How to Pack for a Fall Hike

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A hike can be a great way to relax the mind and invigorate the body. While any hike is enjoyable in any season, fall is a special time of year because the weather is just right for some outdoor adventure after the summer heat dissipates but before the coming winter chill. When it comes to how to pack for a fall hike, we have a few suggestions on the items that are nonnegotiable for the journey.

1. Layered clothing

When it comes to how to pack for a fall hike, the matter of layered apparel is always the first thing to consider. The temperatures in the fall can be unpredictable which is why layering is the best choice. You will need a base layer with moisture wicking to keep the skin dry from sweat, a middle layer to help with insulation, and an outer layer to deal with rain and wind. When you layer apparel, it gives you the ability to take off a few layers when you get warm and then put them back on as the temperatures drop in the day.

2. Gloves and hat

One of the most often forgotten items for a fall hike packing list is a good hat. Most people think of a hat as more of a winter need but depending on the weather and altitude of the hike, a hat could be the thing you need most in fall. Since the head is where a lot of body heat is commonly lost, a snug beanie is always worth packing in your bag for the journey. You should also have a pair of gloves. Again, gloves may be seen as more of a winter item, but they come in handy in the fall as temperatures start to drop a bit.

3. Navigational tools

Another crucial thing to remember in how to pack for a fall hike is the matter of navigational. Even if you are hiking a familiar trail, you should always have some sort of navigational device at the ready. From maps of the area or a basic compass to a GPS device, no fall hike is complete without some sort of navigation plan.

4. Water and food

Many hikers go out for a day of hiking and forget to bring along enough food in case of emergency. You should always bring water and food with you to tide you over for the duration of the hike, but you should also pack an extra store of both in case of an emergency where you are forced to be away from civilization longer than intended. It doesn’t have to be extreme either, but just a few extra granola bars and some extra water will put your mind at ease. You can even mix it up and bring a thermos of warm cider to really enjoy fall as long as you also bring along water. Too many hikers overlook the importance of hydration in the fall because they assume it isn’t hot enough to worry, but hydration is a year round concern for the well prepared hiker.

5. Brightly colored vest or jacket

Another fall-specific concern is visibility. Fall is prime hunting season for most areas so you need to make sure you are visible if you are hiking in the fall. This can be done wither with a brightly colored jacket or a brightly colored vest worn over your darker jacket. The goal is to be visible enough to hunters to avoid any issues.

6. Head lamp

Finally, in the fall the sun will start setting earlier year-round so you need a reliable headlamp in your pack. A headlamp is perfect for lighting your way while leaving your hands free. You should always have a small headlamp in your pack since they make a huge difference without taking up too much space in your bag.


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