For those of you who aren't quite ready for a trek yet but are looking to get out on some day trips, this post is for you.
One of the ways that we are able to pull-off our one-day-a-week hiking trips is by having checklists. We have a checklist for each season. The night before we head out on a day-trip we pull out the checklist. The kids are responsible for assembling their clothing items and putting it in a pile. Once everyone has their pile together, I read the checklist out loud and everyone double-checks that they have everything they need. The kids then separate out the clothes they are going to wear and pack the rest in their backpacks. When firing on all cylinders the entire process takes less than a half-hour.
The order of the items in the checklist is actually quite important. I want my kids to be able to think about what they are bringing, and understand the various clothing layers and what they do. It is getting to the point now that they can pretty much assemble all they need without having to look at the list.
When teaching them about what they need to bring for clothing, I tell them to think of it in this order: from head-to-toe, and from inside to outside. Our list is therefore written in that order.
What follows is our clothing checklist for fall hiking. It applies both to children and adults. Once people are experienced with what their bodies require in various weather conditions, we allow individuals to tweak it according to their needs. This list also assumes that you will be spending the entire day outside without the luxury of easily being able to go indoors to warm up. If you are only going out for a couple of hours, you can adjust as necessary.
- Winter hat - a light fleece beanie works great
- Balaclava or Buff (optional) - not required if you are bringing a hoodie (see below). We have found Buffs to be highly versatile pieces of clothing and highly recommend them.
- Wool/synthetic undershirt - For more info on what we like to use, read our article on underpants.
- Wool/synthetic t-shirt
- Wool/synthetic long-sleeve undershirt
- Light-weight fleece hoodie (preferred) or fleece sweater
- Windbreaker - the lighter weight, the better
- Rain jacket (optional) - whether or not you need this will depend on the forecast. For fall we prefer to bring something waterproof, breathable, and durable. I.e. I wouldn't recommend a rain poncho.
- Insulated jacket (optional) - Something light-weight and windproof and preferably with a hood. This jacket is meant to be worn at rest stops. If you have to wear this to stay warm when hiking then you aren't bringing enough other layers. In early fall or late spring when the temperatures are mild we don't bother with this. In colder weather this becomes essential.
- Wool/Synthetic light-weight gloves or glove liners
- Mitts (optional) - in early fall or late spring when the temperatures are mild we don't bother with these.
- Wool/synthetic underwear - as with the undershirts, for more info on what we like to use read our article on underpants.
- Wool/synthetic long underwear
- Fleece pants (optional) - some people get cold more easily than others and long underwear isn't enough.
- Synthetic hiking pants - make sure they are highly wind resistant and durable.
- Rain pants (optional) - whether or not you need this will depend on the forecast. As with the jacket, we prefer to bring something waterproof, breathable, and durable.
- Wool/synthetic liner socks (optional) - in colder weather, these can add a little extra warmth
- Wool socks - the warmer the better
- Waterproof socks (optional) - in cold/wet conditions these are VERY helpful
- Hiking shoes - we like to wear light-weight trail runners
- Gaiters (optional) - we will bring these when we think there might be snow and/or ice
- Crampons (optional) - we will bring these when we think there might be snow and/or ice
If you are going to be hiking in the fall during hunting season, make sure that one of your clothing items is blaze orange!
This list has worked quite well for us for the last two seasons. I would be interested in knowing if you think we missed anything, if you do things differently, or if you think there is something we could improve upon. All feedback is welcome!
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our newest blog contributor. This drawing was done by our 9 year-old son Laurent. He absolutely loves to draw. It is our plan to feature his art on all future blog posts. We will tell him what the blog post topic is and then let him use that as inspiration. This is what he came-up with for this weeks post. He is VERY excited about this new endeavor and we are all very much looking forward to seeing how this works out moving forward. Welcome to the blog Laurent!