Fall Hiking Outfit: Essential Guide or Comfort & Style 2024

As the leaves change color and the air gets crisp, we’re all eager to hit the trails and explore the beauty of the outdoors during fall. One of the most important aspects of any hike is being properly dressed for the occasion. And when it comes to hiking in autumn, the ideal fall hiking outfit plays a key role in ensuring you stay warm, dry, and comfortable.

Choosing the perfect gear for changing weather conditions might seem a bit overwhelming, but we’re here to help! This article will guide you on how to assemble a versatile, functional, and stylish fall hiking outfit that’ll have you ready to conquer any trail during the cooler months. So bundle up and let’s get started!

Looking for the ultimate summer hiking outfits guide? Click here!

Looking for details on Meredith Blake’s iconic hiking outfit? Click here for an in-depth article!

Understanding Fall Weather

When planning our fall hiking outfit, it’s crucial to consider the weather during this season. Fall can be unpredictable, and understanding its unique characteristics will help us dress appropriately for a comfortable and safe hike. In this section, we’ll explore temperature fluctuations, unpredictable rain showers, and possible winds to help us prepare for the fall hiking experience.

Temperature Fluctuations

One of the main challenges when planning a fall hiking outfit is dealing with temperature fluctuations. During fall, temperatures can vary significantly between the early morning, daytime, and evening. This is why it’s essential to wear layers when hiking in the fall. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, followed by an insulating mid-layer that can be easily removed if needed, and end with an outer layer that protects against wind and rain. By layering our outfit, we can adjust it according to the changing temperatures, staying comfortable throughout the hike.

Unpredictable Rain showers

Fall is known for its unpredictable rain showers, making it essential for our fall hiking outfit to include waterproof elements. A good-quality rain jacket is a must-have for any fall hike, and it’s also crucial to consider water-resistant pants if heavy rain is expected. Additionally, waterproof hiking boots with a firm grip and high traction will help us navigate through wet and muddy trails with ease. Don’t forget to pack a waterproof backpack cover to protect our gear and keep it dry during rain showers.

Possible Winds

Strong and gusty winds can also impact our fall hiking experience, making it essential to account for wind protection when choosing our outfit. A wind-resistant outer layer, such as a softshell jacket or a lightweight windbreaker, will help shield us from the chilly winds. Additionally, a hat or beanie can provide extra warmth and protection for our head and ears, while gloves or mittens will keep our hands warm. Incorporating these wind-resistant items into our fall hiking outfit will ensure we stay warm and comfortable even in windy conditions.

A person climbing the rock face with fall hiking outfit

Essential Pieces for Fall Hiking

As the leaves start to change and the temperatures drop, it’s important to have the right fall hiking outfit to keep us comfortable and safe on the trails. In this section, we’ll go through the essential pieces needed for a perfect fall hiking adventure.

Insulated Layering

Layering is crucial when it comes to staying warm and comfortable during fall hikes. We recommend starting with a base layer made of moisture-wicking material to help keep sweat away from our skin. Next, a midweight layer such as a fleece or lightweight down jacket will provide additional insulation and warmth. Finally, an outer layer like a softshell or insulated jacket can help protect us from wind and chilly temperatures. Remember to always pack extra layers, as the weather can change quickly during this season.

Waterproof Jacket

A good-quality waterproof jacket is essential during fall hikes, as the likelihood of encountering rainy weather increases. Choosing a jacket with breathable material will help prevent overheating and keep us dry. Look for features such as adjustable hoods and cuffs, and ample pocket space for stowing essentials. Ideally, the waterproof jacket should be lightweight and easily packable, so it can be stowed away when not in use and taken out when needed.

Trekking Shoes

With potentially wet and slippery trails, it’s important to invest in a sturdy and waterproof pair of trekking shoes for fall hiking. A high-quality shoe should have an aggressive tread for adequate grip and a solid sole for stability on uneven surfaces. In addition to being waterproof, it should also provide good ankle support and have a comfortable fit. Consider the terrain you’ll be hiking on most frequently when selecting the perfect shoe for you.

Breathable Tops

When it comes to choosing a breathable top for our fall hiking outfit, opt for moisture-wicking materials and avoid cotton, which tends to absorb sweat and take longer to dry. Synthetic materials such as polyester or merino wool are great options for hiking, as they keep us dry and comfortable in a variety of weather conditions by wicking moisture away from our skin and allowing it to evaporate. Lightweight long-sleeve tops are especially practical for fall to provide extra warmth and sun protection.

Accessories to Enhance Comfort

Upgrading our fall hiking outfit with the right accessories is essential for not only making your adventure more enjoyable but also keeping you safe and comfortable. Here are some must-have items to elevate your hiking experience:


When hiking during the fall, temperatures can drop, especially in the early morning and evening. A good pair of gloves will keep our hands warm while preventing windburn and frostbite. Opt for gloves made of moisture-wicking materials like polyester or merino wool to keep your hands dry and warm.


