I spend a lot of time writing about various outdoor products. I have been fortunate enough to test many products from this work. When I love a product and choose to wear and use it regularly, this comes from having tested a dozen competitors.
There are a lot of options for hiking clothes for men. As more and more people hit the trail every year, the number of options increases. The result is a crowded market with a plethora of options available. I’ll do my best to update this post from time to time with my current hiking outfit for men and my favorite hiking clothes!
What Makes a Great Hiking Outfit for Men?
An excellent hiking outfit for men is all about what makes you comfortable in the outdoors. A good blend of performance vs. comfort is vital. Although, I tend to lean towards performance-orientated or technical clothing as it provides more safety in the mountains.
Clothing is a tool that aids us on adventures and hikes to explore everything from deserts to jungles and mountains. Clothing that is practical, lightweight, and durable can make the difference between a great day out and a bad day out. I like to keep it simple with an investment in the basics that should last for years, if not decades.
My base for a hiking outfit consists of the following:
- Hiking Pants
- Base Layer
- Mid Layer or Down Jacket
- Hiking Shell Jacket
- Merino Wool Socks
- Hiking Underwear
- Hat for Sun Protection
- Trail Runners or Hiking Boots
- Hiking Backpack
The Best Hiking Clothes for Men
Excellent hiking Gear for Men
Best Hiking Pants for Men
Fjallraven’s Keb Trousers
Fjallraven’s Keb trousers are an outdoor staple in Scandanavia, and they have treated us well on our adventures. They make for excellent work wear or, for that matter, pants for everyday life. These pants are built for hardcore adventures and time well spent outdoors.
A heavy canvas blend that is both eco-friendly and rugged is the standout feature here. Combine that with many pockets and active paneling that moves with the leg for excellent performance. Whether I’m scrambling along craggy peaks or bushwhacking, they provide excellent protection.
The pants are full of features, but the most surprising is temperature management. Thanks to four zippered vents, they manage temperature exceptionally well for heavy pants. Start moving uphill, and you can unzip the side vents on the calves and thighs that dump a lot of heat. Another great feature is the adjustable cuffed pants legs that are great for protection.
If you think it will be a cold day, you can easily pair these with thermals for winter adventures. They’re just a reliable pair of pants that are the most comfortable hiking pants I’ve ever worn. Best of all, these pants have incredible rugged good looks.
Shop For Fjallraven’s Keb Trousers
Arc’teryx Gamma LT pants
It’s easier to find lightweight hiking pant that feels like a good match for summer hiking than robust pants for changing conditions in the mountains. During the winter and more serious mountain summits, we turn to the Arc’teryx Gamma LT. It’s an exceptional softshell pant that is comfortable and offers reliable protection from the elements.
The material blend has excellent breathability and mobility that allows for great comfort. The cut is great with these pants, slim enough to look flattering with enough room to layer thermals underneath for cold-weather hiking or alpine adventures.
The inclusion of a belt with a simple clasp that is reliable and should hold up on hikes after repeated days of use. They have three zippered pockets, two in the front and a side pocket. An argument could be made for back pockets we rarely find them useful with a backpack on our back.
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Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants
If it’s not a strenuous hike or warm weather, I like to wear Outdoor Research’s Ferossi pants. They’re great for summer days when I’d like the protection of pants, and they are some of my favorite hiking clothes for men. The pants are super lightweight and similar to soft-shell pants. Ferrosi Pants have excellent water resistance and windbreaking capabilities.
With that in mind, they keep you warm in cool weather, but the breathability of the pants keeps you cool in hot weather. They also have a lot of water resistance and are more comfortable than a pair of rain pants. Granted, if it’s genuinely raining, nothing can replicate the protection of rainpants.
Shop For Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants
Best Hiking Shorts for Men
Arc’teryx Aptin Short
I love to hike in shorts, and they are my summer hiking clothes of choice. Even with the unpredictable weather of the mountains, you’ll find me in shorts most days. Of course, they’re more or less necessary if you’re hiking anywhere hot.
I used to opt for shorts with many pockets but found them unnecessary and a bit uncomfortable. The problem with shorts and pockets is the pressure when high stepping up a hill. This digs whatever is in your pockets into your thighs.
After many shorts, I’ve found I consistently reach for a pair of trail running shorts from Arc’teryx called the Aptin. It does help that we spend more and more of our time running on the trail too. Lightweight shorts are excellent for this! These shorts are just so comfortable and versatile. They’ve doubled as a bathing suit, and the cut is just above the knee, so they don’t feel ridiculous running errands around town.
