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Packing for an adventure elopement is an exciting part of the planning process and one you should start preparing for early on. While it’s likely you won’t pack for your adventure elopement until about a week out (or less), this doesn’t mean you won’t want to put it ‘’out of sight, out of mind’’ until that point. That’s because there’s a good chance you’ll have some gear or accessories to purchase before the big adventure.
In this guide, I’ll be diving into what to pack for an elopement. First, we’ll cover the basics that just about every couple will find applicable to their wedding. After that, I’ll dive into the specifics of adventure elopements. In the end, you’ll find a packing checklist you can easily save to Pinterest.
Adventure Elopement Wedding Attire
Whatever attire you select for your adventure elopement, make sure you can easily move and hike in it. Opt for clothing made from lightweight and wrinkle-free materials where possible.
Here’s what to pack:
- Dress/Wedding Skirt and Top/Suit/Jumpsuit for Partner 1
- Dress/Wedding Skirt and Top/Suit/Jumpsuit for Partner 2
- Undergarments for Partner 1 (bra, corset, underwear, boxers, etc.)
- Undergarments for Partner 2 (bra, corset, underwear, boxers, etc.)
- Hiking Boots (more details under the adventure gear section)
- Garment Bag for packing wedding clothes
Here are a few elopement accessories couples commonly incorporate into their outfits:
- Jewelry (earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelet, etc.)
- Decorative hair pieces and hairstyling tools
- Tie or Bow tie
- Cuff links
- Pocket square
Don’t forget to pack these important elopement details!
- Vows. I’d suggest writing your vows in a vow book or on paper instead of reading them on your phone.
- Bouquet, boutonniere, etc.
- Champagne or sparkling water (so much fun for popping to celebrate!)
- Just married sign, banner, flag, etc. for fun
- Letters from friends and family (if they’ve sent anything along)
- Heirlooms you want photographed, such as jewelry or an embroidered handkerchief
- Special surprises or gifts for your partner if you’ve gotten something
Marriage and Travel Documents
- Driver's licenses
- Booking confirmation for flights, rental car, and lodging
- Any potential visas
- COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination (where applicable)
- Marriage License (and pen for signing) if applicable
- Any other required marriage documents for your destination, such as a birth certificate or officially translated paperwork
Pro-Tip: Make sure that your wedding attire, accessories, details, and documents are packed into your carry-on luggage. This ensures they’ll arrive at your destination. If you need help, call the airline ahead of time and find out what their individual travel policies are for wedding attire.
Adventure Elopement Essentials
Beyond the typical things you need for a wedding, adventure elopements require an additional set of essentials. Below, you’ll find my top recommendations for what to pack, my favorite brands, and tips for purchasing the right adventure elopement gear.
While some items are required for just about every mountain elopement, you’ll find that others only apply to certain locations or times of the year. I’ve attempted to highlight some of those considerations in each category.
Elopement Clothing and Layers
If you’ll be out on the trail or in the mountains for an extended period of time, you’ll want to consider packing the following types of layers. This list is completely customizable to the season and destination you’re heading. Typically, summer elopements require fewer layers, but I recommend a cozy down jacket for any time of year (you’ll thank me when the sun goes down!).
Base layers are the layer you’ll wear closest to your body. Their purpose on your elopement is to help wick away sweat and keep you dry while adventuring. A summer base layer could be a polyester tee or a lightweight merino wool top, paired with breathable shorts or pants. My favorite base layers are made from merino wool because they’re durable, dry quickly, and stay odor-free (even if you work up a sweat!).
Suggested Brands: Icebreaker and Smart Wool for sustainable, high-quality merino products. For hiking pants and shorts: Columbia, prAna, and the North Face.
Elopement Fleeces and Jackets (Midlayers)
Your elopement midlayer, or insulting layer, will be a synthetic or down jacket, along with a fleece if it’s really chilly. I prefer down jackets over synthetic coats because they pack down smaller and are lighter to carry. Even in the summer, a puffy jacket can be great to have on hand as you stand in the shadows of the mountains, atop a peak, or hang out after the sun has gone down.
Suggested Brands: Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, and REI each offer a variety of quality down jackets. I prefer a fill power of 700-800.
Raincoats and Wind Resistant Jackets (Outer layers) for your Elopement
One crucial layer to pack for your elopement is an outer layer. These jackets aren’t meant to keep you warm like an insulating down coat. Instead, your outer layer is thin and lightweight, specifically designed to block out wind and rain. Your outer layer is worn on top of your other layers.
Suggested Brands: Dynafit, Arc’teryx
Wool Socks (Bring Extras!)
Pack lightweight wool socks that will protect your feet, wick away moisture and prevent rubbing (especially if you’re wearing high-ankle boots). Don’t forget an extra pair in case it’s raining, or you get your feet wet.
Suggested Brands: Icebreaker, Smart Wool, and Darn Tough
If you’re looking for more tips on layering, this post from REI offers a lot of great information. For cold-weather elopements, I also have a detailed winter elopement guide you can find here.
Backpacks for Elopements
A backpack is the best way to carry your layers, accessories, and gear throughout your adventure elopement. If you’re planning on visiting a series of easy access locations, you’ll likely only need one backpack between both partners. If you’re hiking, there’s a good chance you’ll want to carry separate bags.
Purchasing a backpack that fits comfortably and transfers the weight to your hips via a hip belt is ideal. You’ll also want to look into packs that offer pockets to easily organize your gear. If you don’t already own a comfortable hiking backpack, I’d suggest getting fitted at an outdoor equipment store like REI.
On average, a great-sized elopement day pack will carry between 28-36 liters.
