An often overlooked part of the travel or hiking wardrobe is the hiking shirt. When it comes to shirts specifically designed for hiking, there are a whole load of different options to choose from, but many people opt for regular shirts and tees that aren’t designed for hikes or traveling.
What you get from a specific women’s hiking shirt is one that is designed to fit your frame, for a start, and to be comfortable, quick-drying, breathable, and durable. The best women’s hiking shirts out there do all of these things – some more than others, of course.
To help you find the right hiking shirt for women, we’ve put together this handy little guide, packed with some of our favorite hiking shirts for women on the market right now.
Whether you want something for a backpacking adventure or something casual for hikes close to home, our guide will be sure to help you out.
Best Hiking Shirts for Women
Outdoor Research Women’s Wayward
If you’re looking for a good hiking shirt that’s going to protect you from the sun and be durable, all without taking away from your sense of style, the Wayward shirt from Outdoor Research is a great choice.
Constructed from UPF 50+ fabric that’s a blend of nylon, polyester, and spandex, this top hiking shirt is not only UV-reflecting but breathable, too. No longer will you come off the trail back into civilization looking disheveled, your shirt dripping with sweat; this shirt is quick-drying and wicks moisture.
What’s more, it’s comfortable – the stretch of the fabric here makes allowances for your movements. Throw in a zipper chest pocket (great for stashing anything from a passport to a fold-out map), and we’re sold!
Outdoor Research Shirt Echo Series
I have six Outdoor Research Echo hiking shirts and rotate them on all my hikes. They are lightweight and moisture-wicking. Seriously, you don’t want to be stuck with a cotton shirt while hiking. Cotton traps all your sweat and then when you get cold it becomes a problem.
Outdoor Research shirts provide full coverage with their long sleeve collections, but you won’t get hot under the sun. These shirts are built with UPF sun protection, AirVent™ moisture management, and ActiveFresh™ odor control technology.
Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail
Coming in a range of five different colors – from classic navy to watermelon red – the Capilene Cool Trail from Patagonia is a good choice for those who want a bit of color in their hiking outfits. It’s definitely not all about khaki or Day-Glo athletic gear when you’re out on the trail, we can assure you!
A Fair Trade Certified sewn short-sleeved hiking shirt, the Capilene Cool Trail is super soft and feels great to wear. Adding to that unbeatable comfort are techy specs in the fabric: quick-drying and wicking being very useful because nobody wants to be hiking (or resting post-hike) in a sweat-soaked shirt.
The HeiQ Fresh odor control is fantastic (and a lifesaver if you’re on a multi-day hike). We also cannot help but love the fact that the shirt is constructed from 50-100% recycled materials.
Columbia Silver Ridge
The Silver Ridge shirt from Columbia is a good option if you are looking for a button-up, short-sleeve hiking shirt. It’s especially great if your style is more this, less an athletic tee sort of option.
More than just the style, however, we are very much into this shirt’s sweat-wicking abilities. Combined with its Omni-Shade technology – giving the shirt UPF 40 sun protection – and here’s a shirt that’s perfect for summer hikes on hot days, when long sleeves are too much, and the sun is at full power. The ventilation definitely helps with that, too.
It’s the versatility of the Columbia Silver Ridge that shines through, really: it’s a shirt that’s perfect for the trail, but something you don’t need to change right out of after a hike since it looks smart.
Smartwool Merino 150
A very active tee that’s breathable and ultra-soft next to your skin, the Smartwool Merino 150 hiking shirt is a great all-rounder that works for a load of different situations. From your new favorite running tee to a trail-busting base layer for your trekking outfit, this is one of our favorite hiking shirts for women out there at the moment.
There’s a lot about this shirt that gives it some high-grade credentials. First of all, raglan sleeves mean no shoulder seams for extra comfort when you’re carrying a pack. And though it’s Merino wool, this is wrapped around a nylon core for extra durability while keeping the soft, soft Merino next to your skin. Even though it’s wool, it can be machine-washed (on a warm, gentle setting), which is a bonus.
