Hiking Attire for Your Elopement

I often get asked, “What kind of clothes should we wear when we hike for our elopement?” And it largely depends on the hikes we have planned, the location, and the weather we’re expecting. So I wanted to dive into this topic and give you my top tips, make clothing suggestions, and honestly, just get a little nerdy about outdoor clothing!

Wear Wool Socks

No matter where you elope, you’ll want to have merino wool socks to keep you comfortable. Merino wool socks have more cushion, dry quickly (in case they get wet), and will be SO much more comfortable for any hike. Even if you’re not hiking far, it could rain, there could be snow, you could get sweaty, or your boots might start rubbing your ankles. So getting a nice pair of socks will be a great start! You can grab a pair of the REI Co-op Wool Socks or the Darn Tough Wool Socks (my top pick).

How my couples have hiked with flowers & their attire.

How to Freshen Up

If you’re hiring a hair and makeup artist for your elopement, they might be sending you off with a touch-up kit! Which can be really useful. So you’ll be able to wipe down, smell nice, and do any touch-ups along the way! You can also bring a small mirror, or feel free to bring a bigger one if you plan on DIY’ing your makeup on the trail. In Colorado, freshening up should also include reapplying sunscreen. It’s much easier to get a sunburn at high elevation, so keep that in mind! You can also bring wet wipes, body wipes, or anything else to freshen up. Some couples pack a travel-size perfume/cologne to put on or reapply. But that’s totally up to you.

Some couples choose to hike back down in their attire!

Where to Change

One of my most popular questions is “Where do I change?” A lot of my couples are hiking at sunset or going to a vista/viewpoint where changing isn’t super straightforward. If you have a short walk with me for photos or your ceremony, I recommend meeting me already dressed. If we’re going on a hike, I’ll make a recommendation specific to the trail. Some trails are easier than others. And of course, it’s entirely up to you and what makes you feel comfortable.

You can also bring a lightweight blanket (like a Rumpl blanket) to hold up and provide more privacy. You can also use an offshoot trail into the trees or behind boulders, or if you prefer more privacy–you can bring a pop-up shower tent.

What about bathrooms?

A lot of these locations have bathrooms at the trailhead. But they’re not the nice, clean bathrooms you might expect in an urban area. The majority of these bathrooms are vault toilets, have no running water, electricity, or mirrors. So they can provide more privacy for you, but you’ll need a mirror and headlamp if you want to change. Also, the floors might be wet or muddy since lots of hikers use them, so having a towel or blanket you don’t mind stepping on will come in handy. If you’re eloping early or late in the season, some bathrooms might remain closed/locked up. Usually, this isn’t a big deal and most of my couples have been able to go to the bathroom before/after hiking in a somewhat comfortable bathroom, but I always like to point it out. If you’re an avid hiker, you’re probably well aware of what these bathrooms look like!

Typical vault toilet bathroom at the trailhead.

Brides changing and using boulders to avoid putting any gear off of the trail.

What kind of hikes are you doing?

1-3 Mile Flat Hikes

When we’re going for a flat and easy hike, there’s no need to go out of your way to buy anything fancy from REI (unless you want to of course). So it’s pretty much up to you for what you decide to wear. You could wear your wedding attire (depending on how much mobility you have with your dress) or you could wear a cute outfit like a flannel button-up, nice looking hiking pants, and look a little “cuter” for any photos I take along the trail. Additionally, you can add layers if we’re expecting a chilly morning or evening, and of course–come prepared with a rain jacket if we have a chance of rain. But otherwise, take advantage of the fact that you can wear something more casual. Your hiking boots will look great with your outfit too!

Both of these hikes were flat easy sunset hikes. So these couples opted for cute campy clothes on the trail.

3-5 Mile Steep Hikes

You’ll probably be a little sweaty for these hikes and need clothing to match the environment. The bare minimum to be comfortable for these hikes is wearing athletic workout clothing that is moisture-wicking and odor-resistant. Long-sleeve shirts and pants are especially helpful for protecting you from the sun. So if you’re on a budget, at least try to bring workout clothes! However, if you’re looking to go on lots of hikes, invest in your outdoor wardrobe, or make the outdoors a bigger part of your relationship together–here are my FAVORITE clothing options. And of course, I’ll be sharing what my husband Ryan also wears when hiking too!

These couples opted for workout + hiking clothes since we had steeper and longer hikes.

Prana Pants

Prana Women’s Pants | Prana Men’s Pants

We almost exclusively wear Prana Pants while hiking (it’s our fav). They’re incredibly durable and resist tears, quick-dry, high SPF, and most of them have a roll-up pant leg for warm sunny days and stream crossings. These pants make it easy for us to sit on our butts and slide down snow without getting soaked to the bone, help us stay dry in the rain, and in general, provide the most comfort in lots of hiking situations.

Me wearing my Prana Halle Pants.

Sun Hoodie (essential for the Rockies)

Women’s Outdoor Research Sun Hoodie | Men’s Kuhl Hoodie

These hoodies have high SPF, odor-resistance, quick-dry–and keep us feeling cool on the trail. We prefer Outdoor Research and Kuhl because we find that the REI ones didn’t hold up as well. But lots of companies make great shirts with sun protection that are great for hiking. So feel free to get one from a different brand! I love sun hoodies because they keep me from overheating and I can use the hood to protect my neck. I was skeptical that I’d get too hot wearing one, but they actually keep me cool in the Colorado sun.

Versatile Puff Jacket

Women’s Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket | Men’s Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

This is a great go-to jacket in the mountains. It has lightweight insulation, packable for hikes, and looks stylish for wearing around our cute mountain towns. For chilly mornings, I often wear a fleece jacket with an insulated jacket like the Nano Puff over it. I’ve snowshoed in this outfit and stayed warm and dry. So I’m able to hike in most colder temps without worrying too much.

Jaclyn’s daypack with her Kula Cloth and Prana Briann Pant | Ryan wearing his Patagonia long-sleeve t-shirt.

Buff Headwear

Buff Original

We always carry these on the trail since it’s so versatile. It can be used to keep your neck warm, as a face-mask, protect you from mosquitos, as a headband, or keep your skin protected from the sun. If it’s a warm day on the trail, sometimes we’ll dip these into the water to help us cool off!

Kula Cloth

Kula Cloth Original

If you have to pee on the trail, ladies, you might want to get a kula cloth! If we’re on a longer hike and you need to go–this cloth has anti-microbial properties and is super convenient to have in your pack. I always carry mine on the outside of our daypack and it has been a game-changer for me!