Fall is pretty tough to beat when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors, especially in New England. Whether you’re out there hiking, biking, camping, boating, leaf-peeping, driving the region’s scenic roadways, exploring picturesque towns, or just plain kicking your feet up on the deck to keep track of the changing colors on your favorite tree out back, there is arguably no better time to be outside than the fall.
Along with its great beauty, however, the season requires a bit more planning to dial in comfort because you never know what Mother Nature will be throwing at you.
On any given day you could be confronted by blazing sun and temps in the 90s, cold blustery winds that bring tears to your eyes, overnights dipping into the 30s with morning frost, and even accumulated snow.
Being well-equipped can make the difference between having a magical vs. a miserable experience. The collection of gear below can help you keep a smile on your face no matter what confronts you in the great outdoors.
The new Pioneer Platform by Rhino-Rack has been specifically designed to be compatible with most existing Rhino-Rack accessories — and there are a lot of them — making it the most versatile and modular load-carrying platform on the market. Fat bikes, kayaks, luggage bags, jerry can holders, spare wheel holders, shovels … you name it and the Pioneer is prepared to carry it with newly-added accessories channels in both the front and rear extrusions.
The platform is constructed with non-corrosive, lightweight aluminum together with fiberglass reinforced nylon corners. Its sleek design eliminates wind noise when on highways, but the product is truly at home when you turn off-road. Attach a custom pull-out awning or even mount a roof-top tent. Your imagination is the limit.
X Ultra 4 GTX
Whether you’re planning a hike that will last a few hours or for several days, check out Salomon’s fourth-generation model of its popular hiking shoe — the X Ultra 4 GTX. Designed to be as agile as a trail-running shoe, the X Ultra 4 GTX also comes with all the stability, grip, and waterproof protection needed to tackle technical terrain. Equipped with a new chassis, the shoe is even better at protecting sensitive articulations without compromising freedom of movement.
A women-specific model adapts to the form of your feet with a softer cuff, anatomically-cradled design and lower-density chassis for greater stability. It is backed up by Gore-Tex protection and a grippy outsole that powers through uphills while providing security during tough descents, even in wet conditions.
Hikers know the joy of finding that perfect walking stick right at the trailhead only to lament having to cast it aside when the adventure is over. Get your hands on a pair of thoughtfully designed trekking poles, however, and you’ll never miss lugging around an old stick again. Besides, two poles are generally better, especially in more technical applications like creek-crossings, carrying heavy backpacks, and mountain running.
The MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon is an all-around trekking pole that balances lightweight, strength and function. The contoured foam grip and padded straps are simple and comfortable, and the light swing weight makes these adjustable poles a joy to bring along on a range of excursions. The three-section foldable poles pack down to 14 inches, a feature that gives this pole an edge over telescoping poles that can not collapse to such a short length. The benefits are realized in transitions when the poles are stowed away inside a pack or strapped to the outside.
H/H Skar pant and Lifaloft jacket
At only 250 grams, Helly Hansen’s Skar outdoor pants for both men and women are versatile, ultra lightweight, warp-stretch twill pants that are perfect for any hiking trip, dog walk, or indoor/outdoor exploration. These value-priced soft-shell pants are made with the certified Bluesign sustainable textile process and feature gusseted crotch, deep pockets, and articulated knees for maximum freedom of movement. UPF 50 sun protection is built in to provide added safety when out in the elements.
Pair with HH’s lightweight Lifaloft Insulator Jacket and you’re perfectly prepared for those fall days when temps drop without the need to carry around a bulky top. The jacket combines Helly Hansen’s unique LIFA technology with Primaloft insulation to produce a blend that retains more heat while remaining comfortable during even the most intensive activities. Thanks to its air-pocket fiber structure, LifaLoft’s system is 20 percent lighter than standard insulation, providing more warmth at lower weight.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our vehicles have played a more central role in our outdoor recreational pursuits, serving as a self-contained base camp for any number of activities. Boost the functionality and style of your hatchback, minivan or SUV with Napier’s SportzCove canopy.
With a simple one-pole setup that comes in sizes to fit virtually any vehicle, you can add a shaded shelter to your own personal parking area while also creating a comfortable sleeping set-up inside your car. Made of 75-denier polyester taffeta with a polyurethane coating that sheds water, the three-season SportzCove awning is ideal for tailgating, road tripping, fishing, picnics, bonfires, and backyard barbecues. It’s also perfect for camping out of the back of your vehicle with its built-in storm flap and mesh screen door to keep the bugs out.
If you appreciate a product that eliminates any need to think, filling a dresser drawer with Darn Tough socks does exactly that. Just grab a pair and go, because the Northfield, Vt. company’s strategic weave of Merino wool, nylon, and lycra produces socks that are not only ridiculously comfortable but also unconditionally guaranteed for life.
For fall excursions, the Hiker line is my “go-to.” Cushioned and durable with a seamless toe and a tight hold, these socks come in a variety of lengths — no-show, micro crew, crew, quarter, and boot. These socks are designed to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They are remarkably odor-free, even after days of continued wear, thanks to the natural microbial features of the Merino wool. In the fall, as your body heats, the Merino wool absorbs moisture and releases it before it turns to sweat. In reverse, any outside moisture is captured before it touches your skin, keeping your feet dry. When temps drop, the insulating qualities of the 61 percent Merino wool blend keeps your feet toasty.
PreCip Eco Safari
Swap out the ol’ baseball hat for additional functionality and style that Marmot’s mesh-lined PreCip Eco Safari Hat provides. The recycled nylon face fabric is long-lasting, waterproof, and breathable with its microporous coating. Seam seals prevent leaks and the floatable brim provides protection when you want it or folds up easily with magnetic closures when you don’t. An adjustable and removable chinstrap provides additional security on windy days.