Skip to Content

Fall Hiking Essentials List


Last Updated on February 20, 2023

This fall hiking essentials list will keep you warm and comfortable even when the weather is brisk or fluctuates throughout the day.

These hiking gear essentials will allow you to layer up without being bulky or cumbersome. This list of outdoor essentials includes must-haves like knit beanies and a homemade trail mix for a snack on the go. Pack these hiking backpack essentials for your next adventure or use them during your chilly commute during the week! These easy-to-pack items are perfect day hike essentials but are not enough for longer or overnight trips, so keep that in mind!

man and his dog hiking with overlay text reading "5 fall hiking essentials" to depict this is a hiking essentials list

I’m super excited to share this post with you because it was sponsored by tentree. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information please see my disclosure policy.

hiking gear essentials

When the sun starts setting early, you can cue my winter blues. As we approach winter, I lose all motivation to get things done. And, I DON’T EVEN LIVE IN A PLACE WITH REAL WINTER.

Our winters range from 20-60 degrees. Lord, bless me, if I ever move to the East Coast.

In order to cope with my disdain for fall and winter, I am trying to embrace the seasons and everything they give us — like squash.

Part of living a zero waste or more holistic lifestyle is living with the seasons. While I’ve embraced that in terms of food (I freaking love squash), I haven’t necessarily embraced that on other levels.

This year I’m truly making it a goal to honor the seasons and appreciate them for what they are. One of my goals is to get outside. Rain, shine, fog, cold — whatever the day brings, I’m trying to spend more time in nature.

When I’m in nature, I feel so much better. I love being among the trees and away from large swaths of concrete.

But getting outdoors when the temperature drops requires some considerations. These hiking gear essentials keep me prepared and comfortable while I’m out in possibly-inclement weather.

A man, woman, and their dog enjoying a lunch packed with their hiking gear essentials.

hiking backpack essentials

Tentree to the rescue! Tentree was founded in 2012 with a goal to deliver well-crafted, sustainable clothing, and with each purchase 10 trees would be planted.

To date, they have planted more than 24 million trees!! Yes, you read that correctly — 24 MILLION trees and counting. These trees have been planted in Canada, the United States, Nepal, Madagascar, Haiti, Senegal, and Cambodia.

Not only are these trees providing clean air and absorbing carbon, but they’re also helping to build local economies.

In the past, over 80% of Madagascar had been deforested. The removal of the mangrove trees threatened the wildlife, created erosion problems, and even desertification inland.

A man poses on a hike wearing his outdoor essentials.

outdoor essentials that help the outdoors

Tentree has planted 10 million trees in Madagascar, the majority being mangrove trees. These trees capture and absorb more carbon dioxide than any other trees in the world. But, the company also plants fruit trees that provide food to local villages, as well as other trees that provide fuel and lumber.

The goal is to fully restore the mangroves to help avoid erosion and restore the coasts so wildlife can inhabit them once again.

This is only one of their many projects. Check out all of the other amazing ways tentree is working to plant trees and help communities. I’m so inspired by the work tentree does and I’m extra excited to be working on this post with them!

a man and his dog with their hiking backpack essentials on a fallen tree.

my hiking essentials list:

1. easy layers:

Living in the Bay Area, it’s freezing in the morning, warm by two, and then by four the fog rolls in and it’s freezing again.

Dressing in thin but warm layers is key for me, so that’s first up on my hiking essentials list. I find it cumbersome to carry really thick sweatshirts, so I really like this thinner cumulus sweatshirt.

Under the sweatshirt, I’ll either wear a tee or a long-sleeve shirt… sometimes both.

One of the things that makes tentree stand out is their stellar selection for men. Their clothes are great for wearing day hiking essentials, but I’ve picked up a few pieces for Justin, and he loves them so much that he wears them everywhere.

He has a little bit of a thicker hoodie — the irvin zip — and then pairs it with their drifter tees. They’re his go-to tees for any occasion, not just hiking.

a smiling woman posting in a tree wearing her day hiking essentials.

a note about day hiking essentials and polyester

Some of their clothing is a blend with recycled polyester. While I’m not a huge fan of plastic in clothing, if it’s going to be there, I’m really glad that it’s made from recycled plastic bottles.

Tentree is continually looking for new ways to close the loop and incorporate more innovative materials into their fabrics. If you don’t have a guppy bag, you can pick one up to help you reduce the number of micro-plastics that poly products produce from being washed.

