Are you visiting Alaska for Cruising, Camping and Hiking, Fishing and Hunting? Something else? Here are 8 Must-Pack Items that you should consider bringing for your trip no matter what your Alaskan Adventure is. Each section has links to examples on Amazon, but consider buying many of these items in person at your local sporting goods store to guarantee proper fit.
Our #1 Must Pack Item for any Alaskan Adventure. Sunglasses are important in Alaska due to the low angle of the sun on the horizon, which causes a lot of glare and eye strain. Personally I use the darkest blue-tint polarized lenses I can find by Costa or Maui Jim.
Water seems to be a part of any Alaskan Adventure. Rubber boots such as Xtratuf are the go-to footwear for Alaskan adventurers. My wife wears them everywhere – even to the office. They slip on and off easily, allow you to ignore wet terrain and are comfortable. Do not skimp on Rubber Boots!
Remember that Rubber Boots typically have no insulation or arch support. It may be useful to invest in an insulated insert or arch support (or both) as needed.
Personally I prefer waterproof shoes over rubber boots for general purpose. This is mainly for comfort and it gives me the ability to traverse puddles a few inches deep, so I have to be a bit more cautious where I put my feet but it’s worth it to me.
I find Rain Pants to be much more useful than a Rain Jacket for Alaskan Adventures. Alaska gets a lot of moisture, and if you are out exploring or hiking it can be tough to find a spot to sit that isn’t soaking wet! Low bush plants that brush against your legs on hiking trails through thick bush also retain a lot of moisture and can soak your jeans quickly, where you can ignore them with Rain Pants.
Be sure to purchase them large enough to go over your normal pants. Also having ones with leggings that expand to allow you to put them on without removing your shoes are a huge plus.
Our Go To jackets are almost always fleece jackets. Fleece is water-phobic and will suffice instead of a rain jacket in light rain. I prefer Wind Stopper fleece myself, as its more dense outer layer is even more effective at stopping wind and rain. Most materials are the same across the board, so pick fit over brand name.
This is a must pack item if you are sensitive to the cold at all. Merino Wool and layers are the key here. Merino Wool is moisture wicking and comfortable against the skin. Gone are the days of itchy wool underwear! Comfort wins over brand names as the material is the same across the board. Pick a thickness that you will be comfortable with for a day – thin underwear works surprisingly well and may be comfortable to wear throughout the day while you adjust your outer layers accordingly.
This is my #2 must pack item for any Alaskan Adventure. This is one of those little gems that will make you feel like you have totally hacked your Alaskan vacation. Anchorage gets almost 20 hours of daylight at the Summer Solstice. You get more the further north that you go. That means you’re trying to get some sleep while the sun is blazing away at 10pm. Tent walls do little to block the light, and it’s not very common to have blackout shades on your window. Personally I travel with two of these everywhere I go.
OK, I’m in the minority on this one, but I love my rain hat. With it I have no need for an umbrella and can move normally in the rain without getting my head soaked. It’s also great for finding shade in sunny days. It crumples up to a small space in my day pack when I don’t need it.
Whatever gear you bring, just keep in mind that utility is the highest level of fashion in Alaska. It is best to try things on in-person to ensure a proper fit. However, if you can’t try things on in a store then feel free to use the links in this post to help support our site – it is greatly appreciated!
Do you have an item you simply can’t live without in Alaska? If there is something we missed please leave it in the comments below!