Suggested Brands: Osprey, REI, Gregory, Deuter
Durable Adventure Elopement Footwear
Selecting shoes that are comfortable and sturdy throughout your adventure elopement is one of the most important gear purchases you’ll make for your day. For locations with less than a mile of hiking on flat surfaces, tennis shoes are a suitable choice. Otherwise, I recommend packing a pair of hiking boots or trail running shoes.
Make sure your shoes have good tread, and if needed, ankle support. Trail running shoes have limited ankle support, so if you aren’t used to wearing them, stick with boots on your elopement day.
Suggested Brands: Danner Boots, Columbia, Merrell, and Altra Running
Headlamp with Extra Batteries
Planning on heading out before sunrise or staying out after the sun has set? Don’t forget to pack a headlamp! Make sure your batteries are fully charged and pack a couple of extras for good measure.
While a phone flashlight works in a pinch, I don’t recommend this option because it’s not hands-free, and sometimes phones die quicker than planned.
Suggested Headlamp Brands: Black Diamond, Petzl
Water Bottle or Hydration System
Throughout your elopement day, you’ll want to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. For short trips with ample water sources, I’d recommend packing 1 liter and refilling your bottle as needed. If you’ll be hiking or away from clean water, plan on packing 2-3+ liters.
There are two ways to carry your water: a reusable bottle, or a hydration bladder. Hydration bladders are perfect for carrying 2+ liters of water, and they allow you to drink through a small hose attached to your backpack. If you go this route, purchase from a reputable brand, since cheaper ones are known for popping.
Suggested brands: Nalgene, Camelbak, Platypus
Adventure Elopement Food and Snacks
The most important item on the list - your adventure elopement food and snacks 😉 In all seriousness, make sure to pack plenty of food and snacks to stay fueled throughout the day. My tips for packing your elopement snacks:
- Stick to food you aren’t worried about getting crumbled up or spoiling in a backpack
- Eat items that are high in fat and protein, like nuts, oats, and granola
- Bring food you really enjoy. Some people find their appetite isn’t as strong while exercising or at elevation, so make sure you are excited about what you’ve packed
- Take along a little more than you think you’ll need. If the trail takes a little longer, or you’re just really hungry, you’ll be happy to have enough food
My go-to trail foods: Epic Provisions, LÄRABAR (vegan), Clif Bars (vegetarian, many vegan options), Backpacker’s Pantry (vegetarian and vegan options).
Toiletry and Makeup Touch-Up Bag
Many couples want to stay feeling fresh throughout their day. To help you feel your best, bring a small toiletry bag packed with:
- Extra bobby pins/elastics
- Baby wipes
- Makeup for touch-ups
- Breath mints or a small kit for brushing your teeth on-the-go
In the mountains, the sun is strong and shade can be hard to find. Make sure to pack your favorite sunscreen and reapply as needed throughout the day.
To protect your eyes and avoid eye strain, bring sunglasses! At high altitudes, you’ll find the sun especially bright, particularly if there’s snow or glaciers involved.
Gloves and a Hat
Keep warm by taking along a hat/beanie (or earmuffs), glove liners, and mittens. I find a thin pair of gloves to be handy, even during the summer.
First Aid Kit + Medication
Another crucial packing consideration for your elopement is bringing any medications you take.
A few items to keep in mind include:
- Epinephrine (EpiPen) for allergies
- Inhaler for Asthma
- Allergy medications
- Prescriptions for migraines
I always pack a first aid kit for adventure elopements (I’m not a mountain guide, but I did take a three-month wilderness first aid course at university and became certified in WFA).
Additional Adventure Elopement Items and Accessories
Depending on where you’re heading, here are a few additional adventure elopement items to consider packing:
- Powerbank for charging a phone
- Hiking poles are a great way to relieve the stress on your knees during steep descents. Some people like using hiking poles for balance as well.
- Hiking sandals like Chaos or Tevas. If you need a comfortable camp shoe or plan on spending time in the water, bring along a pair of hiking sandals with straps.
- Gaiters are a type of guard made from fabric that you can strap onto your shoes. It helps protect the gap between your shoes and the bottom of your pants to keep out snow, rocks, and mud.
- Microspikes will keep you from slipping and sliding on snow and ice. I’d recommend the spikes from Hillsound or Kahtoola. Yaktrax style spikes aren’t nearly as good.
- Nude Colored-Leggings: Keep warm under your dress by wearing skin-toned leggings
- Wrinkle-release spray
- Quick-drying towel in case you plan on cooling off in a river or lake
- Backpacking rain cover: While many packs are slightly water-resistant, keep your gear completely dry but attaching a rain cover for your backpack
- Water purification system: If you’re hiking or camping and won’t have access to treated water, consider bringing a water purification system. I personally like the Steripen Classic due to its lightweight design. It treats water quickly by using UV technology. Another popular option is the Sawyer Mini.
- Jetboil or Camp Stove: Perfect for heating up water to make tea or prepping a dehydrated meal like Backpacker’s Pantry Paid Thai (SO GOOD!)
- Thermos for holding hot drinks and food. I suggest checking out Yeti and HydroFlask.
- Picnic Blanket for enjoying your food or just chilling on
- Hand warmers: I love hand warmers such as hot hands. They’re great for sticking in gloves, sleeping bags, jackets, and anywhere else you need a little extra warmth.
- Toilet Paper and WAG Bags: If there aren’t bathroom facilities at your location, don’t forget to bring toilet paper and WAG bags (so you can Leave No Trace).
- Pop-up tent: While many couples choose to just find a secluded spot to change into their wedding attire, some prefer more privacy. There are numerous small, pop-up changing tents designed exactly for this purpose.
Free Downloadable Adventure Elopement Packing Checklist
Here’s an adventure elopement packing checklist you can easily pin to Pinterest for future reference and share with others. If you want a PDF of the adventure elopement packing list, you can do so by hitting the download button beneath the image.