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Best Hot Weather Clothing for Hiking: What to Wear and Why

A man jumping from a rock to another
Henry Silva
Written by Henry Silva

A lot goes into consideration when one is picking his hiking gear. The key-determining factor when selecting your gear will be the hiking season.

Different seasons bring with them different temperatures and with that, different attire requirements. You need to pick the best hot weather clothing for hiking if you want to have an enjoyable outdoor experience.

When most people hear special hiking attire, they think about winter and all the warm clothing one needs to pack. However, outdoor life in the summer also needs some serious preparation if you want to stay safe and comfortable. When hiking in hot weather, pay attention to two things – comfort and protection.

To help you pick the right clothes, we have compiled the features that you should look for in your hot weather hiking clothes and the best-reviewed clothing items to wear for summer hikes, or simply for hot summer days. By the end of this read, you can be confident that you’ll be able to buy the appropriate clothes for this summer. 

Product NameFabricBest UseSpecific FeaturesPrice
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Boxer BriefStretch diamond-weave mesh fabricHiking, traveling.Quick-drying, breathable, soft and durable waistband, antimicrobial-treatedCheck price on Amazon
Hurley Dri-Fit Chino 22 Shorts70% nylon, 24% polyester, 6% spandex.Hiking, backpacking, walking.Zip fly and button closure, machine wash, mesh pocket lining, back button-close welt pockets, Dri-Fit technology.Check price on Amazon
Vapor Apparel 5irla Long Sleeve ShirtsMicrofiberHiking, fishing, sailing, sports.UPF 50+ solar protection, PURE-tech moisture-wicking technology, anti-microbial technology, breathable.Check price on Amazon
Columbia Silver Ridge Pants100% nylon silver ridge ripstop, 57% recycled polyester/43 polyester meshHiking, riding, backpacking.Omni-wick, Omni-Shade® UPF 50, side-elastic waistband, zip-closed security pocket, hook and loop closure, mesh pocket bags.Check price on Amazon
Exofficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief92% nylon, 8% lycra.Hiking, traveling, backpacking.Breathable ultralight mesh, ergonomic fly panel support, antimicrobial treatment, contrast flatlock seams and smooth waistband.Check price on Amazon
Tesla MTS03 T-shirt100% polyesterHiking, backpacking, summer sportsFlat-Lock seams, breathable, deodorization function , UPF 50+, PlazmaSkin fabric, moisture sensing two-way air circulation.Check price on Amazon
Columbia Tamiami Long Sleeve Shirt100% polyesterHiking, backpacking, summer parties.Omni-Shade UPF 40, antimicrobial treatment, Omni-Wick technology, mesh-lined vent at center back.Check price on Amazon
Singbring B01DIX Shorts100% polyesterHiking, running, riding, fishing, cycling, traveling.Elastic closure, zippered front pockets, lightweight, quick dry, inner drawstring.Check price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Choosing the right clothing for your summer outdoor activity is a balance between a number of features. The clothes you pick must strike a good balance between protection and comfort. Below are the main features you should look for in your summer hiking outfit

Moisture Wicking Fabric

Moisture wicking technology is used in making outfits aimed at providing moisture control for the skin. This makes such outfits suitable for activities like hiking, sports and traveling in hot temperatures where the body is expected to sweat a lot.

The mechanism in the fabric sucks the sweat away from your skin and transfers it to the outer side of the fabric where it evaporates. Moisture wicking fabric is often lightweight, soft and stretchy, which makes it ideal for hiking as it allows maximum comfort without restricting mobility.

A more advanced variation of moisture-wicking technology is dry wicking. Dry wicking technology enhances on the benefits of moisture wicking fabric by breaking the sweat down and leaving your body and clothing completely dry.

A man wearing a pair of Hiking-pants-made-of-synthetic-materials-may-resist-tearing-and-moisture-from-rain.

This leaves you both comfortable and smelling fresh since the bacteria responsible for producing odor cannot grow on the dry surface.

