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Fall Hiking Gear to Keep in Your Pack

Hiking is a great form of exercise and is incredibly enjoyable, especially in the fall when leaves are changing colors. It’s also usually a little cooler out, making it a little less sweaty. Autumn weather can be unpredictable at times, though, so plan to be prepared for anything. 

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Gear

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When you’re out on the trails this fall, make sure you have a pair of trusty trekking poles. These will help you keep a sturdy footing when the ground is a little soggy or even icy. Consider picking up a few pairs of hand warmers, in case you’re on an early morning or late evening hike and your hands tend to get cold. 

Along with your regular water bottle, bring an insulated water bottle or mug that can carry a warm beverage. And don’t forget your sunblock, lip balm, and sunglasses. Just because it’s cooler out doesn’t mean it won’t be sunny.

Clothing

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With unpredictable weather comes unpredictable clothing needs. Before you leave for your hike, make sure you have a pair of gloves, a scarf or gaiter, and a hat packed before you go. You may not need them right away or for the whole time, but they’ll be helpful at chilly times of the day. On those rainy and wet days, you may consider packing a second—or even third—pair of socks. Wet feet are never fun, and they could cause hypothermia on a particularly cold day. If you’re going somewhere where it gets cold and snowy, pack a pair of spikes that you can add to your hiking boots.

Now that you have your extremities covered, consider your core. This means layering, and early in the season, you’ll probably be good with a small number of light layers. If you’re worried about overheating, pack a pair of loose-fitting pants to throw on over a pair of shorts or a pair of convertible pants. This way, you can easily adjust your outfit based on the weather and your comfort level. 

For the top half of your body, choose a dry-shell outer layer in case of rain, snow, or other inclement weather. Also, bring a lightweight long-sleeved shirt so that you’re covered without overheating. 

Base layers are key to keeping warm. Remember, leave the cotton at home.

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