We’ve just stepped into autumn, which means we’ll all start trading sun for rain a little more in the coming weeks and months. It’s tempting to just stay inside and enjoy a hot drink instead to venturing outside. But if you want to watch the colors change, get in some of the crisp fall air, or simply refuse to let a little bad weather keep you from enjoying your hikes, then I’ve got a few tips for you.
Gear Up, the Right Way
When you’re looking for the right gear, that doesn’t mean you need to be on top of the trends. The first and most important thing is to dress for the weather and the climate. A lot of the time, that can mean something as easy as dress in layers so you can regulate your own temperature.
If you’re in a particularly wet climate, you can dress down right with a quality, impermeable rain jacket with a moisture-wicking shirt (like Under Armour), waterproof boots, and rain pants. No matter what you do, you can’t expect to stay completely dry—that’s just not going to happen. But you can manage just how soaked you get—it’s an aim for a realistic win.
And then from there, scale it back depending on moisture and heat. Warm, humid hiking is maybe the most challenging. A rain shell isn’t going to help, so the best you can probably do is to wear a shirt that breathes well and keeps moisture off of you.
Keep the Feet Dry
So long as you keep your feet mostly dry, you’ll be doing alright. But you might have to go with something a little outside of your ordinary hiking boots. Grab some really high quality waterproof high-tops. We’re talking about ankle-height or better—those are sure to keep you dry even when you’re walking through the occasional puddle, and give you support when you’re walking on slippery pathways or muddy trails. Alternatively, you can use a waterproofing spray on some older shoes.
For socks, a solid way to go is the double layer. Start with a thin pair of socks, and then pull a thick, woolen pair on top of those. Alternatively, if you expect to be walking in some heavy downpours, invest in pair made from a water-resistant fabric. And if you’re walking in a warmer climate, just wear what you’d normally wear.
You can get around blisters and chaffing by applying a lubricating lotion or personal lubricant first. While Vaseline works perfectly fine, many hikers prefer something like Hydropel.
Enjoying the Experience
If you’re suited up, then by now you’ve done all you can to get around being soggy and uncomfortable. You can still try for speed if you want, but with the new surroundings, you might just refocus on the distinct beauties of a rainy day hiking.
Notice the distinct paths that falling water takes and where it settles. Changing and falling leaves make for a unique and transformative spectacle, especially when highlighted by moisture. And when it’s particularly cloudy, even the most subtle and dull colors can become more pronounced against a grey backdrop. If you’re a photographer, you’re sure to find some great picture opportunities this time of year!
Do you have any tips for hiking in the autumn weather? Do you have any favorite activities for this crisp fall air? Tell us all about it in the comments below!