The Essential Alaskan Vacation Packing List

Packing for An Alaskan VacationFor most summer excursions, you will not need any additional clothing than what you are already packing. That being said, when you visit Alaska it’s important to keep in mind that even though it’s summer, we can still see very cold temperatures. During rainy days in Seward we can see temperatures plummet to as low as 40 and, though unlikely, its been known to snow in Denali national park. 
 
More common to see, however are temperatures ranging from about  55-85 degrees. Because of this, we strongly recommend packing the following items for your trip:
 
  • Sunglasses – these are a must have for any excursion that will bring you out on the water or out on the snow
  • Rain Jacket & Rain Pants – when it rains, it pours. Don’t let bad weather discourage you, be prepared for it. You’ve invested a lot into your trip, so don’t skimp out here. Get high quality stuff that will keep you dry. Rain jackets also double as great wind protection. And, you know what they say — if you have it, you won’t need it!
  • Light Weight Gloves – these are more important if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors, hiking, or on the water. They can be picked up cheaply enough once you are here but are worth mentioning because they sometimes can be hard to find.
  • Long Johns – Chances are you won’t need these but if you do, you’ll be glad you have them. They don’t take up much room in a suitcase either. If you don’t already have them, don’t purchase them additionally unless you plan on doing a lot of fishing, kayaking, or other excursions that will keep you out on the water.
  • Fleece – We can’t emphasize the importance of having good layers enough. The ability to put on or remove layers is essential because weather changes quickly. Bring both a medium weight and heavy weight fleece to layer over your t shirts.
  • Walking Shoes / Hiking Boots – So much of the Alaskan experience is getting out into the wilderness. Have comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots that have been broken in.
  • Hand Warmers – you generally won’t find these in Alaska this time of year but If you tend to run cold, consider picking up a few of these to have “just in case” in your luggage. Great for rainy days, kayak trips, and wildlife cruises.
  • Backpack – you want to be able to carry a few layers and any other odds and ends when you go out on an excursion or out hiking. You don’t need anything fancy but it should fit 1-2 layers and a water bottle for yourself. Depending on the number of people in your group, it may be worth having more than one backpack.
  • Sunscreen – Longer days mean
 Alaska is a blast in the summer regardless of the weather. We like to say that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. Come prepared and don’t let a little bad weather stand between you and having a great time. Put a smile on your face, layer up, and don’t be afraid to get out in the elements — it’s the Alaskan way.
Besides clothes, there are a number of fun things you should consider bringing. First, Alaska is a big state. If you plan on doing a lot of driving like visiting Seward, Homer, and Denali or even Fairbanks, consider getting a good audiobook or podcast to listen to and help keep everyone entertained. Alaska is a big state. It’s about a six hour car ride from Seward to Denali, longer with traffic. Train rides are generally longer than vehicle rides too, so plan accordingly.
Our long days can throw off even the soundest sleepers, so consider bringing a sleeping mask to help drown out the light. We also recommend setting an alarm to remind yourself to go to bed. Trust us, it’s easy to lose track of time when it’s so light out.’
If you haven’t upgraded your camera in awhile, consider getting a digital camera or GoPro for taking movies.

About Sarah Stokey

Sarah Stokey is a writer, blogger, dog musher, and tour operator in Seward, Alaska. In 2016 she finished the 1,000 mile dog sled race and was proudly supported by the Seward Community. Sarah is passionate about sharing her love of Seward and her sled dogs.