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more breathable hiking shirts?
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Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
more breathable hiking shirts? on 01/25/2012 07:04:18 MST Print View

Has anyone seen a hiking shirt that is more like a dress shirt in breathability? I used to use a few different hiking shirts but found I could not wear them above the low 80s because I would start to overheat in them and just started using a dress shirt the last summer. The only draw back to it was that it was half cotton and prone to getting wet and chilly in lower temps if I used it in my kit but it did stink a lot less. The main purpose of the shirt is to keep the bugs off, the sun off some, layering and a little bit of class if I need it.

I have heard the RailRiders Bone Flats shirt is pretty good but I don't know and don't have $80 to find out.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: more breathable hiking shirts? on 01/25/2012 07:12:10 MST Print View

Look at shirts marketed towards fly fishing. Like LL Beans' offerings. Most "technical" oxford type shirts vent on the back though. Something to look for. For me anything above the low 80's anymore means very hot. Happy hunting.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: more breathable hiking shirts? on 01/25/2012 07:33:29 MST Print View

I use a Bone Flats shirt from Railriders. Great shirt for high temps. I bought the white one for sun protection. I usually drench it in sweat but it dries off super fast in any sort of breeze. Full button front is excellent for ventilation. And the large but low profile chest pockets are excellent.

I have the pants from them too, but prefer a similar pair from Exofficio.

Edited by 7sport on 01/25/2012 07:37:35 MST.

Ken Strayer
(TheRambler) - F
Columbia silver ridge on 01/25/2012 07:45:17 MST Print View

I really like the Columbia silver ridge hiking shirts, they have changed the name a few times, think its Columbia titanium something now. My favorite hiking shirt by far

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: more breathable hiking shirts? on 01/25/2012 08:26:38 MST Print View

When I hike over a big range of temperatures, lets say 40 F to over 100F, then I wear a Rail Riders Eco-Mesh. It does a great job. But I am going to sweat in anything when it gets above 80F if I have a pack on. With the RR the seat is mostly on my back.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
eco-mesh on 01/25/2012 13:12:52 MST Print View

I have an Eco-Mesh and it is a bit stifling as the temps get closer to 85F

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: eco-mesh on 01/25/2012 13:49:58 MST Print View

Something to take into consideration is different physiology's and climate locations. I live in one of the hottest deserts in the US, so what works for me and I how handle heat is different than many others. Also, typically I hike in very low humidity.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
running on 01/25/2012 13:50:38 MST Print View

any good somewhat perforated running shirt ... try it on in store and run around a bit ... you should feel the heat flow out

runners tend to be hot people ... and i dont just mean in looks ;)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: running on 01/25/2012 13:55:37 MST Print View

Following eric's suggestion, I have a RR Eco-Mesh T shirt that is perforated and very good in heat, but you did mention you got cold in cotton when the temps drop. In really hot weather, if I am near water sources, I like cotton... I soak it in water and when it dries I do it again. Great method in the Grand Canyon. I also still have a 1980's REI perforated tank top and a T shirt with a single snap neck that I used a lot years ago.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
running on 01/25/2012 14:35:16 MST Print View

Let me clarify that if the shirt gets wet it can get a bit chilly at lower temps because of the cotton. Really, it does not bother me because I don't get it wet. Just looking for synthetic as more of an insurance policy. I should test the dress shirt because it is really thin and is 50/50 so it might dry really fast and then I would have no worries.

Ty Reidenbaugh
(The_Will) - F

Locale: Southern California
dress shirt on 01/25/2012 15:41:01 MST Print View

I made the switch to hiking in dress shirts about 3 years ago and now use them exclusively for all my 3-season wilderness travel. The versatilty--sleeves up or down, unbutton to vent, collar to ward of sun or wind--is unmatched, plus they can be had for around $2 at flea-markets and used clothing stores. I have one that is 60/40 cotton but still dries in a flash because the weave of the fabric is so flat. Dress shirts are a significant improvement over the coolmax variety of shirts I wore previously.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Dress shirt, Wool. Cheap. on 01/25/2012 15:45:54 MST Print View

I got a bunch of wool long-sleeve dress shirts through They are merino wool, styled exactly like a dress shirt (because they are) and I use most of them as such. But I've historically used my beater cotton dress shirts for hot weather hiking and I'm using a few of these for outdoors wear too. The breathability is very high and I like the collar for mroe sun blocking. I'd use them in hot weather and I prefer them in cold or mixed conditions over cotton.