Moisture wicking, should not just stop with your clothing. It should extend to the feet. Because your feet are often enclosed when hiking, they sweat a lot and wearing moisture-wicking socks will help keep them dry and comfortable.

Wearing clothing that has this mechanism allows you to stay dry and fresh even if you have to hike for many hours under the hot summer sun.

Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)

If you are to go hiking in the summer, it is advisable that you wear clothes that provide sun protection for your skin. Prolonged direct exposure to the sun’s rays can have very dangerous effects on your skin.

Image showing a hking sun hat

If you have used sunscreen before, then you are familiar with the term Sun Protection Factor (SPF) which measures the effectiveness of sunscreen in protecting your skin against UV radiation. UPF is SPF’s equivalent in fabric.

The rays from the sun contain ultraviolet radiation, which is known to cause skin cancer. The sun’s rays come in three types – UVA, B and C. Although UVC is the most dangerous of the three, it cannot penetrate through the ozone layer, so as long as the ozone layer stays intact, we are shielded from it UVC.

UVA and UVB can both go through the ozone layer and reach earth’s surface. UVA reaches deeper into the skin and can lead to the skin aging prematurely and wrinkling, and it can also suppress the immune system. UVB burns the skin and is linked to skin cancer.

Therefore, if you are going to have prolonged exposure to the sun, it is advisable that you protect your skin against UV radiation.

Two adults on the-best-hiking-trails-in-America

The type of protection can be achieved by either using sunscreen or wearing clothes with sun protection. The level of protection you get is measured by the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) for sunscreen and Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) for clothing.

UPF Rating: Clothes specifically designed to protect your skin come with a numeric rating indicating how effective the fabric is in blocking UV radiation. The higher the rating, the higher the level protection.

A UPF rating of 20 means that the fabric allows only 1/20th (5%) of the radiation to reach your skin. This means that such fabric blocks 95% f the radiation.

Image showina a woman wearing a backpack while hiking

The highest rating is UPF 50+, which blocks at least 98% of the radiation from reaching your skin. So if you intend to go hiking in the summer, it would be safer to wear clothing some UV protection and to also use sunscreen to protect the parts of your body left exposed to the sun.

Antimicrobial Treatment

Clothes meant to be worn in hot weather, especially by people who live an active lifestyle, like backpackers, are treated with an antimicrobial agent to kill bacteria that create odor. By stopping the growth of such bacteria, the fabric prevents order, allowing you to stay fresh even after long active hours in the sun.

The level of the antimicrobial effect varies, with the low effect only slowing down the growth of the odor causing germs while the strong effect completely stops the growth or completely kills the bacteria.

Breathability And Ventilation

The breathability of a fabric measures its ability to allow moisture to evaporate through the material. Breathable material allows sweat to wick away from your body, leaving you dry. Although the breathability of a fabric often goes hand in hand with its air permeability, the two are independent factors.

Image showing ECCO-Offroad-Offroad-Lite-Sandals

Air permeable fabric has pores that allow air to move freely. This is often enhanced by having some mesh on the material.

For example, a shirt can have a mesh strip in the middle of the back or hiking pants may have ventilation zips that open the solid fabric to expose patches of mesh materials. Air can easily pass through these mesh patches to keep your body cools and fresh.

Breathable fabric quickly allows perspiration to be absorbed from your body and passed on to the outer surface, while air permeable material allows movement of air through the material.

These are both very important features when hiking in hot weather. As the moisture is absorbed from your body, you need air to come in from outside and keep you fresh.

Image of a woman wearing shorts and pants

Air permeable fabric often has high breathability too, but the fabric does not necessarily have to be air permeable in order to be breathable. The best summer hiking cloths will however have a combination of the two features.

Weight

Like with all hiking gear, make sure the clothes you pick for hot weather hiking are lightweight. One of the major points of consideration with any hiking gear is that it should be lightweight.

