Stylish and practical, here are our top picks for the season ahead
Autumn is always a great time to head outdoors, made even more enjoyable when you've got the right gear. The secret is dressing and packing strategically. During this beautiful season, it's crucial you think about layering, taking into account warm, sunny days and dark, cool evenings. Luckily, both sartorial and technical adventure gear have upgraded significantly in recent years, making outdoor activities lighter, faster and more stylish.
There's something magical about autumn in B.C. that makes the outdoors irresistible. So gear up with our favourite essentials and head outside for a well-equipped and safe adventure this fall...
1. Women's Roxboro Down Hoody Black Label by Canada Goose, $795
Canada GooseThis incredibly lightweight puffer is the only outerwear you'll be reaching for this autumn. The down-filled jacket features rip-stop fabric made from 100 percent recycled nylon that will protect you from wind, rain and even snow. It's rated to keep you warm when temperatures drop down as low as -5, perfect for those chilly evenings and dewy mornings. But if your daytime activities have you working up a sweat, no worries. There are internal elastic backpack straps that you can loop your arms through, which allow you to quickly shrug the jacket off, letting it hang off your shoulders like a cape. This is brilliant for those days when the sun plays peekaboo and temperatures spike and drop quickly. Pull the jacket back over your shoulders when it gets cold, then slide it off without having to think twice about it falling to the ground when it gets too warm. And when you're absolutely sure you don't need it for a while, the Roxboro packs away satisfyingly into a small parcel about the size of a small book. Just find the inner left side pocket, turn it inside out and proceed to stuff the jacket into this self-made pouch. Either toss this into your backpack or—genius!—unsnap the backpack straps and re-snap them into exterior loops so you can carry your jacket-parcel crossbody. The Roxboro is machine washable and fits true to size. Size down if you want to wear it snug like a cardigan, size up if you want it to fit over your sweatshirts.
2. Backpack by Bugatti and Edition 22, $180
BugattiDon't let the stylish looks of this bag fool you. It's made with water-resistant rubberized vegan leather, has covered zippers to prevent rain and dirt from sliding in, has four exterior zippered compartments and a multitude of internal pockets to organize everything from shoes to water bottles to electronics. This backpack is a workhorse, part of Bugatti's exclusive Edition22 collection, featuring timeless, gender-neutral pieces for active urbanites.
This definitely wouldn't look out of place at the office or gym, but it performs brilliantly on day trips as well. It has a roomy 21 litre capacity that's accessible through the drawstring top, while the well-padded straps make for all-day comfort.
3. AlpenGlow 500 by BioLite, $99.95
BioLiteThis LED lantern is everything you want in a portable light source: lightweight, dimmable, rechargeable and weatherproof. It's about the size of a jar of peanut butter and can easily be picked up with a single hand, but it does come with an elongated hook at the base that makes it easy to hang off a line or branch or a couple of fingers.
The light it provides is not only functional but beautiful. There are four primary options: cool white, warm white, single colour and multi-colour (blended horizontal bands like a sunset). With the two white light options, the brightness is adjustable; with the two colour options, you're able to choose specific colour. All these functions are controlled with a single button located on the top of the lantern. But, there's more: give the lantern a shake (like a can of spray paint) and it'll reveal even more options such as directional light or candlelight flickering or "fireworks". It actually becomes quite intuitively easy after a few rounds, but BioLite has a Youtube video to walk you through all the options if it seems intimidating.
When fully charged, the lantern provides five hours of light on the highest setting and up to 200 hours on the lowest setting. It can even be used as a battery bank for charging up your phone or other devices. This isn't just an amazing lantern to take on your outdoor adventures, it's a fantastic item to have in your emergency preparedness kit. It'll not only light up a home during a blackout, but if it's set on the red light option it could help people locate you if you're in distress.
4. Raglan Crew Sweatshirt by Unbound Merino, $175
Unbound MerinoWith so much focus on innovative technical fabrics, it's easy to overlook the original high-performance material: Merino wool. Made from the fleece of Merino sheep, this wool is much softer and finer than usual wool so there's never any itch. Unbound uses only superfine (17.5 microns) Merino, which makes this sweatshirt feel more like a luxury garment than activewear. But it's definitely made for performance: it's thermo-regulating, breathable and moisture-wicking, so you can throw this on and never have to worry about getting too hot and sticky (or too cold). Merino wool is also odour- and wrinkle-resistant, so for multi-day treks you won't have to worry about over-packing just to look and feel fresh.
