The Best Hiking Shirts for 2017 – Short-Sleeve


Arcteryx Motus Crew SS Shirt

Arcteryx Motus Crew SS Shirt

As hiking, mountaineering and trekking are physically demanding activities, they require high-performance clothing that keeps you comfortable under various conditions. A hiking shirt is one of the most vital pieces of hiking clothing as it is in direct contact with your skin and therefore it highly influences the overall comfort level. This especially applies for longer hiking trips where a shirt that dries fast and offers antimicrobial protection comes in very handy. In this review you will find a selection of the best short-sleeved hiking shirts. We chose the best five short-sleeved hiking shirts currently available and reviewed them in order to make your buying decision easier. All shirts in this review are known for being breathable, quick-drying and moisture-wicking. They can be worn both as standalone shirts as well as base-layers under mid-layer clothing, such as fleece jackets for example.

If you are looking for a hiking shirt with long sleeves check out our review of the Best Merino Wool Base Layers instead.

1. Buying a Hiking Shirt – What is important?

Material:

A hiking shirt should be made of a material that dries quickly and offers great breathability and moisture-wicking properties. In order to achieve this, manufacturers use materials like sophisticated polyester blends as well as Merino wool. Hikers, mountaineers and trekkers often face a dilemma which material to choose – the natural Merino wool or the synthetic blends with polyester. Polyester is in general lighter than Merino wool, dries faster and absorbs less water, but Merino wool offers better temperature regulation, maintains warmth even when wet and is known for being naturally antimicrobial. It is hard to say which one is better as it greatly depends on your needs. Please also note that Merino wool is suitable for use in all seasons not only in winter as some hikers think. It keeps you warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather. For more information about base layer materials please check the Comparison of Base Layer Materials.

Comfortable seams:

The seams on a hiking shirt should not cause any rubbing or chafing as they sit directly on your skin. Manufacturers usually use flatlock seams in order to achieve this, because flatlock seams do not have any layers to the underside and therefore offer great comfort.

Antimicrobial properties:

It is a great benefit if a hiking shirt is antimicrobial. This means that it will stay fresh after days of use. Merino wool is naturally antimicrobial while polyester has to be treated to provide antimicrobial protection. Keep in mind that the antimicrobial agents that the polyester is treated with are often washed away after some time of use.

Durability:

A hiking shirt should be machine-washable. It should also maintain its properties after regular washing.

2. The Best Hiking Shirts for 2017 – Short-Sleeve Review

The Best Hiking Shirts for 2017 - Short-Sleeve

The Best Hiking Shirts for 2017 – Short-Sleeve

  1. Icebreaker Tech T-Lite Shirt
  2. Arcteryx Motus Crew SS Shirt
  3. Columbia Zero Rules Shirt
  4. ExOfficio NioClime Shirt
  5. Smartwool NTS Micro 150 Shirt

Comparison

Feature/Product Icebreaker Tech T-Lite ShirtArcteryx Motus Crew SS ShirtColumbia Zero Rules ShirtExOfficio NioClime ShirtSmartwool NTS Micro 150
Material87% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon 70% Polyester, 30% Polypropylene
100% Polyester85% Polyester, 15% Cotton100% Merino Wool
FitRegular TrimRegularRelaxedForm
AntimicrobialYes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Washing Machine Wash Machine Wash Machine Wash Machine Wash Machine Wash
UV ProtectionYes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Icebreaker Tech T-Lite Shirt

Icebreaker Tech T-Lite Shirt

1. Icebreaker Tech T-Lite Shirt

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The Icebreaker Tech T-Lite is an incredible shirt for hiking, mountaineering and other outdoor activities. It is made of a mixture of ultralight Merino wool and a bit of polyester. The Merino wool has a density of 150 g/m2 and therefore the shirt is suitable for all seasons. The fibers of the Merino wool used for this shirt are between 17 and 19 microns in diameter – which grades the wool as Superfine/Ultrafine. Therefore the wool is pleasant and soft to the touch thus providing great comfort. As always with Merino wool, the Icebreaker shirt offers great breathability, odor-control and moisture-wicking properties. It has a regular fit which is neither too snug nor to loose and therefore offers great freedom of movement. For those looking for diversity, the shirt comes in 11 different colors. The Icebreaker Tech T-Lite is best for those who want a comfortable hiking shirt that offers superb performance.

