The leaves are turning from green to a captivating palette of autumn colors. The air becomes crisp as the temperatures drops. This is what draws in the fall hiker. My personal favorite season to hike in. With a broader range of temperature fluctuations, it's important to have the right clothing and the right gear. You do not want to find yourself sweating in the afternoon and shivering in the evening. Let's take a few minutes to explore an in depth explanation of what to wear head to toe. These tips will keep you comfortable and your time on the trail that much more enjoyable.
Losing a significant amount of body heat (45%-50%) from the scalp has been debunked according to the British Medical Journal. Although we don't lose that significant amount of heat through the head, we still lose up 7%-10% if our head is not covered in cooler conditions. Adding a functional beanie is convenient layer to take on and off helping you manage a comfortable body temperature. A head lamp is great backup incase you are out on the trail longer than expected. The last thing you want is your foot finding a tripping hazard before your eyes do. Also, you may even spot some glowing eyes of curious wildlife.
To prevent potential hypothermia from sweaty, cold layers against your body, a moisture-wicking layer is essential. Otherwise, your saturated clothes puts you at that higher risk. For the outer layer, flannels and metal band jackets are fun! I typically don't over think the outer layer material unless ominous skies are on the horizon. Then a rain jacket is a must; winter however, is very important to be more selective with outer layer material since it protects you against the harsh unpredictable weather patterns.
After spending a good couple seasons trail running in low temps, I've found my mountaineering buddy, Curtis's, advice really works. Regulating body temp through gloves. Who would've thought? As our bodies get moving, our core temp rises. Means take the gloves off. During the steep uphill sections, most people move to a "power hike" moving at a slower pace causing your body to feel cold again. Gloves go back on and voila, body temp warms back up. Give it a shot. You'll be amazed how well it works!
For the ladies, these hiking leggings are great because they add a little thicker of warming layer than standard workout pants. This style of hiking pants are super rad. They may not be sexy, but they sure are functional. The bottom layer is easily unzippable turning them into Safari-styled shorts. I have a pair in three different colors! Fellas, they have this style for you too.
Don't, I repeat, don't wear cotton socks. Moisture-wicking socks are great because they are more breathable preventing your feet from swelling more than they would otherwise. Also, these socks can prevent unwanted friction between the shoe or boot and your foot. The less hot spots that pop up, the better for your adventure. For longer hiking socks, I recommend these. While trekking in moderate level terrain, you can most definitely can get away with a trail shoe. For more rigorous terrain, at least a mid top boot is important for ankle stability. Either way, a trail designed shoe or boot adds more grip to the surface you're walking on. Number one injury for hikers are falls. You need to be stable from the ground up.
As we've discussed previously, Dressing in layers is necessary to get the most enjoyment out of your fall hike. When you peel the layers off as you warm up, they need somewhere to go. That's where your daypack comes in.
One of the most convenient inventions. Personally, I do not like anything in my hands while exploring various terrain. One rule to go by is if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Account for at least 8 ounces of water per hour of your outing. We'll get into the specifics of how to properly fuel your body for the trail in a future journal.
A set of gear that old school minded individuals can tease you about, these level up your outdoor game. Here is what trekking poles offer you. Knee protection especially when walking down steep hills. Improves your power and endurance when walking uphill. Aids balance on uneven trails. Improves posture, making hikers form more upright as they walk and in turn this can help breathing by opening up the chest. As our bodies get tired, we tend to hunch prohibiting full expansion of your lungs. The more oxygen flowing through the body, the better. Trust me, I'm an asthmatic, I know!
As stated previously, falls are the number one mechanism of injury for hikers. In a yard sale event, your body is prone to a wide range of injuries. Being prepared can give us all peace of mind to help us more fully enjoy the experience. In the rare event severe injuries are sustained, you want time on your side especially in the elements. We have med kits curated specifically to your skill level. Go check them out!
The clothing and gear tips will help you fully take in the experience of fall's bounty. You want all the right items on your person to serve their purpose and do it well.
Stay safe. Stay wild, my friends!