In this article, we’ve outlined all the best hiking clothes for summer, including gear specific to both men and women. When the weather starts to warm up and the calendar moves from the dark, dreary winter months to the rainy and cooler temps of spring, you know summer, and therefore hiking season, is just around the corner. If your REI rewards just hit your account and you’re looking to purchase something to get you excited for upcoming summer adventures, keep on reading to learn more about our favorite summer hiking gear!

Two Outliers may contain affiliate links – we only recommend products we personally use and love. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. For more information, see our privacy policy.

Our story (why should you take our advice)

Hi there! We’re Sarah and Matt, two avid hikers, backpackers, trail runners, and all-around outdoor enthusiasts. Since 2020, we’ve been traveling around the United States full-time, making a new place our home from month to month, seeking out new adventures and hiking opportunities. This means three things:

  • We spend 99% of our weekends hiking or backpacking! Because we spend so much time on the trails, our gear is very important to us.
  • We’re selective about what we purchase! Everything we own (along with a disproportionate amount of stuff for our cat, Fitzgerald) has to fit in our mid-sized Subaru Forester. We are particular about what we buy, do tons of research beforehand, and only have the essentials for hiking. This means our recommendations are well-thought-out and include only truly necessary items.
  • We’ve lived everywhere from the middle of the desert in southern California to the snowy mountains of Idaho. We have hiking gear that works perfectly for all different types of summer climates and terrains.

In this article, we’ll lay out our favorite pieces of men’s and women’s hiking clothes for summer, along with the honest pros and cons about each!

P.S: You can read more about us here and check out the top highlights of our Western USA road trip adventures.

The "lost city" of Machu Picchu in Peru, one of the seven wonders of the modern world

You may also like

BEST hiking clothes for summer

We’ve divided our list of the best hiking clothes for summer into a women’s section and a men’s section. Feel free to use the links below to view each recommendation.




Without further ado, let’s get into the details!

Best Tank Top for Hiking

Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Tank Top | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $40
  • Weight | 3.3 ounces
  • Fabric | 100% recycled polyester
  • Best for weather | Warm/hot weather or as a baselayer

Patagonia’s Capilene Cool Trail Tank is perfect for… well, keeping you cool on the trail! The soft, lightweight material dries quickly and doesn’t smell when you sweat.

My favorite feature of this tank is the design of the bottom. It fits perfectly around the hips and doesn’t ride up when you exercise. It’s one of my favorite pieces of women’s hiking clothes – my go-to for a hot summer hike!

The only downside is that the armpits can fit a little loose and pucker out depending on your body size. However, I always wear a sports bra under this tank so I haven’t found it to be an issue.

  • Soft, comfortable material.
  • Lightweight and moisture-wicking.
  • Designed not to ride up during activity.
  • Can fit a little large through the chest and armpits.
Wearing my Patagonia Capilene Cool Tank on a hot day in Big Bend

Best Cropped Tank Top for Hiking

Vuori Mudra Plyo Tank | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $65
  • Weight | lightweight
  • Fabric | 87% modal rayon/13% elastane
  • Best for weather | Warm/hot weather or as a base layer/sports bra in one.

On hiking days that start chilly, but end hot, I prefer to wear the Vuori Mudra Plyo Tank layered with a long-sleeve base layer. The Mudra Plyo Tank is slightly cropped, so it’s really great for layering without bunching around the waist (especially helpful if you’re also wearing a backpack). That said, it’s not too cropped as to feel exposing while hiking.

The best part about this tank is that it includes a built-in sports bra: two in one makes it super convenient to pack for camping or backpacking trips. The sports bra provides just enough support without feeling suffocating.

I also love that this tank has a high neck. I tend to get sunburn on my chest first (even with many layers of sunscreen), so the Mudra Plyo Tank adds a little extra sun protection. If you’re wearing a backpack, the high neckline also protects your skin from rubbing against the chest strap.

Vuori makes the softest fabrics and the Mudra Plyo Tank is no exception! The tank comes in a ribbed or smooth version (I have both and can’t decide which I love more!).

