If you refuse to let rain, mud, wind or snow put a twist into your outdoor adventures, welcome to the shoulder season! Right now, many parts of the country are experiencing peak spring shoulder season conditions. It’s time to dust off your bike, layer up with rain gear and get after it. But to make sure you can appreciate the transition from one season to the next in all its glory, you’ll want gear you can trust to keep you prepared for anything Mother Nature throws your way.

Layer Like a Pro

One of the key strategies for getting outside regardless of the time of year is layering. A versatile layering system allows you to adapt to fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. Start with a breathable, moisture-wicking base layer to help keep sweat off your skin.

If you want to bring this layer to the next level of versatility, make it a lightweight, breathable sun shirt with UPF protection. You’ll always have this sun-protective layer if it gets too warm with your mid-layer or windproof shell on top. The difference in weather conditions between lower and upper elevations can vary wildly, especially during the shoulder season.

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Pack It In, Pack It Out

Whether you’re heading out on a casual day hike or a weekend backpacking trip, having the right gear in your pack is crucial for a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience. Pack essentials such as water, a high-energy snack, a first-aid kit, navigation tools (map, compass, or GPS device), a headlamp and a multi-tool or knife.

We also recommend not leaving home without a highly packable rain jacket for those unexpected rain storms. Depending on where you’re going, you may also need a lightweight emergency shelter and a fire-starting kit for unexpected changes in weather or emergencies. We also suggest considering investing in some compression bags to streamline your day pack organization, keeping commonly used items neatly stored in one convenient location.

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Three hikers ascend a rocky trail.


Get Down with Insulated Outerwear

Even if you aren’t gaining a lot of vertical feet on your next outing, temperatures can fluctuate dramatically. One minute, the sun is shining and you’re working up a sweat. The next, you’re getting pelted with rain or hail, and it’s freezing. An insulated layer will provide additional warmth when you need it.

Ultra-packable down and synthetic jackets are ideal for layering. Look for technical features such as compressible synthetic down with warm-when-wet performance capability, ripstop nylon fabric to shield against abrasion and wind, and an adjustable hood. An insulated vest can also be a nice addition to make sure your core stays warm regardless of how cold the temps drop.

>> Shop Down and Insulated


Protect Your Head

From hard-core waterproof rain hats to warm-weather beanies, you always want to have a technical hat that’s ready for any occasion. A breathable merino or fleece beanie helps regulate your body temperature and is key for days when the chilly weather rolls in. It doesn’t take up much room either. If rain is the forecast, consider a cap or hat that’s fully seam-taped for complete waterproofing.

The shoulder season is an excellent opportunity to get out and explore nature’s beauty and its ever-changing conditions. Before heading out, browse for the perfect mens or womens sun shirt, update your puffy collection, look into hiking gaiters, and so much more.

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