We 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 we wanted to dive into this topic and give you our top tips, make clothing suggestions, and honestly, just a 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 10 times 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.
How to Freshen Up
We keep face wipes in our elopement kits while hiking (for the dudes you can wipe your face, for the ladies with makeup on, you can use it to wipe your neck or even your armpits!). So if you’re feeling uber sweaty at the end of a hike, we’ll have those to help you clean up. You can also bring body wipes if you want to really wipe down. For the guys out there, you can pick up a Duke Cannon solid cologne to woo your partner after hiking. This is a compact and rugged tin that can easily be thrown into your bag. You can also pick up a refillable perfume bottle which will be less likely to break in your daypack while hiking. That way you can bring along any cologne/perfume/essential oils that you already love.
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 too. So you’ll be able to wipe down, smell nice, and do any touch-ups along the way! We also have a small mirror in our kit, but feel free to bring a bigger one if you plan on DIY’ing your makeup at the end of the trail. This is also why we recommend in our Elopement Timelines Tips to hike for sunrise and sunset when it’s cooler. Hiking in the mid-day sun will make you sweat more than when it’s a cool morning or evening!
Where to Change
One of our most popular questions is “Where do I change?” A lot of our couples are hiking at sunrise, or if they’re hiking at sunset-we’re on a much longer hike. So we usually have a pretty intimate environment and couples choose to change somewhere on the trail. We can also bring our lightweight 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 our couples have been able to go to the bathroom before/after hiking in a somewhat comfortable bathroom, but we always like to point it out. If you’re an avid hiker, you’re probably well aware of what these bathrooms look like!
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 pants that have some stretch, and look a little “cuter” for any photos we 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!
3-5 Mile Steep Hikes
You’ll probably be a little sweaty for these hikes and need clothing to match the environment. If the hike is steep, it probably means you’re eloping in the mountains and you’ll need some sun protection too! The bare minimum for 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, and make the outdoors a bigger part of your relationship together–here are our FAVORITE clothing options.
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.
These Patagonia shirts have high SPF, odor-resistance, quick-dry–and keep us looking better than we feel. We prefer Patagonia, 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!
Button Up Shirts
Having a button up shirt with pockets and roll up sleeves can be nice to have in a variety of situations. These shirts have high SPF, quick-dry, and ventilation to keep you cool on a hot day. This is usually our outer layer throughout the summer for hiking, paddle-boarding–you name it! Ryan prefers Mountain Hardwear since it has a slightly more slim look, but I like the REI version just fine. I have these in multiple colors!
Versatile Puff Jacket
This is the most versatile jacket around (similar to the Arc’teryx Atom jackets). It has lightweight insulation, a hood, and a nice finish that makes it great for light rain. It’s so packable and lightweight yet somehow provides a lot of warmth! For chilly mornings, we’ll often wear a fleece jacket with our Topo jackets on top. We’ve snowshoed in this outfit and stayed warm and dry. So we’re able to hike in most colder temps without worrying about anything. The only complaint we have is that the pockets are not insulated. So you’d need gloves or hand warmers for winter temperatures to stay warm.
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 during COVID on the trails, 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!
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!