Post Summary: What To Wear Hiking In The Fall (Functional + Stylish Choices)
Hiking in the fall is one of our absolute favorite times in the Pacific Northwest. The moody fog is rolling in, it’s not too hot, and the trails are less crowded!
Even better, are all the cozy layers you can choose for fall hiking outfits!
In this post, we’re going through exactly what to wear hiking in the fall, from gear, accessories, clothing, and shoes.
Let’s get started!
- What's so great about Fall hiking trips?
- What To Wear Hiking in the Fall: Best Fall Hiking Clothing
- Fall Hiking Gear
- Fall Hiking Base Layers
- Fall Hiking Mid Layers
- Fall Hiking Outer Layers
- Fall Hiking Footwear
- Fall Hiking Accessories
- Hiking Outfits for Fall (Inspiration for Men and Women)
- More Inspiration For Hiking In The Fall
What’s so great about Fall hiking trips?
Here are some reasons to put a little bit of thought into what to wear hiking in the fall!
The photo opportunities! Fall foliage! The trees are bursting with color, so even your favorite summer trail looks like it’s wearing a new fall outfit too.
If you choose the right materials and fabrics for fall hiking clothes, you can look AND feel good at the same time.
If you come away with just one of our fall hiking tips, make it this one: Cotton = enemy #1. Synthetic fibers and wool = your best friend.
Summer crowds have dissipated, thanks to September school starting dates! The bugs have also gone away, so you have even MORE solitude on the trail!
What To Wear Hiking in the Fall: Best Fall Hiking Clothing
Before we begin, there’s something you need to know about what to wear on a fall hike.
Unlike summer, where sweat-wicking layers and quick-dry fabrics are superior, you ALSO have to consider warmth and preserving your body heat!
That’s why layers are KEY during your fall hiking trips.
You’ll need to dress in a way that pulls sweat from your body but doesn’t leave you freezing!
Here’s a good rule of thumb for choosing fabrics:
- Base layers: Made of quick-dry fabrics like synthetics (nylon or polyester) or merino wool.
- Mid-Layers: Fleece or thick wool should be layered on top
- Outer Layers: Water-resistant or wateproof materials, like Gore-Tex. Alternatively, you could also use a clothing wax to make your gear more water resistant!
Fall Hiking Gear
Backpack / Daypack
The REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack is the perfect size for fall hiking trips.
It’s enough room for carrying all the 10 essentials, without feeling too bulky or heavy.
Buy Here: REI
One of the tell-tale signs that fall has arrived is the shorter days! The sun rises later and the sun sets a little earlier than summer.
With shorter hiking days, it’s important to start packing a headlamp, just in case you get back to the trailhead later than expected.
We like the Black Diamond Spot 400 Lamp!
Fall Hiking Base Layers
Short-Sleeve Hiking Shirt
Early on in the fall season, a short-sleeve hiking shirt is perfect for putting together fall hiking outfits.
The Smartwool All-Season Base Layer is the last one you’ll ever buy, because it’s made of sturdy and moisture-wicking Merino wool!
We like the short sleeves for early season hikes (think September and early October) so that you can slowly pull off layers are you are reaching the top.
Buy Here: REI
Long-Sleeve Hiking Shirt
Now for later in the fall season, a long-sleeve hiking shirt is key for putting together your fall hiking outfits.
We swear by Patagonia’s Capilene Base Layer line. Not only are they high-quality polyester, but it can be worn by itself OR as a base layer.
It also can come in handy when prepping for winter hiking outfits!
When putting together fall hiking outfit ideas, you’ll need to consider a little bit of a thicker legging, more so than summer ones.
The North Face Dune Sky Pocket Leggings are my current favorites. The sweat-wicking properties, thicker material, and pockets (!!!) are everything I want in fall hiking leggings!
For more protection against the elements, consider the Fjallraven Abisko Varm Trekking Tights. They are a bit pricier than normal leggings, but definitely hold up against poor weather and overgrown trails.
If you are someone who prefers hiking pants for fall, try the Outdoor Voices RecTrek Zip-Off pants.
They provide more structure than hiking leggings, and even have the ability to convert to shorts if it gets too hot!
Fall Hiking Mid Layers
One of my personal favorite fall hiking layers is an insulated vest!
