ONCE THE SEASON BEGINS TO CHANGE, YOU WILL WANT TO MAKE SURE YOUR GEAR HOLDS UP TO THE COLDER TEMPERATURES. BELOW IS OUR COMPREHENSIVE GEAR GUIDE TO ADVENTURING DURING THE FALL.
In our opinion, fall is one of the most magical times of the year. The changing of the season usually means chillier nights, crisp mornings, colorful foliage and lots of cozy clothing (and pumpkin pie). Plus, there is just something extraordinary about seeing a dense forest go from a deep shade of green to a blazing array of gold, red and orange.
Growing up in Colorado, fall also usually meant unpredictable weather that could quickly go from sunny days in the high 70°s to cloudy nights in the low 30°s. The swing in temperatures can be a bit jarring - especially if you aren't prepared. While we have spent many days outside adventuring in sub-par conditions (like trail running when it was so cold school got cancelled), thanks to our outdoor gear, we were usually able to keep exploring even when the weather took a turn for the worst.
Below are some of our recommended pieces of outdoor gear if you are also looking to explore and be outside during the fall. Keep this guide in mind the next time you are planning your own epic outdoor adventure.
FALL GEAR GUIDE | CAMPING AND MORE
4 SEASON TENT
While 4-season tents are known to be quite bulky - especially when compared to their 3-season counterparts, we believe the extra weight is worth it if it means you get a nice warm night's sleep. This tent by MSR is big enough for 2 people and is meant to be used for mountaineering (meaning it actually packs down quite tightly). | CHECK IT OUT
We believe this lightweight Mountain Hardware sleeping bag is the perfect option for your late season, fall adventures. The bag's compressible synthetic insulation helps trap all of your body heat, while the super comfortable mummy fit delivers both warmth and plenty of room to move around. | CHECK IT OUT
This ultralight insulated sleeping pad is great for those late season backpacking trips into the high mountains. The pad comes with a pump that makes it super easy to inflate, while the nylon construction is quite soft but also durable. | CHECK IT OUT
While you will definitely want a super comfortable and warm sleeping pad for actual sleeping, you might also want to consider packing a lightweight pad for when you are cooking or just hanging out around the fire. This foldable pad by Exped is easy to pack and even easier to use. Plus, it will help keep your butt warm when making that morning cup of joe. Score. | CHECK IT OUT
Due to fall's extra amount of darkness - both in the morning and in the evening - you will want a strong headlamp that can guide your way along the trail or around camp. This Petzl Tactikka Core Pro headlamp can take either three AAA batteries or a rechargeable battery. Plus, its multiple-settings include a red light that is perfect for late evening adventures. | CHECK IT OUT
💬 INSIDER TIP: we also always try to pack at least one extra set of headlamp batteries with us, just in case the ones in the headlamp die.
CHECK IT OUT | REI'S GUIDE TO PACKING FOR YOUR FALL ADVENTURE
FOOD STUFF SACK
Another helpful item you will need with you when backpacking during the fall is a durable stuff sack that can easily hold all of your food and smelly stuff. The main point with this bag - this 15L one by Outdoor Research specifically - is to store everything that could attract a bear inside and then tie it up with rope (or paracord) and hang it from a designated bear hang, tree or bar. Because bears are still quite active in the fall, you will always want to stay bear-aware. | CHECK IT OUT
What we love most about this Mountain Hardware 55 liter backpack is its focus on comfort. For example, the bag comes with dual-density foam on both hips and shoulders, a Dynamic Hoverbelt that can move with your body so it is more efficient to carry, and a comfortable back panel that is both supportive and breathable. Plus, its removable hydration sleeve can double as a daypack for those shorter trips. | CHECK IT OUT
Nothing is more annoying when you are camping (especially when it is cold out) than having to wait forever for water to boil. Luckily, Jetboil stoves (like this one that can hold 2.5 cups of water) are super fast at boiling water - meaning you will be chowing down on that backpacking meal in no time. | CHECK IT OUT
While we usually choose to use our Jetboil stove since it comes with a stove and pot, we understand that sometimes you still need an extra cooking pot when out adventuring. This one by GSI Outdoors is made of hard anodized aluminum that helps keep it super light and also really strong. This might just be the perfect pot for all types of outdoor adventurers - especially if you are heading out in the fall and need to boil water fast. | CHECK IT OUT
While you can usually get away with just a simple bowl and spork (spoon and fork), if you are looking for a full backcountry camping utensil setup then consider investing in this set by Sea to Summit. It comes with a plate, bowl, a simple cup and all three major utensils. | CHECK IT OUT
Is there anything better than a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning in the backcountry? We don't think so. That is why we always try to pack at least one insulated thermos or tumbler - like this one by Camelbak - when we head out to camp during the fall. | CHECK IT OUT
We have become strong believers in just packing a water filter and a few water bottles when hiking and backpacking - at least when we know there is an ample amount of water available. We have been using this Katadyn water filter for years and are still loving it. | CHECK IT OUT
WATER BLADDER OR BOTTLE
We go back and forth on using a water bladder or not. During big days outside we like the efficiency of the bladder, but sometimes we also think a water bottle is handier since it is slightly easier to fill with our water filter. Plus, a hard-sided water bottle can also work well as a small sleeping bag heater when the temperature is really low (just fill the bottle with hot water and wait for your toes to warm up). | CHECK IT OUT
No fall adventure should occur without a handy medical kit. This ultralight and watertight one by Adventure Medical Kits comes with everything you could need in case something goes awry. | CHECK IT OUT
Some other nice to haves: depending on your location, you may also want to carry a can of bear spray. Likewise, you may also want a pair of trekking poles and some crampons (depending on if there is already snow or ice along your way).