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Best Hot Weather Clothing for Hiking: Keeping Cool on Your Next Excursion

Best Hot Weather Clothing for Hiking
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

Some of the best hot weather clothing for hiking is lightweight, breezy and easy to store away in your pack or camping backpack. Whether you’re looking for the top or bottom portion of your hiking ensemble, clothing for hiking is easily accessible, either by online shopping or in your nearest sporting goods store.

Hot weather clothing is typically coated with an average UV protection rating and a durable, lightweight material. There are many options out there, and your choice will be based on the type of activity and the location’s climate and region, itself. Take a look at some of the types of hot weather clothing options to keep your search productive.

TYPES OF HOT WEATHER CLOTHING

When you’re heading out on your next moderate to intense hiking adventure, you want to make sure that you’re comfortable for the entire duration of your trip. If the climate is warmer than average, or you’re hiking during the peak summer months, it’s important to invest in the appropriate clothing that will keep you cool and prevent overheating.

hot weather clothing

If the material is too thick or heavy, the conditions, combined with body heat and exercise, will prevent the hiker from partaking in the activity at a comfortable temperature. Below are some recommendations for how to suit up for your next warm to hot weather hike.

SHORTS

This is pretty much a given. You wouldn’t want to be hiking around in pants during the summer months or in a region that has high temperatures. However, if you’re beginning the hike in the early hours of the morning and the weather is more brisk (only to warm up in the afternoon), you can look for a type of lightweight, convertible pants that typically zip-off just above the knee. This will enable you to eventually have the shorts that you need for the daytime hours, but ensure comfortability in the morning hours (if the temperatures are chilly).

hot weather shorts

Otherwise, investing in a standard pair of durable, lightweight, performance or hiking shorts is smart. Make sure that these shorts have some sort of UV protection; this is key for hot weather clothing. More on that later.

PERFORMANCE SHIRT

You might be familiar with this type of shirt if you’re an avid hiker, outdoorsman or simply an athlete. These shirts are typically made of thin material, whether it may be polyester or a “climacool” fabric, and have a high level of breathability.

If you stumble across a quality performance shirt, it will most likely be moisture absorbent or sweat resistant, which are both great for those warmer climates or hot summer months.

hot weather shirts

Finding the style or color in these shirts is usually not an issue; not only do many brands offer these types of shirts, but they offer them in many different styles (i.e. tank top, long sleeves, etc.) and colors to suit the current trends or weather.

LIGHT UNDERGARMENTS

If you’re a male taking on a more strenuous hike in a warmer climate, having lightweight, breathable undergarments is an important piece of the wardrobe to keep you comfortable. Not only are most of these products made of thinner, airy material, but they are quick-drying, which is great for sweat and/or a dip in a nearby swimming hole or stream.

lightweight undergarments

Fast drying hiking gear is crucial for utmost comfortability. If you’re an avid hiker or runner, you know this; running, hiking or even walking in wet clothing, shoes or undergarments is uncomfortable and may cause rashes, fungus or even infection.

Invest whatever is most comfortable for you, of course, but keep in mind that hiking in warmer-than-normal temperatures is not the same as hiking in a moderate to cool climate.

FACE MASK

When the temperatures get too hot and you want that extra protection for your face (in addition to application of sunscreen), a face mask is your next best option, or can even be supplemental. Though a face mask is not a crucial or “must need” for your hot weather hiking wardrobe, it’s not a bad idea to store away one of these bad boys in your backpack or camp pack.

face mask

Not only is it easily stored away and lightweight, but it’s a great addition to your “just in case” Mother nature can be unpredictable; even if the forecast is projecting a certain temperature, you never know if the UV will be higher or sun will be hotter.

CLOTHING FEATURES

Many of the types for hot weather hiking clothing are similar in what they are trying to achieve for the consumer: lightweight, durable, strong UV protection, and easily stored away.

In a hot weather climate, the temperatures are sometimes unpredictable. That’s why it is important to not only invest in thinner material that is  moisture absorbent, but make sure that it can be compacted in a small bag, in case you need to shed some layers along the way.

choosing hot weather clothing

Some of the more specific features below can allow you to hone in on some important components to keep in mind while you’re out shopping for the perfect hiking garb.

SIZE

This feature is not only important for carrying and transport purposes, but also will depend on the consumer’s size as well. A petite individual is not going to invest in some of the gear because it might not be a good fit, yet a larger individual might not invest in some of tech or performance gear because it just might be too small.

sizes of hot weather clothing

It’s important to make sure that the clothing you’re after is going to accommodate the size and style that you’re looking for. Some brands may run small while other brands may run true to size. Make sure to check out the reviews on specific products to make sure you order the correct size. The sizing charts that the manufacturers supply are also great points of reference.

TIP: Keep in mind that purchasing the correct size for yourself is key for obtaining all of the perks of the gear. For example, if you purchase a performance t-shirt but it is too big, it will not be quite as moisture absorbent if the shirt itself is not in direct contact with your skin.

FABRIC

This is an important feature in order the hiker comfortable for the duration of their trek. If the fabric is too thick, heavy or water absorbent, it might not be the best choice. If the material is thick and heavy, it will simply be too hot for the hiker to wear this piece of clothing for the entire portion of their hike.