  • Built-in sports bra is comfortable and convenient.
  • Stylish!
  • Full coverage on the chest (helps avoid sunburn!)
  • Perfect for layering without bunching at the hit.
  • Cropped but not too short.
  • Price tag.
  • Because it’s a cropped tank, it can ride up when you move.
  • Built-in sports bra offers light support that may not be enough if you’re larger-chested.
The Vuori Mudra Plyo tank is one of my favorite summer hiking clothes

Best lightweight rain jacket/windbreaker

Asics Packable Jacket | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $30-$60
  • Fabric | Polyester
  • Best for weather | Light rain or wind at warmer temperatures
  • Other things to note | Although this jacket is water repellant, it is not 100% waterproof.

The Women’s Asic’s Packable Jacket is perfect for hiking on windy or drizzly summer days. It’s ultralight-weight so it doesn’t add a whole lot of warmth, but it will give you an extra layer of protection from the elements.

Because many rain jackets are a bit heavy for hiking in warmer weather, I love my Asics Packable Jacket as an alternative windbreaker during the summer. It’s also great to have as extra protection in case of unexpected or light rain. However, it’s not 100% waterproof, so I wouldn’t bank on it keeping you dry in anything more than a light rain or drizzle.

Since it’s so lightweight and thin, it adds hardly any weight to your backpack, making it easy to throw in your bag for a summer hike.

  • Windproof – great as a lightweight windbreaker for hiking in warmer weather
  • Very lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Will keep you dry in light rain, but is not 100% waterproof
best lightweight hiking windbreaker jacket for women
The Asics Packable Jacket makes a perfect windbreaker on summer hikes

Best women’s hiking shorts

Athleta Trekkie North Shorts | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $60
  • Weight | light to mid-weight
  • Fabric | 69% Recycled Nylon, 26% Nylon, 5% Spandex
  • Best for weather | warm and hot weather

Athleta makes some of the best hiking clothes for women, including my favorite pair of hiking shorts. Lightweight and airy, the Athleta Trekkie North Shorts are perfect for a hike on a hot summer day.

The material is ultra-breathable and these shorts dry super quick to keep you comfortable when hiking in the heat. The high-waisted elastic waistband is incredibly comfortable (and looks great with a cropped tank like the Vuori Mudra Plyo), and the 3.5-inch inseam helps prevent chaffing.

My one qualm with the Trekkie North shorts is that the elastic waistband can get stretched out, especially if you wear them multiple times without washing, causing the shorts the ride up. I’d also recommend sizing down, as they tend to run a little on the large side.

  • Comfortable and very breathable for warm weather.
  • Moisture wicking and quick to dry.
  • Zippered pockets are great to store your phone while hiking.
  • Stretchy elastic waistband.
  • 3.5-inch inseam is good for preventing chaffing.
  • Elastic waistband can get stretched out with multiple wears, causing the shorts to ride up.
  • Tend to run a little large.
Hiking in Yellowstone with my Athleta Trekkie North shorts

Best hiking pants for summer

Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Tights | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $80
  • Weight |
  • Fabric | 88% nylon/12% elastane
  • Best for weather | Light rain or wind at warmer temperatures

Sometimes even on a hot summer day, I prefer to hike in pants, particularly on trails that involve bushwacking or rock scrambling to protect my legs. However, many hiking pants can feel suffocating in the heat.

That’s why my Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Tights are one of my favorite hiking clothes for summer. They are lightweight and breathable – perfect for protecting your legs from any obstacles you may face on the trail without feeling like you’re sitting in a sauna!

Because they are so lightweight, these leggings aren’t the most durable. I haven’t had any issue with these ripping, but the fabric does pill over time. If you’re doing more intensive contact sports like rock climbing, these may not be the best option, but I’ve found them to be perfect for summer hiking.

It’s worth mentioning that these leggings are controversial amongst other REI shoppers with a range of reviews from 1 to 5 stars. I personally love them for summer hiking and find them to be very comfortable, but others dislike that they pill and stretch out.

  • Lightweight and breathable for summer hiking!
  • Comfortable and stretchy around the waist.
  • These tight tend to stretch out – not great for multiple wears.
  • Fabric may pill over time.
With my Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Tights, I can stay cool while protecting my legs

Best women’s hiking socks

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $23
  • Weight | Lightweight
  • Fabric | 53% nylon, 43% merino wool, 3% Lycra
  • Best for weather | warm to cool weather

A lot of hiking socks are thick and feel way too heavy stuffed into boots on a warm summer day. That’s why I love the Darn Tough Light Hikers! They are a bit thinner than most hiking socks I’ve tried, so they don’t feel chunky in your boots and don’t cause your feet to overheat.

