What to Pack for a Hiking Elopement – The Ultimate Hiking Elopement Gear List
The big day is coming up and you find yourself wondering, what should I pack for a hiking elopement? You’ve come to the right place, friend. Leave it to the professionals when it comes to packing for a hiking elopement. In this blog, we literally go over everything you might need for your hiking elopement depending on the season, and location. Keep reading to learn what to pack for a hiking elopement.
When going out into nature, being prepared is the number one piece of advice any outdoor enthusiast will give you.
This blog will list every item you could possibly think of that you might want to pack for your hiking elopement, and I will explain why you would need these items. We are also leaving links to our favorite gear choice in case you want to start planning your adventure right now. (We are not in any way affiliated with these companies and/or their products. We are only recommending these products based on our experience.) Now, there are many different styles of elopements, but for this blog, we are mainly focusing on what to pack for a hiking elopement. We are also skipping over the main items for your hiking elopement such as a wedding dress, and your vows. Those are things you already know you need to bring for a wedding day. We are listing here the items you probably aren’t thinking of, and only avid hikers, like ourselves, would know to suggest. Now, a lot of these depend on the season in which you are planning to elope, so go ahead and skip over the winter hiking elopement items if you’re planning to elope in warmer weather. Alright, let’s get down to it, and continue reading to figure out what to pack for a hiking elopement.
Essential Items – What to Pack for a Hiking Elopement
If you’ve never bought hiking boots before, it may seem really overwhelming which kind to buy, and really shocking how expensive they can be. We can 100% attest to the saying, “you get what you pay for” when it comes to hiking boots. You do not want to skimp on this item. Below we listed a few links to our favorite brand of hiking boots, but we highly suggest going to an actual store and trying a few pairs on and walking around, and deciding in person which ones to get. REI has a spectacular customer service program where they will help you decide in store which brand/style would be best for you. They also have a 1-year member satisfaction guarantee program, meaning if you’re an REI member, and those boots you bought end up giving you blisters, REI will happily take them back (within one year), and exchange them for another pair to try. ALSO, and this is really important, please please break in your hiking boots prior to your hiking elopement. You do not want your first time wearing your boots to be on your hiking elopement day. You have to break them in first! If not, you will experience chafing and blisters on your wedding day, and no one wants that! So how do you break in your hiking boots? Wear them while you’re home walking around in your house, wear them walking, wear them while hiking, wear them wherever and whenever possible, but always make sure your feet feel okay before increasing your distance. It is suggested to wear the same type of socks you plan on wearing while hiking (we’ll get into socks next), and to lace the hiking boot snuggly but not too tight.
The three brands we are suggesting below are Keens, Vasque, and Danners. Alex and I have always worn Keens, they just pair with both of our feet really well. Keens are also very affordable for someone wanting to invest in a good-quality hiking boot that will last a few seasons. Keens are known for being a bit wider than most boots. So if you have a wider foot like Alex & I both do, going with Keens will be your best option. The second recommendation is Danners. Danners are the type of boot you want to invest in if you know hiking will be a lifelong love of yours. We know people who swear by them. Alex and I haven’t invested in a pair yet, they’re more on the pricier spectrum for hiking boots, but we know if you do invest in them, you won’t regret it. Vasque are another brand we are recommending. We know of a lot of people who wear this brand and love them!
This item can easily get overlooked for figuring out what to pack for a hiking elopement. But, trust us, it’s just as important as the type of boot you pick. The number one type of socks for hiking is wool socks! Kind of hard to believe, right? It’s suggested to wear wool socks while hiking because the material regulates temperature well to stop your feet from sweating and creating blisters. The temperature regulating properties are also great so in the wintertime, they keep your feet nice, warm, and cozy, and in the summertime they keep your feet feeling nice and fresh and not hot. So now that you know to wear wool socks, you’ll also want to bring an extra pair or two just in case you have to change pairs due to being extra sweaty (it happens!) or if you accidentally get your feet soaked by stepping in a puddle or falling into a river. Although, I did fall into a river once and proceeded to hike 6 miles without having any issues with the pair of wool socks I was wearing. The right sock paired with the right boot is the secret to a comfortable hike.
If you’re wanting to nerd out and read all about wool socks that were tested, check out this article by the manual.com
Wool Sock Suggestions:
Moleskin is great for blisters and we always make sure we have some in our first aid kit. It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it! Your feet are one of your main priorities while hiking. If your feet are not comfortable, you’re going to feel it in every step! It’s important to know how to use moleskin though, it’s not as easy as just sticking it on your blister. You’ll want to get a lesson on how to apply moleskin. Read all about how to use moleskin here: Article on everything you need to know about Moleskin
Suggested Moleskin to buy:
First Aid Kit
Always grab a first aid kit no matter what size of a hike you’re doing. Most first aid kits are equipped with medical supplies to treat minor injuries such as cuts, burns, or sprains. It never hurts to be First Aid Certified as well as to jump in and help when an emergency occurs.
