How to Choose the Best Hiking Top for Women
Are you looking for the best hiking shirts for women? I’m here to help! I go hiking almost every single weekend during Summer and so I have a lot of experience in researching, finding and wearing some really great tops when hiking.
I’m also not a fan of sacrificing comfort and technical features for style as I take a lot of photos while hiking and want to look at least semi-decent. 😂
I started out just wearing my normal t-shirts when hiking and have slowly transitioned to wearing more technical hiking shirts. I am now a huge fan of merino wool hiking shirts, as they are odour resistant and quick drying.
In this guide, I will help you decide what is the best hiking shirt for you and teach you all about the different features in hiking shirts that are available.
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Best Fabrics for Hiking Shirts
When choosing a hiking shirt, one of the most important things to start looking for and deciding on, is what fabric you want your hiking shirt to be made from. You can choose between synthetic blends and merino wool.
I wear mostly merino wool hiking shirts these days and my favourite is the Short Sleeve Icebreaker Tech Lite II SS Tee.
Each material has pros and cons which are listed below.
|Type of Fabric||Pros||Cons|
|Merino Wool||– does not crease|
– odour resistant
– temperature regulating
– moisture wicking
– soft to touch
– quick drying
|– can be itchy|
– less durable than synthetic
– heavier than synthetic materials
– more expensive
|Synthetic||– more durable|
– quick drying
– more affordable than merino
– light weight
|– not as soft|
– not odour resistant
– more sweaty material than merino
Choosing a Style
When it comes to choosing a style of hiking shirt, there are loads to choose from. There are classic tees, button up shirts, sleeveless shirts, long sleeves and more!
In the end, you should choose your style depending on what you feel most comfortable in both physically and looks-wise. Just because you are out in nature hiking, doesn’t mean that you have to wear clothes you don’t feel confident in.
This is definitely my most favourite style of hiking shirt and probably also one of the most popular.
If you have been following our adventures on Instagram, you will know that I don’t wear my hiking shirts in our content all that often but instead you will see me in a nice sports bra or cropped tank. I do this by wearing a sports bra underneath my Icebreaker Tech Lite II SS Tee and then I can easily change back and forth between my hiking shirt and sports bra for photos.
A sleeveless hiking top is less useful than a tee for protecting from the sun and bugs but it is nice and cool to wear and usually looks great paired with shorts, hiking pants or leggings.
Long sleeve hiking shirts are great for sun protection and bug protection! You can get some really great long sleeved hiking shirts that are not too hot.
Long sleeve hiking shirts are also great for hiking in the cooler months during Fall, Spring and Winter as they can help keep you a little warmer.
The pros of a button up hiking shirt is because the shirt will usually have a collar and long sleeves, therefore providing the best protection out of all of the different styles of hiking shirts, from the sun and bugs.
When looking for a hiking shirt, one of the things I look for first is whether the brand is using sustainable practices.
It sometimes takes a bit of research to find out where the materials have been sourced from to create the fabric but usually you can find out by going to the description or the specs of the shirt or otherwise go onto the brands website and see what they have to say about sustainability.
Things to look for are:
- brands that use recycled fabrics
- brands that source their merino wool by ethical means only
Best Hiking Shirts for Women – Comparison Table
Best Merino Wool Hiking Shirts
|Icebreaker Tech Lite II SS Tee||100% Pure Merino||118 g / 4.15 oz||$75-100|
|Merino 125 Cool-Lite Sphere II SS Tee||60% Lyocell, 40% Merino Wool||119g / 28.34 oz||$95|
|Devold Nipa Merino 130 Tank||70% Merino Wool / 30% Tencel||170g / 5.9 oz||$100|
|Smartwool Tank||56% Merino Wool, 44% Recycled Polyester||N/A||$75|
|Icebreaker 200 Oasis LS Crewe||100% Pure Merino||300g / 10.5oz||$100-125|
|Icebreaker Hike LS Top||Mix of Wool & Cotton||290g / 10.22 oz||$260|
Best Synthetic Hiking Shirts
|Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight Shirt||100% polyester (52% recycled)||60g / 2.11 oz||$59|
|Arcteryx Taema Tank||100% polyester (80% recycled)||65 g / 2.3 oz||$70|
|Arcteryx Taema Crew SS||100% polyester (100% recycled)||85g / 2.99oz||$80|
9 Best Women’s Hiking Shirts in Canada in 2023
Here you will find a more detailed breakdown of the 9 best hiking shirts for women in Canada in 2023.