They have become my summer wardrobe, and I’ll wear them cycling, paddleboarding, hiking, swimming, and lounging around the house. I also love a pair of shorts like Baggies from Patagonia or River Shorts from Topo Designs.
Shop For Arc’teryx Aptin Short
Salomon Sense Aero 5″
For fast-paced objectives and trail runs, it’s tough to beat pair of trail running shorts. I’m a big fan of shorts with an inner brief, as they reduce the chances of chafing and keep you super cool. Salomon’s Cross shorts utilize ideal construction and ultralight material to maximize movement.
The ultralight material dries fast, and the inner lines keep you breezy cool. Comfort is exceptional thanks to the inner waistband and material. At times it feels as if you’re not wearing any shorts at all.
Naturally, that means they lack protection a lot of protection, and they’re best on a runner’s build. Salomon is the gold standard for trail running gear and makes some great running shorts.
Shop For Salomon Sense Aero 5″
Best Hiking Shirts for Men
I suggest several hiking shirts, but the most useful is a lightweight synthetic shirt. Moisture management is key to temperature control. If you’re dry in cold or hot weather, you’re likely comfortable. It also protects against chafing and unwanted rashes.
Long sleeve and short sleeve versions of shirts are equally valuable. If I’m in a high sun-exposure environment like the alpine or hiking in the desert, I almost always reach for a long sleeve that provides adequate sun protection.
Outdoor Research Shirt Echo Series
I have several Outdoor Research Echo hiking shirts and rotate them on my hikes. They are a great addition to any hiking outfit for men. I’ve tried a bunch of synthetic shirts, and these are easily the most comfortable. I’d go so far as to say it feels like I’m not even wearing a shirt.
They are lightweight, moisture-wicking, and offer UPF sun protection. I rarely hike in cotton shirts as cotton traps sweat, making it difficult to regulate your temperature and causing chafing. They also make the Outdoor Research Echo shirts in a long sleeve version that provides full coverage.
These shirts are built with UPF sun protection, AirVent™ moisture management, and ActiveFresh™ odor control technology. The result is a long sleeve shirt I feel comfortable wearing in the summer months. My only complaint is they tend to rip rather than wear down, but they last longer and do not pill from a backpack.
Shop For Outdoor Research Echo Shirt
Best Men’s Hiking Mid-layers
Mid-layers are a tremendous way to provide insulation yet remain lightweight. This varies by activity and season, including down jackets, synthetic fleeces, flannels, softshell jackets, and even hoodies.
Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody
One of my favorite mid-layers is the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody. I’ve spent a lot of time in the jacket and have put it through the paces. It’s their best-selling item, and they’ve taken the stance that it’s not broken; don’t fix it, and the jacket has remained the same for years. The Atom delivers everything you want in a mid-layer between warmth, mobility, and fit.
The synthetic material helps retain heat even in wet conditions and manages perspiration well. Most notably, I’ve been using it for split-boarding and as an extra layer for hikes while traveling worldwide. It features a tougher shell that provides durability and sacrifices a little ventilation. One drawback is the outer shell is great at letting heat escape, but it also means that wind cuts through the jacket.
Altogether this is an excellent jacket for those who enjoy sports outdoors in cold weather, like hiking, climbing, backpacking, ski touring, or snowboarding. If you’re after a more affordable and casual mid-layer, Patagonia’s Better Sweater is a staple in my closet for those cool days. It’s just too bulky for technical mountain hikes and sports.
Shop For Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody
Best Hiking Down Jacket for Men
Arc’teryx Cerium LT
There are only a few items I recommend everyone own for hiking, and the top of the list is a down jacket. A down jacket is a staple for travel and outdoor activities as it’s versatile. They pack down and can fit easily in a backpack. However, despite their lightweight nature, they offer a lot of warmth which means protection. We always recommend you bring a tremendous packable down jacket on any hiking trip.
When dealing with the mountains and broad temperature shifts, it’s a great way to keep warm without eating up too much space in your hiking backpack. Should you ever find yourself in an emergency a down jacket can be life-saving piece of warmth. My favorite down jacket is the Arc’teryx Cerium, as it manages to blend the perfect balance between ultralightweight, performance, style, and fit.
Shop For The Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody
Best Men’s Hiking Jacket
Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket
When it comes to hiking clothes, the best investment you can make is a quality shell jacket. They provide tremendous protection from the elements like rain, wind, sleet, and even snow.
