Packing for two weeks in the alps in a carry-on | winter in switzerland

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Packing for two weeks in the alps in a carry-on | winter in switzerland


My packing list (with links) for our van life road trip through the swiss and french alps in the middle of winter


When I found cheap flights to Switzerland about a month ago, we didn’t quite think twice before booking our two week trip, and shortly after Callen had booked a van so we could road trip it without worrying about pre-booked lodging or expensive hotel fees. Soon after, it occurred to us just how cold this trip would be, but we’ve been living on the road for over two years now and have dealt with our fair share of harsh winters, so we feel pretty ready to take on the snowy sufferfest :) I began packing a few days ago and after sharing a few instagram stories, people have been asking exactly what we are packing! I figured I’d make a quick list and include as many links as possible. I hope this is helpful for anyone else planning a winter trip to the alps, or just looking to update your winter/snow gear wardrobe!

*After putting this together, I realized how overwhelming this might be as far as expenses go. Please know it took me years to build up my gear/outdoor clothing stash, and a lot of these things were bought used or on sale. I know outdoor gear prices are daunting, and I genuinely believe you can enjoy the outdoors with any gear (I mean, don’t ski in a swimsuit but you know what I mean) and the more you participate in these activities the more you’ll know what works for YOU. This realization has inspired me to write a separate post about how to find outdoor gear at a lower price point, and how I shop for gear/what I look for. I’ll make a note of that and try to write it when I get home!

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ITEMS IN MY CARRY-ON BAG:

- Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 60L: I’m packing everything in this bag. I’ve been using it for years now and love how durable the outside is, how lightweight the bag itself is, and it is the perfect size for a carry-on. It has bag pack straps for easy carrying and a water repellant finish (not waterproof).

- My ski suit: I don’t have a link because this legendary suit was a vintage goodwill find! Callen and I used to love going to Goodwill and quite a few years ago, we happened upon two vintage ski suits that fit us perfectly for $14 each! In Austin Texas! It was probably the best Goodwill find of our lives, we still use those suits for skiing and have yet to find anything better (even from nice ski gear shops). We decided to pack our suits for this trip for full body insulation and snow-proofing. We’re hoping to ski at least a few days, as well as do some hiking/exploring, and with snow every day in the forecast, these suits will pretty much be our Swiss uniform #americanjerryoftheday. Thankfully it packs down pretty well, so I have it flat at the bottom of my duffel and have been shoving everything else on top. I believe Cal plans to wear his on the plane. Lol.

- Arcteryx Rain/Snow Jacket: This jacket was yet another major score — back when Callen worked at REI, he got to shop the garage sale the night before and found this amazing Arctryx snow shell on mega sale. I’ve been using it as a rain and snow jacket for years now and am more impressed each time I put it on. Bonus, it has a Recco device for locating it after an avalanche. Hopefully that never comes in handy for us, but it’s great to know it’s there! That price is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re looking for a lightweight jacket that can handle rain and snow in pretty much any conditions, this one is amazing.

Arcteryx Sentinel Jacket (size S)

Arcteryx Sentinel Jacket (size S)

- Patagonia Capilene Thermal One-Piece Suit: I don’t know why Patagonia stopped making this incredible suit (RIP) but if they ever make it again, BUY ONE. This is my go-to base layer for really cold conditions, especially if I’ll be moving around a lot. The material is super warm (as a base layer, not alone) and the material is odor-resistant so it never smells even after multiple days of high-activity use! It wicks sweat super well and dries extremely fast. My favorite feature has to be the zippered butt flap that allows you to pee without taking the suit off :) Bonus, this is what I sleep in for cold nights and will be my pajamas for the swiss trip.

- Patagonia Hiking Leggings: I have been using these lighter weight leggings for a few months now and love them for chilly temps and high activity days. Plus, they have little pockets that fit my phone!

- Patagonia Fleece Leggings: I am bringing two pair of fleece leggings (wearing one on the plane) and looooove these so much for winter. My first pair was an eBay purchase years ago, I got them used as Cap 4 Leggings (I believe manufactured in the 90s) and they have been my primary pants every winter since. On one of my first trips wearing them, I poked a hole in them with a yucca plant (it HURT) and sent them into Patagonia to get them repaired. It was an easy, free process and furthered my love for the company. I have worn them for so many activities and they still look new out of the wash (and I bought them used!). After years of Patagonia not producing fleece leggings, I finally found a similar pair in the store this season and picked them up. They’re not the exact same as my beloved 90s pair, but they are super soft and have a zippered leg pocket, so I’m psyched on them. I highly reccomend a pair of these for good conditions, but they are not water or wind resistant so be sure to layer shell pants for bad weather days.

