Fall is a Great Time for Hiking

Cooler temperatures and fewer crowds (and bugs!) make fall a perfect time for hiking. Here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, we love fall hikes, even on rainy days. Getting outside to enjoy nature makes gray skies a little brighter, and the exercise is good for everybody. As long as you’re well prepared, fall can be a season of great hikes!

Staying safe is job #1, so follow these tips for a successful hike.

Stay Warm and Dry

Check the weather report, but remember that conditions can change quickly this time of year. Be prepared for anything by dressing in layers. Wear a wicking base layer, a fleece layer and a waterproof shell. Bring along a warmer coat if it’s going to be cold. You might not need it when you’re working up a sweat, but you’ll be glad you have it when you stop and get chilled. Learn how to waterproof a jacket, and you’ll stay nice and dry.

Take Care of Your Feet

The right footwear can make the difference between happy feet that can go for miles and miserable feet that just want to go home. Wear wicking socks to prevent blisters, and well-fitting shoes or boots with a sturdy tread to avoid slipping on wet leaves and rocks.

Waterproofing boots is the first and most important step to keeping your feet dry and warm. Here’s how to waterproof boots for wet fall hikes:

  1. Clean boots and brush away dirt to prep the surface for waterproofing.
  2. Select the right water repellant for your boots (leather, nubuck, suede or fabric).
  3. Work waterproofing gel into the surface, or spray water repellant over the boot.
  4. Let dry and get outside!

ReviveX® by Gear AidTM can help you waterproof any type of boots quickly and easily. Use our Boot Cleaner Concentrate to prep your boots first, then apply ReviveX.

Here's an extra #geartip for you: For even more protection in the wettest conditions, apply Seam Grip® to the stitching on your hiking boots and shoes. And to keep your trail map dry, just spray it with Air Dry Waterproofing Spray.

Buddy Up

It’s true that there is safety in numbers—especially if you’re hiking through rough terrain or bear country. Invite a friend to come along. If you get lost or hurt, you’ll be glad you did. If you need a hiking buddy, check out your local hiking clubs and plan to join an upcoming hike. If you hit the trail alone, communicate your plans so others know where you’re going and when to expect you back.

Choose the Right Trail

Research local hiking trails and choose the day’s destination carefully. Depending on the area, you could encounter snow, gushing creeks and rivers, or even closed trails. Call ranger stations for current conditions. If you don’t have a clue where to hike, there are plenty of online resources for every region. Here in the PNW, we rely on TMBER and the Washington Trails Association.

Pack the 10 Essentials and Keep Extra Gear in the Car

On any hike, bring along the 10 Essentials. Stash extra emergency gear in the car—especially if your area is prone to snowstorms. Extra food and water, blankets, hats and gloves, flashlights and batteries, matches and an emergency shelter can keep you safe.

Tell Us About Your Great Hikes

We hope you’re inspired to get outside and enjoy a fall hike. Like us on Facebook to learn about trails and #geartips, and to share photos of your favorite hikes. See you on the trail!

Originally Published: Nov 19, 2012

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