I have several shell jackets that I cycle throughout the year, but the one I reach for the most is my Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket. The SL line from Arc’teryx is the superlight line, which packs well in my backpack.
The Arc’teryx is waterproof, windproof, breathable, and made with Goretex Pro. It’s not just suitable for traveling and rainstorms but is a protective shell against all levels of weather. I can even wear it as a waterproof shell over my down jacket in the winter. If you’re looking for another tremendous recommendation, the Helly Hansen Odin Mountain 3L Shell Jacket.
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Outdoor Research Whirlwind Hoody
I love to carry a softshell jacket in my backpack as it’s comfortable, lightweight, and performs well in the mountains. The Whirlwind Hoody is a bit of a different soft-shell jacket as it is super lightweight and feels more like a robust long-sleeve shirt.
It has simple features like a front pocket, an elastic hood, a waist cinch, and elastic cuffs. The front zipper is excellent as it’s effective for temperature management or throwing on over a helmet. It all together forms a jacket that doesn’t leave a lot of desires.
I love that I can pack the jacket into its pocket for an easy fit, in a small trail running pack or hang off a climbing harness. The jacket has excellent mobility, breathability, wind resistance, and durability, making it a standout for hiking. This softshell is good for lightweight hikers who demand a durable piece of clothing.
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Arc’teryx Gamma MX
The Gamma MX is a bombproof softshell jacket that has risen to become my favorite jacket for hiking in cooler weather. It’s a great jacket for dry environments and can handle showers or snow amicably. A softshell offers a lot of breathability, comfort, and durability.
When it’s cool out, I feel comfortable wearing the Gamma while hiking uphill. Even in a premium shell jacket, I still feel a little clammy. If strong protection from heavy wind or rain is not needed, I consider a softshell the best hiking jacket. Replacing a hardshell is tough when you’re caught in heavy rain.
Shop For Arc’teryx Gamma MX
Best Hiking Thermals for Men
Kora and smartwool Thermals
We’ve tried a few different brands but recently settled on Kora as our favorite pair of thermals. It may be best for us as we need something technical when we snowboard or climb mountains to wick away moisture from our bodies. Kora makes high-performance technical clothing out of quality Yak Wool from the Himalayas — warning they are high priced.
However, their technical abilities have passed the traditional wool or synthetic materials we’ve used. It’s a kick-ass pair of thermals, and they’ve managed to hold up tremendously for over 100+ days of use. For a more affordable pair of thermals, I love Smartwool.
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Best Hiking Underwear for Men
Saxx Quest 2.0
Hiking underwear isn’t the most exciting thing to talk about in men’s hiking clothes. However, they’re an essential part of your wardrobe, and a poor pair of underwear can ruin a hike, especially a multiday trek.
I’ve always opted for nice compression shorts or lightweight underwear from Icebreaker. However, I recently tried out Saxx underwear and can officially say I’m a convert. I was skeptical that the “new tech” would impact my underwear.
If you’re unfamiliar with Saxx, the underwear has a small pouch for your business. After extended use, I can say it’s a phenomenal feature that works perfectly. There is no need for adjustments when putting them on and off. The result is exceptional comfort that does an adequate job of pulling away moisture and heat.
You can not beat the comfort and longevity of proper undergarments. It’s the closest layer to your body, so you need something that can handle moisture and is antimicrobial. The latter is important if you plan any multiday hikes, as you can’t pack a multitude of clothes.
Shop For Saxx Quest 2.0 Underwear
Best Men’s Hiking Shoes and Boots
Salomon Speedcross 5
The Salomon Speedcross 5 is the gold standard of trail running shoes. As a trail running shoe it’s wonderfully versatile, aggressive, lightweight, and comfortable. They are a real go-anywhere-and-do-anything shoe that seems to excel in various locations.
We have several pairs of the Speedcross 5 and love them. They’ve built a stripped-down shoe that offers everything you need and nothing you don’t. You don’t have to be a runner to benefit from the comfort and capabilities of these shoes. I’ve watched others slip and slide in muddy/icy trail conditions while I breeze by them. I’ll have the next pair in the closet before I even wear out the first, and I don’t think I’m alone. The best shoes!
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Merrell Moab II
Merrell is one of my favorite boot brands, and the Moab II delivers some of the best value on the market. It’s an entry-level boot that is super comfortable for long distances with weight on your back. These reliable boots are affordable as Merrell has not updated the design in years. Which passes a lot of savings on to customers. It’s a comfortable boot out of the box with great soles built to last.
