living and being based in wisconsin, when I started my photography / videography journey I never thought hiking elopements and adventure sessions would be something I do, but flash forward a solid handful of years, and here I am, traveling all around the United States doing mountain top, sunrise hike, golden hour in the desert, overall naturally beautiful sessions. and through all that, I’ve compiled a list of the ten essentials I always bring to every hiking elopement! check em out below and visit the links to shop the exact items I use.
01. a water source! this is the biggest hiking elopement essential I could name!I recommend packing double what you would drink normally just in case you get altitude sickness or feel ill and end up needing to drink more to replace either sweating or vomiting! not something you want to plan for, but something that realistically could def happen. depending on the season, ill pack an insulated water bottle as well as a foldable or collapsable one to save space and reduce weight. ill link my favorite insulated one from yeti here! the grip handle makes it super easy to tote around without feeling too heavy.
02. a fanny pack! this is so that you can have super quick access to things like your cellphone, chapstick, extra batteries and sd’s. its also great so you can take your backpack off and walk away without that ‘oh no!’ moment where you forgot something in your backpack you have to pause to go get. ill link the fanny pack that I use from Patagonia, here!
03. some sort of all terrain shoe! this one is totally personal preference as to what you like to hike / tread in. I live in my chacos in the summer and typically am able to hike in them perfectly fine! I have quite a few pairs in their different styles, but ill link the ones I think work best for hiking here. currently searching for a more durable pair of sorels that would be good for winter time! if you have recommendations, be sure to leave them in the comments!
04. external battery for your phone! this one is huge. I cant tell you how often my phone battery will randomly drain so fast, especially when its hot outside. the last thing you’re going to want is to have some sort of emergency and not have the ability to call for help or look up in the information you need. there are so many different kinds of portable battery packs available, but mine I got super affordable at target. I’ll link it here!
05. some sort of a healthy and filling snack! cause hiking is exercise and you’re probably doing it at sunrise or sunset, which means meal time!
06. a first aid / emergency kit! you can buy these online, but I built my own to try and keep it low waste. things I include are hypoallergenic bandaids, mints, medication, granola bars, a pen, wipes, candy, hair ties, a mini sewing kit, all those types of things! I keep it in a recycled zip pouch from aloha collection, linked here.
07. buildable layers! since youre typically hiking at either sunrise or sunset for those good light opportunities, the weather is bound to change quick. you should definitely pack buildable layers that you can add / remove as the weather changes on you. my favorite thin, yet durable layers for hiking are from Columbia. I’ll link one of my favorite pullover here!
08. a comfortable and breathable backpack! my kamrette vegan leather camera bag is super nice and all, but for hiking, I need to have all of my gear in something breathable, and built more to form with my body so my shoulders are shot halfway through. my hiking backpack fits everything I need it to and is also from Columbia! the one I have seems to be discontinued, but ill link a similar one here.
09. a toiletry bag! be sure to pack things like feminine products, biodegradable toilet paper, tissues, possible mouthwash, deodorant. but reminder to leave no trace, and to always leave your area better than you found it. ill link an awesome zero waste store here where you may find some things to include in yours.
10. permit info! many trails and parks require permits to shoot or parking stickers, be sure to have all of that with you so in case you’re approached, you’re able to prove you’re set and can continue working.
I hope all this info helped! if theres anything you always bring with you that I didn’t mention, let me know in the comments. I’m sharing some photos below of my favorite hiking elopements and couples sessions. if you wanna chat about setting up a shoot for yourself in any of these locations, lets chat! you can inquire through my contact form, here.
enjoy! and reminder to always leave no trace, and leave your surroundings better than you found it, when possible! happy exploring!