One of our favorite things about adventure elopements is the “roll with the punches” attitude our couples take on – whether it’s planning for spontaneity, choosing a mountain hike with jaw-dropping sights along the way and at the top, or planning an international trip so unique only you can come up with. If you’re planning your adventure elopement, this ultimate adventure elopement gear guide is the perfect place to start!
Check out what your full day elopement could look like – we have lots of sample elopement timelines, just for you!
More than anything else – it is essential that you feel absolutely beautiful, comfortable, and happy on your wedding day. There are no rules. Whatever you love that best fits “you” and who you are will be perfect. Once you find that perfect, flowy dress, you can check it off your adventure elopement gear guide checklist.
Flowy dresses are PERFECT for adventure elopements – especially when there’s a little wind! Consider getting a lightweight gown style dress and avoid heavy materials like corsets with boning or huge amounts of tulle in a puffy skirt. Light, flowy fabrics look absolutely amazing on camera and create so much drama in wedding photos!
For longer hiking elopements, the best idea is to pack your dress away in a backpack and change into it when you get to the ceremony spot. A very simple, thin skirt can look crazy epic & dramatic if it’s moved in the right way, so sometimes the best “windblown” look comes from a dress that may look a bit boring on the hanger or when standing still. Try picking it up and twirling it around, raising both hands and twisting & twirling around in it. You can even have your fiance twirl you like you’re dancing!
A couple of other ways you can see how you and your dress will look “in the wild”: Pick up the dress in one or two hands and try running & skipping. Or, pick it up in one hand and hold it up high over your head and then drop it. You can also grab a handful of the dress from the bottom (like you’re picking it up to start walking) and then hold your hand straight out at about waist level or higher and swish it around (up & down and side to side).
If you don’t have a dress yet and are curious about places to look, here are some of our favorite places and designers to check out:
Pick something that best fits your style and the environment you and your sweetie are eloping in! Make sure you give yourself room to wear an extra layer underneath if you need the extra warmth in cold locations or for a winter elopement. Move around like you would if you were hiking and lifting your significant other to ensure the best fit! Dance together, or you could even go for a hike to test out your suit! If you don’t want to hike in your suit, we recommend you pack it in your backpack until you arrive at your wedding location.
Now, this wouldn’t be an elopement gear guide without some tips. Gear Patrol has a great explanation of suiting terms, suit construction, and fabrics to look for. Check out how to buy an affordable suit that doesn’t look cheap here, and read all about the latest on groom wedding suit trends via Brides Magazine.
If you don’t have a suit yet and are curious about places to look, here are some of our favorite suit shops to check out:
Are you looking for more elopement tips? Check out our complete elopement checklist, and you won’t miss a thing for your big day!
Solid footwear with actual tread is vital when walking and hiking on your elopement day. One of our FAQs is about what hiking boots to wear, so of course it makes the adventure elopement gear guide. There may be some very epic photo spots on top of rocks & boulders that will require stable footwear with tread. We highly discourage heels of any kind and strongly discourage men’s dress shoes that are completely smooth on the bottom.
For a longer hiking elopement, we suggest wearing the best hiking boots you can find (make sure you break them in if they’re new!). You can keep them on for your photos or pack a different pair of shoes in your pack to change into. If you opt for changing shoes – they still need to have tread (yes, we’ll say this again and again – the last thing you want is to slip and fall on your wedding day!!
footwear tips and tricks:
Toe Warmers: Trust us, extremities are usually the first to get cold, and we highly suggest putting toe-warmers in your boots. Your toes will thank you when you’re only thinking about your wedding vows and not that it feels like your toes are about to fall off!
Traction: Told you we’d repeat ourselves, lol. If there is any possibility of snow or ice on a trail, traction is a MUST. It will save your life. Get a pair for each of you – our favorites are the Yak Trax Pro and Kahtoola Microspikes. Snowshoes may be required if there is a lot of fresh or unpacked snow on a trail (or in off-trail areas where we want to take photos). We recommend MSR and Tubbs.
Wool Socks: Wool will wick moisture away from your skin and provide better insulation even when wet. We recommend Darn Tough, Smartwool, and Wigwam. And don’t forget to pack a spare pair of socks! These will be your best friends if your socks get wet or you want to double up on socks due to cold weather!
Here are a few great footwear recommendations that many of our clients have worn successfully on their adventure elopement day:
Making sure you are prepared with layering options is a must! Weather can be very unpredictable in the mountains, especially above the treeline. It can easily be snowing at 12,000 feet in July! If an adventure elopement is your jam but you’d rather elope in warm weather, at sea level, or in a desert (though this might still be cold, full disclosure) we have a list of west coast elopement locations and our top 8 desert elopement locations! Layers still apply; we’re just giving you all the options for your epic adventure.