A warm beanie is another essential accessory for our fall hiking outfit. It helps keep our head warm, as we can lose a significant amount of body heat through an uncovered head. Look for beanies made with lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking materials like merino wool or polyester. They should also fit comfortably under a hood or helmet if necessary.

Thermos Flask

Staying hydrated is crucial while hiking, and a thermos flask is an excellent investment for our fall hiking trips. A good-quality thermos will keep hot beverages warm for hours, allowing us to enjoy a hot coffee or tea while taking a break. It’s also helpful for storing cold water to stay refreshed throughout the hike, as it helps maintain the temperature in the flask.

UV Protection Sunglasses

Even during the fall season, protecting our eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays is important. Investing in a pair of UV protection sunglasses should be part of our fall hiking outfit. Look for sunglasses that offer 100% UVA and UVB protection and have a comfortable fit. Polarized lenses are also helpful for reducing glare, especially when hiking near water or facing snow.

By incorporating these accessories into our fall hiking outfit, we can enhance our overall comfort, safety, and enjoyment during those autumn adventures.

Safety Gear

As we prepare our fall hiking outfit, safety should be a top priority. With a higher likelihood of inclement weather, shorter daylight hours, and slippery trails, it’s important to have the right safety gear on hand. In this section, we’ll discuss the essentials, including a headlamp, first aid kit, and navigation tools.

Essentinal equipment for a fall hiking outfit


A reliable headlamp is a must-have item in our fall hiking outfit. As the days get shorter, we may find ourselves hiking in low-light conditions, making a headlamp essential for visibility. When choosing a headlamp, prioritize ones with a long battery life, adjustable brightness settings, and water resistance. This will ensure that we can see clearly on the trail and stay safe during our fall hikes.

First Aid Kit

No fall hiking outfit is complete without a well-stocked first aid kit. Accidents and unexpected injuries can happen on the trail, so it’s best to be prepared. Our first aid kit should include basics like adhesive bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and pain relief medication. It’s also a good idea to include items specific to the challenges of fall hiking, such as a space blanket for warmth and a whistle for signaling emergencies.

Navigation Tools

Last but not least, we need to include reliable navigation tools in our fall hiking outfit. Even experienced hikers can get lost, especially in changing fall conditions with less daylight. A combination of digital and traditional tools is our best bet. Consider bringing a GPS device or smartphone with a navigational app, as well as a reliable paper map and compass as a backup. By having these tools on hand, we can stay on course and enjoy our fall hikes safely.

Pack Wisely

When it comes to choosing the perfect fall hiking outfit, it’s essential to pack wisely to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. In this section, we will discuss selecting the right backpack and offer some helpful packing tips to keep you prepared and stylish on your fall hiking adventure.

Backpack Selection

Finding the right backpack for your fall hike is crucial. You’ll want to choose a pack that offers plenty of room for your essentials, without feeling bulky or heavy. We recommend considering the REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack, as it provides the perfect balance of size and functionality. With numerous compartments and an adjustable fit, you’ll be able to carry everything you need while staying comfortable on the trail.

Packing Tips

  • Layer up: Fall weather can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to pack clothing that can be easily layered. Start with moisture-wicking base layers, then add insulating mid-layers, such as fleece or down jackets, and finally, pack a waterproof outer shell in case of rain or snow. Flexible options like convertible pants can also be helpful for adapting to changing temperatures throughout the day.
  • Footwear: Choose waterproof boots with a firm grip and high traction, like the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus hiking boots. The non-marking soles provide excellent traction on various terrains and will keep your feet dry during unexpected rainfall.
  • Don’t forget the essentials: When packing for a fall hike, always bring the necessary safety gear and supplies. This includes a map, compass, first aid kit, headlamp or flashlight, and extra food and water. Being prepared is key to an enjoyable hiking experience.

With these backpack selection and packing tips in mind, your fall hiking outfit will be both comfortable and functional, setting you up for a fantastic outdoor adventure.

wearing a fall hiking outfit with Hiking boots

Sustainability Practices

As we enjoy the beauty of nature in our fall hiking outfit, it’s essential to prioritize sustainability. In this section, we’ll focus on practicing Leave No Trace principles and making environmentally-friendly outfit selections.

Leave No Trace Principles

The Leave No Trace principles are essential guidelines to ensure we minimize our impact on nature while hiking. Adhering to these practices helps protect the environment and keeps trails enjoyable for future generations.