I got them at something like $13 through STP's 75% markdown and another 40% coupon. They seem to have one pretty foo-foo color left in odd sizes at $21:

plus some other colors in cotton at $13. RTK is the brand.

A little bit of class can help a lot when your hitchhiking to or from a trailhead!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
sun protection on 01/25/2012 16:20:53 MST Print View

if you're talking about the most breathable shirt, then it's probably sunny and you need sun protection

mesh shirt offers little sun protection, may as well just take shirt off

baggy nylon supplex shirt offers good sun protection, but it's not real breathable, bagginess helps

sun protection requires the threads in the fabric to be close together with no gaps which means it's not so breathable

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: sun protection on 01/25/2012 16:31:28 MST Print View

"may as well just take shirt off"

Isn't that the best way to hike? Do it often, but then I have a Mediterranean complexion and normally a good tan. However, I do at least wear shorts :)

Stephan Doyle
Re: more breathable hiking shirts? on 01/25/2012 16:40:21 MST Print View

I have some craft "arm coolers" that boast 50+ UPF sun protection. They look goofy, but they're cooler than anything I've worn (or not worn). I'm still trying to figure out what to do with my torso in this situation.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: sun protection on 01/25/2012 17:02:24 MST Print View

mesh shirt offers little sun protection, may as well just take shirt off

running companies figured it out a long time ago ... theres alot of money in running ... backpackers will try to reinvent the wheel and call it new ;)

look for running shirts with SPF protection ... very few backpackers go as hard as people running marathons and other such i suspect .. or have to deal with as much sweating in hot conditions ...

running companies often make a SPF shirt with perforated sides and possibly back as well ... even rail riders makes one i believe with SPF protection

CRAFT offers the coolest solution for hot summer
activities: the Cool Tee with Mesh with is extremely
lightweight, yet heavily loaded with function! The test
winning COOL material guarantees effective moisture
transportation, great ventilation, is soft and elastic
and provides maximum sun protection (UPF 50+). This makes
the Cool Tee with Mesh a fantastic versatile piece, which
keeps you cool on days when temperatures go from hot to

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
dress shirts instead of poly on 01/25/2012 17:19:42 MST Print View

Egyptian cotton just classes-up the trail, know what I'm sayin'? I use button compasses on my cufflinks, usually, but I am looking for a firesteel set... I wove a tie out of paracord.

I like the fishing/tech shirts which enable me to ventilate via the caped back, choose between rolled or unfurled sleeves and can be soaked in pyrethrin so I can assure myself at least one or two mosquitos has died a twitchy death before giving me dengue fever. My best shirt is one marketed as a fishing shirt, but BSA just released a hi-tech, caped hiking Uniform shirt that has be figuring ways to UL my Class A's...

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: more breathable hiking shirts? on 01/25/2012 17:56:08 MST Print View

"Has anyone seen a hiking shirt that is more like a dress shirt in breathability?"

Arc'teryx Motus LS crew neck. Excellent breathability, SPF 53, quick drying, and <4 oz in a size S. At $75 it ain't cheap, but I love this piece for Sierra hiking, and from what I can tell on hot East Side Sierra ascents it would be great for desert hiking as well. If you are a REI member, you get a $7.50 dividend rebate.

Stephan Doyle
Re: Re: more breathable hiking shirts? on 01/25/2012 18:37:44 MST Print View

@Tom: Says it's the same fabric as the Phase SL ($65). Sounds like it might be the Spring 2012 replacement for the Phase SL, which means sales. It's lighter than Patagonia's Cap 1 (UPF 15)…

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
motus/phase on 01/25/2012 19:46:54 MST Print View

Motus is the same fabric different fit and features reflective striping because its a running designed tee. phase stuff is really fitted. there wont discontinue either one this season

Edited by rcowman on 01/25/2012 19:47:45 MST.