Destination: Alaska – What to Pack for your Adventure!
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
“To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world”
~ John Muir
No doubt there are things to consider when you are planning on going for your Alaskan vacation. In order to decide what to pack, you must first consider how many days you are staying there and of course, the weather. If you’re looking for the best weather, it’s indisputable that you should visit Alaska in the summer. During the summer season, you’ll experience warmer temperatures, clearer skies, and little possibility of snow. That being said, the ideal time to visit Alaska during the summer will be around June to August. During this period the weather is more favorable as there will be the least chance of rain and more sunny days, hence warmer temperatures. Also, you should take into consideration that other travelers will consider this short period favorable too, so if you want a less crowded adventure you may consider choosing an off-season trip. You can consider going during the spring.
Weather in Alaska
Summer and shoulder season starts early May till late September. Outside this period, you will definitely be dealing with winter so you’ll need to pack warm wear.
In the summer (June to August), temperatures usually range from 50°F to 70°F. In the spring and autumn (April/May and September/October), temperatures drop quickly, from high temperature in the upper 40°F to a low temperature at freezing point (32°F). In the winter (November to March), you should expect low (below freezing point) temperatures during the short days and icy temperatures at night. You’ll need to bundle up!
General Rules for Packing for Alaska
There’s only one general rule for what to wear in Alaska and that’s layers. Layers are very important for you to stay warm without feeling too hot. You can go for a hike early in the morning with several layers on, and take them off as the day gets warmer and you go climbing. You can also pack a raincoat for you to throw over your jacket to stay warm when the grey clouds over Kenai Fjords decide to drop some rain. You can always bundle up or remove layers depending on the weather changes.
What You Specifically Need to Pack for Alaska
Apart from your regular packing list for travel, here’s a list of things you will need specifically for traveling in Alaska. If you’re visiting Alaska during summertime you don’t need special equipment or gear to bring along with you. Just the clothes you usually pack for a journey and a few extras will be more than enough for all your Alaska escapades. Depending on the activities you want to explore/carry out, you may need to add a few items to the list below accordingly. For example, you may be planning on backcountry hiking in Denali or a bush plane expedition out away from the major traveler path, then you will need to pack suitable wear, if not your regular clothes will do just fine.
What you’ll need to pack for an Alaskan Cruise
Be sure to pack these items for your cruise:
Comfortable walking shoes with good grip
A warm jacket and hat
Rain gear e.g. raincoat, rain jacket/trench, rain footwear etc.
Your camera (Of course! To capture beautiful moments!!)
Alaska Guidebook: You may decide to use a guidebook to explore your destination but this is totally optional
Sunglasses: Alaska is known as the Land of Midnight Sun. However, during summer, the sun comes pretty much earlier. It will do you good to pack a pair of sunglasses.
Eye mask: This is not so important if you are not bothered by light when you sleep, however, it is good to have an eye mask handy to block excessive light rays in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Layering Jacket: You need layers to feel warm during cold times. I recommend a layering jacket to keep you warm on your trip to Alaska.
Socks: To avoid the unpleasant feeling of your feet feeling damp, pack a pair of good moisture-wicking socks just so that you will be ready to handle precipitation.
Hiking Shoes/Boots: If you plan on hiking, you will definitely want a pair of comfortable hiking boots for the activity.
Day Pack/Backpack - For all the items above and some other things like snacks, you will definitely need a day pack to pack it all in. No matter the adventure you have planned out for the day, there’s nothing like having a day pack to ensure you don’t forget vital things, for example, your camera!
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