What to Wear While Hiking in Fall

All summer, we’ve been dressing in light, sun-protective clothes. We’ve been preparing for the heat and staying cool. After months of dressing to beat the heat, it can be hard to remember what to wear in cooler weather.

Our blogs have frequently urged you to avoid the hottest days of the summer recently. And many fires around the country impacting air quality. But, as the weather cools off, people are venturing back outdoors. After a whole season where you’ve retrained your brain to dress for fun in the sun, or stay out of it entirely, it’s time to rethink how you dress.

Our first rule for fall — and winter — hiking outfits is to remember sun protection. The sun might not feel as hot once the thermometer starts dropping, but the rays can still do damage to your skin. A brimmed hat can keep the bright light off your face and neck. Sunscreen on all of your exposed skin will protect you from burning and help you enjoy your day.

The second rule is layers. Fall weather is changeable. It can be gorgeous and warm, cool, crisp and clear, or cold and raining. You can have a great time no matter what if you are dress appropriately. You just need layers that you can put on and take off — including a rain jacket. Multiple layers of clothes that wick material and dry quickly are a must. Going for more than just a casual walk outdoors in poor weather in jeans and cotton shirts is a terrible idea. The materials hold in moisture and get damp and cold quickly in wet weather. You want comfortable, resilient pants and waterproof shoes to protect your feet from slippery leaves, soggy, rocky paths.

You want your first layer, closest to your skin, to wick away moisture. Then you want insulation. Your final layer should be weather protection. Cotton is not a great material to wear during fall hiking as it doesn’t wick moisture and doesn’t dry quickly. Synthetic clothes intended for outdoor activities are your best bet. There’s an excellent guide on how to layer clothes for different temperature ranges here.

If you live in a hunting area, an orange vest and hat are a good idea. You will be highly visible to hunters but can still enjoy the great outdoors. Walking poles are great if the ground is treacherous — we suggest avoiding any paths like that if you are alone or unstable on your feet. A waterproof bag to keep essentials dry is an excellent idea. A thermos filled with a warm drink can be a great thing to bring to help you enjoy your time outdoors. And, of course, you should always be ready with your camera to capture a beautiful day in nature!

If you don’t want to be out in the rain this fall, we do understand. All-weather walking isn’t for everyone. Be sure to always check the weather before leaving home. Maybe it will impact your decision to go, or it might give you more information about what to wear. Either way, forewarned is forearmed!

As the seasons change, so too does the weather. The trees look gorgeous. The days are cooling off. It’s time to have fun out there. With suitable clothing, it’s easy to do.

Banner image: Michael Burrows via Pexels

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