This rule also applies to what you wear. Heavy clothes will add to your gear weight burden and also get uncomfortable quite early in the hike. Moreover, you are more likely to sweat more than someone in lightweight clothing is.

Versatile Functionality

Ideal hot weather hiking clothes should be flexible in function. Consider getting clothes like shirts with rollup sleeves and covetable pants, or clothes with ventilation zips.

Woman wearing hot weather clothing is climbing the moutain

When you feel like covering your whole body, you can roll down the sleeves of your shirt to make them full sleeves and then roll them up when the need to cover up passes. The same applies convertible pants, which allow you to turn them into shorts when you need to.

Ventilation zips, on the other hand, can be on either your shirt or pants, or on both. When you feel like getting some fresh air onto your body, just open the zipper and expose the mesh lining underneath.

You might want to give your body maximum protection when the full sun is up or when hiking through rough terrain and then allow some fresh air on your body once the rough terrain is over or when the harsh rays of the sun are gone.

Top Products on Today’s Market

After taking a look at the features you must consider, it’s time to take a look at the list of best-reviewed products. That way you’ll know what to look for when preparing for summer hikes.

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief
ExOfficio Give-N-Go

Price: $13 – $53

Fabric: Stretch diamond-weave mesh fabric

Specific features: Extremely quick-drying, highly breathable, soft and durable waistband, antimicrobial-treated, 2 pairs included

Best use: Hiking, travelling.

Description: Exofficio has earned a reputation for making amazing travel and outdoor wear for all seasons. This is especially true when it comes to underwear for men, designed for maximum comfort and durability. It is in this regard that they designed the ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief.

The boxer briefs are trusted by thousands of outdoor thrill seekers and travelers for their highly breathable mesh material that enables great aeration and moisture transfer to keep you cool and dry on hot summer days.

The antimicrobial treatment in the fabric eliminates odor-causing bacteria to keep you fresh while their soft and durable waistband ensures a comfortable fit without the risk of stretching out.

With all the inevitable sweating that occurs while one is hiking in the hot summer weather, these highly breathable odor-resistant boxer briefs will come in handy for your next hike.

Moreover, you do not even need to carry many pairs with you. You can wear them for a long time without getting uncomfortable, wash them from anywhere you find water and they will be dry long before you wake up for the next day’s adventure.

PROS:

  • Very breathable, ideal for long walks
  • Durable fabric will ensure they last a long time

CONS:

  • A bit pricey

Related: The Exofficio Give-N-Go Underwear Tee is commonly bought with these briefs. They are both ideal to be used for traveling or hiking.

Check the price on Amazon

Hurley Dri-Fit Chino 22 Short
Hurley 1810

Price: $30 – $70

Fabric: 70% nylon, 24% polyester, 6% spandex.

Specific features: Zip fly and button closure, machine washable, mesh pocket lining, back button-close welt pockets, Dri-Fit technology, 22″ regular fit, back welt pockets and coin pocket for storage.

Best use: Hiking, backpacking, walking

Description: The Dri-Fit Chino 22 Short from Hurley are designed for men who love outdoor life. True to their name, the shorts keep you dry and comfortable with the help of Nike’s moisture-wicking Dri-Fit technology.

The classic trouser shorts have front slant pockets that are both functional and stylish and back wallet and coin pocket that add to the stylish look and give you more storage if you need it.

If you plan on hiking in hot weather and want some comfortable pants that will keep you dry, fresh and stylish, then these Hurley pants will be perfect for you. They are easy to wash and fast drying too. Every aspect about the design of these shorts points to outdoor comfort.

With over two dozen colors available, the Hurley Men’s Dri-Fit Chino 22 Walk Shorts have a color for everyone. You can have as many short as you need in as many colors as you want.

PROS:

  • The Dri-Fit technology works very well, these dry very quickly
  • Very comfortable
  • Very lightweight

CONS:

  • None

Related: If you are looking for something to pair with your Dri-Fit shorts, you can get the Nike Golf Polo.