To wear under your dress, we highly suggest wearing leggings, long underwear, yoga pants, etc. Even more than one layer might be wise, depending on the time of year at your location. If the top layer is nude, it blends in very well for photos. Amazon has a lot of options for nude fleece tights! For under your suit, wearing a base layer such as a wool long sleeve shirt or long underwear is suggested in colder locations and in the winter. Our go-to; Smartwool, Icebreaker, Fjallraven. Sometimes our adventures take us to cold places, so keep the layers in our adventure elopement gear guide in mind.
let’s talk outer layers
The weather can be unpredictable, and it is always a good idea to have outer layering options! Think: a packable rain shell to block wind and/or unexpected rain, and something warm – depending on the season and location this may be a down jacket, a fur wrap, a chunky sweater, or a wool shawl. Brands we love; Fjallraven, Patagonia, Arcteryx.
If having a winter elopement or hiking at sunrise/sunset at high altitudes, I highly suggest gloves/mittens, a beanie or ear warmers, and a scarf or buff to keep you warm. Blankets count too! Blankets are super great to warm you up between exploring and are perfect for cuddly photos. We love capturing our couples in these beautiful and warm blankets: Rumpl, Pendleton, Woolrich. Handwarmers should definitely make your list as they’re 100% lifesavers like toe warmers!! Stash a few of these Hothands in your pockets and gloves/mittens or check out these Celestron rechargeable hand warmers for non-stop cozy hands. Lastly, consider packing some lightweight rain gear or even a poncho, just in case!
As you’re planning accessories for your adventure elopement, check out 100 things you can do on elopement day to help you come up with fun and memorable ideas!
backpacks & hiking gear
Some adventurous elopements call for a bit more gear – and we’ve got you covered in our adventure elopement gear guide! If you’re hiking you may want to consider a backpack to hold your extra layers, water, snacks, vow books, etc.
When purchasing a backpack, get one with sturdy hip straps to help take the weight off of your shoulders. You can even buy one second-hand to save on costs! Check out your local REI for in-person “garage sales” or shop REI Garage for discounted (but still great!) gear.
Headlamps are a must if you’re hiking in the dark before sunrise or after sunset (gotta get those epic shots and enjoy the views!!). They also make for epic stargazing photos.
Make sure to drink plenty of water! Staying hydrated will help keep you from getting altitude sickness and is essential when hiking. Carry water with you in a hydration pack or Nalgene. For longer hikes, we recommend bringing a water filtration system like the Sawyer Mini.
While we’re at it, don’t forget to pack tons of snacks to keep your energy up. We find for early morning hikes when we don’t have much appetite, runner’s gels or energy chews are great options to get quick calories & energy. Consider packing a picnic to enjoy and celebrate after saying your vows! This helps people like us (Okay, like Kelsey) stay out of the hangry zone. Easy nutrition we recommend: Clif Bars, Bobos, Honey Stinger, Oloves, Patagonia Provisions.
Consider bringing warm soup or your favorite beverage in a thermos – warming up from the inside out in cold conditions is always a treat! You can even pack a backpacking stove for some light cooking in the backcountry. Boil water for a hot cup of tea or coffee (check out Alpine Start) and cook up some oatmeal, scrambled eggs, or a backpacker’s meal! Good To Go Food makes our personal favorite backpacking meals.
other hiking gear
Don’t forget your trekking poles!! They will save your knees on long (and even short) hikes. Sunscreen is so important when at high altitudes and is especially important on sunny days when in the snow. Depending on your location, bug spray may be a lifesaver as well.
Lastly, let’s talk bathrooms. When on long hikes, be prepared if you find yourself needing to relieve yourself in the woods. We recommend always following Leave No Trace Principles and using Wag Bags. We love couples who leave this earth as they found it!
Places we love to shop for backpacks and hiking gear:
Part of the “adventure” in your adventure elopement is the journey of getting to the epic place where you’ll say “I do”! Would you enjoy kayaking in the clear waters of Fiji, rock climbing in Boulder, or getting up close and personal with the volcanoes of Iceland? You can have an intimate celebration overlooking your dream travel location, checking off your bucket list, AND marrying your honey! You could plan a full day elopement with just the two of you, take on a multi-day elopement in an international mountain location, or get married on your favorite local hike. Be sure to pack your adventure elopement gear guide with you just in case! Just make sure to choose what’s best for YOU and your sweetheart. This is your elopement, after all!
We can’t wait to plan your dream elopement experience with you. Reach out today and let’s dream about your mountain elopement together!