Sometimes I hike with people for whom bare chest or even bare legs would be uncomfortable. But I get overheated MUCH more easily than most people; anything about 70 degrees is too to wear clothes while hiking.

I'm thinking that it might work to wear some super-skin-tight fabric that is so porous that it doesn't add any noticeable insulation or moisture. What fabric would that be? Rayon? I wasn't able to find any rayon-based baselayers in a google search.

2 Answers 2


A light, white running shirt made of synthetic fabric is the coolest I've found -- something similar to Nike dri-fit. A white or very light color is important if you're in the sun.

  • 3
    I agree. I've tried on a lot of shirts, and lightweight running shirts are the best for this. You want something that is skin tight and wicks. Feb 26, 2013 at 5:36
  • Yep- this is what we use both for long distance running and as a base layer when hiking. Even in colder countries it helps wick away sweat.
    – Rory Alsop
    Feb 26, 2013 at 8:08

My experience tells me it is primarily about keeping the sun off my skin, with a hat (not your question I know), and a long sleeve, synthetic, wicking running/cycling shirt, and one with a small collar. (For what it's worth, I've also worn long baggy pants at times for the same reason, but am unsure about this still.)

The first little while is actually quite uncomfortable because I'm very aware of having the fabric against my skin, but that also seems to promote the sweating, so very quickly I cool down after that. In fact, if the sun drops and I started getting too cool, I roll UP my sleeves :)

I live in South Africa, which is pretty hot, and the trails in the area I most often hike in have very little shade, if any. Hence the importance of sun-protection first. Hiking bare-chested is a big no-no (even though some fellow hikers feel cooler; I often wonder if this is somewhat psychosomatic, however)

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