 

Pros:

  • Comfort
  • Breathability
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Odor-control
  • Freedom of movement

Cons:

  • /

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Arcteryx Motus Crew SS Shirt

Arcteryx Motus Crew SS Shirt

2. Arcteryx Motus Crew SS Shirt

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Running

The Arcteryx Motus Crew SS in an extremely sophisticated shirt that offers incredible performance. The shirt is made of the Phasic SL fabric (70% polyester, 30% polypropylene) which uses a bi-component structure (hydrophobic yarns, Phi yarns) to increase the moisture dispersion. The non-absorbent hydrophobic yarns transfer moisture from your skin to the Phi yarns which disperse the moisture over the entire fabric. This technology provides superb temperature regulation and significantly reduces the drying time. As the yarns are equipped with encapsulated silver ions the material also efficiently minimizes odor and bacteria.  In addition to the superb fabric, the shirt features flatlock seams, gusseted underarms and reflective blazes. The flatlock seams prevent rubbing and chaffing while the gusseted underarms allow great freedom of movement. The Arcteryx Motus Crew SS is best for those who need a great performing shirt for their physically demanding adventures.

 

Pros:

  • Material
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Breathability
  • Temperature regulation

Cons:

  • /

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Columbia Zero Rules Shirt

Columbia Zero Rules Shirt

3. Columbia Zero Rules Shirt

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The Columbia Zero Rules shirt is best for hiking, mountaineering and trekking in warm weather. It is made of 100% zero interlock polyester and features Omni-Wick, Omni-Shade and Omni-Freeze technologies. The Omni-Wick technology ensures that moisture is quickly moved from skin to the fabric where it is dispersed across the surface in order to evaporate quickly. The Omni-Shade technology blocks UV rays and thus protecting your skin against sun burns, while the Omni-Freeze technology decreases the overall temperature of the fabric thus keeping you cool in warm conditions. The fabric is also treated with an antimicrobial agent in order to minimize bacteria and odor. In addition to that, the shirt features a printed (non-chafing) label and flatlock seams. It comes in 9 different colors and has a relaxed fit. The Columbia Zero Rules is an excellent shirt for hiking in fairly warm conditions.

 

Pros:

  • Material
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Breathability
  • Cooling performance
  • Price

Cons:

  • Thin for cold weather

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ExOfficio NioClime Shirt

ExOfficio NioClime Shirt

4. ExOfficio NioClime Shirt

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The ExOfficio NioClime shirt is best for those who want a high-performance shirt for a reasonable price. The shirt is made of a drirelease blend of polyester and cotton which is treated with the FreshGuard antimicrobial agent. The drirelease blend dries four times faster than regular cotton and is more durable and less synthetic to the touch than pure polyester. In addition to that it offers great breathability and efficiently wicks sweat away from the skin. The shirt is also equipped with offset shoulder seams for extra comfort and rib knit collar. It comes in six different colors. We would recommend the ExOfficio NioClime shirt to those who want a reliable shirt for their adventures but without spending too much money on it.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Comfortable
  • “Non-plastic” material

Cons:

  • Drying time in comparison to pure polyester

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Smartwool NTS Micro 150 Shirt

Smartwool NTS Micro 150 Shirt

5. Smartwool NTS Micro 150 Shirt

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The Smartwool NTS Micro 150 shirt is made of 100% Merino wool and thus it offers great temperature regulation, breathability, odor-control and moisture-wicking properties. The shirt uses Merino wool with a density of 150 g/m2 which makes it suitable for all seasons/conditions. It is equipped with a crew neck and comfortable flatlock seams which efficiently eliminate rubbing and chafing. The fit is slightly snug but still the shirt allows great freedom of movement. The Smartwool NTS Micro 150 all in all offers great performance, but it also has a few disadvantages; it is the most expensive shirt in this review and it only comes in three different colors.

 

Pros:

  • Material
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Breathability
  • Odor-control

Cons:

  • Price
  • Colors

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