Something small like a pack of matches, or a lighter. It’s such a small, lightweight item, that you shouldn’t even second guess it, if an emergency occurs, you’ll need this item for multiple reasons.
GPS or A Map
Navigation is key. If you don’t know where you’re going, that is a major concern. Having some sort of navigation like a map and compass, or a GPS system, can save your life if you find yourself lost. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to check the GPS and get us back on track out in the woods. Here is a great article for learning how to choose and how to use a GPS.
Our suggested brand for hiking GPSs:
Clothing is probably one of the first things you think of when thinking of what to pack for a hiking elopement. Layers are key if you plan on coming to Colorado for your hiking elopement! You want to be comfortable on your hiking elopement, so bringing the right layers will ensure you’ll be comfortable all day no matter what time of day it is. In the mountains, as soon as that sun goes down, the temperature can drop drastically. So, what do we mean when we say “layers”? We mean you’ll want to bring multiple items that you can layer on top of one another, each one being for a different temperature. Short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, light jacket, heavier jacket, heaviest jacket. You can pair up different items to get the optimal comfort for whatever temperature you’re in. Here is a great article by REI explaining all the basics for layering:
Another thing to keep in mind when buying new layers is the material the item is made out of. In colder months, you’ll want to stay away from cotton and focus on synthetic materials. Some brands that we absolutely love and highly recommend are Patagonia, Smartwool, REI Co-Op, Backcountry, Icebreaker, Fjallraven, Athleta, L.L. Bean, and Arcteryx, just to name a few.
One of those things where it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it! We always keep the bear spray on our packs, within arm’s reach, and KNOWING where it is at all times is key. You want to be prepared so you can act quickly and calmly if you’re in a situation where you need to use bear spray. But don’t just buy it and pack it. Read the label. Read the instructions. Make sure you and each individual in your pack knows how to use that specific brand of bear spray. Some brands you point at the ground, and some you point at the eye of the bear, so it’s really important to read the directions. Also, do you know what to do if you encounter a bear? How to act? How fast to run? (just kidding about the running) If you do encounter a bear out in the woods, you’ll want to try and make yourself look bigger, so the bear is afraid of you. Link arms with the people you’re with, and turn to the side to show them your pack (this makes you appear bigger to the bear). Never ever run away from a bear.
Keeping hydrated in Colorado while hiking is a full-time job! If having cold water is important to you, we suggest going with an insulated container like a HydroFlask. You’ll always find us carrying Nalgene 32 or 48 oz. bottles.
It’s rare to find potable water when you’re out hiking. If you know you’ll be near a water source, and if you want to keep your pack light, bring a water purifier and just one 32 oz. water bottle. Most times you can get away with water purifier tablets if you know you’ll be near a flowing river that mostly doesn’t have a bunch of muck in it, but sometimes going for something like an actual water purifier pump system is a better option. It depends on the water source you’ll be getting your water from. This absolutely depends on personal preference, some might say they would use a water filtration system for every scenario.
Depending on the size of the hike, you might even want to bring a whole meal! We always suggest bringing a meal for a full day hiking elopement, but for half-day elopements, a snack is usually best. High-calorie foods are best and will keep your energy level high so you’re fueled all day long! Some suggestions for snacks are GORP (good ol’ raisins and peanuts), granola or energy bars, and our favorite go-to, PB&J Roll-ups (use tortillas instead of bread). There are tons of energy bars and hiking snacks to choose from, check out this article:
Gum or Mouthwash
This is your wedding day after all! After all the hiking, you might need to freshen up a bit before kissing your sweetie.
Hiking elopements are known to start off before sunrise or last after sunset. Having a light source is non-negotiable when it comes to hiking in the dark. We learned while Caving that three sources of light are always needed to be on your body, but the rules for hiking in the dark are probably a little less strict considering the sun will eventually rise again. We would recommend two headlamps for each person, and extra batteries. Another thing we learned during getting Scuba Open Water certified, is “two is one, one is none”. Just something to keep in the back of your head when preparing for any adventure!
Check out this article for tested headlamps:
What else do you plan on carrying all these items in?! A day pack is a must, and finding the right fit for your body structure is always a must. Like I mentioned with the hiking boots, you want to be as comfortable as possible during your hiking elopement. Head over to REI, and one of their dedicated staff will help you pick out the best pack for you! They will measure you, ask you questions on what the pack will be used for (tell them all about your hiking elopement!), and they will be able to set you up with a pack that you’ll be able to carry on your back all day long and you won’t even notice. A well fitted pack will be able to distribute the weight of the items you’re carrying throughout your shoulders, hips, and back, without sacrificing any of those areas. We suggest finding a pack that comes with a rain cover so you don’t need to buy one separately.