Patagonia Capeline 3 One Piece Baselayer Suit (Size XS)

Patagonia Capeline 3 One Piece Baselayer Suit (Size XS)

Callen’s vintage ski suit, My Patagonia Reclaimed Wool Parka (Size XS, no longer available) + Patagonia Fleece Leggings (XS)

Callen’s vintage ski suit, My Patagonia Reclaimed Wool Parka (Size XS, no longer available) + Patagonia Fleece Leggings (XS)

- Patagonia Down Hoodie Pullover: My friends at Wylder Goods gave me this on the way to Alaska last year and it has gotten so much good use! It’s super comfortable with a roomy fit (I normally wear XS and went with S here), and extremely warm. The pull-over style makes it a little more comfortable for relaxing (I’ve even slept in it on some really cold nights) but is a little difficult if you overheat easily or will be doing a lot of activity. This is my belay/chill jacket, but I wouldn’t climb or hike anything hard in it.

- Patagonia Nano Air Jacket: I debated bringing this since I’m also bringing my down pullover, but this jacket is lightweight and perfect for high-activity days! The nano air insulation is synthetic (meaning, not down) so it’ll stay warm even if it gets wet, and this jacket is designed to be highly breathable so you don’t have to take it off when you move around a warm up. It’ll come in handy when skiing and hiking. I also use this when climbing and have been surprised by how durable it is.

- Patagonia Retro Pile Fleece Vest: This was honestly a splurgy fun purchase last fall but it’s become one of my favorite pieces of gear! It layers really well with the Cap 3 base layer on days that are chilly but a jacket feels overkill, and when layered under a jacket it provides much more warmth and without. It’s a pretty bulky item, but I know I’ll be really glad to have it. Fun fact, when Patagonia first released these vests back in the 70s, they sewed them out of overstock toilet seat cover material. Companies have been copying the “pile fleece” style ever since!

- Patagonia Capeline 3 Zip Neck Baselayer Shirt: This is my allllll time favorite shirt. If I had to live in one shirt for the rest of my life, it’d be this one! Perfect for any conditions under about 65 degrees, breathes super well, never smells bad, and keeps me warm when layered under a good shell.

- Smartwool 250 Baselayer Shirt: This shirt serves the same purpose for me as the Cap 3. I love it, but if I had to choose one I’d do the Cap 3 above.

- Patagonia Cotton Long Sleeve: Sometimes you get tired of wearing base layers and just want to wear a normal cotton t shirt like a normal person. This one is super comfy and I like the fit.

- Darn Tough Socks (from REI): My favorite socks for anything but hot weather. I have about 4 pair that I cycle through and can usually get 4-5 days out of a pair before needing to wash them.

- Snow Gloves: I picked these up for skiing and gave been super impressed so far. I used them to shoot an engagement session in Jackson at sunrise when it was 0 degrees.

- Burt’s Bees Face Wipes: I always like to have these on hand, especially when traveling. I don’t use them every single day, but when you’re living in a van and feeling especially dirty, it’s amazing what a nice smelling face wipe (sometimes used all over my body…) can do for morale! I follow it up with this moisturizer and feel squeaky clean ;)

Patagonia NanoAir Hoody (size XS)

Patagonia NanoAir Hoody (size XS)

Patagonia Down Hoodie Pullover (Size S)

Patagonia Down Hoodie Pullover (Size S)

Patagonia Capeline 3 Baselayer Half Zip Shirt (Size XS) + Patagonia Pack Out Tights (Size XS)

Patagonia Capeline 3 Baselayer Half Zip Shirt (Size XS) + Patagonia Pack Out Tights (Size XS)

- Patagonia Toiletries Bag: After having the same toiletries bag since I was like 16, I finally upgraded to this Pata black hole bag and really love it! It’s the perfect size and the handles are nice for keeping it off the floor in the random campgrounds/rec centers we use for showers.

- Comfy boots: I’m bringing a pair of more rugged hiking/snow boots that I’ll be wearing on the plane, but I like to have a change for the end of the day if my boots are wet or my feet are hurting. I got a pair of used Uggs at a gear shop in Jackson last month and as embarrassingly basic they are, they’re super comfortable and great for van life. I’ll be able to pull them on easily when I have to venture out in the snow at 3am to pee #prayforme

- Other than random things like my beanie, a hair brush, 20 packs of hand warmers, and a bunch of kind bars, that’s it for my carry on pack! It’s stuffed to the brim, but all of these things fit in the 60L pretty easily.