I run pretty hot when I hike, so I wanted to find the perfect combo of ventilation and core-warmth. Enter – the hiking vest!
The Patagonia Nano Puff Vest is a tried and true staple, with pockets, drawstring waist, and water-repellent material to hold up in bad weather.
A fleece jacket is one of the best ways to let your personality shine when planning hiking outfits for fall. There are so many fun colors and styles to choose from!
REI Co-Op Trailmade Fleece Jackets are affordable, with tons of sizing options. Cotopaxi provides fun pops of color in their classic color-blocking style. And Patagonia has the biggest range of colors and styles, from super-retro colors to classic fits!
Fall Hiking Outer Layers
Of all the fall hiking layers to pack, a rain jacket is ESSENTIAL in the Pacific Northwest.
You can’t go wrong with the REI Co-Op Rainier Rain Jacket. It’s affordable, lightweight, and comes in lots of colors.
Check Price: REI
We also really love The North Face Alta Vista Rain Jacket, especially the women’s version.
It has a slight princess cut (smaller in the waist and bigger in the hips) to accommodate women’s body shapes a little better. I find it super flattering!
Down Jacket / Insulated Hoodie
These layers are great for late fall hikes, like in late October and November. REI Co-op has really affordable down jackets in all sorts of colors, and they are a great option for those cold, crisp morning hikes.
Insulated hoodies and jackets are a cooler version of down jackets, if you don’t need a ton of warmth against the elements.
If you know you’re going far in poor weather, rain pants may be worth the investment!
Rain pants are kind of like a rain jacket for your legs, allowing water to run off instead of getting your thighs soaked on the trail.
Check Price: REI
Pro Tip: Rain pants will come in handy, especially late in the fall in Olympic National Park. It’s one of the rainiest places on earth!
Fall Hiking Footwear
When choosing hiking socks for your fall adventures, it’s very important to choose ones in the right material! Synthetic fibers and wool are the best choice, because they regulate your temperature and wick sweat from your feet.
We stock up on the REI Merino Wool socks because they are fairly inexpensive and come in tons of sizes and weights.
Darn Tough socks are also a great option, because they have a replacement guarantee if they wear out!
Are you someone like me who gets blisters on hikes? No matter how hard I try, I always seem to get a hot spot along the corners of my toes!
Recently, I’ve discovered Injini toe sock liners, and that problem literally seemed to disappear overnight.
If you’re prone to blisters like me, I’d definitely add toe sock liners to your fall hiking trips.
Hiking Boots / Hiking Shoes
In the fall, it’s more important than ever to keep your feet dry on the trails! It may not be a huge deal to have wet feet in the summer, but during winter and fall hikes, it can turn into a dangerous situation.
We broke down all the best hiking boots for the Pacific Northwest (with lots of detail and links!).
Both provide lots of good support, breathability, and protection against the rain.
Fall Hiking Accessories
Planning to venture out on a wet or muddy hike? Nothing is worse than getting your socks and pants soaked in dirt!
Keep your ankles and socks dry by wearing gaiters. Gaiters are a protective outer sleeve that covers the upper part of your boot and bottom of your pant legs.
The Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Gaiters are waterproof, breathable, and lightweight!
Nothing is better than finishing off cute fall hiking outfits it off with a beanie!
There are tons of great fall hiking hats to choose from, and you can go as functional or stylish as you want. Either way, they keep your ears and head warm!
You may not need to go full-blown winter gloves for your autumn attire, but it helps to have something to keep your hands warm!
We love the REI Co-Op Polartec Fleece Gloves because they are lightweight, e-tip friendly, and at a good price range.
They also clasp together, so they don’t get separated or lost in your backpack.
Check Pricing: REI
Buff or Scarf
You don’t realize you need a Buff until you try it – it will become an absolute staple in your fall hiking essentials!
We used a buff last time we trekked on the gorgeous Sahale Arm Trail to Sahale Glacier Camp.
The wind and harsh rays of the sun were intense, but our Buff made it soo much easier to bear the elements!
It’s super versatile, which means it can be configured as a hat, ear warmer, and provide protection for your face, mouth, neck, and nose.
Hiking Outfits for Fall (Inspiration for Men and Women)
Looking for fall hiking outfit inspiration? Here are some of our favorite fits during this season, so you can hit the trails in style!