Additionally, these Darn Tough socks are made from Merino wool, which helps control odors.

They are great for warm to cool temperatures, and although they do provide some warmth, they aren’t ideal for really cold weather. If you’re hiking in the cold, you may want a thicker pair of socks.

  • Lightweight and thin, but still durable.
  • Merino wool helps control odors.
  • Padded sole provides extra foot support.
  • Although they provide some warmth, they aren’t ideal for really cold weather.
Darn Tough Micro Crew socks are an essential piece of hiking clothes for summer
Darn Tough Micro Crew socks are an essential piece of hiking clothes for summer

Best Hiking Clothes for Summer | Accessories

Wrapping up my list of the best women’s hiking clothes for summer, I’ll leave you with a few accessories that come in handy on the trail.

  • Headband | I always hike with a wide headband like the prAna headband to help control fly-aways and cover sweaty hair!
  • Sunglasses | I am obsessed with my Goodr sunglasses. They’re simple, cheap ($25) and non-slip, which means they don’t slide around when you start to sweat.
  • Backpack | I love my Cameback Helena 20L because it’s just the right size to pack my day hike essentials and fits either a 2L or 3L bladder. Plus, all the straps are adjustable so it actually fits my body.


Now, let’s talk about some of Matt’s favorite summer hiking gear for men!

Best T-Shirt for Hiking

Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Shirt | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | Around $45
  • Weight | 5.3 ounces
  • Fabric | 100% recycled polyester
  • Best for weather | A perfect base layer for any type of weather

Patagonia’s Capilene Cool Trail Shirt is my go-to shirt for any and all types of summer outdoor activities. I’ll wear it as a base layer under a cozy fleece on a cold morning around camp or as my top layer on hot afternoons on the trail. Its one of my essential hiking clothes for summer.

It’s nicely fitted through the shoulders and chest so it doesn’t bunch up under a backpack. The 100% polyester material is the perfect weight and feel. It’s not too thin as too feel cheap or fragile but just thick enough to provide the right amount of protection. It’s soft, lightweight but sturdy, dries quickly, doesn’t smell when you sweat, and has just enough stretch.

It’s the perfect t-shirt!

  • Material is perfect balance of soft, sturdy, and flexible
  • Lightweight and moisture-wicking, doesn’t smell when you sweat
  • Perfectly fitted through the shoulders, chest, and ribs


  • None!
The Patagonia Capilene Cool T-shirt is one of my essential hiking clothes for summer

Best Sun Hoodie for Hiking

Black Diamond Alpenglow Hooded Shirt | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | $95
  • Weight | 8.6 ounces
  • Fabric | Polyester Stretch Textured Knit (87% Polyester 13% Elastane, 200 gsm)
  • Best for weather | My go-to top layer on any summer hike

Sun hoodies are one of the most polarizing pieces of hiking gear but I never hike without my Black Diamond Alpenglow hooded shirt. Some people can’t imagine hiking in a long-sleeves during blistering summer months but I can’t imagine hiking without this top.

With UPF 50+ sun protection and Black Diamond’s stellar in-fabric cooling technology, this hoodie provides necessary sun protection on my arms and neck, while also keeping me cool on high output alpine pursuits.

The material is lightweight, comfortable, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and won’t smell when you sweat. The hood is designed fit under a helmet so it’s small and doesn’t get in the way.

I absolutely love my Black Diamond Alpenglow hooded shirt and can’t imagine hiking without it!

  • Provides necessary sun protection
  • Material has built-in cooling technology to keep you cool at high temps
  • Comfortable, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, anti-odor material
  • No major cons but it would be nice to have thumb holes on the cuffs
Matt sports his Alpenglow sun hoodie during a hot summer day on the Colorado River

Best Fleece for Hiking in the Summer

Patagonia R1 Air | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | $119
  • Weight | 10.2 ounces
  • Fabric | Recycled polyester jacquard fleece
  • Best for weather | Cool summer mornings

While a fleece pullover may not be at the top of your summer hiking clothes list, trust me, you’ll find yourself reaching for the Patagonia R1 Air over and over throughout the summer.