Day packs we own:
Rain jacket and a Rain Cover for your Day Pack
This is probably an item you didn’t think of when thinking of what to pack for a hiking elopement. You never know what these Colorado Mountains will do though! So don’t skimp, and bring a rain jacket, and a rain cover for your pack! An easy solution for a rain cover for your daypack can be as simple as a trash bag.
Check out this article by REI, where their staff picked their favorite rain jackets for 2020:
Protect your skin! If you’re coming to Colorado for your hiking elopement, sunscreen is a must! The elevation levels bring you close to the sun, making it very easy to get sunburn!
Last but certainly not least for the Essential Items – What to Pack for a Hiking Elopement, toilette paper, a wag bag (what you use to pack out these items), and baby wipes. I don’t feel I need to go into great detail about this one, other than to check out the Leave No Trace organization at www.LNT.org for how to reduce your impact on the outdoors.
Non-Essential Items But Good To Have – What to Pack for a Hiking Elopement
Colorado is a dry state! If you’re anything like me, this one will actually be an essential item on your what to pack for a hiking elopement list! It all goes back to being comfortable, when you need chapstick, you need chapstick! Am I right?
Eco-Friendly Hand Soap
If you’re planning to do an all-day hiking elopement, I really think you’ll want to wash your hands at some point during the day, probably before you eat! Some of our favorite hand soap or soaps in general for all of our camping/hiking activities are Sea to Summit and Dr. Bronners. Check out this article to learn more tips for clean camping.
These little buggers are great for hiking in high elevations! Some also say they’re great for hangovers, so it’s a double whammy for your elopement day!
If you’re coming to Colorado for your hiking elopement, and plan to do a high altitude hike, having these on hand can save the day if one of you is prone to altitude sickness. Hikers swear by sucking on ginger candy to fight the dry cough that can sometimes come when hiking at high altitudes.
Bug Repellent Wipes
Notice how I didn’t say spray? We found these wipes years ago and they are our favorite! No more holding your breath and jumping through a cloud of chemicals to stop the bugs from bothering you all day. Good to point out though, if you’re planning to have your hiking elopement in the summertime, this would 100% be an item on the “Essential Items – What to Pack for a Hiking Elopement”.
This one really comes in handy for those with bangs, or shorter haircuts for when you sweat, your hair sticks to your forehead or neck area. A little spray of some dry shampoo, and you’re back to feeling fresh again! I (Kelly) don’t personally use enough dry shampoo to be able to recommend a brand from experience, but these are some brands I’ve seen my friends and past couples use.
If you’re leaving no leaf unturned, bring some safety pins. These can help when a button gets popped, or part of your suit or dress isn’t fitting just right.
If you plan on freshening up again at some point during your hiking elopement, we suggest bringing a small mirror. We know your boo is going to say you’re looking hot no matter what, so if you bring one you can check for yourself!
Brush and or Comb, and Bobby Pins
If you’re planning to have a hairstylist do your hair for your hiking elopement, this item might not be needed, but you never know.
Makeup Sealer Spray
If you plan to hire a professional makeup artist for your hiking elopement, you won’t have to worry about bringing this item along with you. But for all my DIY peeps, if you’re planning on doing your own makeup for your hiking elopement, you’ll want to invest in a makeup sealer spray. This will prevent any sweat from ruining all your hard work!
Essential Items to Pack for your Hiking Elopement for Couples who are Including Their Dog(s) – What to Pack for a Hiking Elopement
Dogs are members of the family too, and we love it when our couples bring their fluffy best friends with them on their elopement! Eloping with your dog is a great idea, but just like we humans have to be prepared, we also have to make sure we’re prepared and have all the essentials for our dogs!
A Dog First Aid Kit
Styptic powder, tweezers, and hydrogen peroxide are items you will not find in a human first aid kit but you’ll want to bring them for your dog! Styptic powder is used to stop bleeding in the event your pup breaks a nail or gets a cut. Tweezers are especially useful when coming to Colorado for your hiking elopement if your pup walks into a cactus. Trust me, pulling out cactus needles with your teeth is not fun. The 3% hydrogen peroxide would come in handy if your dog eats something that’s toxic and we need to get it out of the dog’s stomach right away!
If you’re planning on choosing a trail where dogs are supposed to be on a leash at all times, plan on bringing the leash.
Collapsible Dog Bowl
While it’s easier to have your pup drink from a water source like a river, you won’t always be near a water source when your dog is panting, so bringing a bowl they can drink out of is the polite thing to do for your pup.
If you’re planning on doing either a day or multi-day hiking elopement, consider buying a backpack for your dog so they can carry their own stuff!