Patagonia Capeline 3 Baselayer Shirt (Size XS) + Patagonia Retro Pile Fleece Vest (Size XS) + Patagonia Cep 4 Fleece Leggings (Size XS) + Darn Tough Hiker Socks

Patagonia Capeline 3 Baselayer Shirt (Size XS) + Patagonia Retro Pile Fleece Vest (Size XS) + Patagonia Cep 4 Fleece Leggings (Size XS) + Darn Tough Hiker Socks


ITEMS IN MY PERSONAL BAG (regular backpack):

- 15” Macbook Pro + charger

- Canon 5D Mark IV + 24-70L 2.8: This is my go-to travel lens and while I’d love to pack my 35L as well, we’re traveling light and this lens will suit 99% of the photos we want to take! Callen is bringing his Canon EOS R an our 70-200 2.8L plus a doubler (that will get is to 400mm) to get some zoomies of the mountains!

- Extra snacks

- Headphones

- Hydroflask: I never go anywhere without it! If you’re still using single-use plastic water bottles, please apologize to the ocean and get yourself a reusable water bottle asap :)

WHAT I’M WEARING ON THE PLANE:

- My O.G. Pair of Patagonia fleece leggings (see above)

- Patagonia Fjord Flannel: I’ve worn this probably 9/10 days of the winter. Super comfy, warm, and the perfect layer

- Patagonia Reclaimed Wool Parka (2014): This is my all-time favorite piece of clothing. I get asked about it allll the time but unfortunately it was a Limited Edition 40th anniversary piece that they sold in the fall of 2014 and it’s extremely difficult to find (even used). This link is from a time they had one on the Worn Wear site, but I’d keep eyes peeled on eBay, Worn Wear, and Poshmark if you really want one! Here is a nice alternative on the Pata line up.

- Kodiak Surrey II Boots (From REI): I’ve had these for a few years now and love them for snow or cold weather! They are comfortable for hiking up to 4 miles an we likely won’t do more than that this trip so they’ll be great for everything we do! A lot of our adventure brides have had these boots and loved them.


I hope that was helpful! Once we get home, I’ll have to write a follow up post (or maybe just add a note to this one) about what was actually helpful! Who knows, maybe the ski suit is total overkill ;) Let me know in the comments if you think I missed anything, or if you have specific items you ALWAYS pack when traveling!

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intimate wedding in yosemite national park | adventure elopement photographer

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intimate wedding in yosemite national park | adventure elopement photographer

Yosemite National Park, California

the hearnes » adventure elopement photographers


morgan + trevor’s intimate wedding in yosemite national park | private vows at sunrise + wedding ceremony at Glacier Point | groom wearing a kilt | adventure elopement photographer

When Morgan and Trevor reached out we immediately connected to their bold and energetic personality. They described themselves as adventurous, resourceful, and talked about how much they loved exploring. "We just love to get in the car, put some good tunes on, and drive." Morgan went on about how they met, what they do for fun, and the funny little things about their relationship like texting lyrics to forgotten 80's songs to each other and taking picnics. We love how our couples always bring their own twist to their adventure wedding and were stoked on everything Trevor and Morgan brought to the table.

When we were planning their wedding day in Yosemite it came together perfectly - the kilt, the sunrise session, their incredible energy - it was so unique to them and we were stoked on all of it! The day started with pictures of their first look at Glacier Point. The sunrise was epic and there was a sweet little twist. Morgan and Trevor chose to take a little time at sunrise to spend just the two of them, reading their vows to each other before the ceremony. It was super emotional and touching to snap some pictures from afar.

We then had a little while to explore around, kind of moving like Morgan described in her initial inquiry, just going and looking for whatever caught our eye. Trevor was mainly just keeping his eye on Morgan which was super cute, but the views of the valley lit up amazingly with a perfect coat of high covering clouds which allowed us to stretch the morning light out quite a bit longer! We headed back to the amphitheater at Glacier Point for an intimate little wedding ceremony with friends and family. Their officiant was great and the whole thing was super fun and personal!

The ceremony ended with cheers and a time for everyone to hang out and take in the views. We've done all sorts of weddings in Yosemite, and I love how each one fits the personality of the couple so well. Today, I watched how everyone celebrated the new couple. Morgan and Trevor were glowing, it seemed perfect for them, the people closest to them, just enough to fit into a couple big hugs, brought together to explore and witness their marriage in a place they love. The family had some time together after the ceremony to enjoy the park before we met back up for sunset down in the valley a few hours later.