This unisex sweatshirt has raglan sleeves, making the fit much more versatile, easily accommodating different shoulder widths without having to worry about shoulder seams. The fit is true to size for a regular sweatshirt, so order your usual size for a loose but relaxed look, order one size up for an oversized, layer-over-anything look.
5. Infinity Mid Sports Bra by Under Armour, $50
Under ArmourBras can be a pain, especially when you're working out. This sports bra, however, features a single-piece, injection-molded design that ergonomically moves with your body. Translation: it offers great support that's comfortable and doesn't smash your breasts together. There's a loop and hook closure in the back and the straps are convertible, giving you the option for a cross-back or traditional fit. If you prefer the latter, the straps are anchored closer to the centre back meaning they'll never slip off your shoulders. This is the kind of sports bra you can put on and not have to worry about anything slipping, pulling, itching or overheating.
6. Performance Denim Girlfriend Jeans by Duer, $145
DUERMade to perform, these jeans use a blend of organic cotton, coolmax polyester and spandex to create a denim that gives you protection and comfort while you take on every adventure. Duer claims they're 30 percent lighter than traditional denim with five times the stretch, and provide anti-bacterial properties for those multi-day or particularly active adventures.
Technical specs aside, these jeans are incredibly soft and stretchy, leading to all-day comfort whether you're hiking, horseback riding or kayaking. The girlfriend style is mid-rise with a relaxed fit and slightly tapered leg (but not skinny). The fit is slightly large, so size down if you want it to fit closer to your waist.
7. Taglit Rechargeable Magnetic LED Marker by Nite Ize, $25.95
Nite IzeThese versatile, water-resistant LED lights are smaller than the size of a business card and snap shut easily but securely with the help of a really strong magnet, so there aren't any straps or buttons to struggle with in the dark. Attach them to anything from your shirt to shoes to backpack to dog collar to equipment. A single press-button activates the light at either a steady glow or flash. They're also rechargeable, with a battery run time of seven hours when fully charged (this requires a micro USB cable, which isn't included). When it starts to get dark outside and you're still on the go, these not only make it easy to track everyone in your group, but they're excellent safety lights to alert drivers and cyclists of your presence. This is the kind of gear that should be in every pocket when heading outdoors.
8. Chair One by Helinox, $149.95
HelinoxThere's a reason why this chair is so beloved by outdoor enthusiasts: it's lightweight, it's compact and it's comfortable. It weighs just over one kilogram, with its zippered pouch and when it's rolled up. It's about the size of small loaf of bread. When you've found the perfect spot to watch the sunset, the Helinox chair assembles quickly and easily. The shock-corded frame practically self-assembles once all the poles are fully inserted into the hubs. You'll need to lean into the last two lower seat poles to get them into their respective pockets, but don't worry about harming the chair. It's built to withstand 320 pounds.
9. Electrolyte Hydration by Hydralyte, from $14.99
HydralyteWhen you sweat, you're losing not just water but essential electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and calcium. Drinking water is essential, period. But when you're actively working up a sweat, it becomes essential to replenish lost electrolytes as well, which in part help regulate blood pressure, control fluid balance and maintain proper blood pH levels.
Hydralyte was developed in Australia to do exactly this, for people on the go. Their small travel packs make it so easy to always keep some in your bag. They're available in powder form (contained in a slim paper packet like sugar) or tablets (contained in a small plastic tube) that are easy to add to your water bottle anytime. And for those who don't actually like sweetened drinks, it's easy to add just one tablet (recommended single serving is for two tablets), for mildly flavoured water that you can drink multiple times throughout your outing.
10. Wave Duo by Therabody, $99
TherabodyThe best reward for a hard workout is a good massage afterwards and this little ergonomically-contoured device will soothe your overworked calves and shoulders (and everywhere in-between). With five speed settings, you can customize the intensity; the lowest setting is great for gently increasing circulation, whereas the highest setting should be used on a yoga mat or carpeted area to help absorb some of the vibrations, which will have your muscles quivering—it's surprisingly powerful for its compact size. The curved shape is perfect for nestling in legs and arms, and protecting the spine, while you roll. Or flip the Wave Duo 90 degrees and have two direct points of contact for a much more intense and targeted session. This is a particularly good technique for those with smaller limbs that don't have as much contact when placed in the curve.
Download the app and synch it to your smartphone to access a multitude of pre-programmed routines for both pre- and post-workout massages. They'll provide you with visuals and timed intervals that will take you through any part of your body you want to focus on or give you a routine specifically geared for a type of activity. It comes with a USB charger and—once fully charged—provides up to 200 minutes of battery life.