This packing list will help to ensure you will have everything you need for your trip with us. Plan your travel wardrobe around informal and comfortable clothing; even at mealtimes, dress is casual. The weather in Alaska is quite variable so clothing which can be layered is ideal. Of special note is to make sure you bring a high quality rain suit so that even if it rains, you can stay comfortable outdoors and have an enjoyable experience. Items made of wool or synthetic fabric remain comfortable and warm even when wet.
All this talk about weather is not meant to dampen your enthusiasm about visiting Alaska. The summer in Alaskan is usually quite mild with temperatures in the fifties and sixties. We liken the Alaska summer to spring or fall in other parts of the country. The most reliable advice is to be prepared for any type of weather! We have found that when our gear and spirits are well suited, the weather is always perfect.
PLEASE NOTE: This packing list is designed for a trip eight to nine days in length. You will need most items on this list and we’ve provided an “Optional Items” section below for additional items that we find useful in Alaska’s backcountry. Also note that there are no laundry facilities available at our wilderness lodges.
LUGGAGE: Due to the small-scale, remote nature of our lodges we ask that you bring duffel bags as luggage. However, if your trusty roller bag is best for you, bring that along. Please note that your luggage will not always be accessible during travel so bring a day pack for any items that you will want to have at hand at all times. Also keep in mind that our vehicles and boats have limited luggage compartments and, for your convenience, our staff hand carry luggage to your accommodations. Therefore, we truly appreciate bags that are of a manageable size.
HIKING BOOTS OR SHOES: Comfortable, lightweight and water repellent. Make sure these are well broken in, especially if all leather, before your trip. If you prefer strenuous hiking, you may want to invest in rugged hiking boots. You should put a coat of waterproofing compound on your boots before arriving in Alaska.
DAY PACK: This will come in handy for day hiking and van travel. A smaller daypack with two shoulder straps that you carry on your back is perfect, and should be large enough to hold rain gear, an extra sweater, water bottle, lunch, binoculars and anything else you would take on a day hike.
RAIN GEAR: During kayak excursions, group canoe paddles and explorations on foot, a good quality rain suit (both top and bottom) is a must to keep you warm and dry. We do have some rain suits available at the lodges, but most guests prefer to bring their own gear. Rain suits should be made of coated nylon with factory-sealed seams. The expensive Gore-tex variety is not really necessary; however, you may opt for this if you think you may have use for it again. Heavy rubberized rain gear will keep you dry, but it is bulky and weighty to carry. Please do NOT bring a plastic or vinyl rain suit or poncho; these tend to tear easily and quickly.
PANTS: Two to three; one pair made of quick-drying, synthetic material. Include a pair of shorts, just in case! We recommend “convertible” pants, which zip-off into shorts for a “two-in-one” travel wardrobe mainstay.
SHIRTS: Two to three, mostly long-sleeved. A long-sleeved, light colored, tightly woven shirt is helpful for bug and sun protection. Bring at least one non-cotton hiking shirt, preferably two – one long-sleeved and one short-sleeved.
WARM JACKET / SWEATER / VEST: Synthetic fleece or wool jacket and a sweater make great layers for warmth. A fleece or wool vest helps take the early morning or late night chill off.
WOOL OR SYNTHETIC FLEECE HAT: You won’t be sorry you brought this!
WOOL OR SYNTHETIC GLOVES: To keep your fingers warm while hiking, boating or photographing outside.
BRIMMED HAT: For sun protection. Some who don’t enjoy a hooded jacket prefer a rain hat.
SOCKS: Two pairs of wool or synthetic socks for hiking, plus adequate lightweight socks to meet your personal needs.
LONG UNDERWEAR: Two sets of polypropylene, capilene or thermax tops and bottoms are recommended. Synthetic fabrics are designed to keep you warm even when wet, wicking moisture away from the skin. Do not bring cotton long underwear; if it becomes wet it fails to insulate.
UNDERWEAR: Enough for your personal needs.
PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS: Make sure you bring an adequate supply for the trip.
ONE-QUART WATER BOTTLE OR HYDRATION PACK: One-quart water bottle or hydration pack for each person. Clean, potable water is available at all lodge locations on our trips. We are a plastic water bottle-free company; please help us reduce plastic waste by bringing your own water bottle.
SMALL FLASHLIGHT OR HEADLAMP: Needed from late July through September.
INSECT REPELLENT: Creams and pumps are more environmentally friendly than aerosols.
SUNGLASSES & SUNSCREEN: We are optimists, and sunshine in Alaska can be strong at times.
FIELD GUIDES: For local flora and fauna.
TRAVEL ALARM CLOCK: Battery operated.
BINOCULARS: Highly recommended and some guests feel that these are mandatory!
CAMERA/FILM/BATTERIES: Don’t forget extra batteries for your camera. Some types of camera batteries can be difficult to find in Alaska. Use of drones is prohibited on our trips.
HIKING POLES: If you prefer to explore the backcountry with hiking poles, please bring ones that pack easily (telescoping).
NECK GAITER: Fleece is best. Great for protecting your neck from the breeze off the water.
BOOT GAITERS: The Cordura variety made by Outdoor Research work well. Gaiters offer protection for your legs and pants from water, insects and brush while exploring on foot.
Additional Items for Fishing Trips
WADERS: We provide top-of-the-line chest waders and wading boots for trout and sockeye fishing on the upper Kenai. You may also choose to bring your own waders: breathable or neoprene, your preference. Please note that felt-soled waders are not allowed per fishing regulations.
FLEECE PANTS: For cold mornings in August and September, these are great under breathable waders.
BRIMMED HAT: For sun and rain protection.
INSECT REPELLENT: The higher the percentage of DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), the more effective it is against mosquitoes. Natural repellents containing Citronella are less effective but gentler on your skin. Creams and pumps are more environmentally friendly than aerosols.
Depending on where you live, finding a few of the above items can be challenging. We have a few recommendations for obtaining gear and clothing items for outdoor travel to Alaska and beyond.
- Patagonia: (800.638.6464) www.patagonia.com
- L.L. Bean: (800.441.5713) www.llbean.com
- REI: (800.426.4840) www.rei.com
- Sierra Designs: (800.635.0461) www.sierradesigns.com
- Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS): (888.463.6367) www.ems.com
- Outdoor Research: (800.467.4327) www.orgear.com
- Mountain Equipment Co-op: (888.847.0770) www.mec.ca