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Receive a free resource: Hiking Layering System Explained
By Diane Spicer
Staying warm and dry as the weather changes (sometimes by the minute) means you need a plan centered around fall hiking layers.
Take the guesswork out of choosing the best fall hiking clothing from REI with these Hiking For Her tips and recommendations.
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You want durable outdoor clothing (considered part of your gear list) that will keep you warm, dry and happy on a hike.
It's even more important than usual to get your clothing layering system right in the autumn season bringing you unpredictable, sometimes nasty weather.
We'll take it one layer at a time, starting with the all important outer layer.
Jump to the pieces of hiking apparel that interest you the most:
This is usually the most expensive layer, and the one that is critical to get just right.
Because if it fails, all the other layers beneath it are in jeopardy.
Translation: You get cold, or wet, or both.
A jacket for hiking has many jobs to do well, and it may be that you need one jacket for dry days and another for wet trails.
And if you plan correctly, one can fit over the other and perform well for you in colder winter weather, too.
Here's a down jacket that can keep you warm in calm as well as windy weather. I wore mine in Alaska's backcountry for 10 days straight, through all sorts of dry and wet weather, and it performed well.
|REI Co-op Magma 850 Down Hoodie||
I love the Raisin/Canyon Dusk color combo seen here, but you have 2 more options:
Available in XS - 3X
What's great about this jacket:
The best thing about this jacket? It blocked wind, stood up to light drizzle, and felt like a big warm hug day after day. I even slept in it one night when the wind was howling!
If you don't need this amount of warmth for your hiking plans, consider this REI 650 down jacket instead.
|REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket||
Nice features for this price point:
Use this for day hikes, daily walks or running errands around town!
Sizes XS - 3X available
Now we must add a waterproof outer layer that can slide on right over your down jacket.
Here are two price point options to consider:
|REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket||
This jacket checks all the boxes: windproof, waterproof, breathable, lightweight and plenty of room for free movements.
Sizing ranges from XS - 3x.
|REI Co-op Active Pursuits Shell Jacket||
So lightweight, and this durable shell has vents to keep you temperature regulated as you hike.
Definitely fit for purpose on straightforward day hikes in sizes XS - 3X!
Pants, the all important decision for any female hiker! Hiking For Her recommends moisture resistant bottom layers for fall hiking and camping, but it's up to you whether you choose pants or tights.
Here are two options, available in a wide size range and able to take you right into winter snow sports:
I am never without rain pants in my backpack, based on decades of hiking through fall rain storms that seem to materialize out of nowhere.
Rain pants are NOT glamorous, but they become your best friend when it's pouring.
They also block wind and protect you from wet ground and soggy vegetation when you're sitting down for a snack or meal.
Here's my top REI pick:
|REI Co-op Rainier Full-Zip Rain Pants||
You need these features in rain pants!
(Don't tell anyone, but I wear mine for fall gardening projects, too.)
Now that your torso and legs are covered (literally), it's time to think about warm hands, ears and neck.
Because they will make or break a fall hike when the weather doesn't cooperate with your idea of a perfect day.
Here are the Hiking For Her recommendations for the best fall hiking clothing from REI to keep you happy when the weather frowns upon you.
|Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis Beanie | REI Co-op||
A beanie style cap fits nicely beneath the hood of your jacket, keeps hair and ears from getting soaked, and looks good.
|Outdoor Research Seattle Rain Hat | REI Co-op||
A rain hat like this one, with a wide brim and cinch under the chin, drains water away from your face and neck.
Mine is always in my pack, because you never know what Mother Nature is up to.
These are the gloves I depend on in fall conditions, because they resist moisture and allow full finger dexterity for gripping poles and navigational chores.
Cold hands are super hard to ignore on a fall hike!
|Seirus Xtreme Hyperlite Gloves | REI Co-op|
|Buff Merino Lightweight Multifunctional Neckwear | REI Co-op||
Not everyone wants to cover her neck in the fall, but I find neckwear like this helps me stay warm on chilly mornings and is a nice touch at day's end.
You'd be surprised what a difference it makes!
Note how versatile this little piece of cloth can be: hair band, emergency towel, mask, bandana, balaclava!
A versatile long sleeve shirt is your best weapon against chilly damp weather.
Pull on styles are easy to deal with and layer well, while button up styles can be more versatile while accommodating layers above and below.
Options galore in the lineup of best fall hiking clothing from REI! Here are two really nice choices:
You're looking for a way to trap heat against your body, while allowing your base layer to wick moisture and your outer layer to fight wind and water.
Enter the down vest into our discussion of the best fall hiking clothing from REI.
Here's the one I wore in Alaska, and by "wore" I mean every day and also at night in my sleeping bag.
This vest gives you size options from XS - 3X, and 4 color choices.
It's going to give you warmth, too, and be able to stand up to a small amount of misty precipitation thanks to its 7 ounces of down plus recycled DWR nylon.
Leave it in your backpack and never be cold again on the trail! If there's a punch line to this best fall hiking clothing from REI guide, that's it!
Now we're getting down to the nitty gritty, although we were "down" right from the start!
What you layer next to your skin is a personal decision: polyester or merino wool/wool blend.
But regardless of the fabric, you want your base layers to fit right and feel great.
Here are the best midweight top and bottoms choices for fall into winter hikes, beginning with fast drying 92% recycled polyester/8% spandex (bluesign® approved):
Merino wool is soft and breathable, won't hang onto odors, and dries quickly. Consider these as the best fall hiking clothing from REI for multiday adventures, or when conditions are highly variable on any one hike.
Also great if you run cold all the time.
Get straight to the best fall hiking clothing from REI using this handy guide. Only the top choices make it onto this website, clothing that I use myself and know will work based on its design, materials and track record.
Enjoy your fall hikes because you know you've taken the right steps to keep yourself safe in the face of unpredictable weather.
Here are more detailed hiking tips to get you ready for the trail:
Best Fall Hiking Gear From REI