Eight Useful Items to Pack for an Autumn Hiking Adventure

Eight Useful Items to Pack for an Autumn Hiking Adventure

By Alex ToddGeneral

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Whether you are a seasoned outdoor enthusiast looking to hike along quieter trails or simply want to get outside with the family to appreciate the changing colours of the foliage after a hearty Thanksgiving dinner, Autumn is a truly magical time to enjoy nature.

While similar to the summer months, hiking in autumn brings its own unique set of challenges to overcome, leaving some of those who are new to exploring the outdoors during the shoulder seasons wondering: what are some useful items to pack for an autumn hiking adventure?

As with every other season, the main obstacle to spending time on the trails during fall is the weather. Nestled right between the stifling heat of summer and the freezing cold of winter, autumn can - depending on where you live - be hot and humid or cold and dreary, sometimes within the same day! As such, here is a list of 8 useful items that you should definitely pack if you want to stay comfortable on your autumn hiking adventures:

Waterproof/Insulated Hiking Boots

The favourable weather and relatively dry conditions out on the trails during summer means that you can usually get away with a lighter pair of footwear. People can often be seen sporting trail runners, casual shoes, or even sandals with little in the way of detrimental effects.

However, the autumn season is often wet and cold, and will likely see a fair amount of mud and water accumulate along the trails. In order to stay comfortable in these conditions, be sure to wear a sturdy set of hiking boots that are either waterproof or insulated, ensuring that your feet are kept warm, dry, and happy.

Hiking Boot

Merino Base Layer

Layering is essential to hiking in any season, but the often damp and cold atmosphere of autumn can make it especially important. Keeping external moisture off of your body is easy enough with the proper gear, but you still need to account for moisture generated from your body while taking part in physical activities.

A good merino base layer is the perfect solution for keeping your body dry, as it will be able to wick the moisture away from your skin and allow it to evaporate more efficiently. Not only that, but they are also quick drying, meaning that if you do end up getting wet it won’t take an entire day of hanging your clothes by the fire to dry off. If you need some help finding a solution to stay dry on the trail, check out this Icebreaker base layer review highlighting a few options that would be perfect for autumn.

Speaking of keeping your body dry…

Rain Jacket

When hiking during the fall you will almost certainly encounter some rainy weather, and as mentioned above the best way to avoid getting soaked and chilled to the bone is by being prepared with the proper gear for the conditions.

Not to sound like everyone’s mother, but no one wants to catch a cold because they got wet and proceeded to spend several hours outdoors. Autumn is the perfect time to finally listen to mom and make a quality rain jacket or waterproof shell the new addition to your outdoor kit. Whether you plan on wearing it the entire time or stuffing it in your day pack, you don’t want to get caught out in the rain while out on your next autumn adventure, so make sure to bring along the best hiking coat for rainy conditions.

Rain Jacket

Trail App

During the summer season trails are generally dry, well-defined, and easy to navigate. The arrival of autumn on the other hand, with its often wet and windy weather, will quickly see these optimal conditions deteriorate into a mixture of muddy paths, fallen trees/branches along the trail, and a thick blanket of leaves that can often obscure routes and make them a bit tricky to navigate.

Bringing a trail app along for your adventure is the perfect way to ensure that you stay on the correct route, no matter the conditions. With Android and iOS compatibility, the 10Adventures trail app provides a GPS tracker and detailed route descriptions, allowing you to safely navigate whatever trail you find yourself on.

Insulated Bottle

This one is more of a want than a need to bring, but an insulated bottle to hold hot drinks can be a real savour when out hiking in the cold, damp, and windy weather of autumn. The warmth that comes from sipping on a hot drink while staring out across some picturesque landscape is a comforting feeling that pairs perfectly with the season, and can often make for some unforgettable memories (if you feel like sharing!).

Any hot drink will help keep your core temperature up and provide a bit of a morale boost when the weather is bleak, so don’t forget to bring an insulated bottle filled with your favourite coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or cider the next time you set out on a fall hike.

Insulated Bottle

Emergency Blanket

Temperatures during the autumn season can fluctuate wildly depending on where you live, going from hot and dry one day to cold and damp the next. Even over the course of a single day, temperatures can quickly drop below freezing after the sun goes down, making things uncomfortable for anyone trapped outside.

When planning to spend an extended amount of time outdoors, such as on a hiking or backpacking trip, you should account for these unexpected changes and bring an emergency blanket in your day pack. Whether you end up using it or not, this simple piece of gear doesn't cost much, doesn't take up much room, and can play a critical role in staving off hypothermia in the unfortunate event that you have to spend an unexpected night outdoors. 

Strong Headlamp

Another sign of the impending arrival of winter is the shortening days and reduced amount of daylight that can be experienced during autumn. While you might think to yourself that you don’t plan on being outdoors after dark, it can be easy to lose track of time in the fall, especially when the sun dips below mountains or dense tree cover.

As mentioned above, it is always best practice to plan ahead for any eventuality, which includes losing your way and needing a source of light after the sun goes down. When gearing up for any autumn hiking excursion, be sure to pack a strong headlamp with fully charged batteries. You hopefully won’t need to use it, but it will sure come in handy in the event that you do!

Headlamp

Plenty of Water

We all know the importance of drinking plenty of water while hiking in the summer, but with the colder temperatures of autumn, people often forget to bring an adequate amount of water on their adventures. Just because the sun doesn’t feel as powerful or you might think it isn’t hot enough to be sweating while out on the trails, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to hydrate.

Hiking - no matter the time of year - is a physically demanding enterprise that will see you burn plenty of energy, and you need to refuel your body accordingly. Do yourself a favour and bring plenty of water for your next hike; you can thank us later!

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