A lighter fabric, such as polyester, nylon or dry fit is going to be more breathable, weather-resistant and fast drying. If the fabric is bulkier and gets wet, that is only going to cause the hiker to become heavier, and therefore, less comfortable on their hike.

fabric of hot weather clothing

Having to worry about heaviness on the body while hiking in hot weather is not the most ideal. The lighter fabrics are also more compact and easier to store into a pack if the hiker needs to shed some layers.

TIP: If you’re hiking garb is made of moderately thick cotton, this is not the best choice of fabric. It is water absorbent, slow to dry, and not as breathable as other fabrics.

COLOR

This is not only an important feature for strictly fashion reasons. The lighter the fabric, the more friendly it is with the sun. The darker the fabric, however, the more that it will attract the heat of the sun, therefore, making your gear hotter than it needs to be and thus, making your body temperature higher than comfortable levels.

colors of performance shirt

In order to keep the heat of the sun off your skin, it’s recommended to purchase gear offered in lighter colors, such as: white, ivory, light yellow, tan, etc. The combination of a lighter material and a lighter color will offer a much cooler activity than the latter options.

TIP: The color of the gear will not make a drastic difference, so don’t sweat it if you can’t find the shirt in the color that you’re looking for.

UV PROTECTION

Seeing as though hot weather hiking is the topic of today, this is an important factor when searching for the right type of gear. The average UV protection that you will see when researching gear options ranges from 15 to 50+. The UV rating of 15 is on the very low side; most products that you typically see for this type of climate will be in the higher levels, closer to and if not right at, 50+.

UV protection of hot weather clothing

UV protection is sometimes a selling point for consumers, whereas others prefer to just lather up on the sunscreen. While having UV protection the clothing is always beneficial when hiking in warmer climates, it isn’t a necessity.

TIP: Don’t fret if you find the perfect shirt or pair of pants for your next adventure and it doesn’t offer any UV protection…there’s always sunscreen!

Now that you have a general idea about the types of clothing you’re looking for and the important features to keep in mind while browsing products, here are some products to look out for!

Top Picks For Hot Weather Clothing

Columbia Barracuda Killer ShortsColumbia Men's Barracuda Killer Shorts

Dimensions: 30-44” (waist)

Weight: 1 lb

Specific features: Zip-closed security pocket, fast-drying material, Nylon ripstop

Best use: Hiking, camping, outdoor activities

Columbia Barracuda Killer Shorts is lightweight, mixed fabric, outdoor shorts are priced well for the brand and quality and great for all activities outdoors. Not only do they offer a cotton/nylon blend, but the shorts have a ripstop seam that prove them to be durable and able to withstand some of the tougher terrains and activities.

These shorts come in four, standard, neutral colors and are to fit as expected. If you’re looking for a basic hiking short, these just might be the ones that you’ve been searching for. They offer a UV protection level of 15+, which isn’t great but is a very standard rating that should be used in addition to sunscreen.

Check the price on Amazon

Exofficio Give-N-Go Sport Boxer BriefExofficio Men's Give-N-Go Sport Six-Inch Boxer Brief

Dimensions: S-XXL

Weight: 2.7 ounces

Specific features: Breathable, quick-drying, odor resistant

Best use: Hiking, outdoor activities, sporting activities

These easy-to-pack, thin and quick-drying Exofficio Give-N-Go Sport Boxer Briefs are great for those looking to stay cool and dry underneath all of their hiking layers. The one great thing about breathable boxer briefs is that they always tend to be sweat-resistant and quick-drying, so even if your top layers get sweaty or wet on your hike, you’ll be dry in no time!

These thin-layered briefs are 92% nylon and 9% Lycra and offer a moisture-wicking fabric that are sealed well with flatlock seams. One bonus about these briefs is that they are odor resistant; their antimicrobial treatment ensures freshness by reducing the odor in the fabric, allowing you to stay clean on the go. These briefs are offered in black, red, blue, white and gray.

Check the price on Amazon

Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo ShortsColumbia Sportswear Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts

Dimensions: 30 x 10” – 54 x 12”

Weight: 1 lb

Specific features: 100% Nylon Ridgestop, adjustable waist, UPF 50, omni-wick fabric

Best use: Hiking, recreational sports, casual outdoor activities

Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts are great for any time or any activity of the day. Whether you’re trudging through creeks or climbing a peak in 80-degree heat, these shorts prove to be rugged and durable for any hike you plan to embark on.

A couple of important features about these shorts include the adjustable waistband, the omni-wick evaporation technology and the UPF of 50+. These shorts come in many standard, basic colors and have just about every size you can think of.

With the adjustable waistband and the plethora of sizes, this is a very versatile short that can be used by all shapes and sizes in a variety of activities.

