woman in a rain jacket among fall leaves
woman in a rain jacket among fall leaves

Fall hiking is such a blast! The leaves are changing colors, the days are cooler, and the air is crisp. But fall hiking can also be a miserable experience if you don’t dress correctly. Fall hiking is all about mastering the art of layering to keep yourself cool, dry, and warm!


During the fall months, the weather is more temperamental. It could be sunny and beautiful one minute and raining or even snowing the next! That’s why it’s so important to dress accordingly so you have a remarkable experience.


In this blog post, I’m going to break down what to wear in the fall months!


Wear A Base Layer

A base layer is designed to keep you comfortable and dry by wicking moisture away from your body. There is a reason experienced hikers say, “cotton kills.” It’s because cotton absorbs moisture and stays wet. This is exactly the opposite of what you need on a hike, especially during the fall months when it can get cold quickly. The last thing you need is to get hypothermia. This is why for your base layer you need to be mindful while picking what you’re putting in your body. Moisture wicking clothing only! This applies to hiking in any season too!

woman sitting on a rock in the fall

Hiking Top

You can wear a short sleeve, a tank, or a long sleeve shirt. It depends on the weather when you’re starting your hike. Regardless, make sure to wear sunscreen! Even in the fall months, you can get sunburned.


Shirts like the Patagonia Sunshade Hooded Shirt or the Outdoor Research Echo T-Shit are great options.


Hiking Pants

With bottoms, you also want to make sure they’re moisture-wicking. I prefer to wear hiking pants instead of leggings, but if you’re more comfortable in leggings, then wear them. Just make sure they’re moisture-wicking! I’m a fan of the Columbia Just Right Straight Leg pants.


As the weather changes, you want to make sure you stay warm. If you get chilly, you can wear thermal leggings under hiking pants or thicker leggings overall.


Wool Socks

Always wear wool socks when hiking. They’re moisture-wicking, keep your feet cool and dry in the summer, and warm and dry in the fall and winter months. I wear Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool.


Waterproof Boots

During the summer months, I’m an advocate for not wearing waterproof boots. Just like they keep moisture out, they keep moisture in. On those long and warm summer hikes, this can become a recipe for blisters. For more on blister prevention, read through this blog.

When the weather starts to cool, and it starts to rain and snow, you’re going to need to switch out those summer hiking boots for a pair of waterproof ones. During fall, it’s still too warm to wear the full winter hiking boots, so I opt in for a happy medium. Standard waterproof hiking boots. They keep your feet warm enough without overheating them, and keep them dry from outside conditions. I wear the Salomon Ultra X 3 Mid Gortex Boots. They’re basically just the waterproof version of the boots I wear in the summer!

injinji socks

Next, Wear Mid-Layers

Fleece Jacket

Fleece jackets come in different thicknesses depending on the temperature. In the fall months, I love wearing the Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Fleece Pullover. It’s more of a medium thickness fleece, it’s cozy, and comes in cute colors! When the weather gets chilly, pull over your fleece jacket and be nice and cozy.

woman hiking in fall

Lastly, Your Outer Layers

Next come the outer layers that you’re going to wear in the fall. If the weather gets cold, you’re going to want to have a puffy and rain clothing to keep you warm and dry.


I was exploring Vermont and shooting fall foliage and it started raining! I flew from sunny and overly hot California only to arrive to rain. Thankfully I had my rain jacket on me so exploring in the rain wasn’t an issue!

woman in a puffy

Puffy Jacket

Bring a puffy jacket that will keep you warm! Remember, if your jacket is down, it doesn’t insulate when wet, so you want to absolutely make sure to bring a rain jacket. If your puffy is synthetic down, then it will insulate when wet, but something to keep in mind is that down jackets are warmer than synthetic. I wear the Patagonia Down Sweater puffy.


Rain Jacket

woman in a rain jacket in the fall

If the weather turns, you’re going to want to make sure you have a rain jacket. I also bring a rain jacket with me in the summer months too. You just never know and staying dry is so important.


Hiking in the rain can be such a blast, but it can quickly be miserable without the right clothing. In the fall months, I’d also bring rain pants and make sure your shoes are waterproof so you stay dry! I wear the Patagonia Rainshadow Jacket, which packs up small in it’s own pocket! Perfect for backpacking!

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