What To Wear Hiking In The Fall?

The fall can be a perfect time to go hiking because the temperatures are typically cooler than in the summer. However, it can also be an annoying time to go hiking because you can have such a range of temperatures from day to day.

This is kind of like how the spring can be, but the fall generally has fewer clouds and rain. Since you can have such a wide swing of temperatures throughout the day in the fall it can be hard to figure out what to wear while hiking.

Good thing you found this article though because we will cover tips to dress while hiking in the fall. We will also break down the different things you should wear while hiking in the fall.

What To Wear Hiking In The Fall?

What To Wear Hiking In The Fall?

What to Wear Hiking in the Fall?


The first tip and most important thing to remember when dressing for hiking in the fall is to wear layers. This way you can stay warm if it is cool, but then cool down if it gets hot. For those that don’t know, dressing with layers means that you have essentially multiple outfits on, on top of each other. That way you can stay warm if it is cool, but then take off layers if you get hot to cool down. Dressing in layers is key for having a successful hiking trip in the fall. However, wearing layers isn’t the only tip you need to know. Read on to learn more of the top tips for how to dress while hiking in the fall.

What about material

So, outside of dressing in layers, it is also important to wear the right material of clothing. If you are wearing the wrong materials, then it doesn’t matter if you are layered or not. Having the wrong material can make any hiking trip miserable. That is because the wrong material of clothing can lead to rubbing or moisture being held where you don’t want it. The wrong things to wear while hiking in the fall are jeans or denim and cotton.

You may be thinking, but jeans are rugged and won’t get tore up. While this is true, it is a material that doesn’t let your skin breath. It is also stiff and makes moving hard. Cotton can do the same thing with allowing your body to breath. Yes, cotton is soft, but it holds moister. This means if you get wet it will keep you wet and if you sweat, then it will hold that on you. This will make you cool if it is windy and sticky and uncomfortable if it is hot.

What kinds of material should you wear then if you aren’t wearing cotton and jeans? Well, it is key to wear microfiber things, polyester things, and other moisture wicking materials. Merino wool is popular as well as silk or nylon. These things are good because it lets your body breath and keeps you from getting too hot or cold. It also provides sun protection and insulating. Also, water-resistant materials are important, especially for outer layers. This way if you do get in the water it won’t soak you and if you get wet, then it will be easy for you to dry off.

Lower Layer

So, now that we have the material covered of what you should wear, and know that you should dress in layers we can start looking at what each layer should look like. The lower layer should be athletic type garments. Think of things you would work out in and performance wear type things. You want your underwear, bra (sports bras are best), and those things, but you also want a tank top, camisole, or undershirt. You also might want to consider some long underwear. This is especially true if it is colder.

Head to Toe when hiking in fall

Head to Toe when hiking in fall

Head to Toe when hiking in fall

The next layer after the undergarments is the head to toe or base layer. For this layer, you want a similar type of material for things. You want this layer to be breathable, moisture-wicking, and insulating. You can wear a t-shirt or long sleeve shirt and rugged pants for this layer. Zip-off pants are really nice for this layer because if it gets warm, then you can have shorts, but you got the protection of pants for your legs if you need it.

Some things not to forget about this layer are hats, gloves, and socks. Socks are very important when hiking as you are on your feet a lot. You want a pair of socks that are durable, moisture wicking, taller than your boot, and comfortable. Also, it is a good idea to pack an extra pair as wet socks can really cause the hiking trip to be miserable. For gloves mittens are always warmer, then regular gloves.

Other Mid-layer options

Sometimes depending on the conditions you also might want to add a fleece jacket, fleece pants, or a puffer jacket or vest to your mid-layer. This can help create more warmth for you if needed, but deepening on the temperatures when you take your hiking trip will determine if you need these.


The last layer to look at when going on a hiking trip is the outer layer. This is where a coat falls in, and your shoes. Shoes and footwear is another very important item when hiking. This goes back because you are on your feet a lot when hiking. You want a pair of boots that are durable and going to support your feet. You want to make sure your shoes fit well and are broken in good before going on a hiking trip. Some things to look for with boots outside of fit and support is how much grip they have. You want a pair with good traction so you don’t fall. Also, a pair that is waterproof is really nice for if you have to cross streams.

For your coat, you want something that is warm and also waterproof or resistant. Rain jackets are a good idea to have if rain is in the forecast or a possibility. That is because getting wet can make you uncomfortable and not enjoy the hike. There are a lot of factors that go into determining what to wear during a hike in the fall, however.

Other factors

These basic clothing tips will help you figure out a good start to what to wear while hiking in the fall, but a lot also comes down to the weather when you are hiking. If it is cold, then you want warmer things, and if it is hot, then you want cooler things. You just have to look at the weather before you hike and match things up accordingly. Also, if you are hiking in a buggy area, then you should wear bug resistant things, and if it is sunny, then you should wear more sun protection things.


Dressing for hiking in the fall can be a challenge, but if you remember the key of dressing in layers, then you should have an enjoyable hike. Also, make sure to wear the right materials when hiking will make the trip better. If you stick to these basic tips that we outlined here, then you should be well on your way to having a great fall hiking trip. Don’t be afraid to just do it, and get out there and explore. Remember when dressing for hiking it is about the practicality of what you wear and not the fashion of what you wear. You want comfort and protection to make your hiking trip the best it can be.

Tom Chandler

"When your hands hit the floor, they get cut up. When mine hit the floor, they slide with ease"

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