Outdoor Gear to Pack for Fall Adventures in Vancouver

A couple walks along the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver on a rainy day.

Walking on Stanley Park Seawall on a rainy day. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Destination Canada (CTC)

Fall is a beautiful time of year to experience the outdoors in Vancouver. But you might be wondering: What should I pack? Don’t worry! Our Vancouver fall packing list for outdoor adventures has the answers.


Fall Weather in Vancouver

Vancouver has a mild climate, so it’s never very cold in the fall. In September, October, and November, temperatures are typically 5 to 19(41 to 66

However, autumn in Vancouver can be rainy. On average, it rains about six days a month in September, 12 days in October, and 16 days in November. Sometimes it rains all day, but often, it drizzles in fits and starts, with clear periods in between.

It’s important to keep in mind that while it may be warm and sunny at sea level, the mountains are a different beast. If you are heading up to the peaks in fall, be prepared for cold, snow, and ice.

People hiking through the forest on the Elk Mountain Trail

Hiking through the forest on the Elk Mountain Trail. Photo: Tourism Ch’illiwack


What to Pack for Fall Outdoor Adventures

In fall, Vancouver’s weather can change a lot in just a few minutes. That’s why it’s important to dress in layers so you can add or remove clothes as the temperature changes or the rain stops and starts.

Look for quick-drying synthetic or wool clothing. Hiking or outdoor-specific clothing is the best option, but workout clothes can also be great. Avoid anything made with cotton as it won’t keep you warm if it gets wet.

Here’s a quick packing list for fall outdoor activities in Vancouver:

Waterproof Jacket: Look for ones rated waterproof, not water-resistant. If you plan to hike, choose ones with waterproof breathable technology. They let sweat escape without letting rain in. This is the outermost layer in your layering system.

Fleece or Puffy Jacket: This middle layer will add warmth in chilly temperatures. Make sure it fits under your rain jacket.

Quick-Dry T-Shirt: This layer goes next to your skin to wick sweat. If you get cold easily or plan to visit in November when temperatures are cooler, consider a long-sleeved shirt or a thicker thermal shirt.

Quick-Dry Pants or Tights: In milder temperatures, you can wear these on their own, but if it gets cold or wet, you may want to wear pants over long johns or under rain pants.

Waterproof Pants: Pack these if you are a rain-or-shine hiker and plan to head out no matter the weather. For the best performance, choose ones with waterproof breathable technology. Long zippers on the sides are great for letting sweat escape or easy on/off. Make sure they fit over your hiking pants or long johns.

Long Johns: It doesn’t get that cold in Vancouver in fall, but if your visit coincides with chilly temps or you get cold easily, you might want the added warmth of long johns. Layer them under your hiking pants. Lightweight or midweight long johns are all you need – heavyweight ones will be too hot.

Waterproof Hiking Boots: In the summer, you can get away with hiking in Vancouver in running shoes. But in the fall, you need waterproof hiking boots. Our trails can be wet and muddy, even on sunny days.

Warm Hat: Canadians call it a toque and Americans call it a beanie. No matter what you call it, bring a warm hat to fend off chilly weather.

Gloves: It’s easy to get cold hands. Pack lightweight fleece or wool gloves.

Water Bottle: Even if you aren’t sweating too much, it’s easy to get dehydrated while hiking. Most hikers need about 0.5L of water per hour. While Vancouver’s mountain streams may look pristine, the water isn’t safe to drink without filtering or purifying. Pack lots of water.

Snacks: Pick up a sandwich or pastry at one of Vancouver’s great cafes, then enjoy it on the trails. Pack some granola bars, trail mix, or candy for extra energy.

The 10 Essentials: AdventureSmart recommends bringing a backpack with essential safety and first aid gear on every hike. Read through the full list of equipment on their site for a great run-down on the things you need to bring to have a safe and fun hike.

Backpack: Bring a backpack to carry your extra layers, water, snacks, and safety gear. Look for one that has a capacity of 15-30 litres.

Two people hike in Squamish BC

Hiking in Squamish. Photo: Destination BC/Hubert Kang


Fall Hiking Tips

Looking for more fall hiking tips? Get advice on weather forecasts, bears, sunset times, and more in our guide to safe fall hiking in Vancouver.


Best Fall Hikes in Vancouver

Want to find the perfect fall hike? Choose one from our lists of the best Vancouver hikes for fall colours, more hikes for fall colours, or the best hikes for rainy days. Or dig into our Vancouver hike of the month archives.

View of the Tantalus Mountains from the Cheekeye River

Fall colours on the Four Lakes Trail in Squamish. Photo: Taryn Eyton

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