Post Summary: The Best Hiking Clothes for Men Broken Down
I spend a lot of time writing about various outdoor products. From this work, I have been fortunate enough to test out many products in the Canadian Rockies. With a successful website on outdoor adventures, I get a lot of free products. I don’t say that as a brag; rather, when I love a product and choose to wear and use it regularly, this comes from having tested a dozen competitors.
In recent years, one of the largest growing markets has been hiking clothes for men as more and more people hit the trail every year. The result is a crowded market with a plethora of options for men available. I’ll do my best to update this post from time to time with my current hiking outfit for men.
What Makes a Great Hiking Outfit for Men?
A great hiking outfit men is all about what makes you comfortable in the great outdoors. Hiking clothes that are practical, lightweight, and durable can make the difference between a great day out and an okay day out. My ideal hiking attire for men consists of:
- 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
The Best Hiking Clothes for Men
Ideal hiking gear for men
Best Hiking Pants for Men
Fjallraven’s Keb Trousers
Both Natasha and I have Fjallraven’s well-known Keb trousers. Fjallraven’s Keb trousers are an outdoor staple for Norwegians, and they have treated us well on our adventures, they even make for fantastic mens camping clothes.
These pants are built for hardcore adventures and time well spent in the outdoors. A heavy canvas blend that is both eco-friendly and rugged is the standout feature here.
Tough canvas may not make for excellent quick-dry properties, but it does deliver a serious ruggedness that can handle sharp rocks, crampons, or a branch.
The pants are full of nice features, but the most surprising is temperature management. Thanks to a combination of their weight and four zippered vents, they manage temperature extremely well. Start moving uphill and you can unzip the side vents on the calves and thighs that dump out a lot of heat. Other things to note are some awesome pockets and adjustable cuffed pants legs that are great for protection.
If you think it’s going to be a cold day, you can easily pair these with thermals for winter adventures. They’re just a kickass pair of pants that also happen to be the most comfortable hiking pants I’ve ever worn, thanks to active stretch panels. Definitely, one of the best hiking clothes for men out there, and they make for a sweet outfit.
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants
If it’s not a strenuous hike or it’s warm weather, I like to wear Outdoor Research’s Ferossi pants. They’re great for summer days where I’d like the protection of a pant and are some of my favorite hiking clothes for men. The pants are super lightweight and similar to softshell pants. Ferrosi Pants have great 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 truly raining, nothing can replicate the protection of rain pants.
Best Hiking Shorts for Men
Arc’teryx Aptin Short
In true men’s hiking fashion, I love to hike in shorts! Even with the unpredictable weather of the Canadian Rockies, you’ll find me in shorts most days. Of course, if you’re hiking anywhere hot, they’re more or less a necessity.
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 pretty much 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.
Best Hiking Shirts for Men
I suggest several different types of 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 pretty much never hike in cotton shirts as cotton traps sweat, making it difficult to regulate your temperature and cause 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 end result is a long sleeve shirt I feel comfortable wearing in the summer months. An Echo shirt is a great option for a summer hiking outfit on men.
Best Men’s Hiking Mid-layers
Mid-layers are a tremendous way to provide insulation yet remain lightweight. These range a lot by activity and season and can include everything from down jackets, synthetic, fleeces, flannels, softshell jackets, and even hoodies.
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 of it’s not broke; don’t fix it, and the jacket has remained the same for years now. The Atom delivers everything you could want in a mid-layer between warmth, mobility, and fit.
The synthetic material helps retain heat even in wet conditions and manages perspiration really well. Most notably, I’ve been using it for split-boarding and as an extra layer for hikes while traveling around the world.
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.
Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody
The Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody is easily one of my favorites pieces of clothing I’ve owned. Its versatility is astounding, and I’ve logged hundreds of miles and a ton of elevation in the jacket.
It’s a lightweight and breathable mid-layer that has great mobility. One of those can do anything articles of clothing, whether that’s backpacking, scrambling, hiking, skiing, running errands in town, and even lounging on the couch.
I’m a little mixed on the exposed Polartec insulation on the inside, but it does result in a comfy and lightweight jacket. Altogether, a solid jacket for when you’re putting in work on the trail or in the mountains. Worth checking out!
Best Hiking Down Jacket for Men
Arc’teryx Cerium LT
There are only a few items I recommend everyone own, and the top of the list is a down jacket. A down jacket is a staple for travel and outdoor activities as it’s tremendously versatile.
They pack down and can fit easily in a backpack. However, despite their lightweight nature, they can offer a lot of warmth.
We always recommend you bring a great packable down jacket on just about any hiking trip. When you’re dealing with the mountains and wide temperature shifts, it’s a great way to keep warm without eating up too much space in your hiking backpack. My favorite down jacket is the Arc’teryx Cerium, as it manages to blend the perfect balance between ultralightweight, performance, style, and fit.