We basically just explored more and it felt like we were just playing around in the meadows and forests of the valley. Morgan wore her mother's wedding dress which made for such sweet and sentimental photos. Trevor was having so much fun hugging Morgan, throwing her over his shoulder, walking around beaming with pride and love and excitement. They met 11 years ago and we could tell they were best friends who were so, so comfortable with each other.

As the day wound down the sun dipped below the granite walls and the golden light lit up the tall grass we walked through. I imagined we were on one of their trips, in the middle of one of the many great conversations this couple has - "What if we just drove to Yosemite? What if we whispered our vows to each other at sunrise? You could wear your kilt and I'd wear my mothers dress! Wouldn't that be great?"

Yes, I thought, it would be quite great.


The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US. You can typically find them in Moab, Utah or Yosemite National Park, California, with side-quests to Patagonia and Alaska. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.

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arches national park wedding portraits in the rain | off-roading jeep adventure | moab elopement photographer

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arches national park wedding portraits in the rain | off-roading jeep adventure | moab elopement photographer

Arches National Park | Moab, Utah

the hearnes » adventure elopement photographers


emily + josh’s adventurous wedding portraits in arches national park | off-roading jeep adventure wedding ceremony

Josh and Emily, preparation, unsafe conditions, changed plans, and trust - it took all of this to capture one of the most surreal moments we've ever witnessed.

You wouldn’t think a few things "going wrong" would lead to Josh and Emily having one of the most epic sessions of our career. In fact, a photo from their day which had many unexpected changes ended up being picked for one of the biggest honors we've received - earning one of Junebug Weddings Best Photos of 2018.


Before we get to the story, let me tell you two things about being an adventure wedding photographer. First, one of the most important things about the job is the ability to plan - know the park rules, about permits, and about leave no trace principles. Know park rangers, visit a BLM office and talk to them, ask the questions you might have well in advance so you can put into place what it takes to keep your couples and yourself safe. To do your best work, you also need to be more than vaguely familiar with an area. You need to know the ins and outs. Know details about the light and not just what it's doing right now, but all of the things it might do, because shooting in Zion vs. Yosemite vs. Alaska is worlds different. You have to be ready if there are no clouds or some clouds or if you're completely socked in. You should plan around what peak the sun is going to set behind, know exactly when the sun will rise, and how all these factors change depending on the time of year you'll be shooting. Secondly, know when to adapt. There will be times when something comes up - a wildfire or a closed road, a hike that's way busier than usual (maybe you need to hit the trailhead at 4 am), but the most common is the weather. When situations come up, you have to be able to confidently trust your knowledge, experience, and skill set - all of which give you that gut feeling you have to go with.

Josh and Emily put so much trust in us to plan their wedding day. I can't overstate how much this means to us. It's especially true considering they wanted their adventure wedding in Moab, which is basically our backyard. We've spent as much time here as anywhere, and I know the weather can change pretty quickly in Moab. A week before Josh and Emily's shoot the forecast said there was a chance of rain. The prediction of a storm out here can switch to clear skies and vice versa overnight, so we waited. The crux was the original plan we made to run a slot canyon for their elopement. Any time there is rain, there is a chance of a flash flood in a canyon even if the storm isn't close or happened the day before.

Twenty-four hours before the shoot and the weather report still called for rain. We needed to change our plan. I know the pictures we take of our couples up on the edge of a cliff can sometimes cause people to gasp a little. The thing is, we almost never need to tell our couples no because we don't say yes to stuff while planning or shooting which could carry real danger. Our couples often want a shot on an edge, and we'll help them find a safe spot to do so and pursue on their own, at their individual level of comfort. However, when it comes to things like avalanche safety in the mountains of Alaska, the wind in Patagonia, or a flash flood in a slot canyon in Utah, it's our job to know and prepare for the risks which didn't exist when a plan was first made. The truth is (and consider that this comes from a couple who loves jumping out of perfectly good planes as a hobby) some things just aren't worth the risk. Flat out, we prioritize safety over any epic shot.

So we had the plan but now was the time to adapt. Again, Emily and Josh had so much trust in us which made the next part way easier to become so great. We didn't know it at the time but the rain and danger of a flash flood in the canyon and the last minute change of plans resulted in our most epic shot of 2018.