Check the price on Amazon

Hurley Dri-Fit Chino 22 Walk ShortHurley Mens Dri-Fit Chino 22 Walk Short

Dimensions: 28 – 44” (waist) / 16 x 13 x 2 inches

Weight: 2 lbs

Specific features: Zip fly closure, machine wash, classic cut

Best use: Hiking, casual sports, outdoor activities

Hurley Dri-Fit Chino 22 Walk Short – casual, classic cut, sport shorts – are great for those looking to add a little spice to their hiking shorts collection. They are offered in a variety of colors and are made with a mix of fabrics (70% Nylon, 24% Polyester, 6% Spandex).

Not only do they offer a button closure and are able to be easily thrown into the machine washer, but they are made of the type of material that will dry easily and be able to be worn on the go. These shorts are stylish and trendy, especially with front slanted pockets and back, flap pockets. These shorts are priced based on the color choice, size and availability.

Check the price on Amazon

Singbring Hiking Mountaineering ShortsSingbring Men's Hiking Mountaineering Shorts

Dimensions: S-XXL

Weight: 0.5 – 1 lb

Specific features:  Zippered front pockets, lightweight, drawstring

Best use: Hiking, cycling, camping, mountaineering

Singbring Hiking Mountaineering Shorts are one of the most budget-friendly, versatile shorts on our list. Not only are they priced under $20 but they are lightweight, shorter than the average pair of shorts, and also have a pull drawstring in the front for adjustability.

These shorts are offered in three different colors: hunter green, navy blue and black, which appeal to the mountaineering, camping or hiking lifestyle. These shorts are described as “normal fit” and are breezy enough to be recommended for hot weather hiking and warmer climates.

Check the price on Amazon

Tesla HyperDri Short Sleeve TopTesla Men's Lightweight HyperDri Running Short Sleeve Top

Dimensions: Standard T-shirt

Weight: 3.2 oz

Specific features: 100% polyester, breathability, lightweight, UPF 50+

Best use: Hiking, outdoor activities, sporting

Tesla HyperDri Short Sleeve Top is your standard, dry-fit type of shirt that is great or any athletic activity, including hiking and the like. It is made of 100% polyesters, is extremely breathable and has a UPF protection of 50+.

It is offered in a plethora of colors and the material is layered with the manufacturer’s “PlazmaSkin” fabric that is quick-drying and and provides much ventilation. This specific shirt has a two-way ventilation system and is effective in keeping you cool on your next adventure. This shirt also tends to run smaller than average.

Check the price on Amazon

Balaclava Ski Mask: Full Face MaskBalaclava Full Face Mask Ski Mask

Dimensions: One size

Weight: Lightweight

Specific features: Allergy free, wind/weather resistant, UV protection

Best use: Hiking, skiing, snowboarding, motorcycling, running, trekking

Balaclava Ski Mask: Full Face Mask is very versatile. Not only can it be used for a variety of extreme sports such as skiing, snowboarding, motorcycling, etc., it can also be used for UV protection when hiking or trekking in hot weather climates.

This mask is great for absorbing sweat and water on the go, and is lightweight and durable enough to be a quick-drying accessory. This mask can be stored away easily and though it is definitely not necessary for the next hot weather hike, it is a good supplement to other hiking/camping gear.

Check the price on Amazon

Vapor Apparel UPF Performance T-ShirtVapor Apparel UPF Long Sleeve Solar Performance T-Shirt

Dimensions: Typical fit

Weight: Lightweight

Specific features: 100% Microfiber, lightweight, UPF 50+, antimicrobial technology

Best use: Hiking, camping, outdoor activities

Vapor Apparel UPF Performance T-Shirt is a great “bring along” item to store away in your hiking pack or camp backpack. Not only is it lightweight and breathable, but its UPF protection of 50+ makes it a great candidate to keep you covered when the sun reaches its hottest temperatures.

The shirt offers pure-moisture wicking and antimicrobial technologies that help to keep the shirt dry and smelling fresh. This shirt is very versatile, including its unisex capabilities; the downside to this feature is that it may run a bit smaller for men. This shirt is also offered in a variety of colors, including light options to keep you cool.

Check the price on Amazon

ADVENTURE TIME

Before you hit the trails, it’s important that you know what you want out of your hiking wardrobe. Now that you know what can be offered in a hot weather hiking outfit, it’s important to hone in on the specific features and see what will suit you best on your next adventure.

Keep in mind that the lightweight, breathable materials, featured in a light shade, are important when trying to battle the sun in some of its hottest moments. It’s always best to be over-prepared when you’re in a hiking situation. The best part about some of these items is that they are compact enough to be easily stored away in a camp pack or backpack.

camping with hot weather clothing

Now that you have a good idea about what you want, it’s time to go and get it! Happy shopping and don’t forget to leave a comment!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • William Harold

    Columbia Barracuda is a must have! It is really nice and the fit is perfect. You can tell right away that it is well made because of the awesome fabric used as well as the flawless stitching. It is also very easy to dry, which is a plus especially for busy days.

    • Mark Foster

      It definitely fits nicely!

  • Louis Twist

    I have Hurley Dri-Fit Chino and they are great! I am planning to buy a few more pairs in various colors. I like that it is very comfortable to wear and lightweight too. I use mine whenever I hike and it doesn’t disappoint. I can even use it for a nice evening bonding with my family or friends.

    • Mark Foster

      We love it as well!

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