When it comes to selecting fall hiking clothes, a good deal of thought is needed. After all, fall is considered a transitional season. Temperatures can change in a matter of hours. Take the Southeastern United States for instance. In the fall, it is not uncommon to start a morning hike with air temperatures in the 60 degree Fahrenheit range. By lunch time, those air temperatures may well be in the 90 degree Fahrenheit range. In the evening hours, the temperatures could then turn around and plummet down into the 40s. As such, fall hikers need to be prepared for almost anything. With that said, here’s a quick look at what to wear on a fall hike:
Dress in Layers
In my experience, one of the best ways to deal with temperamental fall weather is to dress in layers. That way you can remove and add clothing as necessary. I’d recommend starting with a synthetic base layer and topping it off with an insulating layer made of fleece. Some folks prefer to wear wool as an insulating layer but I am not one of them. I’d also suggest that fall hikers select an outer wear ensemble that is wind resistant, water resistant and breathable. Sometimes you can even find fall jackets that come with removable sleeves and linings. I find that those types of jackets are helpful to have when the temperatures go from one extreme to another in a few hours.
Protect Your Face, Hands and Head
Just because fall air temperatures are cooler, it doesn’t mean that the sun is any less intense. Therefore, I also like to bring items that are capable of protecting my face, hands and head from the cold as well as the sun’s UV rays. Items that I will take on a fall hike include lightweight gloves, lip balm, sunscreen and a neck gaiter. Sometimes I will also pack a ski mask, a winter hat and an extra pair of socks.
Don Proper Footwear
Fall is also not the time to wear improper footwear. Based on my experience, morning frost can make sections of a trail exceptionally treacherous. Of course there is also the chance of running into snow, ice and uneven terrain caused by the de-thawing and re-freezing of mud. Hence, I would recommend that fall hikers wear sturdy, water resistant hiking boots. Sticking a pair of Yaktrax into your backpack is also an option. Yaktrax are like tire chains for your feet. They attach to the bottoms of your shoes and provide extra traction on icy surfaces. What I like about Yaktrax is that you can also remove them from your shoes once the trail conditions improve. You can generally purchase Yaktrax at select sports retailers.
Source: Personal Experience
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys fall sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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