There’s a reason why so many fairy tales include a journey into the woods.
According to scholars, the forest in a fairy tale represents “a place beyond the safety and familiarity of the town or village”—a place of magic and danger. But it’s also “a place of transformation, where the hero overcomes various difficulties and finds his or her way home.”
Or as we would put it, it’s a place for curiosity and adventure.
Consider “Hansel and Gretel,” as told in Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The story opens with a traumatic event: two children are abandoned in the forest by their destitute parents. Then things go from bad to worse, with Hansel and Gretel finding themselves in the clutches of a bloodthirsty witch.
But these kids are clever and resilient. They outsmart the witch, burn her to ashes, and discover a vast treasure—at last returning to their parents’ house and living “happily ever after.”
Like most of Grimm’s tales, “Hansel and Gretel” is a dark story full of troubling themes. But it’s also a story about two children facing some of their most primal fears (abandonment, imprisonment, even cannibalism) and emerging with a pile of gold at the end. They’ve gone through the darkest part of the forest, and they’ve been enriched by the experience—both literally and figuratively.
Of course, you don’t have to grapple with a cannibalistic witch to have a transformative experience in the woods. Maybe just start with a great hike, OK? (You can find a few of our favorites here.) This month should be a perfect time to find a new trail, because the foliage should be especially vibrant this year.
But don’t go unprepared! The crisper it gets, the more layers you’ll need. And when it comes to layering for fall, nothing beats a great vest. The right vest will keep your core cozy while allowing your arms to move freely as you go down the trail.
Here are two of our favorite vests this year, both from Marine Layer:
- The Flannel-Lined Puffer Vest. This vest combines organic cotton with Marine Layer’s 100% biodegradable TENCEL™ superfabric for an absurdly soft flannel coated in a water-repellent dry wax. It’s an irresistible staple and an instant classic.
- The Vail Reversible Puffer Vest. This beauty features a 100% recycled nylon shell, RDS-certified down filling, ribbed collar, saddle hem, and a retro colorblock. It’s sustainably and ethically made (and last year’s version sold out insanely fast).
Of course, no fall outing would be complete without a great hoodie—and we’ve got plenty of hoodies in all sizes for men, women, and kids. We’ve also stocked up on accessories for even the most challenging adventures, including whiskey knives, camp hatchets, boot socks, layering socks, and so much more.
Whatever awaits you in the woods, we wish you a transformative journey—and a story that would make Hansel and Gretel proud.
Andrew + Clark