Don’t be sad as you pack away your camping gear; fall in the Pacific Northwest provides myriad outdoor delights, including hikes without crowds, trees turning glorious shades of yellow, orange and red, and the anticipation of winter sports season.
Here are some jackets, boots and accessories that will keep you warm and dry as you head out, whether the day is clear and cold or dark and drizzly.
As fall descends, the crowds clear from the trails and animals get active preparing for winter. In short, it’s a great time to hit some of the hikes you missed (or avoided) during the summer. But keep in mind that it will be cooler and more slippery, and the likelihood of rain — real rain — will be greater. These pieces will help you get out there fully prepared.
Helly Hansen Moss Rain Jacket ($65 at hellyhansen.com). Fall rain requires more than the little packable rain jacket you carry in the summer. Founded in Norway and with its U.S. headquarters in Seattle, Helly Hansen understands rain protection. This jacket is fully wind- and waterproof, comes in five colors and can layer over a base-layer or fleece, depending on the day’s temperature.
Filson x Danner Light 40th Boot ($390 at filson.com). We wouldn’t recommend a hiking boot just based on looks. So even though this collaboration between Seattle’s Filson and Portland’s Danner resulted in perhaps the coolest boots we’ve ever seen, there’s more to them than style. A Gore-Tex membrane makes them waterproof, while the Vibram sole adds comfort and traction. Full-grain-leather details stand out against the breathable nylon upper, and a fiberglass shank provides support and stability.
MSR DynaLock Trail Backcountry Poles ($60 at msrgear.com). Slippery conditions call for a little extra support. Made in Seattle, these poles are constructed from high-strength aluminum for durability with light weight. A fast locking system lets you adjust the length on the fly, and an ergonomic grip adds comfort. Take them out snowshoeing this winter and know that the steel tips can take on rocks and ice. Started 50 years ago to provide safer climbing equipment, MSR is still making some of the highest-quality outdoor gear on the market out of its headquarters in the Industrial District.
Whether hitting a city park, tromping into the woods or heading out on a road trip to the Columbia River Gorge, it pays to be warm and cozy when ogling the trees’ change from green to gold (and red and orange). This gear hits the sweet spot between sporty and comforting.
Picture Organic Clothing Katness Insulated Jacket ($249 at rei.com). With urban good looks and off-the-grid performance, this PVC-free, 41% recycled polyester jacket can go anywhere this fall and winter. The faux-fur trim is removable, a longer hemline provides extra coverage and taped seams keep water out, whether you’re gazing at foliage in the rain or hitting the slopes this winter.
Lacrosse Alpha Cozy/Alpha Thermal Boots ($140 at lacrossefootwear.com). Ward off cold, wet feet with these 100% waterproof boots (the Cozy is the women’s style, the Thermal is the men’s) made in Portland from neoprene wrapped in premium rubber and lined in cold-fighting fleece. A rugged lug sole on the Thermal and sturdy channeled sole on the Cozy prevent slipping.
Stanley Master Series Unbreakable Trigger-Action Mug ($50–$55 at stanley-pmi.com). When weight isn’t an issue but ensuring your coffee stays warm is, pack this new pro-grade mug made from the thickest stainless steel on the market, with four layers of insulation to keep hot drinks hot for up to nine hours. It’s hefty, but in a good way, with a finger loop to prevent drops in the rain, and an innovative trigger-action button that opens the leakproof seal and allows you to drink with one hand.
It’s a great time to start that ski conditioning regimen. Need an incentive? How about promising yourself a new piece of gear for every month of classes completed? Here are some finds that are worth breaking a sweat for.
Outdoor Research Vigor Hybrid Hooded Jacket ($179 at outdoorresearch.com). More than a vest, less than a puffy jacket, this clever Seattle-designed hybrid can be used alone or as a base layer for snow sports. Wicking material helps regulate your body temperature and keep you dry, while extra insulation in the body holds in warmth. Thoughtful details such as thumb holes, which keep your sleeves securely under your gloves, and flat seam construction make it an essential fall-to-winter piece. Available in men’s and women’s versions.
Merrell Thermo Rhea Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots ($200 at rei.com). If you like to dabble in winter activities, invest your boot money in a versatile pair that can do it all and take you to apres-ski as well. This women’s style has PrimaLoft insulation and a fleece lining, plus extra over-the-toe insulation to keep your tootsies warm while hiking or snowshoeing. A waterproof leather upper is backed by a waterproof breathable membrane, and a heavy-duty lug sole provides traction on snow and ice.
K2 Virtue/Diversion Helmet ($160 at k2snow.com). The Seattle ski experts’ top-of-the-line helmet (the Virtue is the women’s model, the Diversion is the men’s) has been completely overhauled to take on rolling weather conditions in comfort. With both user-controlled and passive-channel venting, it provides the most options for staying warm or cool as temperatures shift. Its hybrid construction keeps it lightweight, it’s fully adjustable, and a pre-installed low-profile speaker connects to your phone for tunes or calls, no earbuds required. It’s also bike-certified, so you can wear it now without the ear pads for cruises down the Burke-Gilman Trail.