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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.