Fall Hiking Gear to Up Your Experience

With colors at peak and the temps nice and cool, fall is a beautiful time to hit the trail in the Blue Ridge. Here’s the fall hiking gear to up that autumn experience.

salewa Ultratrain 3 

Salewa
Ultratrain 3 

A true triple threat, this shoe combines the DNA of a trail runner with the profile of a hiker and adds in some sticky Pomoca rubber to tackle rocky approaches. That made it the perfect shoe for adventure in the Blue Ridge, whether we were scrambling ragged ridge lines or simply putting down serious miles on the dirt. Bonus: unlike far too many shoes we test, it laces solid and stays put on your hike. $140; salewa.com

vasque Satoru Trail LT

Vasque 
Satoru Trail LT

Vasque looked to break stereotypes with this hiker: It’s got the vibe of a skate shoe but the skillset to handle a thru-hike. Weighing 1 pound, 4 ounces and comfy as a slip-on, it sports a serious Vibram Ethereal Litebase with Megagrip Compound sole that can scramble up rockfall just as well as it pounds out long trail miles. The yarn and mesh upper fabric lets your dogs breathe while providing plenty of comfort, and the high-rebound footbed sucks up the abuse of big days. $150; vasque.com

Deuter Futura 32

Deuter
Futura 32

Fall can be full of bluster, meaning you need to pack more layers (and, hey, more snacks to burn more calories). Stable, light, and able to swallow up tons of gear, the Futura 32 is the hauler of choice when you have a lot to carry. The Aircomfort back system ventilates when you’re sweating, and the adjustable shoulder straps and hip fins end up being far less bulky than a big pack, providing the heft to take on minimalist overnighters. $170; deuter.com

Leki MCT 12 Vario Carbon Women’s

Leki
MCT 12 Vario Carbon Women’s

There was a time when we eschewed hiking poles—they seemed like too much to carry. These sticks are a big part of why we’ve changed our tune. Weighing in at just 6.7 ounces, but with the guts to scurry up talus slopes, these poles help you hike faster and with a better rhythm, not to mention providing support and confidence on tricky terrain. When you don’t want to use them, they break down small enough to stash in a day pack. $250; leki.com

Rab Kinetic 2.0

Rab 
Kinetic 2.0

A shell that will protect you from the worst onslaughts of the shoulder season but not cramp your style, the Kinetic 2.0 tips the scales at 11.9 ounces in a men’s large—light enough to shove in your pack and pull out when the weather rolls in. But don’t think less weight means less protection. The recycled polyester and waterproof/breathable membrane repels the wet stuff like a champ. Best of all, the fit is so comfy you may keep wearing it even after a storm. $230; rab.equipment

oboz insole

BFCT + Oboz
O Fit Insole Plus Unity Blaze

Earl B. Hunter, the CEO of Black Folks Camp Too (BFCT), wants to expand the idea of who gets outdoors. The nonprofit has a simple, powerful mission that appeals to all: Treat everyone, everywhere, equally. To rally around that message of inclusivity, BFCT partnered with Oboz to bring some soul to the core brand’s comfy O Fit insoles. A portion of the sales benefits BFCT’s Digital Education Initiative, dedicated to getting the Black community out on the trails. $30; obozfootwear.com

Miraflora CBD Recovery Balm

Miraflora
CBD Recovery Balm

Hiking long miles can be hard on the body, but CBD (the legal, popular non-psychoactive cannabinoid) can ease those pains. This is no snake oil: The balm combines hemp flower oil, virgin shea butter, extra virgin coconut oil, and aromatic essential oils in a rub developed by a big-mountain skier who runs the brand from a family farm. Want more? Miraflora fertilizes its hemp with a truly organic source: doo doo from the farm’s alpaca herd. $25; miraflora.co 

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