When we got in the car, it did end up looking pretty stormy, but there was a little break in the cloud cover near the horizon. I was hoping some golden light might sneak through. Let me also say this - I didn't use to shoot adventure elopements in Arches National Park too much because it can get pretty packed with crowds. I ended up learning our couples loved hiking in the park and people loved seeing them walk by in their wedding clothes. I thought the silver lining to all this was that Josh and Emily would have a lot fewer people at the park because of the weather. Little did I know, as Callen wound up the switchbacks of the entrance to Arches National Park, we were on our way to experience some desert magic.

I knew even if the sun didn't come out the photos would be pretty epic. Moab can be great in any condition. The 2,000+ arches in the park provides so much for a photographer to frame a shot with and the sandstone rising from the earth provide natural contrast, punchy shadows, and the endless skies stretching over the earth in every direction allow for so many beautiful options. We have a huge list of locations Callen and I have explored, and I picked one of my favorite spots knowing, if the sun did sneak out below the clouds, we could snag some cool light shining through the arch.

Okay, enough about safety and photography concepts and everything going through my head that day. I just wanted to give you a true look into the preparation and decision making which can go into a single evening of shooting. It's important to remember that no matter what is happening, through trust, preparation, and knowledge, there is a way to put yourself into a position where you have an opportunity to use your skills as a photographer to capture something great.

As we piled out of our cars, Emily and Josh were so excited which put a lot of peace in my mind. They were so upbeat and happy even though we were in a completely different area than they expected a few days ago. It kind of hit me then- Josh and Emily met at the camp Josh ran, where Emily now works, where kids with serious illnesses go to just be kids. They're literally pros at taking a hard situation and making it into something beautiful. A new wave of appreciation for them hit me. I was witnessing a couple who can bring a calm presence in any storm, whose love for people and each other isn't dependent on circumstance, and I just had a good feeling about them, about the shoot, about the whole day and what I do for a living in general.

We walked the trail and the sun still wasn't coming out, but the layer of clouds still left us a good chance. Emily's dress and her beautiful veil were perfect for the hike, and Josh wore a light grey suit that contrasted the red rock beautifully. They climbed up the sandstone to the little perch under the arch I directed them to. Callen took off behind me to get some shots a little further out. Emily and Josh walked across the ridgeline below the arch. I felt a drop of rain or two, and then it really started coming down. Then, just as they reached the bottom trough of the arch, the sky began to light up. The sun was coming through the other side of the arch perfectly, backlighting Emily and Josh. I was already stoked on it all, but then the phenomenal happened. The rain got a little heavier, and the drops falling through the sky became drenched in the golden light that was peaking out under the clouds.

I knew Callen was behind me. I yelled back asking if he saw it too. He did! This type of thing is so unique. I'd never seen anything like it and wondered if it would register on camera. Josh and Emily were in complete awe. The scene was completely surreal. Eventually, the rain stopped, but the light kept shining through the arch. The sunset made Emily's dress glow, Josh gave her kisses and held her hand as we climbed down and explored a little more.

Later that night I got to take a look at Callen's photos and was blown away. You can tell when I'm stoked on something because I just blurt out words like "oh my gosh" and "no way" and "Callen!" when going through the photos. The rain had not only shown up but looked like glitter falling through the sky. The images perfectly captured what we had witnessed.

The next day Josh and Emily picked us up in a Jeep for a 4x4 excursion through a more remote corner of Moab. We picked out and made a mental note of a spot for their vows at sunset and kept exploring, stopping a few places to take pictures. Eventually, we found a perfect little place overlooking the Colorado River for some sunset shots. The light was perfectly Moab,  shadows of monuments cast against western walls of the canyon, and Josh held his wife close. They looked beautiful; the couple that could find the beauty in any storm, the ones who put their trust in us, the ones who lit up under a natural phenomenon. We drove back to the spot they chose to give their vows and gave them some space to have time to themselves. I can't lie though; I would have loved to hear what this couple had to say to each other. 

What I do know is the day was fitting for them, who they are, what they do, what they love, and experiencing the beauty we did was something special. I think, in all our professions, we work hard to do our best; we bring out the best in ourselves to bring in a bit of beauty in the life of another. Whether by a sick child being able to truly smile in the midst of a personal storm, a family being able to feel happiness or providing an experience to a couple in love to not just stay safe but witness a once in a lifetime moment with each other - all the soul we pour into what we do, every bit of effort - it is all so worth it.

Elopement Location: Arches National Park, Utah

Photographers: The Hearnes Adventure Photography

Bride’s Dress: BHLDN


The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US. You can typically find them in Moab, Utah or Yosemite National Park, California, with side-quests to Patagonia and Alaska. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.

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