I love the R1 Air because it perfectly balances cozy fleece insulation with breathability. In fact, the hallmark zig-zag pattern of the fleece allows for maximum breathability while on the trail, giving you warmth when you need it without overheating.

The R1 Air is lightweight, incredibly soft, nicely fitted, and flexible enough to move with your body.

The R1 Air can feel a little flimsy and I get a nervous when rubbing against jagged rocks or rough surfaces, but mine is still holding up after a year so maybe my fear isn’t warranted.

My main complaint about the R1 Air is that it is defenseless against the wind. The same quality of the material that makes it super breathable also allows the wind to come right through.

  • The most breathable fleece on the market
  • Very soft on your skin
  • Nicely fitted throughout
  • Doesn’t feel the most durable
  • Offers little wind or weather protection
Hiking through Buckskin Gulch in the Patagonia R1 Air on a cool summer morning

Best Men’s Shorts for Summer Hiking

Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | $75
  • Weight | 6.4 ounces
  • Fabric | 75-denier 91% recycled polyester/9% spandex
  • Best for weather | Warm to hot

The Patagonia Nine Trails shorts are my favorite shorts for hot summer hikes, humid trail runs, and high-energy outdoor adventures! They’re definitely one of the best men’s hiking clothes for summer.

I love the Nine Trails shorts for a few reasons. First, they are the perfect weight for hot summer hike. The material is breathable, lightweight, and just a bit stretchy to allow for freedom of movement on the trail. I love the 8 inch inseam, which gives the perfect amount of thigh coverage.

The built in elastic waistband with a drawstring ensure the shorts stay where you want them and won’t ride up. And the zippered pockets are essential so you have peace of mind that your belongings are safe.

The only thing I don’t love about the Nine Trails shorts is the built in liner. I know some people like having the liner already there and I think it is comfortable but not ideal for multi-day adventures. When I’m out for long backpacking trips, obviously I’m wearing the same pair of shorts for multiple days but I like to change out my underwear every now and then. But with the built in liner, I don’t have that option.

  • Material is lightweight, breathable, and very comfortable.
  • Elastic waist band and drawstring keep the short where they should be.
  • Zipper pockets keep your gear secure.
  • Built in liner can be a nuisance on multi-day trips.
Matt hiking in the Patagonia Nine Trail shorts

Best Socks for Hiking

Smartwool Performance Hike Light Cushion Striped Mid Crew Socks | Quick Stats

  • Typical Price | $23
  • Weight | Lightweight
  • Fabric | 55% merino wool/12% nylon/30% recycled nylon/3% elastane
  • Best for weather |Warm to hot

Like Sarah said about her favorite Darn Tough socks above, I also love these Smartwool socks for summer hiking because they are lightweight and breathable but still offer plenty of cushioning to prevent nasty blisters and foot pain.

Constructed using a blend of different materials, these sock are super comfy and do their best to prevent foot odor, although we all know that is inevitable no matter which sock you choose.

I also love the fun designs that Smartwool has created!

  • Lightweight and breathable, with just enough cushion
  • Fun designs!
  • Not much insulation for cooler mornings and nights

Where to purchase summer hiking clothes

For each of the men’s and women’s hiking clothes for summer, we’ve provided direct links to purchase the product. In the event that the item is sold out on one of the links we’ve provided, you can always search for them on one of these sites:

  • REI (P.S. if you aren’t a member, you should be! You can yearly dividends, basically cash back, based on how much you spend each year)
  • Backcountry | I’ve found that Backcountry is more likely to be sold out of things, but if you can find the product you’re looking for here, they often have great deals!

Other useful resources

Looking for more hiking, backpacking, and camping gear recommendations? Check out the resources below!

Questions about any of the best summer hiking clothes on our list? Let me know in the comments below!

Save this article on pinterest!

Sarah Vaughan

Hello! I'm Sarah, one half of the couple behind Two Outliers! In 2023, I quit my job as a Data Scientist to travel around the world on an epic 15-month journey in search of the world's greatest hikes and outdoor adventures. Matt and I started Two Outliers in 2021 as a place for visitors to find concise, accurate, and honest information to plan their own adventures. We hope our experiences inspire you to hit the trail! Happy Hiking! Sarah


Leave a Reply