Available in five colors, we also like the flattering fit of this hiking shirt.
Icebreaker Tech Lite Low Crew T-Shirt
This women’s hiking shirt just about does it all. Made of a blend of Merino wool and nylon, this crew neck tee from Icebreaker is a great choice if you are looking for a casual shirt. Perfect for everything from days off to hiking, and for use as a base layer, it’s got great potential to find a prime position in your activewear wardrobe.
In fact, you could get one of each of the four classic colors available (red, blue, grey, and black) and alternate as you see fit – if you have the budget for it, of course!
Great for all seasons, either under your outerwear or as the only thing between you and the elements, the Icebreaker Tech Lite Low Crew T-Shirt also features offset shoulder seams to prevent pesky pack rub (not fun) and has a sun-protective fabric with a UPF rating of 35.
Arc’teryx Fernie LS
A long sleeve shirt for women who want to look cool as they hit the trails, the Arc’teryx Fernie LS is a hit with us. It’s protective, it’s durable, and it’s great for all sorts of hiking – from casual to technical hikes and trekking alike. We’re into it, as you may be able to tell.
The synthetic materials this hiking shirt is made from offer up a whole range of qualities that sometimes natural fibers can’t get. For starters, the material is breathable, meaning it won’t be too stifling as you work up a sweat, no matter what season it is. Temperature regulation is super important when you’re hiking for hours, we can attest to that! There’s also UV protection in the lightweight Alatorre nylon used on the Arc’teryx Fernie LS.
Add gusseted underarms (for further temperature regulation), quick-drying capabilities, articulated sleeves for extra freedom of movement as you scramble along technical trails, and the ability to withstand the wear of pack, and the Arc’teryx Fernie LS definitely measures up as one of our top hiking shirts for women.
Fjallraven Abisko Hike Shirt SS
Ideal for summer trekking or time spent outdoors when the weather’s good, the Abisko Hike Shirt SS from Fjallraven (one of our favorites) is a firm winner. And though it looks cool, the famous brand isn’t just for show, either.
It feels cool, too! Constructed from high-quality polyamide, this offering from Fjallraven allows for breathable, breezy comfort as you explore the great outdoors. There’s even extra ventilation to allow excess body heat to escape – which is precisely the thing you need when you are out on a vigorous hike, or even a not-so-tough hike in hot weather.
An added bonus is the zip pocket with zip mesh lining, the perfect spot for anything you might need close to hand – from a passport if you’re in transit to a pocketbook if you feel like making some notes on your sojourn.
Stio Women’s Divide Shirt
This option is pretty unique in that it is super-soft jersey fabric in the form of a button-down shirt. You get the style of the latter with all the cozy comfort you get from wearing a tee that’s designed to feel soft when you wear it.
A great choice if you’re looking for a women’s hiking shirt, it’s also available in six pretty snazzy colors, offering you the choice to choose a shade that suits you.
As relaxed as it is versatile, the Stio Women’s Divide Shirt boasts dri release technology for moisture-wicking, as well as Fresh Guard for odor control, meaning it packs a punch in terms of hiking and active capabilities. For us, it’s pretty much perfect for a summer spent outdoors.
Marmot Women’s Annika Shirt
The Annika shirt from Marmot is a great buy. A top hiking shirt for women, this classic long sleeve button down offering ticks all the boxes when it comes to looking like a pro when you’re out on the trail. It will see you through everything from long days on the road and in transit to rambling through rugged terrain.
You will also feel like a pro. There are a lot of things about the Annika shirt that we like. With a killer combo of stretch for extra mobility and abrasion-resistant nylon, as well as UPF 30 sun protection, the fabric alone is cause for celebration.
Then there are neat additions, like the underarm gusset (for movement as much as temperature regulation), the purpose-made sleeve roll-up feature, and even the zipper pocket that give this shirt that extra versatile wearability factor that you’d want out of a hiking shirt.
