Fall Hiking Essentials
Although we're already a good bit into the fall season, I thought I would share my "must haves" for the fall hiking season. A lot of these essentials can carry over into winter as well!
Flannels: If you have looked at any of my latest posts, you can tell that I've been sporting flannels on almost every hike I've done this fall. I love them. They're great for hiking because if the weather is supposed to be cool but it may get warmer, you can wear a tshirt under a flannel and then, if it does get to be a little warmer you can just take the flannel off and be fine. You can also wear long sleeves underneath if it's supposed to be a little chillier. They're versatile, they're adorable, and so comfortable. You can button them up for a little extra warmth or shed them if you get too warm. And, as an added bonus, flannels can also be used in your every day wardrobe :) When searching for a perfect hiking flannel, look for ones that are soft and 100% cotton. Also, consider getting one size up to allow extra room for movement and to layer other things underneath.
Find my favorite flannels here - search "women's flannel" (also try your local thrift store!)
Fleece Pullovers: In the past few years, patterned fleece pullovers have become super popular. Lucky for me, I began thrifting them awhile ago and I have quite the collection now. You can always purchase a great pullover from Patagonia or The North Face, but my advice would be to visit your local consignment shop and pick one up there. These are great for later in fall when it becomes chilly enough that you really need that extra layer. Many fleece pullovers aren't very thick and to some degree porous, so if you're working up a sweat they offer some ventilation. In addition, they also can double into your every day wardrobe...
Find my favorite pullovers here (also try your local thrift shop!)
Ear warmers: Personally, when I'm hiking, I'm not a huge fan of hats with bills because they tend to obstruct my vision. I've tried beanies but they never fit on my head properly because I like to wear my hair in a ponytail while I hike. This leaves me with no other option than to wear headbands. When it starts to get cold out, my ears are the first thing to freeze... Head bands are great because they'll keep your ears warm while allowing you to wear your hair up (or down!). Also, when I hike, I get really head sweaty (gross I know) so it's nice to have most of my head exposed to the cool air to keep me cool and to let my head breathe.
Find my favorite ear warmers here
Leggings: I think it goes without saying, once it gets cold, you really can't wear shorts anymore. Leggings are my go-to because they're stretchy, they hold in your heat, and they're comfortable. Comfort is such a huge factor for me when it comes to hiking so leggings are great. I would suggest spending a little bit extra and finding a thick enough pair so that when you're moving around, they're not see-through! Also, for earlier in the fall, you can sport a pair of calf-length leggings so you don't get too hot.
Find my favorite leggings here
High Calf Socks: Socks are debatably the second most important article of clothing when it comes to hiking (shoes first!). You need a good thick pair of socks to protect your feet from all the rubbing around as you hike. During the fall/winter, I like to transition out of my ankle-length hiking socks into my calf-length socks. They provide a little extra layering down by your ankles where cold wind can get between your leggings and boots. When looking for a pair of good socks, I suggest looking for socks made out of wool. They insulate and protect your feet really well. Most hiking socks are made out of wool or a wool/cotton blend so it shouldn't be too hard to find a good pair. And be prepared to spend $15+ per pair... it's worth it!
Find my favorite socks here
Camera: Now that I have a nice camera I don't know how I ever hiked without one . I've gotten some comments like "why don't you just make memories and enjoy nature without a camera?" And quite honestly it irritates me to no end. I don't have the greatest memory, and even if I did, I would still want beautiful pictures to go back and look at to remember all the great hikes I did! If you're someone who hikes a lot and loves it, having a good camera is great for capturing outlooks, wildlife, and other little things to remember your hikes by. If you're the type that can go out and remember all the little details of your hike, then power to ya, but that just isn't me. If you don't want to spend money on a nice camera, try your local electronics store for a smaller digital camera or just use your smart phone. Most anything will take a great picture nowadays.
Fall is the greatest season for hiking (in my opinion). The foliage makes everything just that much more beautiful and the weather is just a little bit cooler so you're not sweating to death. In my experience, it's better to head out with more clothes than you need and peel off layers then to be caught shivering in a cold sweaty shirt with nothing to put on to warm up. It's just always better to be prepared for any weather conditions, foreseen or unforeseen.
I hope everyone has gotten a chance to go out and hike at least once this fall, and if not, there's still a few weeks left of beautiful foliage and weather!
Featured Brands: (Flannels) Sierra Trading Post, Burton, American Eagle, Orvis ||| (Fleeces) Patagonia, The North Face ||| (Ear Warmers) SmartWool, The North Face, Walmart, Turtle Fur ||| (Leggings) Patagonia, The North Face ||| (Socks) SmartWool, REI, Darn Tough, Wigwam
P.S. a pic of me in some of my favorite fall gear :)