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What to Pack – Alaska

Image of clothing
What to pack for Alaska

Most visitor’s to Alaska arrive May – September. Alaska is very casual and you will rarely find a need to dress up. Leave your dress clothes at home. Be prepared for temperatures in the 50-70 degree range, with the possibility of rain, fog, snow and wind.

  1. Plan to dress in layers. Include lightweight long underwear, or active wear. Long sleeve shirts, jeans, a sweater or sweatshirt and a heavy jacket for cold, windy days. Pack extra socks. You will appreciate the warmth on the open decks near the glaciers during a Kenai Fjord tour or glacier hike. Include short sleeve shirts and shorts for the occasional hot days of mid-summer and a lightweight weatherproof windbreaker for warm, rainy days.
  2. Pack light. Wrinkle free, lightweight mix and match items will lower the weight in your suitcase. I recommend one medium size pull suitcase per person. Most plane, train and bus companies restrict the weight of each bag to 50 lbs.
  3. Bring comfortable shoes. Running shoes should fit most of your needs with waterproof Gore-Tex socks except for hiking the steep mountain trails. Lightweight waterproof boots are also an option for those wet hiking trails and puddles.
  4. Pack a lightweight daypack. A lightweight daypack or tote will come in handy for water bottles and snacks when hiking, and carrying those extra clothes etc.
  5. Do not forget a swimsuit. Most hotels have pools and spas. Who knows you might want to take a polar plunge.
  6. Include sunscreen, bug repellent and a hat. Sunscreen is a good idea even if the sun is not shinning as it protects from windburn, too. June and July are usually considered prime months for those annoying mosquitos, you will appreciate a 100% Deet product. In addition, a hat with a brim will be useful for both sunny and rainy days. Consider a neck scarf and gloves if you suffer from the cold.
  7. Zip top freezer bags come in handy. Use them to isolate toiletries, for soiled clothing and wet items such as bathing suits.
  8. You will want binoculars or a spotting scope. Some tours provided them but you will want a pair with excellent zoom capabilities. Wildlife can prove illusive without the ability to zoom in. That white spot in the tree will become a bald eagle, details of the sea otter will emerge and the bear on the ridge will be visible.
  9. A camera with a zoom lens or video camera although bulky will get those spectacular scenic shots, capture the illusive wildlife in living color and document the adventure.
  10. An eye mask if sleeping while still daylight is an issue, after all Alaska is the land of the midnight sun. Days are long during the summer months.
  11. A small first aid and sewing kit will be handy for minor scrapes, blisters and repairs.
  12. Do not forget your documents, ID, credit cards, a little cash for emergencies and a great attitude. Alaska is in the bush so do not expect five-star properties, after all you chose this destination because it is on the wild side.