Our favorite brand to get all of our dog gear from is Ruffwear
If you’re planning on hiking in the dark, these are great to have! Either put them on the dog’s leash, or on their pack, and you won’t ever lose them!
Treats or Food
Your dog is going to run out of energy just like you and me if they’re not getting enough calories. We love Zuke’s.
Essential Items to Pack for your Winter Hiking Elopement – What to Pack for a Hiking Elopement
Our tip when it comes to hand warmers, make sure they’re not expired! But in all seriousness, if you’re planning on doing a winter hiking elopement, these are a MUST. You’ll be so glad for that little bit of warmth in your pocket when we are not moving. If you’re wanting to invest in hand warmers that won’t ever expire, check out Zippo’s.
Nude Colored Leggings
For really cold weather, we recommend getting fleece lined nude colored leggings for under a wedding dress. You’ll want them to be nude so in pictures, they blend in and look like skin.
Don’t let the hand warmers do all the work! While taking pictures for your hiking elopement, there’s a high chance you’ll be touching your sweetie, and you don’t want your fingers to be icicles, for their sake. Anything is better than nothing, but we do recommend getting a waterproof glove if snow is expected for your winter hiking elopement.
Here is a great article that lists the best winter hiking gloves of 2020:
If you’re wanting to keep your ears warm and are worried about messing up your hair, earmuffs are a great alternative, and still look super cool in photos! If you’re worried about what you’ll look like in a photo, check out Bill below! He’s rocking earmuffs and looks like he’s living his best life! (cause he’s warm, yeah!)
Essential Items to Pack for Your Backpacking Hiking Elopement – What to Pack for a Hiking Elopement
For choosing backpacking gear, you’ll want to keep in mind the weight of the item you’re purchasing. Having a pack that totals 20% of your body weight and under is the goal. So for a person weighing 150 lbs., you’ll want to try and keep your pack below 30 lbs.
You’ll want your pack for a backpacking hiking elopement to be bigger in liter size. This will ensure all your overnight items fit. Again, making sure that your pack fits properly is key.
We love our Osprey packs for multi-day backpacking. Check out this article that goes into depth on the Best Osprey Backpacking & Hiking Backpacks. The two backpacks that we use are:
Tent or a Hammock – Not necessarily an essential if you’re planning on cowboy camping, or if you know you’ll be sleeping in an established shelter, either a man-made or shelter cave, but if you do want some type of shelter while sleeping, you’ll want to invest in a lightweight tent or hammock. Below we listed the one we’ve been using for years. We recommend going up in size to fit all your gear, and if you have dogs, that’s why we choose the three-person tent.
Again, not necessarily an essential, but some people do prefer a sleeping pad. Below I listed the two Alex and I use. There is a huge range of choices depending on how much money you’re able to invest. Check out this blog post of rated sleeping pads for 2022:
There’s nothing cozier than snuggling up at night in a sleeping bag next to your lover. Below I listed the two Alex and I use, but which one you go with really depends on the season you’re planning on using the sleeping bag. If you’re wanting to do a winter hiking elopement, we recommend a sleeping bag that is equipped to keep you warm below freezing temperatures.
You’ll want some sort of fire source for cooking meals and boiling water while backpacking. If you’re choosing to have a Colorado Hiking Elopement, consider the fire bans. You might not be able to cook your meal over a campfire. In the case where there is a fire ban, most areas allow you to use a gas fueled stove, but always check the fire ban rules and regulations for the area in which you’re planning your hiking elopement. Below is the backpacking stove we use.
You don’t have to settle on a meal you’re not going to enjoy while backpacking. There are some amazing recipes out there for dehydrated meals. Dehydrated meals are super popular for backpacking because they’re lightweight (no liquid), easy to cook, and delicious! All you have to do is boil some water, pour it over your dehydrated meal, wait a bit, and BAM you have yourself a delicious meal to end the night with.
The End – What to Pack for a Hiking Elopement
You did it! You read through the entire What to Pack for a Hiking Elopement Blog Post! High five, friend! So now that you made it to the end, I’ll let you in on a little secret… Most of the items on this list, we actually bring to all of our couple’s elopements just in case you forget them! hehe! We have a little bag that we actually bring on the trail including most of the items on the Essential Items to Pack for your Hiking Elopement list. You might be wondering, but why? It’s because, at the end of the day, you are hiring us to deliver a gallery filled with photos that you love, and we pride ourselves on delivering the best of the best photos. Your photos are going to reflect how you’re feeling, and we go above and beyond to make sure our couples are comfortable, have what they need, are prepared, and have the best day ever. So if that means carrying a little extra weight of all the essential items to have during your hiking elopement, we’re doing it.
So, what items were you most surprised to see on the list? Leave a comment below letting us know! We love to hear from you!