1. Icebreaker Tech Lite II SS Tee
Material: 100% Pure Merino
Weight: 118 g / 4.15 oz
Cost: CAD $75-100
This is Icebreaker’s most versatile and popular merino tee. Being 100% merino wool, this hiking tee is lightweight, odour-resistant and breathable. This is my favourite tee to hike in and I have never had any issues with itchy seams or chafing.
The 100% merino factor of this tee keeps you cool when it’s hot and warmer when it’s cold outside.
The style is a classic t-shirt and super comfy.
Icebreaker is well known as a sustainable brand and they provide their own transparency reports on their website that you can check out.
2. Merino 125 Cool-Lite Sphere II SS Tee
Material: 60% Lyocell, 40% Merino Wool
Weight: 119g / 28.34 oz
Cost: CAD $95
This tee is less merino than the Tech Lite 11 SS Tee, but it has incredibly breathable fabric which Icebreaker call “Cool-Lite” that helps manage moisture and keep you cool.
The fabric is a mix of merino and Tencel Lyocell which is sourced from eucalyptus plantations. The two materials combined create Icecreaker’s “Cool-Lite” fabric which naturally regulates your body’s microclimate.
3. Devold Nipa Merino 130 Tank
Material: 70% Merino Wool / 30% Tencel
Weight: 170g / 5.9 oz
Cost: CAD $100
This tank hiking top is thermo-regulating, moisture wicking and naturally moisture-resistant. I have not tried this top personally but I just love how soft it looks!
The top is made from a mix of Merino and Tencel and it is super lightweight and comfortable.
Devold is a sustainable brand in that wool is biodegradable and they work with carefully selected farmers who take good care of both the animals and the soil.
4. Smartwool Tank
Material: 56% Merino Wool, 44% Recycled Polyester
Cost: CAD $75
The fabric in this super cute tank combines moisture management, temperature regulation and odor resistance of merino with the durability and quick dry time of recycled polyester.
The style of this hiking tank makes it perfect for not only hiking but also every day wear!
Smartwool use sustainable wool and sourcing practices and they make clothing from recycled materials.
5. Icebreaker 200 Oasis LS Crewe
Material: 100% Pure Merino
Weight: 300g / 10.5oz
Cost: CAD $100-125
This long sleeve crewe is a super comfortable base layer that makes the perfect foundation for layering in colder weather. The 100% merino wool fabric makes it breathable, insulating and odor resistant.
This long sleeve also features flatlock seams which stop the seams from being scratchy and make it feel smoother against your skin. It comes in a range of different colours!
6. Icebreaker Hike LS Top
Material: Main: Front Panels/Side Panels/Under Sleeve/Lower Back Panel: 100% Wool
Collar/Upper Sleeves/Cf Placket/Upper Back Panels: 59% Wool, 41% Cotton
Weight: 290g / 10.22 oz
Cost: CAD $260
This button up hiking shirt is made from a mix of merino wool and cotton which is extra durable and even though not 100% wool, still has natural odour resistance.
The buttons are snap closures making the shirt easy to put on and get off.
The style of the shirt makes it great to transition from a hike to walking around town.
7. Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight Shirt – Synthetic
Material: 100% polyester (52% recycled) double knit
Weight: 60g / 2.11 oz
Cost: CAD $59
This synthetic hiking tee by Patagonia is made from 100% polyester with 52% being recycled polyester. It is made with miDori™ bioSoft which adds moisture wicking qualities and softness tothe shirt and HeiQ® Fresh which helps with odour control.
This hiking top is a slim fit with a scoop neck and a slight drop tail to prevent riding up during movement.
8. Arcteryx Taema Tank – Synthetic
Material: 100% polyester (80% recycled)
Weight: 65 g / 2.3 oz
Cost: CAD $70
This racer back tank by Arcteryx is made from 100% polyester (80% recycled) and is moisture-wicking and quick drying as well as breathable and lightweight.
The seams have been strategically placed and constructed to increase comfort and reduce that horrible seam itchiness and chafing that some clothing gives you.
The top also has a DAO™ finish (Durable Anti Odour) and FC0-DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish which repels moisture.
9. Arcteryx Taema Crew SS – Synthetic
Material: 100% recycled polyester
Weight: 85g / 2.99oz
Cost: CAD $80
The Taema Crew by Arcteryx is made from 100% recycled polyester with a DAO™ finish (Durable Anti Odour) and a FC0-DWR finish (Durable Water Repellent) to repel moisture.
This shirt has great moisture-wicking qualities and dries quickly. Merrow stitch seam construction has been used to reduce seam size and any irritation caused by seams.
You might also enjoy:
- What We Wear on a Day Hike: Gear Guide
- Camera Gear Guide
- 40 Amazing Hiking Gifts for Her
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