Best Men’s Hiking Jacket
Arc’teryx Zeta sL Jacket
When it comes to hiking clothes the best investment you can make is in a quality shell jacket. They’re tremendous at 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 and it packs down well in my backpack.
The Arc’teryx is waterproof, windproof, and breathable, and made with Goretex Pro. It’s not just good for traveling and rainstorms but is a protective shell against all levels of weather. I can even wear it in the winter as a waterproof shell over my down jacket. If you’re looking for another tremendous recommendation the Helly Hansen Odin Mountain 3L Shell Jacket.
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 softshell jacket as it is super lightweight and feels more like a robust long sleeve shirt.
It has some simple features like a front pocket, an elastic hood, waist cinch, and elastic cuffs. The front zipper is great 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 down into its own pocket and for an easy fit in a small trail running pack or hung off a climbing harness.
The jacket has amazing mobility, breathability, wind resistance, and durability that make it a standout for hiking. This softshell is great for lightweight hikers who demand a durable piece of clothing.
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 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.
Best Hiking Underwear for Men
Hiking underwear isn’t the most exciting thing to talk about in terms of men’s hiking clothes. However, they’re an important 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 Smartwool. However, I recently tried out Saxx underwear and can officially say I’m a convert. I was a little skeptical that the “new tech” would really make an impact on 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 effective job of pulling away moisture and heat.
Best Men’s Hiking Shoes and Boots
Salomon Speedcross 5
The Salomon Speedcross 5 is the gold standard of trail running shoes. It’s wonderfully versatile, aggressive, lightweight, comfortable, and offers amazing traction. A real go anywhere and do anything shoe that seems to excel in a wide variety of locations.
We have several pairs of the Speedcross 5 and just love them. They’ve managed to build a stripped-down shoe that offers everything you need and nothing that 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 right 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!
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 they haven’t updated the design in years. If it’s not broken don’t fix it. Instead, stick with a boot that’s comfortable right out of the box and has some great soles that are 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, if you spend more time out in warm environments on well-developed trails these boots are great. 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.
Teva Hiking Sandals
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.
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 nice and dry while you walk around. Most importantly wool socks stay fresh for several days as they have natural antimicrobial properties.
We hike with a couple of pairs of the 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 that are perfect for long days in the mountains. I rotate both on my hikes but have a slight preference for the Darn Tough socks.
Best Hiking Gear for Men
A few of my hiking pants come with a built-in belt which is great for traveling light. However, whenever I am in need for a belt I go for my Jelt 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.
Both Natasha and I have a few of these bad boys and they are SO much better than regularly clunky belts.
Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves
I have a pair of Outdoor Research Splitter work gloves in my hiking pack at all times. They are great for when you are scrambling or bushwacking and I always end up using them at some point on my hike.
I never want to come back with bloody hands and they protect against that. For most hikes, I would say these are not necessary. It’s more of an essential for those who do some alpine climbing and scrambling.
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 that have 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 10 different versions of the Patagonia LoPro trucker hat. Yes, that is way too many hats.
Smith Guide Sunglasses
These aren’t exactly hiking clothes for men item, but they are necessary. Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun since you’ll likely spend a lot of time hiking in the sun at elevation.
There are a lot of options for sunglasses, and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes. Hiking sunglasses are particularly important if you plan to visit any glacier or high alpine passes as sun reflection from the snow is damaging to your eyes.
I love more technical sunglasses for hiking like the Smith Guide’s Choice sunglasses. A wide side frame protects your eyes from the side and the lens provides an exceptional field of view.
They have Polarized glasses that are great at enhancing vision in bright environments and removing glare from windshields and the water. Perfect for a wide range of activities such as fishing, kayaking, running errands in town, travel, or the beach.
On multiday treks, I love to carry a 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.
Of course, with all these men’s hiking apparel, you are going to need a daypack too! My favorite daypacks are made by Camelbak. I try to hike as light as I can 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!
Never go unprepared into the wilderness without food to get you through the day. Typically I am out with a sandwich, protein bar, nuts, and chocolate, but I always have an extra protein bar stuffed in the bottom of my bag for emergencies.
If I am going on a very long day out or an overnight backpacking trip, I’ll pack dehydrated food from Mountain House.
There’s always a headlamp in my daypack. It is small and lightweight so there is really no reason not to! It is there in case I get caught unexpectedly in the dark.
My favorite men’s hiking gear item is the Biolite Headlamp, as it is a rechargeable battery that runs up to 40 hrs!
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 waterbottle that purifies water from rivers, streams, and lakes,