  1. Plan ahead and prepare: Make sure to research and know the regulations of the area you are hiking in, check the weather forecast, and pack the necessary gear.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces: Stick to well-established trails and campsites, avoiding fragile ecosystems like meadows or wetlands.
  3. Dispose of waste properly: Always pack out what you bring in, including all trash and leftover food.
  4. Leave what you find: Do not pick plants, remove rocks, or disturb wildlife. Leave the natural environment undisturbed.
  5. Minimize campfire impact: Use designated fire rings or stoves, keep fires small, and burn only small sticks and twigs.
  6. Respect wildlife: Observe animals from afar, do not feed them, and store food securely to avoid attracting them.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors: Yield to other hikers and keep noise levels to a minimum, respecting the experience of fellow outdoor enthusiasts.

Environmentally-Friendly Outfit Selection

Choosing a sustainable fall hiking outfit involves selecting clothes made from eco-friendly materials and produced by responsible manufacturers. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Fabrics: Opt for clothes made from natural, biodegradable materials such as organic cotton, Tencel, or wool. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon, which generate microplastic pollution.
  • Quality: Invest in durable clothing that will last for multiple hiking trips, reducing waste and demand for new clothing production.
  • Brands: Support companies with a commitment to sustainability, such as Merrell’s vegan shoes or those that use recycled materials in their products.
  • Care: Wash your hiking clothes with eco-friendly detergents, and air-dry when possible to save energy and extend the life of your garments.

By incorporating these sustainability practices into your fall hiking outfit choices and outdoor adventures, we can all do our part in preserving the beautiful natural world we love to explore.

Our opinion on fall hiking outfits

We love the great outdoors and with the fall season approaching, it’s the perfect time to discuss our opinion on the ideal fall hiking outfit. As the temperatures start to drop and the leaves change colors, being properly dressed while hiking is crucial for your safety and comfort during this picturesque season.

In our opinion, the key to a great fall hiking outfit is layering. This helps regulate your body temperature as the weather can often be unpredictable. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, like a long-sleeved shirt or a thin turtleneck, to keep sweat away from your skin.

Next, add an insulating layer, such as a fleece jacket or a light sweater, to trap warmth close to your body. Depending on the weather, you may also want to include a breathable, waterproof shell to protect from wind and rain.

For bottoms, we recommend wearing hiking pants made from quick-drying, stretchy materials. If temperatures are particularly low, you can add a thin base layer underneath for extra warmth.

Footwear is also an essential component of a fall hiking outfit. Opt for waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support, as well as thick, moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet warm and dry.

Finally, don’t forget about accessories. A good pair of gloves, a hat or beanie, and a scarf can make all the difference in keeping you comfortable during your fall hike. Don’t forget to pack some extra layers just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. And remember, it’s always better to have and not need than to need and not have.

By choosing the appropriate layers, footwear, and accessories, we believe that you can have an enjoyable and comfortable fall hiking experience. Just remember to always check the weather forecast before you head out and tailor your outfit accordingly. Happy trails!


We know you might have some questions about putting together the perfect fall hiking outfit, so we’ve created a helpful FAQ section to address those concerns.

What should I wear for my fall hiking outfit?

Fall hiking can be tricky due to its unpredictable weather, so layers are key. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, like a lightweight merino wool or synthetic shirt. Add an insulating layer like a fleece jacket or a down vest, and finish with a waterproof, breathable outer shell to protect you from the elements.

What are the best materials for fall hiking clothes?

The best materials for fall hiking clothes combine breathability, insulation, and moisture-wicking capabilities. Some great options include:

Merino wool: This natural fiber is great for base layers as it’s soft, moisture-wicking, and provides excellent insulation.
Synthetic fabrics: Materials like polyester and nylon are lightweight, quick-drying, and can wick moisture away from your skin, making them ideal for base and mid-layers.
Fleece: Lightweight and warm, fleece is an excellent insulating material for mid-layers.
Gore-Tex: This waterproof, breathable fabric is perfect for outer shell jackets and pants, ensuring you stay dry and comfortable during your fall hikes.

How can I stay comfortable in changing temperatures during fall hikes?

To stay comfortable during changing temperatures on your fall hikes, follow these tips:

Layer up: Wearing multiple layers allows you to adjust your clothing as the temperature fluctuates. Stick to moisture-wicking, breathable, and insulating materials to ensure maximum comfort.
Stay dry: Fall weather can often be wet and damp, so make sure your outer layers are waterproof or water-resistant to keep moisture away from your body.
Protect your extremities: Don’t forget about your hands, feet, and head. Wear moisture-wicking, breathable socks, gloves, and a hat to keep these areas warm and dry.

Following these tips will make sure that you’re able to focus on enjoying your fall hikes, fully prepared with the perfect fall hiking outfit.

Ready to elevate your fall hiking game with the perfect outfit? What’s your go-to fall hiking attire? Write it down in the comments below!

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Enrico Hartwich
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