Wool shirts with a nylon core do not mostly prove to be very durable. So you might have to keep replacing it if you are planning to stick to this product.
This shirt is body-fit and would be efficient under hot climates as they move with your body and would keep moisture away from your body.
It has a UPF rating of 30 which means it provides good protection as well.
- Keeps moisture away from the skin
- UPF rating of 30
- Not very durable
This shirt is made out of polyester, which not only provides a soft-touch but also excellent moisture management. It is a good match for hot and damp climates as its moisture-wicking fabric would keep you dry and cool.
This fabric is highly breathable which keeps your skin fresh and increasing your endurance.
It has reflective blades on the shoulders, which increase your visibility under low-light reducing the chances of accidents.
This shirt features a merrow seam design, which reduces the seam size.
However, this fabric does not have odor-control making it unsuitable for long hikes.
It has a UPF rating of 25, which provides average sun protection.
- Good moisture control
- Merrow seam design
- Reflective shoulder blades
- UPF rating of 25
- No odor-control
- Not suited for long trips
Craghoppers Men’s Kiwi Long Button-down is an excellent backpacking shirt. This polymide shirt is your best companion under conditions where there are bugs. It features an insect repellent technology that lasts for up to 70 washes.
It is a tough shirt, to say the least, and ideally suited for trails with excessive bushes, shrubs, or branches, providing you with maximum protection.
Its UPF rating is 40, which means it would efficiently guard you against UV rays, and the collar is cleverly designed to protect your entire neck when rolled up.
It is a long-sleeved relaxed fit allowing for air-flow to keep your skin fresh and keeping the moisture in control. It is available in 8 different colors for you to choose from.
It has amazing temperature control as you can roll-up your sleeves and open your buttons to increase air-flow and cool your body.
- Insect-repellent technology
- Tough-shirt suited to trails with bushes and shrubs
- UPF rating of 40
- Variety of colors
- Temperature Control
- Relaxed Fit
- Has very large cuffs and collar
A classic button-down shirt by Columbia with its Omni-wick technology quickly moves moisture from your body to the fabric; however, the 100% cotton fabric might not evaporate the moisture easily. It also might trap sweat inside as cotton is not best suited to the outdoors.
It is a relaxed fit, which would mean it has nice air-flow and ventilation. This might help in keeping the moisture under control. If you roll-up the sleeves and open the front buttons, it would increase the air-flow even more and keep the temperature under control.
It has two chest pockets and two button-down cuffs, making them adjustable.
However, it does not have very efficient odor control and does not offer any additional benefits like the Craghoppers button-down’s insect repellent.
- Omni-wick Technology
- Relaxed Fit
- Temperature Control
- Chest Pockets
- Moisture Control is not efficient with cotton fabric
- The cuffs are longer than conventional cuffs and might cause discomfort.
This crew long-sleeve shirt is a blend of 70% cotton and 30% polyester. This is full-sleeved; however, it is not strong enough to handle a tough trail of thorny bushes or shrubs, unlike some of the previously mentioned full-sleeve shirts.
This shirt is effective against bugs, which might protect you from deadly diseases like malaria.
It is somewhat odor-resistant, but due to the cotton, it does not have reasonable moisture control and may allow sweat to be trapped in for long periods of time.
- Effective against bugs
- Material is not for tough trails
- Does not have reasonable moisture control
This lightweight button-down shirt is made of polyester and mesh. It is exceptionally breathable. It features vents on its sides, core, and back for more effective temperature control. It is the perfect backpacking shirt as it has a UPF rating of 50, providing you with excellent protection of UV rays.
It has two buttoned chest pockets for easy storage.
It has very effective moisture control, which means you could wear it in hot and damp climates. Furthermore, it is Wrinkle-resistant, which ensures long-lasting wear. The flip-up collar ensures you don’t compromise on your skin.
- Vents to increase air-flow
- Temperature Control
- Buttoned chest pockets
- UPF rating is 50
- Moisture Control
- Flip-up collar for extra protection
- Does not have odor-control
One of the best hiking shirts you can wear while you are backpacking is Outdoor Research Women’s Echo S/S Tee. This hiking shirt is ideal if you are going for high exertion activities in hot weather. Made with 100 % polyester, it is quick-drying, moisture-wicking, and breathable. Also, this shirt for hiking can vent air and let the fabric breathe.
Moreover, this best lightweight shirt has a short sleeve, which helps on warm days. The flat-seam construction of the shirt and its raglan sleeve minimizes the chafing. Also, it prevents the building up of odor with the help of polygene active odor control. This shirt also offers protection against the sun with a UPF 15 rating.
Further, like many other hiking shirts, it has a pull on closure. You can easily wash this hiking shirt in the machine.
- 100 % Polyester material
- Best lightweight shirt
- Quick-drying shirt
- Breathable and soft shirt
- Ideal hiking shirt for hot weather
- Sun protection with UPF 15 rating
- Short sleeve
- Flat seam construction
- Polygene odor control
- Available in multiple colors
- Size might cause issues
One of the backpacking and best hiking shirts for men to go outdoor backpacking is Icebreaker Men’s Tech Lite. This shirt has used 87 % merino wool and 13 % nylon in its construction. Due to the use of merino wool, it has acquired many qualities that only the best hiking shirts would possess. So these qualities include breathability, odor resistance, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying abilities. Also, this hiking shirt becomes more resilient, soft, and comfortable because of merino wool.
Further, among all the best hiking shirts, it can remain cool in warm weather and keep you cool too. This shirt has the ability to regulate your body temperature to keep the heat away from you. Also, this hiking shirt has used the first layers of anti-chafe seams and lycra for added fit. It does not need much washing and utilizes fewer resources in manufacturing.
Moreover, this hiking shirt is not only for the warm conditions but also for cold weather. It has the ability to keep you cold in summers and warm in winters. Unlike many other hiking shirts, it has added offset shoulder seams to reduce the chafing when you have the backpack over your shoulders. This short-sleeve shirt also provides UV and sun protection.
- Best lightweight shirt
- Manufactured with merino wool and nylon
- Short sleeve
- Regulates body temperature
- Soft and comfortable hiking shirt
- Cool in summers and warm in winters
- UV protection
- Flame resistant
- Durable and sturdy
- Seams around the neck can get itchy
The best backpacking shirt which would benefit you the most under any kind of climate is the Craghoppers Men’s Kiwi Classic Long Sleeve Button-Down Shirt, it has a high UPF rating, and it provides excellent moisture control. The shirt is fabric is tough and durable, which is essential under a tough trail.
The insect-repellent technology could be a life-saver in places which are filled mosquitos or other deadly bugs, the shirt is also suited to work with almost every climate. If it is hot you can roll-up your sleeves and open a few buttons, if you’re in colder regions, it could serve as an excellent under layer to keep you insulated.
It also is available in a wide variety of colors and designs.