REI Co-op Sahara Long-Sleeve Shirt
We love that you basically get to unleash your inner explorer with the REI Co-op Sahara Long Shirt. It’s one of those classic white shirts that goes perfectly with just about anything khaki or tan, so for a timeless traveling look, we’re super into this one!
One of the best hiking shirts for women out there right now, you can pair this offering from REI Co-op with just about anything – yes, florals included.
It’s made for warm climates, with more than adequate stretch fabric, ventilation, and adjustability – the roll-up sleeves system, for example, allows you to bust out those arms when it gets particularly hot. The fabric itself is quick-drying and boasts sun protection of UPF 35.
Handful Flippin’ Awesome Scoop Tank
I absolutely love Handful’s leggings and sports bras and their flippin’ awesome scoop tank is no different. It’s called “flippin’ awesome” because the shirt is literally reversible. It has a scoop in the front, or you can flip it around for the scoop to be in the back. I’ve worn it on a few hikes around the Canadian Rockies because the fabric is silky, stretchy, quick-drying, and comfortable.
The shirt is loose around your upper body but cuffs your waist for a stylish fit. It’s moisture-wicking making it perfect for hiking as you’ll likely be working up a sweat!
How to Choose the Best Women’s Hiking Shirt
There are a few things to consider before you start shopping for that hiking shirt you’re after. Here is what you should be paying attention to…
Fabric plays a big part in just how useful a shirt is going to be for you. While all-natural fabrics feel soft next to the skin, they can lack the engineered specifications of synthetics.
For example, nylon in its various forms can be designed to be breathable and to possess wicking capabilities, which means quick drying – something you definitely want on a hike in a hot country. Then again, natural materials like merino wool might be better suited to colder climates.
Some synthetic fabrics allow for a nice amount of stretch, too, so that you get the freedom of movement you need when you’re out on a hike.
Another neat feature is the sun protection that a variety of hiking shirts for women boast – some go as far as UPF 50, while others are lower. Some even have odor control fabric!
Then there are the blends; some hiking shirts for women are constructed from a mix of natural fibers – wool, for instance – that is wrapped around a nylon core, for the best of both worlds. With this sort of fabric, you get both functionality and comfort.
Style isn’t just about the colors and prints used on a women’s hiking shirt. Though that does come into play – depending, obviously, on how much you care about looking the part when you’re out on a hike or traveling – another sort of “style” is the one that dictates what type of shirt it is.
There are button-up shirts for a more classic look. These can be short or long-sleeved; some shirts actually have roll-up sleeve systems in place so they can be effectively both long and short-sleeved, depending on what you want (and the temperature, of course).
Women’s hiking shirts with buttons are pretty versatile in that they can often slip seamlessly from the trail to the town.
After that, there are tees, which are obviously a little more casual and athletic – versatile in a different way, since you can use them for activities other than hiking, such as jogging, yoga, working out, or simply hanging out at home.
In terms of hiking, a tee (short or long-sleeved) is a good idea for a base layer. Button-up shirts have not worked so well for us underneath two or more layers, and tend to be our go-to for hikes in hotter climates. When hiking somewhere cold, a tee is much more preferable if you’re going to be layering up.
Whether or not you can safely wash a hiking shirt is something you will want to consider. Especially if you are heading off on a long-term trip and will be away for months, the ability to wash a hiking shirt – in any sort of way – is something you’ll want.
Months-long trips such as these are where you cannot be too fussy about something delicate that needs ultra-specific cleaning conditions to stop it getting ruined in the laundry.
However, if you plan on short day hiking trips, or just hiking from home, you can probably manage a hiking shirt that is a little more demanding, which needs only warm, gentle washes and such. If you are on a multi-day hike you will want something odor-resistant or quick-drying that you can wash quickly overnight.
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Last Updated on April 24, 2020