If I had to choose between all the things I love about Autumn, the scenery would certainly be one of my top things I keep close to my heart. What better way to admire the landscape and beautiful fall colors if not by walking or hiking (for those wanting to get a little exercise in). The fun thing about hiking is that you can do it on various types of terrain, depending on your fitness level. But if you’re going for a hike this fall, you must know how to stay safe. Fall hiking is different than summer hiking because there are a lot of new factors you need to consider.
Going for a hike this Fall? Here’s what you should watch out for.
Fall hikes are way different than summer ones. When embarking on a trip such as this, you should do your research and see what’s the weather like in the area you’re going. But even so, you need to be prepared for the cold weather and rapid weather change. Wind velocity tends to vary a lot, temperature drops about 2 ½ degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet of elevation gained and a rain storm can appear out of nowhere. This can turn your hike into a nightmare so make sure you’ve done your research for the area you’re hiking and buy solid gear.
Your Fitness Level
This should be proportional to the hike difficulty. If you’re going for a friendly hike on a hill nearby with your better half, having a moderate fitness level should be enough for a fun day. But if you’re tackling a bigger obstacle, you’ll need to be prepared. Try to prepare your body in the month before the hike so you won’t have any problems. You should consider some light to moderate cardio and light weight workouts. Of course, you know what’s better for your body but make sure you’re prepared for the task at hand.
This is probably the most overlooked aspect of cold weather hiking. Most people only take measures if they’re hiking in the Winter months, but don’t forget that cold weather also takes place in Autumn. It’s really important to realize that the only thing providing heat while hiking is your own body.
When going hiking you should always dress in layers. Wearing a huge, fluffy parka is ok when going skiing but not on the trails. If you’re hiking this fall, dress yourself with layers you can add and remove as you go up or as the weather changes. When you remove the outer layers, store them in your backpack so they maintain some of the heat.
Here’s what not to forget when preparing your hiking trip clothing in cold weather:
Consisting of a long shirt with sleeves and pants. Go for a synthetic fabric such as polypropylene to keep away the moisture from your skin.
Hiking pants and shirts
Should be made from wool if you’re doing this in the colder weather. This fabric insulates and dries faster than others.
If you’re hiking in cold weather, go for a jacked from insulated fabrics extending just below your waist. They allow the heat to escape and reduce moisture levels.
It helps you prtect your head from wind and dropping temperatures but it also helps maintain the heat level. A lot of body heat is dissipated from the head and you can use it to your advantage. Hiking in warmer temperature? Remove the cap to reduce moisture and cool off.
Even if you’re not hiking in winter, you still need to keep your hands warm. It’s not practical to keep your hands inside your pockets while climbing. You can choose between mittens (better for extreme cold) and regular wool gloves for warmer weather.
A comfy belt
This is more important than you thing. Having a light belt around your waist to keep your most valuable items is extremely important during hikes. They work better when going for easy hikes with less layers of clothing.
You don’t want to go on a hike with your friends and while they’re taking pics or advancing on the hike you’re just trying to keep all your valuables in your pockets, hoping they won’t fall off. Use a belt from synthetic material to store your phone, keys, headphones and other stuff. Make sure you choose a good belt that doesn’t move around or falls when you put your phone there.
The best option is to get a combination of synthetic sock liner with a wool sock. This way you’ll keep the moisture away while storing some heat and isolation.
Don’t forget, when you’re dressing in layers for hiking this fall, you should do the following:
Next to skin – layer to keep the moisture away then dry quickly so you don’t get chilled. Forget about cotton and go for wool or synthetics.
Isolation – layer which traps the heat from your body. You can choose lightweight fleeces or wool sweaters, depending on the season.
Shell – the outer layer should keep you dry and keep the wind away. Again, it all depends on the weather you’re facing.