The Best Men’s Hiking Apparel of 2022

Technical layers for any occasion

Photo: Inga Hendrickson

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Nathan Essential 7″ Shorts ($55)

Nathan Essential 7" Shorts
(Photo: Courtesy Nathan)

At their best, shorts make you feel like you’re walking around in your birthday suit (with more protection, of course). The Essential Short achieves that sensation thanks to a skin-
hugging liner, which never rode up or hindered movement as we hopped over logs in Panama. The airy polyester-elastane outer layer dried in about 45 minutes, and four pockets (including a stretchy liner pocket and back zippered pocket) provide plenty of small item storage. 6.9 oz (XS–XXL)

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Kuiu Gila LS Crew Shirt ($69)

Kuiu Gila LS Crew Shirt
(Photo: Courtesy Kuiu)

This long-sleeved crew kept testers cool and dry on high-exertion, high-exposure treks. Its UPF 50-plus poly-spandex blend warded off UV rays and bug bites without smothering or clinging, as many synthetic tops are wont to do—even as temps in Panama rose from 50 to 90. It also stretched when we were reaching for fruit on the upper reaches of a guava tree. The flatlock seams at the shoulders and sides never rubbed. 5.8 oz (S–3XL)

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Outdoor Vitals Ventus Active Hoodie Jacket ($180)

Outdoor Vitals Ventus Active Hoodie Jacket
(Photo: Courtesy Outdoor Vitals)

This quarter-zip synthetic-insulated jacket kept testers warm down to 30 degrees and compressed to the size of a grapefruit when a shoulder-season day crept into the sixties in Kansas’s Clinton State Park. One internal mesh chest pocket held our keys and phone, and reflective stripes on the arms kept us visible during a dusk trail run. 7 oz (XS–3XL)

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Ibex Journey Short Sleeve Crew Shirt ($88)

Ibex Journey Short Sleeve Crew Shirt
(Photo: Courtesy Ibex)

This formfitting crew was our top choice for temperatures into the high eighties. The 89 percent merino wool wrapped around a nylon core allowed sweat vapor to escape quickly, so testers never felt desperate to go shirtless, even amid the oppressive heat of the Panamanian jungle. Unlike many uber-breathable tops, it held up to the constant rub of backpack straps and a hipbelt. 5.5 oz (S–XXL)

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Mountain Hardwear Trail Sender Shorts ($69)

Mountain Hardwear Trail Sender Shorts
(Photo: Courtesy Mountain Hardwear)

A combination of airiness and durability makes the Trail Senders the perfect summer shorts. The paper-thin, 75-denier ripstop polyester dried within 15 minutes, keeping our tester happy on a trip in Olympic National Park’s Enchanted Valley with temperatures up to 100 degrees. The roomy seven- or nine-inch inseam accommodates muscular thighs, the snap-and-drawstring waistband doesn’t pinch, and three pockets (one zippered) can stash a trail map, snacks, and phone. 2.7 oz (30–44)

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Rab Sonic Ultra Tee ($50)

Rab Sonic Ultra Tee
(Photo: Courtesy Rab)

Even while drenched in sweat in 90 percent humidity, the Sonic Ultra tee didn’t cling like a plastic bag, as is typical for fully polyester apparel. Credit the loose drape; fast-wicking, high surface area yarn; and ventilation holes in the armpits and at the back of the neck. Points for durability: it showed no signs of wear after a run-in with a boulder. 3 oz (S–XXL)

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Outdoor Research Astro Pants ($89)

Outdoor Research Astro Pant
(Photo: Courtesy Outdoor Research)

These are a hiker’s dream come true: technical pants that feel as comfy as pajamas. The nylon-spandex fabric is thinner and more breathable at the back than at the front, which blocked the wind on 14,000-foot ridgelines in Colorado’s Collegiate Peaks. Still, both sides are durably woven: a sharp tree branch ripped a small hole in one tester’s pair, but the tear didn’t grow. 7.7 oz (S–XXL)

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