As the warm, golden days of summer begin to give way to the crisp, cool embrace of autumn, we find ourselves reflecting on the inevitable change of the seasons. Melancholy, brooding, reflective but always beautiful with it, Autumn is a time of transformation. And by this we mean not just in the scenery around us, as leaves change colour and fall gently to the ground, but also in our approach to outdoor activities.
The arrival of autumn means a shift in weather conditions, with cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours. These changes have a direct impact on the way we plan and prepare for outdoor adventures, from hiking and camping to trail running and biking. In the transition from summer to winter, certain outdoor gear and clothing need adjustments to adapt to the changing environment.
In this post we are going to look at what outdoor gear you need to get ready for an action packed fall season.
What Makes a Good Autumn Jacket?
Let’s get into it… What do you need out of your fall travel jacket?
Transitioning to Warmer Layers
Summer’s light and breathable jackets will unfortunately no longer suffice as the temperature drops (unless of course you live in Texas or SoCal!).
For the rest of us though it’s time to switch to insulated, windproof, and waterproof jackets that can keep you warm and dry. Layering becomes key in autumn, providing the flexibility to adapt to fluctuating temperatures.
Below are a few of my personal picks for great autumn jackets.
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The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody is your perfect companion for autumn’s unpredictable weather. This lightweight, compactable jacket offers superior warmth without the bulk, thanks to its top-notch insulation that keeps you warmer than you would imagine by simply looking at the jacket. It’s both water-resistant and windproof so it can handle those sudden rain showers and brisk gusts that are synonymous with the season. With its sleek design, it’s not just about functionality; you’ll look stylish too.
The Patagonia Triolet Jacket is a true autumn essential for outdoor enthusiasts. Engineered with a three-layer GORE-TEX® fabric, it offers unparalleled waterproofing and breathability, keeping you dry and comfortable through autumn’s damp and chilly days. Its durable construction can withstand rough terrains, while the adjustable hood and hem allow for a customised fit. Whether you’re hiking in the drizzling rain or enjoying a crisp fall day in the city, the Triolet Jacket has you covered with performance and style. Noe that if you wear something like the Nano Puff underneath it, the Triolet will also function as a winter jacket.
What Boots Do I Need For Fall?
I can’t go anywhere without my boots in fall. Before I got good boots, I had no idea what I was missing out on.
Waterproof and Insulated Options
For some of you, it may be time for summer’s lightweight and breathable hiking shoes to give way to more robust and waterproof hiking boots. Whether you’re going somewhere beautiful for fall, stepping on wet leaves or crossing chilly streams, waterproof boots with good insulation are essential to keep your feet dry and warm.
Of course, ultimately this depends on what kind of hikes you intend on taking. If you only go for short hikes in dry conditions, you may well get away with wearing summer shoes. On the other hand, the hiking boots I wore all summer (my Vivobarefoot boots) are actually on the sturdier side and have enough water proofing and weather resistance built into them to cope perfectly well on autumnal day hikes.
Embrace the autumn trails with the Vivobarefoot Tracker II, a quirky and minimalist hiking boot designed for the natural adventurer by the Vivobarefoot brand. Offering a true barefoot feel with the protection you need, these boots are just perfect for navigating wet and slippery fall terrains. The waterproof construction ensures your feet stay dry, while the lightweight design allows for nimble movement through leaf-strewn paths. With the Tracker II, you’ll experience a connection to the earth like never before, turning every autumn hike into a truly immersive experience.
The Keen Targhee III boots are the perfect embodiment of autumn-ready footwear. Crafted to tackle both rugged trails and wet sidewalks, their waterproof seal ensures that puddles and dewy grass won’t dampen your spirits or your feet. The supportive midsole offers comfort for all-day wear, while the aggressive outsole grips to surfaces as you crunch through fallen leaves. Stylish yet practical, the Targhee II ensures every step you take this fall is grounded in confidence.
Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.
So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉Buy on REI!
What Are The Best Sleeping Bags For Fall?
Upgrade to Colder Temperature Ratings
Your summer sleeping bag may be perfect for warm nights under the stars, but autumn nights can get chilly quickly. Ultimately this one depends on what kind of sleeping bag you use in the summer.