Check the price on Amazon

Vapor Apparel 5IRLA Long Sleeve T-shirt
Vapor Apparel FJ5IRLA

Price: $17 – $35

Fabric: Microfiber

Specific features: UPF 50+ solar protection; also available, PURE-tech moisture-wicking technology, anti-microbial technology, unisex cut, lightweight, super soft against the skin and very breathable, imported.

Best use: Hiking, fishing, sailing, sports

Description: The 5IRLA Long Sleeve T-shirt from Vapor Apparel is designed for outdoor comfort and protection. Rated UPF 50+, the T-shirt offers the highest solar protection any garment can give you, ensuring that you stay safe while you enjoy your hike.

The T-shirt is made with PURE-tech moisture-wicking technology, which sucks away the sweat to keep you dry under the summer sun. The moisture-wicking technology is combined with antimicrobial technology to keep you dry and odor-free.

The fabric is lightweight and very soft against the skin and is breathable so it easily allows moisture out and lets fresh air through.

With such great such great breathability, moisture wicking, anti-bacterial protection and an excellent UPF rating, Vapor Apparel designed this shirt to keep outdoor lovers safe and comfortable. Thousands of summer thrill seekers use this T-shirt with the majority giving it 5-star reviews.

Because these T-shirt are designed for both men and women, be careful with the sizes as they might run smaller for some men. They come in a variety of colors so everyone can choose their favorite.

PROS:

  • Very comfortable fit
  • Lightweight
  • Unisex

CONS:

  • Not durable

Related: The Lenikis Unisex Outdoor Hat  is a good match with this shirt. If you plan on doing summer outdoor activities, a hat to protect face, head and neck is a must.

Check the price on Amazon

Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Short
Columbia Silver Ridge 

Price: $29 – $70

Fabric: 100% nylon silver ridge ripstop, 57% recycled polyester/43 polyester mesh

Specific features: Omni-Wick, Omni-Shade® UPF 50, classic fit, gusset detail, side-elastic waistband, zip-closed security pocket, hook and loop closure, mesh pocket bags, hand pockets, imported.

Best use: Hiking, riding, backpacking

Description: The Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Short is designed for ultimate comfort, style and functionality in the great outdoors. All its main design features point to keeping you cool and comfortable, making it ideal attire for hot weather hiking.

With a UPF rating of 50, you are assured of protection from the dangers of exposures to UV radiation from the harsh summer sunshine. The Omni-Wick technology in the fabric sucks away sweat so you can enjoy your summer hike without sweating through your clothes.

It comes with enough pockets to store your variables like a phone, keys and wallet while you hike and the pockets have secure zip-closure so no risk of your valuables falling out no matter how vigorous your activities get.

Thousands of lovers of outdoor life trust the Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Short to keep them safe, comfortable and stylish while they enjoy life in the sun during the summer.

PROS:

  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Dries pretty quickly
  • Lightweight

CONS:

  • Expensive

Related: You can pair your cargo shorts with the Columbia Silver Ridge Zero Polo Shirt. If you prefer complete coverage for your legs, then you can go for the versatile Columbia Silver Ridge Pant.

Check the price on Amazon

Exofficio Give-n-Go Boxer Brief
Exofficio Give-nGo

Price: $17 – $37

Fabric: 92% nylon, 8% lycra

Specific features: Breathable ultralight mesh, moisture-wicking fabric, ergonomic fly panel support, antimicrobial treatment, snug active fit and lower rise, contrast flatlock seams and smooth waistband, dries fast, imported.

Best use: Hiking, travelling, backpacking

Description: Everything about the way this Exofficio Give-n-Go Boxer Brief is designed speaks to comfort. The brief is made with ultralight and highly breathable mesh, which is designed to keep you dry with antimicrobial treatment that reduces odor in the fabric to keep you fresh even during vigorous activities.

