The Best Lightweight Long Sleeve Hiking Shirts

If you have ever hiked outside, then you know that many different things can harm you. Weather such as the sun, wind, and rain, can turn your otherwise enjoyable day into a miserable one. Fortunately, if you are prepared and dress adequately, then you will be able to ward off the elements and stay comfortable. Wearing a long sleeve hiking shirt is one way to do this. In this article, we’ll take a look at the best lightweight long sleeve hiking shirts and evaluate their uses and features.

List of the Best Lightweight Long Sleeve Hiking Shirts

Closeup of a long sleeve hiking shirt

How to Pick a Lightweight Long Sleeve Hiking Shirt

Long sleeve hiking shirts are ideal for wearing in many different situations. During the summertime, a lightweight long sleeve hiking shirt will keep you cool and protect you from the sun. It will also help to keep the bugs and brush off of your skin. During the wintertime, wearing a long sleeve hiking shirt will help to keep you warm and can also serve as a base layer.

Lightweight long sleeve hiking shirts are very versatile pieces of clothing. Some of these shirts include things such as hoodies and button-up sleeves. No matter the situation, there is a good chance that you can fit a long sleeve hiking shirt into your pack.

There are a few different things that you want to look at before buying a lightweight long sleeve hiking shirt:

Shirt Material

One of the main properties that you need to consider is the type of material that the shirt is made out of. There are a few different types of materials that hiking shirts are usually made out of:

  • Polyester: Polyester is a synthetic material that excels at wicking away moisture and dries off very quickly. Polyester is one of the most common fabrics that you’ll find outdoor clothing made out of. The major drawback of polyester is that it gets smelly after wearing it for a while. 
  • Nylon: Nylon is another synthetic material that is similar to polyester. The significant difference is that nylon won’t smell as much as polyester does. However, polyester does dry slightly faster and will keep you warmer than nylon.
  • Merino wool: Merino wool is a highly sought after fabric that is praised for its comfort, warmth, and moisture-wicking capabilities. Merino wool is a very fine fabric and isn’t itchy like regular wool is. In fact, merino wool is even more comfortable than cotton. As it is a natural fiber, merino wool won’t smell like synthetic fibers will. All of this comes at a cost, though. Merino wool shirts can be costly.
  • Blends: Blends of various materials are common nowadays, and you’ll often see 3, 4, or even 5 or more different types of materials that are blended into a single fabric. Blended fabrics can be very advantageous because they allow you to get the best of both worlds when it comes to choosing materials.
  • Cotton: While cotton shirts are great for wearing around the house, it’s best to leave them there when you go out hiking. Cotton shirts don’t breathe or dry very thoroughly. If a cotton shirt gets wet, it’s going to stay wet for a while and won’t keep you warm.

Types of Long Sleeve Hiking Shirts

There are a few different types of lightweight long sleeve hiking shirts from very simple t-shirts to advanced shirts with many features:

  • T-Shirt: Long Sleeve hiking t-shirts are usually made out of cotton or polyester. This kind of lightweight shirt is a great option for quick day hikes when you don’t need anything too fancy. Hiking T-Shirts also tend to be very budget-friendly, and they are also great for layering. 
  • Button-down: Button-down hiking shirts are on the stylish side of outdoor shirts. Many of them look good enough to be wearing out in civilization. Most button-down hiking shirts have a collar on them, and some even have sleeves that you can button up when the weather gets too warm.
  • Hoodie: Lightweight long sleeve hiking hoodies have become popular in recent years due to their simplicity and versatility. The hiking hoodie is made for the sun and includes an integrated hood so you can keep your neck, head, and face protected from the sun’s radiation. Since these hiking shirts include their own head protection, many times you don’t need to wear a hat, either.

Lightweight Long Sleeve Hiking Shirt Features

No matter what type of lightweight long sleeve hiking shirt you get, they should have some features that make them more versatile. Having an outdoor shirt with some additional features is what makes it stand out from the others. Additional features aren’t a necessity, but having them will make you find more use in the shirt and wear it more often.

  • Buttons: Buttons are used to fasten together parts of clothing. Some hiking shirts are button-down style. This means that they have buttons that go down the center of the shirt to allow you to easily put the shirt on and take it off. Some shirts have buttons on the sleeves that you can use to hold the sleeves in place after you roll them up.
  • Pockets: Many hiking shirts have pockets on them. They are usually located in the chest area and are useful for holding small items that need to be readily available, such as a map. Pockets on outdoor shirts are usually secured using buttons that keep the pocket closed.
  • Zippers: Similar to buttons, zippers are used to fasten and hold together parts of clothing. Zippers on hiking shirts are frequently used as a release to aid in putting it on or taking it off. Some pockets have zippers on them to hold their contents securely.

