Two people walking on a cold fall day, bundled up in jackets

Fall edit: top gear picks to beat the chill

Forget pumpkin spice – the real first sign of fall is when you think, “I should’ve brought another layer.” Once you’ve made peace with the fact that summer’s come and gone, there’s nothing left to do but welcome the cooler temps, pop on a toque, and dig out the Blundstones from your shoe pile.

My favourite thing about fall? Crowds on local trails, beaches and bike routes fade away. To make the most of the season, here are our picks to keep you outside longer when there’s a bite in the air.

1. Colour-blocked down

This lightweight puffy squishes into its own pocket and is filled with 700 fill-power duck down. It’s awesome for day hiking and works just as well for trekking across town.

Good to know: All MEC Label down clothing meets the Responsible Down Standard. The jacket below also uses bluesign® certified material, which means it’s been made with reduced chemical and environmental impacts.

Two people wearing the MEC Boundary Lite Down Jacket, which is a puffy jacket made with different colours
MEC Ambassador Jessa Gilbert sitting in a canoe, doing plein air art in a lightweight puffy down vest

Above: MEC Ambassador Jessa Gilbert in the Boundary Light Down Vest. “It’s a great piece to have at the top of a hike, taking a break from paddling in a canoe, and around a campfire,” says Jessa. “Transitioned well from the mountains back into town afterwards too!”

2. Leave the umbrella behind

What’s worse: 2°C and sideways rain or -2°C and sloppy snow? Trick question, because if you’ve got on one of these jackets, you’ll be good either way. Quality waterproof-breathable layers mean you don’t need to hassle with an umbrella, which frees your hands up to do valuable things like pet friendly dogs and hold coffee.

 

Two people walking on a rainy day wearing jackets to stay dry, while everyone around them is using umbrellas
Water beading off of the MEC Outpost Daypack

Above: The MEC Outpost 25L Daypack is made of waterproof fabric to keep your laptop and other essentials dry in mean weather.

3.  Wrap-around fleece

There’s something about pullovers that make them even cozier than zip-ups. Plus, the MEC Label fleece below is made of recycled polyester, which means we transform post-consumer plastic bottles into fuzzy fleece fabric to keep waste out landfills.

Two people wearing cozy fleece jackets

Left: North Face Campshire Pullover HoodieRight: MEC Stargazer Fleece Pullover.

4. Puffy jackets that give you options

Maximize your closet space. The MEC Label jacket below is reversible so you can wear it two ways: quilted or smooth side out. It also packs up small for weekend trips.

Woman holding an umbrella and wearing a quilted tan puffy jacket

Above: MEC Transference Reversible Jacket (men’s Transference Reversible Jacket also available), Arc’teryx Covert Cardigan, MEC Turtleneck

The Arc’teryx Thorium AR Hoody also gives you lots of options – it’s the most versatile insulated hoodie in their line-up. Use it around town Monday to Friday, then take it ski touring on the weekend.

Man wearing an Arc'teryx puffy jacket and walking a rambunctious dog

Above: Arc’teryx Thorium AR Hoody (women’s Thorium AR Hoody also available)

5. Dry toes

After months of Birkenstocks and Tevas, it’s easy to forget how wet socks can put a damper on fall walks. Find out how satisfying it is smash through puddles and wet leaves without drenching your feet.

Two pairs of Blundstone boots with water beading off of them
Two pairs of waterproof shoes with water beading off

Above: Xtratuf Rain Boots (there are also women’s Xtratuf boots) and Salomon Acro Cordura Chukka WR 2 Shoes

6. Toasty toques

Battle windchill and bad hair days simultaneously. Toques are worth the small amount of space they take up in your bag “just in case it gets cold later.” Tip: after September, it always gets cold later.

Two people laughing in toques

Above: MEC Maritime Merino Beanie (left) and MEC Maritime Merino Toque (right)

7. The return of plaid

As the unofficial uniform of fall, plaid comes in many forms. It can be a stretchy and quick-drying or soft and classic flannel – you choose what works for you. Bonus: both of the plaid shirts below are made in Fair Trade Certified factories.

Two people wearing plaid shirts

Left: MEC Overland Stretch ShirtRight: MEC Brushwood Shirt.

8. Comfy tights for cool nights

Move over shorts – it’s stretchy tights season. Supportive, moisture-wicking tights make cold-weather workouts comfortable. Look for reflective elements to keep you visible when the sun starts setting earlier than you’d like.

Men's tights that are totally reflective when you see them in the dark
Women's running tights with reflective hits that pop in the dark

Above: MEC Flight Run Tight, made of bluesign-approved materials (also available in a men’s version)

Fall is like a sneaky bonus outdoor season – all the good stuff, none of the hectic July energy. Enjoy the cooler weather and a few more weekends of playing outside before the first snow falls.

Joyce Chua

One of the first to learn about new gear at MEC. Perfect day: hiking, biking or kayaking, plenty of snacks, and squeezing in a nap with her dog Moki.