Fall is prime time for hiking, and we’ve picked our favorite gear for cooler conditions.
Fall is the best time of the year to hike—the temperatures have cooled and the colors of the changing leaves are incredible. For this season, we always make a few adjustments to our hiking gear kit, adding in a bit of extra warmth and protection for the changing conditions.
Get equipped for cooler hiking weather this fall with these gear suggestions from 3RK to take on your next mountain trip.
Your footwear is one of the most important aspects of your hiking arsenal. Your hiking shoes need to be comfortable and keep your feet warm. Waterproof boots are best for those who live in wet climates while non-waterproof boots are best for hikers that hike mostly dry trails.
Say no to cotton socks and opt for wool. Wool socks help your body regulate its temperature better than cotton, wick away moisture, and keep your feet dryer in wet conditions.
The golden rule of hiking in the fall is to wear bright-colored clothing that is quick-drying and moisture-wicking. Avoid cotton and denim and look to wool blends or synthetics like nylon or polyester. You want clothing that will keep you insulated but not hot. The key is to layer, layer, layer.
Start with a base layer to keep you warm and help regulate your temperature. Your base layer can be a short sleeve tee that will wick moisture from your skin when you start breaking a sweat. Plus, it’s nice to have the option of short sleeves when the sun comes out on the trail!
Next, you will want to include a long-sleeved shirt that you can put on when it gets chilly and an insulated vest to provide warmth to your core.
Last, even if you run hot, it is wise to pack an outer layer and a few extra pieces for warmth, so you are prepared for any sudden changes on the trail.
Other pieces of clothing you may want to pack are:
- A rain jacket
- Insulated gloves
- A beanie
With extra clothing to bring along for a fall hike, you may need to leave your smaller day pack at home and opt for a full-size pack with an internal frame. Make sure it has external compartments for snacks, extra layers, and other items that you want within reach.
Water is one of the most important things to bring with you on your fall mountain hiking trip. Always being more than you need in case you get lost.
A water bladder is a great way to stay hydrated while on the move and for a day hike. Plan to have at least 10L or more of water for a day hike.
As the days get shorter in the fall, it is likely that you may have to hike down or if you are camping, set up your tent after sunset. Bring a heavy-duty headlamp that is bright enough to illuminate your way on the trail. Don’t forget to bring a few backup batteries!
Extra Food/ Hiking Snacks
When you hike in cooler weather, you burn more calories, so bring extra snacks along on your hike including:
- Slow-release energy sources like fruit. Apples are great!
- Sugar in the form of chocolate
- Protein balls
- Beef jerky/cheese
- Trail mix
If you want to warm up while on your hike, bring a collapsible stove to heat up water for tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Or eat a warm meal!
Even if you are just going for a short day hike, it is wise to carry an emergency kit that is equipped with:
- A firestarter such as matches or a flint
- Bandages and first aid (medication, syringes, gloves, tourniquet, etc.)
- Toilet paper
- A knife or multi-tool
- Space bag/blanket
- Paper and pencil
- First-aid booklet
- Water purification tablets
- Solar charger
- Map and compass
- Sun protection
- Insect repellant
- Money/personal ID
You never know what may happen out in the wilderness, so it is always best to be prepared.
If you are hiking in challenging terrain or over a long distance, it is wise to add additional gear to ensure your warmth and safety on the trail. While you can keep your pack’s weight on the low side, it is important to bring what you need, including additional clothing layers and extra food on chilly fall day hikes.
Plan ahead and check the weather forecast. Let someone such as a friend or family member know where you are going and ensure that you have the gear that you would need in case you are lost or must stay in the woods overnight.
Most of all, have fun and enjoy all the beauty that the fall season has to offer!
Get Equipped for Adventure with 3RK
Ready to hit the trail this fall? With our lease-to-own program, you can access top-of-the-line adventure gear like mountain bikes, snowboards, skateboards, and more at an affordable weekly cost. Get out there in the sunshine and enjoy your days in the mountains this fall!