Best Lightweight Long Sleeve Hiking Shirt Reviews

To find the best lightweight long sleeve hiking shirt, we looked at a variety of long sleeve hiking shirts, each with different materials, fits, and features. Depending on your hiking shirt needs, there is likely a shirt that will suit them.

Outdoor Research Astroman Sun Shirt

The Outdoor Research Astroman Sun Shirt is a button-down hiking shirt that is made for sun protection on hot days. This long sleeve hiking shirt is excellent for warm weather because it provides UPF 50 sun protection and is breathable.

This shirt is made out of Nylon and Spandex, so it stretches nicely and wicks away moisture when it gets wet. If your skin is sensitive to the sun, this shirt’s collar folds up and snaps in place to shield your neck from solar radiation. It also has a pocket on the chest that buttons closed.

Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve Shirt

The Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve Shirt is a polyester shirt with a classic design. Two buttoned chest pockets are on the front of this shirt. Hidden under the buttoned pockets are two zippered chest pockets for even more storage.

This is one of the most breathable long sleeve shirts that we’ve found. The sleeves of this shirt have buttons on them to open them up and allow more airflow on hot days. Or if you want to roll up your sleeves instead, you can use the button and loop to hold your sleeves above the elbow.

Arc'teryx Remige Hoody

The Arc’teryx Remige Hoody is designed for use in hot weather by mountain adventurers. It is exceptionally good at protecting you from the sun while still being comfortable enough to wear all day. The brimmed hood is a nice touch and makes wearing the hood for long periods much more manageable.

The feature that we like most about this hoody is that it includes small thumb loops to hold your sleeves in place. Using the thumb loops to pull down your sleeves helps protect hands from the sun by shielding them. This is also the lightest long sleeve hiking shirt in our roundup and one of the best moisture-wicking shirts we’ve found.

7EVEN Merino Wool Hooded Long Sleeve Shirt

The 7EVEN Merino Wool Hooded Long Sleeve Shirt is a slim-fitting hoodie that excels in adapting to all weather conditions. This merino wool shirt has moisture-wicking properties that keep you dry when you sweat. When it’s cold out, this shirt will keep you warm. It is also a very breathable shirt due to its merino wool fabric. Basically, it’s suitable for any type of weather.

The hood on this shirt has a large collar that helps to protect you from the sun at all angles. To aid in putting the hoodie on, it includes a front zipper. The zipper helps you put the hoodie on and off easily. The kicker feature is the zippered arm pocket near the shirt’s left shoulder, great for carrying items such as your keys inside.

Smartwool Men's Base Layer Top

The Smartwool Men’s Base Layer Top is a merino wool long sleeve t-shirt. This shirt is able to serve as a base layer or a standalone outdoor shirt. It’s also soft enough to throw on and wear on your urban adventures, too.

This Smartwool shirt is made primarily of merino wool that is woven around a nylon core for increased durability. It is a very breathable long sleeve shirt and is quite comfortable to wear – it even has smooth seams that aid to minimize rubbing and chafing on your skin. And of course, it has the thermoregulating and odor-neutralizing properties that merino wool provides.

Vapor Apparel Performance Long Sleeve T-Shirt

The Vapor Apparel Performance Long Sleeve T-Shirt is a polyester t-shirt that is one of the best moisture-wicking shirts that we’ve seen. It is exceptionally lightweight and has UPF 50+ sun protection for use on hot, sunny days. Better yet, it has an anti-odor fabric for hikers that tend to sweat a lot. It is also a very breathable shirt for good airflow in all climates.

Where this shirt really excels at is watersports such as fishing, sailing, or swimming. It is thick enough to protect you from the sun, but lightweight enough to dry out and wick moisture away quickly. Perhaps the best part about this shirt is its fit–it has fitted shoulders for a better range of motion and a crew neck for comfort.

Lightweight Long Sleeve Hiking Shirt Comparison Table

Long Sleeve Hiking Shirt Material Type Weight Features
85% Nylon/15% Spandex
6.5 oz
Sun Snap Collar, (1) Chest Pocket
7.4 oz
Roll Up Sleeves, (2) Chest Pockets
5.8 oz
Brimmed Hood, Thumb Loops
Merino Wool
10 oz
Front Zipper, Arm Pocket
87% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon
7.2 oz
Mosture Wicking
6 oz
Fitted Shoulders, Anti-Odor Technology


Trey is an avid outdoorsman and curator of Code:Outdoors. He enjoys discovering new places and learning new skills. He is an Eagle Scout and can be found both car camping and on rugged extended adventures.

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