We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; getting out on a hike while the seasons are turning – either from winter to summer or summer to winter – has to be one of the finer things in life. While on the trail during fall hikers can experience the smell of the earth, the full color of leaves, and the crisp air that keeps you cool even while huffing and puffing up hills. Hikes like these are the reason for getting outdoors in the first place.
Fall, however, means more than just cider, stouts, and pumpkin-flavored-everything. It is also when winter first begins to rear its ugly, frosted head. Just minutes after the sun dips low on the horizon the mercury can quickly go from a nice chill to a sharp, biting cold that can leave you shivering in your boots. If you aren’t prepared – those same boots can be flooded with muddy, cold water brought on by the hard rainstorms and early snow. Yet, these things shouldn’t stop anyone from going out and enjoying what nature has to offer provided they have all of their fall hiking essentials at the ready. Do you? Take a scroll through our list and see for yourself.
You could have some really nice and fancy boots on your feet while heading out on a cold weather hike, but if you don’t have on a solid pair of wool socks, you may as well be wearing sneakers. These pair from SmartWool use a unique merino, nylon, and elastane blend to make for a pair of socks that are warm, breathable, sweat-wicking, and stench-resistant. To top it off, the socks are knit in the U.S. and feature an added bit of comfort with their elasticized arch brace. Bring it on, cold.
Outdoor Research Men’s Flurry Gloves
It’s easy to get distracted by all of the trappings of fall and forget about the drawbacks. Everyone is making bad jokes about Pumpkin Spiced Lattes from Starbucks, going apple picking, and jumping in big piles of leaves. Then, suddenly, one day while you are out on the trail you realize that you’re losing feeling in your hands. You forgot to buy a new pair of gloves (naturally, you lost your last pair). The rest of the day flashes before your eyes. You’re going to get back from your hike with dead hands that slowly but surely come back to life in that painfully prickly way that cold hands do. If only you had remembered to pick up a pair of Outdoor Research’s Flurry Gloves, the polyester, breathable, quick drying pair would’ve kept you warm without making you look like a total goon. That’s what you get for relying on the PSL to keep your mittens toasty.
Mizu V7 24oz Water Bottle
Speaking of warm drinks, there is nothing better than being able to bring along some coffee or cider (hot, or otherwise) along with you on the trail. One of the best ways to do that is with the Mizu V7. It’s a 24-ounce stainless steel bottle with a paracord strap and a vacuum seal technology that can keep your hot drinks just that for hours on end.
Preon P1 Flashlight
One of the things about the fall that always seems to catch folks by surprise is how short the days get. It literally happens only a little bit day by day, but it seems like we only notice it when suddenly we’re outside, it’s 7:30pm, and it’s dark out. If you don’t want to get caught trying to feel your way home by phone-light, consider equipping the Preon P1 into your day pack. This EDC torch from Foursevens is equipped with a CREE XP-L LED emitter that can put out light at either 5 or 100 lumens in strobe, SOS signal, or normal mode. It runs on a single triple-A battery and is made from aircraft grade aluminum, making it ready for anything that comes your way.
Jack Spade Newkirk Ribbed Knit Hat
One hell of a good way to stay warm while leaves are falling is to throw on a warm cap. This one from Jack Spade is a simple but effective one made from 100% cotton for a soft and comfortable fit that’ll keep you toasty even when the temperature drops and the wind begins to blow.
Benchmade Knife North Fork Folder
No matter what season it is – it is always a good idea to have a solid pocket knife on you for everyday carry. The one that stood out to us while putting this list together was Benchmade’s North Fork Folder. This knife from the Oregon-based maker has all of the features you’d want out of a sturdy knife. From the solid and attractive Dymondwood handle to the 3-inch S30V steel blade, this manual opening and Axis locking blade is precision machined and ready for adventure.
Fjallraven Vidda Pro Pant
Ever since these pants from Fjallraven hit the market in the late 1990s they’ve been wildly popular. Why? Well, there are a lot of reasons. First, you could go with the G-1000 fabric these pants are made from and how it repels water, resists abrasion, and still manages to be breathable. Or it could just as well be the fact that they can be weather-treated with wax. Even still are the reinforced knees and back, and the flexible elastic end of the pants that provide some give for hikers headed up steep banks. We can’t pick just one reason to love these pants, and we bet that if you got your hands on a pair you couldn’t either.
Topo Designs Klettersack Pack
This bag built in Colorado is made from a 1000 Denier Corder fabric base and layered again with a 500 Denier outer that can stand up to the challenges of the daily commute or the demands of a day-trip through the mountains. Measuring in at 21.5 liters and sporting a laptop sleeve large enough for most 15 inch laptops it can carry all the gear you need for a hike while also being tough enough to protect them from surprise fall rains or the occasional dusting of snow.
Danner Mountain 600 Boot
When it comes to serious hiking boots, few do it as well as Danner. To be fair, though, they’ve had a lot of practice. Since 1932, the Portland, Oregon-based brand has been making boots tough enough to stand up to whatever nature throws at it. These particular boots are made from a full grain leather and feature a perforated moisture wicking collar intended for easier break-in time. For solid traction when things get wet and icy like they tend to in the fall, the boot is equipped with a Vibram Fuga outsole with self-adapting lugs and megagrip. All things said, this is a solid cold weather boot that’ll last for years.
Garmin eTrex 30 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator
Whether you are going on a geocaching hunt or just headed out on a particularly long hike in an area you’re unfamiliar with, having the eTrex 30 on you can be incredibly helpful. The handheld device can hold up to 1.7 gigs worth of internal data and has an SD card slot for additional memory so you can load it up with all of the topographic, marine, or road maps you could want. The rugged design of the device makes it resistant to high humidity, water, or dust, so you get your bearings by looking at the maps, compass, barometer, and altimeter in 65k color on its 2.2-inch sunlight readable display. Travel on.
Relwen Laminated Pile Shirtjacket
Cold hikes call for warm jackets, and we can’t think of a better one to bring out on a day-trek than this one from Relwen. Consisting of a marled-cotton shell with a bonded synthetic pile interior and reinforced woven cotton hems, it’ll keep you warm and looking sharp whether in town or out on a hike.
Tsovet SVT-FW44 Watch
A classic, simple piece inspired by the design and styling of WWI field watches distributed to infantrymen, this Tsovet watch features a Swiss Quartz Ronda 513.1 movement inside a 44mm 316L stainless steel case and features a white face encased within a hardened mineral crystal. While the watch isn’t loud or flashy, it does benefit from its striking cold blue hands contrasted with the rouille leather band. A solid choice for any season.