Personally, I find that 3 season sleeping bags are fine throughout autumn so the one I take out in July is the same one I take out in October. The difference of course is that in July I zip it open and still sweat a bit, whereas in October I zip it tight and wear some thermals or a good base layer to sleep in.
Cold weather sleeping bags are usually not needed unless you are going alpine camping or one of those crazies who decides to hit the campground during a snowstorm!
Autumn camping calls for dependable gear that can handle the cool, crisp nights, and the REI Magma 15 sleeping bag is well up for the challenge. Filled with high-loft, water-resistant down, it offers the warmth and coziness you need when temperatures dip. Its lightweight design makes it easy to pack for a weekend getaway, while the tailored fit helps retain body heat without feeling constricting. With the Magma 15, you can fully enjoy the serenity of fall’s outdoor nights, wrapped in comfort and reliability.
What is The Best Tent For Fall Camping?
Consideration for Wind and Rain
While summer tents prioritize ventilation and lightness, autumn calls for more consideration towards wind and rain resistance. Double-wall construction and strong poles can make your tent more resilient against autumn storms. Adding a footprint or selecting tents with a full-coverage rainfly can provide further protection against dampness.
Another thing I look for in an autumn tent is how easy it is to erect and dismantle. This is because putting up a tent in rain, wind or when the day’s light is receding is not pleasant and so the easter and faster I can put the tent up, the better.
The MSR Hubba Hubba 2-person tent is both a summer and autumn camper’s dream. This classic 3 season tent is designed with a focus on lightweight efficiency and robust protection, so it’s ideal for those cool, wet, and windy fall expeditions. Its well-ventilated design ensures condensation stays minimal, while the strong frame and rainfly keep the elements at bay. Easy to set up and pack down, it’s a dependable shelter that allows you more time to enjoy the beautiful fall scenery. Cozy yet roomy, the Hubba Hubba 2 is the perfect way to reconnect with nature during the vibrant autumn months.
Outdoor Flasks For Autumn
Keeping Your Beverages Hot
The cooling temperatures mean hot drinks become a must on outdoor trips. We say invest in a good-quality flask that can keep your coffee, tea, or hot cocoa warm for hours. It becomes a comforting companion during those chilly morning hikes or evening campfires.
Alternatively, consider bringing a decent camping stove along. Something like the Jetboil Flash offers the right mix of weather resistance (it wont blow out in the wind) while heating up fast enough to have your hot drink ready in under 2 minutes.
Whether you’re sipping hot cocoa on a brisk autumn hike or enjoying a chilled apple cider at a fall picnic, the Hydro Flask has you covered. This stainless-steel, vacuum-insulated bottle maintains the temperature of your beverages for hours on end, keeping them hot or cold to suit the ever-changing autumn weather. Its durable construction and leak-proof design mean it’s ready for any adventure, while the wide range of colors allows you to choose one that fits your fall mood. Stylish, functional, and perfect for the season, the Hydro Flask is an essential companion for all your autumn outings.
Heading into the autumn wilderness? Then don’t forget the Jetboil Flash, a compact and efficient camping cooking system designed for on-the-go adventurers. This stove boils water in a flash, making it perfect for a hot cup of tea or a warming meal on a chilly fall day. Its color-changing heat indicator lets you know when your water’s ready, while the insulated cozy ensures you can handle it comfortably. Lightweight and easy to use, the Jetboil Flash turns your autumn outdoor experiences into cozy, culinary delights, adding a touch of home comfort to the wild.
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Autumn is a season of change, beauty, and new experiences. It’s a perfect time to explore the outdoors and witness the transformation of nature. But to fully enjoy these experiences, preparation is key. By adapting your outdoor gear from summer to winter essentials, you’ll ensure that you’re comfortable, safe, and ready to embrace all that autumn has to offer. So pack your warm jackets, waterproof boots, cozy sleeping bags, and resilient tents, and step into the vibrant and crisp world of autumn adventure.
Did you find that post helpful? Or maybe you feel we missed some essential piece of gear? Let us know in the comments below.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!