But, the majority of their clothing is made with natural fibers like organic cotton and hemp.

Natural fibers are great because they’re breathable. It makes it easier to regulate your body temperature so they help you stay both warmer and cooler.

Kathryn’s top picks:

Justin’s top picks:

2. the coziest of all pants:

To be honest, you’ll find me in these bamone sweatpants way more when lounging around the house than on the trail because they are so WARM!

I’ve worn them on one or two colder days, but they’re a little too warm for the current season. As we approach colder months, I will be incorporating them more.

I know that most people reading this post will be in weather cool enough to wear these, so I wanted to include them in case they’re day hiking essentials for you!

tentree is offering 20% off to all Going Zero Waste readers and is valid until December 5th, one-time use ‘GOINGZEROWASTE20 shop now

Kathryn’s top picks:

Justin’s top picks:

3. homemade trail snacks:

Trail snacks are a must-have hiking backpack essential!! I always make sure to bring a full water bottle and a couple of munchies. I think it’s nice to sit down and really enjoy the scenery.

I’m a goal driven person. Even when my “goal” is to be in nature, all I want to do is get to the finish line as fast as possible. You feel me?

I want to be at the end! I want to be “finished,” so I tend to have blinders on, and my body drives me to accomplish that goal.

So, it’s really nice just to take a break and enjoy being in the middle. It’s kind of a metaphor for how I feel about life.

Just make yourself the nice dinner, sit down, enjoy it, and be in the moment without any distractions. I’d hate to live my entire life running from goal to goal without ever truly enjoying being in the middle…

Because let’s be real — 98% of life is being in the middle.

My current favorite trail mix:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Almonds
  • 3 Tablespoons of Pecans
  • 3 Tablespoons of Peanuts
  • 3 Tablespoons of Pepitas
  • 3 Tablespoons of Dried Blueberries
  • 3 Tablespoons of Dried Raisins
  • 3 Tablespoons of Chocolate Chips

4. beanies:

When it’s windy, I get ear aches. Totally not a fun experience when you’re a couple of miles in and you have to walk all of the way back with aching ears.

You also use 10% of your body heat from your head, so if it starts to get chilly, wearing a hat is a great way to regulate your body temperature when the fog unexpectedly rolls in an hour early. Plus, they don’t take up a ton of space in your backpack if you get too warm and need to take it off.

One of the simplest things I can do to prevent chilly winds from getting me down is wear a beanie. And, to be honest… I’m not a huge beanie person.

But, when I saw this beanie with a pom pom, I just knew it was a must!! I also really like their cable knit beanies.

Justin has always been a fan of beanies, and he’s always wearing this organic cotton one because it’s so cozy!

As it gets colder, I’ll definitely need some of these cozy mittens!

Kathryn’s top picks:

Justin’s top picks:

5. nala!!

Is it even worth hiking if your furry friend can’t come with you!? I get exercise. She gets exercise. My mental health improves doubly because nature AND puppies.

It’s a winning combo y’all.


So, there’s one thing that’s also critical for me on nature walks, and it’s not so much something I bring with me, but there’s something many consider to be an outdoor essential that I don’t bring…

I keep my electronics OFF. I have them on my person in case of an emergency, but they’re stowed away because I will be checking email, taking photos, listening to a podcast — basically doing something other than what I’m supposed to be doing….

Which is NOT being connected with technology.

I just like to listen to nature.


how do i know the trees tentree plants won’t be cut down?

The tentree site says it best: “Many of the trees initially planted are, in fact, designed to be cut back periodically, as these species coppice (grow back vigorously after harvesting) time and again. These trees sustainably meet the needs of the participants, and the net result is rapidly and constantly growing diversity within the reforested lands. Therefore, the projects you support are not only permanent but always growing in diversity and ecological benefits, year after year.”

is there anything else should i bring?

It goes without saying that water is a must for any adventure. Be sure to pack it in a reusable, stainless steel bottle. Many are vacuumed sealed to keep your drink the temperature you want it. You can also pack a water purifying straw if you really want to rough it and will be near streams or lakes.

What are some of your goals for this fall and winter season?

tentree is offering 20% off to all Going Zero Waste readers and is valid until December 5th, one-time use ‘GOINGZEROWASTE20 shop now

Join The Conversation

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. To save the world, plant a tree, plant a tree, plant a tree. Nothing makes me happier than hiking. Will be stocking up on hiking essentials.