These features come in handy when hiking on a hot day, especially if you want to go long distances without discomfort. The boxer brief has an active stretch fit and a lower rise, both features ideal for the energetic activities of hikers and backpackers.

It is easy to wash and fast to dry so you do not even have to worry about carrying many of them even when you are going to be out in the wilderness for several good days.

Constructed from classic diamond weave mesh, the boxer brief’s ergonomic fly panel design provides all the support you need. With contrast seams and a smooth waistband prevents the soreness often caused by chafing.

The stretch to fit design gives you a comfortable fit so that you can go about your activities without any discomfort form the underwear.

This breathable, moisture-wicking and odor-preventing boxer brief is exactly the underwear you need on you as you set off for your hot day hike and the countless men living active lifestyles who have worn it have attested to this with 5-star reviews.

PROS:

  • Very breathable
  • They dry really quickly
  • Odor resistant

CONS:

  • They can be a bit too tight, not comfortable for everyone

Related: The Exofficio Sportswear Tee is a good match with these boxers, as you can sue it for any outdoors activity and it will dry quickly and keep you comfortable.

Check the price on Amazon

Tesla MTS03 T ShirtTesla MTS03

Price: $7 – $14

Fabric: 100% polyester

Specific features: Flat-Lock seams, excellent breathability and ventilation, deodorization function, UPF 50+, plazma skin fabric, moisture sensing two-way air circulation, lightweight and comfortable.

Best use: Hiking, backpacking, summer sports.

Description: The Tesla MTS03 T Shirt comes in a PlazmaSkin fabric, specially designed for active life. It has moisture-sensing, quick-time two-way air circulation that reacts every time your body sweats.

This combines with the fabric’s great breathability to keep you dry and comfortable while the deodorization function prevents odor to keep you smelling fresh.

With a UPF 50+ rating, the T-shirt repels more than 98% of UV rays that are projected on you by the harsh summer sun to keep you safe from their adverse effects. It has flat-lock seams to ensure durability and enhance protection. It is lightweight and comfortable so you can enjoy your summer activities like hiking with great ease.

This T-shirt from Tesla allows you great comfort on the summer trail, gives your skin the protection it needs and comes in all the colors you will ever want. It is truly made with the needs of the summer outdoor lifestyle at heart.

PROS:

  • Good quality
  • Very affordable price
  • Dries very quickly

CONS:

  • The sizing is really confusing, very small sizing

Related: Tesla makes other performance clothing like the Tesla MTP07 Shorts, which matches perfectly with this shirt, both lightweight and comfortable for the summer season.

Check the price on Amazon

Columbia Tamiami Long Sleeve Shirt
Columbia Tamiami

Price: $20 – $75

Fabric: 100% Polyester

Specific features: Omni-Shade UPF 40, antimicrobial treatment, Omni-Wick technology, mesh-lined vent at center back, modern classic fit, imported

Best use: Hiking, backpacking, summer parties.

Description: The Columbia Tamiami Long Sleeve Shirt is made with Omni-Shade technology at UPF 40 to provide excellent protection from exposure to the sun’s dangerous rays, ensuring that you can stay out in the sun f

or long hours without worrying about exposure to UV radiation. The shirt’s arms can folded up if you need some fresh air on your arms or left as long sleeves if you want complete protection for your arms.

For complete comfort in the sun, the shirt has Omni-Wick technology, which sucks moisture away from the body and also ensures breathability. The shirt is made with antimicrobial treatment, which protects it from bacterial growth to preventing odor.

The Omni-Wick technology and antimicrobial treatment keep you dry, aerated and smelling fresh even after hours of activity in the sun. The Mesh-lined venting at the center of the back allows good aeration for your body.

This shirt strikes a good balance between aeration, protection and style to keep you cool, comfortable and safe as you enjoy hours in summer outdoors. With over 70% of its users awarding a 5-star rating, this shirt has received the seal of approval from thousands of people who love outdoor life in the summer.

