Fall Running & Hiking Essentials

Make sure you have these essential items in your workout gear wardrobe to keep you warm and dry this fall

Fall is one of the best times of year for outdoor running and hiking—the temperatures are cooler (but not too cold), the fall scenery is beautiful, and all the bugs and other irritants that can ruin your run or hike during the spring and summer months are nowhere to be found. The only downside to running or hiking outdoors in the autumn is the elements, which can be unpredictable at this time of year. Be prepared for rain, wind, hail and chilly temperatures by adding these fall running and hiking essentials to your workout gear wardrobe.

A waterproof jacket and a water-resistant jacket
If you live on the west coast like I do, having a good quality, lightweight waterproof/water-resistant jacket is essential if you plan to do any kind of activity outdoors, especially during the fall and winter.

When it comes to keeping you dry, you can’t go wrong with Arc’Teryx. Although pricey, these jackets are functional, stylish and well made, and will keep you protected from the elements during your outdoor adventures. For hiking, I like the Beta SL Jacket as it’s extremely lightweight, waterproof and packable. For running, I like the Cita Jacket, as it’s water-resistant and breathable, with panels to vent perspiration.

Water-resistant trail runners
If you enjoy trail running year-round like I do, you’ll know the importance of having a good pair of trail runners that prevent water from seeping in and soaking your socks while you’re out for a run. I like Columbia Sports Ventrailia Razor for short trail runs and hikes when I know there might be some mud to run through and slippery rocks to climb. They keep my feet nice and toasty, too.

Lots of layers
Good base layers are essential when exercising outdoors in the fall—you can always remove a layer if you get too warm partway through your run or hike, but at least you’re prepared to stay warm and dry if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Merino wool makes an excellent base layer fabric. Not only does it keep you warm, but also wicks sweat away to keep you dry. For a running and hiking base layer, you can’t go wrong with an Icebreaker zip-up hoodie. I usually wear mine over another warm but sweat-wicking fabric base layer, so if I get too hot I can just remove my hoodie and tie it around my waist.

I also like to wear Merino wool on my feet. SmartWool makes amazing running and hiking socks of varying lengths and fabric weights to keep your feet warm and dry while running and hiking.

Another key layer is a pair of warm and comfortable leggings you could wear on their own or under a pair of rain pants. I love these fleece-lined Moto Lesley Tights  from Oiselle, which would keep your legs nice and toasty when out for a chilly fall morning run.

A headlamp
If you do most of your running before or after work during the week, you know that being seen on the road during twilight hours is important. Besides reflective clothing, a good headlamp or clip-on light is important not only so you can see where you’re going, but also so drivers and cyclists and see you. I prefer the headlamp, as I find it provides the most light and visibility. The Petzl Tikka headlamp from MEC has seven different modes (flashing, red and white lights, etc.) and can pivot up and down. I usually wear mine with a running toque or hat so it’s more comfortable.

A running toque and gloves
Keeping your head, ears and hands covered is the best way to stay warm when out for a chilly early morning hike or run. Because you’ve moving, you don’t need to bundle up in grandma’s knitted mittens and hats; just a pair of gloves and a headband or a beanie made out of a lightweight, sweat-wicking fabric will do. These lightweight Brooks Dash Running Gloves and Organic Headband from prAna would provide just enough coverage to keep you comfortable while exercising outdoors in the fall.

A water-resistant waist belt for your stuff
Protect your smartphone while out taking selfies on your trail run with a water-resistant waist belt. Yes, it’s kind of like a fanny pack, but you don’t want to carry your electronics and other essentials next to your sweaty skin in your pocket, do you? I like this Ultimate Direction Jurek Essential Belt, which has a water-resistant pocket big enough to fit your phone, as well as places to store gels, keys, and other essentials.




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