The Moab 2 operates more as an easy trail boot than something designed for scrambling or traversing craggy trails. If you spend a lot of time in rough areas with lots of scree and rock, you may want a more robust hiking boot.
However, these boots are great if you spend more time in warm environments on well-developed trails. As a bonus, they come in a non-waterproof vented version to keep your feet cool. They may not be the “best” hiking boot in the world, but it’s hard to beat the value and comfort.
Shop For Merrell Moab II Boots
Teva Hiking Sandals
Hiking sandals are a great way to free your feet. Whether it’s an easy hike or just walking around camp, it’s great to walk around in a pair of Teva’s or Chacos. They’re also great for letting your feet dry out or if you need to make a river/stream crossing. Truthfully, I never hike around in these things. However, I know many people who are big fans.
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Darn Tough Midweight Hiker Sock
We’ve learned to love our feet with a good pair of merino wool hiking socks. You will want to keep your feet dry while walking around. Most importantly, wool socks stay fresh for several days as they have natural antimicrobial properties.
We hike with Darn Tough Merino socks, and our feet have never felt cold or wet. As a bonus, they’re produced in Vermont! Smartwool also makes hiking-specific socks perfect for long days in the mountains. I rotate both on my hikes but slightly prefer the Darn Tough socks.
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Best Hiking Gear for Men
These aren’t precisely hiking clothes for men, but they are necessary. Ensure you protect your eyes from the sun when you spend all day in the sun. There are a lot of options for sunglasses, and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to ensure they have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
Hiking sunglasses are essential if you plan to visit any glacier, desert, or high alpine passes as they are high UV environments. A pair of glasses that offer proper protection is the Smith Embark Sunglasses. The sunglasses feature removable and ventilated side shields that provide peripheral light coverage.
They have Polarized glasses that are great at enhancing vision in bright environments and removing glare from windshields and the water. For a more versatile sunglass, we love the classic Smith Lowdown 2. Perfect for a wide range of activities such as fishing, kayaking, running errands in town, traveling, or the beach.
Shop For Smith Sunglasses
A few of my hiking pants come with a built-in belt which is great. However, I go for my Jelt Belt whenever I need a belt. Jelt is a women-owned social enterprise that produces belts made from 100% recycled plastic bottles with an innovative patented flat buckle that lies flat against your body. They are much better than regularly clunky belts.
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Patagonia LoPro Hat
This isn’t anything special, but I always carry a hiking hat in my bag. It’s great for reducing sun exposure when you’re hiking. It’s super important when you’re on trails with little to no tree cover like the desert or the alpine.
I love to use “trucker hats” as the mesh panels keep my head cool. Honestly, I have ten different versions of the Patagonia LoPro trucker hat. Yes, that is way too many hats.
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On multiday treks, I love to carry buff headwear. We have a collection of buff headbands and bring them everywhere. They’re great for a multitude of reasons such as sun/wind protection, a scarf, headband, or an ear warmer.
I always have one in my backpack no matter the destination and consider it one of my top hiking accessories. I imagine most people have one or two of these by now, but if you don’t it’s time to invest in at least one good one.
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Of course, with all these men’s hiking apparel, you will need a daypack too! Camelbak makes my favorite daypacks. I try to hike as light as possible with a 10-15 Liter pack. My favorite is the Octane (seen in the photo), as it holds everything I need for a solid day out.
I can typically fit a shell, down jacket, snacks, emergency blanket, bear spray, hiking pole, and a few other odds and ends in this awesome pack. Camelbak makes all sorts of shapes and sizes for their packs – I highly recommend checking them out! Of course, the most versatility would be a pack in the 30L range. This is just what I like to use on my average hike.
Shop For Camelbak Octane
There’s always a headlamp in my daypack. It is small and lightweight so there is really no reason not to have it in the pack! It is there in case I get caught unexpectedly in the dark.
My favorite is the Biolite Headlamp. It’s a rechargeable headlamp that eliminates the need for disposable batteries and it has a life of up to 40 hrs!
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Water Bladder or Grayl Waterbottle
You’re either a water bladder or a water bottle hiker. I myself am a water bladder hiker so that I can always access my water from my pack without stopping to pull out a water bottle. The best bladders come in the Camelbak packs I mentioned above!
If you’re hiking with a water bottle check out the Grayl water bottle that purifies water from rivers, streams, and lakes,
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READ MORE HIKING TIPS
Hopefully, this best hiking clothes for men post helps you decide what is best for you! You can find more of our hiking gear articles below!