Fall is perhaps the best time to go hiking. The air has cooled off from those warm Summer months, and the leaves start to change color, providing an amazing atmosphere for hiking – especially if you go on one of these amazing trails. If you plan on hiking this Fall, there are a few essential items that you’ll want to bring along to help you make the most of the trip. Here’s what you should have:

7 Essential Items for Hiking this Fall - water bottle, Hiking, essentials, Clothing, charger, camera, boots

Proper Hiking Boots

Unless the trails you plan on taking are all flat and smooth, you’ll want to invest in a good pair of hiking boots. Hiking boots will help to protect your ankles as you walk on rockier ground, and will keep your feet dry if you have to walk through any streams, puddles or rivers. If you get a good pair, they should last you through many hikes, so take the time to really research all your options. Find a pair that fits well, is comfortable to walk around in, and will protect your feet from the biggest dangers on the trail.

Other Clothing Attire

Besides boots, there are some other clothing items you’ll want to consider when hiking. It’s a good idea to wear bright clothing when you hike, in case something happens, and you need to be found. Fall is often a little cooler, so if you don’t want to hike in shorts, you should find some lighter pants or leggings that you can wear. If it gets real cold you’ll want to bring along an outdoor jacket, like one of these Union apparel options. You don’t have to re-do your entire wardrobe in order to hike in the fall – just be sure you have stuff that stands out, is easy to move around in, and will keep you comfortable in different temperatures.

A Good Hiking Stick

When the trails get a little rough, it’s good to have a hiking stick along with you. A hiking stick will help to take some of the pressure off your ankles and knees and can help you keep your balance on trickier spots. To get a hiking stick, you can either purchase one at a local sporting goods store, or you can even make one yourself. Just find a long and sturdy branch, trim off the bark, sand it down, and apply some wood finish. You can find more details on making your own customized hiking stick here.

A Water Bottle

You don’t want to hit the trails without a decent amount of water with you. Hiking is a strenuous activity and finding yourself in the middle of the woods while dehydrated is dangerous. Grab yourself a large, heavy-duty water bottle that you can bring along with you. Fill it up before you go, and make sure you drink frequently as you go along. An alternative to a bottle is a water bag, which is lighter to carry. Whichever you go with, just be sure you have a method for keeping yourself hydrated as you hike.

A Good Camera

When the leaves start to change all around, you won’t want to miss out on the numerous photo opportunities. Hiking is one of the best times to take photos, especially in the Fall. Most of us have cameras on our phones, but if you want to take even better pictures, consider investing in a good camera. A simple point-and-shoot will do the trick, or you can find an affordable DSLR. Once you have the camera, take some time to learn the principles of good photography and how all the settings on your camera work.

A Mobile Charger

To keep yourself safe while you hike, it’s important that your cell phone remains charged. Should you get lost or injured, you don’t want to find that you drained the whole battery taking pictures or using the GPS on the drive up. A mobile charger is something small you can keep in your bag, and plug in your phone should the battery start to drop too low. It’s a little extra weight in your bag, but the peace of mind it will provide is worth it.

Bug Repellent

Finally, while bugs mostly come out in the Summer, you still have to deal with them in the Fall. To keep things like mosquitoes and ticks away, bring plenty of bug repellent. Spray it all over your legs and arms before you start the hike and consider reapplying when you’re about halfway through. This will hopefully keep most of the bugs off, but it’s still a good idea to check for ticks once you get home.

Pack the Essentials

The point of hiking is to get away from modern life for a little while. However, that doesn’t mean you should go without anything. Packing a few essentials will help you enjoy the hike more and keep you safe, so be sure to pack a bag with the above items before you go.