PROS:

  • Very comfortable
  • The breathability is very good
  • They dry very quickly

CONS:

  • The sizing is something to look after, these shirts are normally larger than usual

Related: Other great summer outdoor clothing from Columbia include the Silver Ridge Convertible Pant that you can combine with the shirt, and Booney II Sun Hat for head to toe UV protection and comfort.

Check the price on Amazon

Singbring B01DIX Mountaineering ShortsSingbring B01DIX

Price: $17 – $23

Specific features: Elastic closure, zippered front pockets, lightweight, quick dry, inner drawstring, imported

Best use: Hiking, running, riding, travelling.

Description: The Singbring B01DIX Mountaineering Shorts are designed for outdoor life in the hot weather. The lightweight material allows for good ventilation so that you can stay cool and comfortable and the shorts add minimal weight to your body, making them ideal for long summer treks.

Made with inner drawstring, the shorts allow you to adjust the waist to your preferred size to maximize comfort. And because they are fast drying, you can easily wash them and they will be dry by the time you are, you are ready to set off on the next leg of your adventure.

They come with pockets at the front and the back, giving you enough storage for your phone, wallet, keys and other such items while you hike.

The pockets have zipper closure so there is no risk of your kept items falling out no matter how active you get. The shorts strike just the right balance between baggy and hugging to stay just loose enough and comfortable.

PROS:

  • The elastic waist, makes it very easy to fit
  • Comfortable
  • Very affordable

CONS:

  • Small pockets

Related: The Columbia Tuk Mountain Shirt is a very good shirt to buy with these shorts. They are both affordable, comfortable products to take on summer hikes or sports activities.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping Up

When you are going hiking in the summer, you have specific needs in your attire. Your body will be exposed to the sun for hours and it will sweat a lot. Secondly, prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun has adverse effects on your health as seen above.

Make sure that the clothes you wear address these specific needs of the season. When picking what to wear on your summer hike, always look for a combination of comfort and protection. This comes in the form of such features like moisture wicking fabric, breathability, and UV radiation protection among others.

A man hiking during hot weather

Your hot weather hiking attire should be a combination of all the Specific features we have shared above. The products we have reviewed here carry an excellent blend of those features and we believe they will make excellent additions to your summer hiking gear.

Do not forget other important considerations like the need to drink enough fluids to keep your body hydrated. We hope the knowledge we have shared here will guide you in your search for the best summer hiking clothes.

Can you think of any products we might have left out? If you do, please do not hesitate to leave us your thought in the comment section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Henry Silva
Henry Silva

Henry was hiking since he was 4. He was lucky enough to be born in Boulder, Colorado and enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park hikes growing up. His favourite is Longs Peak, which rises to 14,259 feet (4,346 m) above sea level. It is the highest point of the park. Henry likes to explore new hikes and spend his spare time in the wilderness.

  • Terry Dean

    I’m here to vouch for the ExOfficio Give-N-Go boxer briefs. They are just as breathable as this review says and really quite comfortable for hot days. It’s a struggle to not replace my whole underclothes wardrobe with these! They’re pricey for everyday wear but a few good pairs are worth it.

    • Henry Silva

      We agree!

  • Oscar Wade

    I wear these shirts quite often especially when going to the park on hot afternoons. Its texture feels good on the skin even under the hot sun and like that it keeps me feeling cool. I like going to play golf and fishing so the 5IRLA Long Sleeve T-shirts from Vapor Apparel are just the clothes I need for doing so, comfortably.

    • Henry Silva

      Thank you for sharing!

  • Robert Smith

    My nephew bought these Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts for me last spring since he knows that I love the outdoors. I did not know they had a name until I saw them on this site, but they are indeed very comfortable and stylish. These shorts introduced me to Columbia products and I have been on the lookout for other shorts like these all summer. They look really nice if you wear the right size.

    • Henry Silva

      We love the brand!

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