Layers. It doesn't matter what time of year. It will still be rainy and cool at night in the summer.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Some of the hotels in the smaller towns do not provide shampoo or anything, really. It's probably best just to bring castille soap (the all in one to wash dishes, yourself, hair, to clean etc) if you're camping. It's easier and environmentally friendly. All medical supplies should come with you, too.
Photo Equipment: Everything you have. Don't bet there will be a place to transfer pictures to a cd or to get them developed unless you'll be in a city.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Waterproof everything and bring duplicates. If it's not frozen, it's probably going to be muddy. (at least in South Central and the Southeast). Mosquito repellant. The bugs are terrible from late spring until the first frost. Bear Canisters.
Miscellaneous: A good topo map or the USGS quadrangles. A laptop computer is a good idea, too. If you can't get WiFi access (a lot of the more visited places have WiFi everywhere), at least you can dump your digital photos.
Luggage and bags:
I traveled with a backpack on plane and along the way. My purse was inside the backpack, money, etc. easy to get too, and much easier to keep up with. We were told to pack both winter and summer clothes as the weather in Alaska can be temperamental. We departed from the South in the summer of July and reached our destination bringing record breaking temperatures in the 90's with us. However, the night air can be very cool. So it's always best to layer your articicles of clothing. It's easier to peel off, than not have enough on to protect you from the elements.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Hiking boots a must* comfortable tennis shoes for daytime walking. Lightweight jackets, lined w/hoods, gloves. Mostly we packed jeans, and layered. Tops consisted of sweatshirts and flannels with teeshirts underneath on cooler days outside touring the area.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Shampoo, hair dryer, makeup, etc. Shaving gear for hubby. Deoderant. That's all.
Photo Equipment: Take LOTS of film* Trust me.....you will need it. I took 15 rolls of film and still ran out. Had to buy more once there. So much to see and so much to do in Alaska. you want to capture all you can on film for the adventure and memories of a lifetime****
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: We rented a huge Buddy special RV and drove from Anchorage to Barrow, which the RV was new and ultra nice. So we had great gear inside the camper. We stocked it well with groceries before we left town.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Useful packing list for day-hikers and backpackers as well including Clothing (Base-Insulation-Shell-Other Layers), Footwear, Head Gear, Hand Gear, Toiletries, Shelter, Sleeping Gear, Walking/Hiking Gear, Cooking Gear, Miscellaneous. Definitely have a look at this list before you head to the mountains.
Luggage and bags:
You do not have to carry your suitcases once you show up at the dock. It's great not having to pack and unpack all the time.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: rain gear and good walking shoes. Also a nice outfit for the 2 formal nights (out of 7)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: bonine and/or a patch for people who tend to get sea sick.
Photo Equipment: a wide angle lens; binoculars.
Miscellaneous: If you are on a cruise, it's best to mark your luggage with large colorful posters or belts. It makes it so much easier to retrieve it after your disembark and you see dozens of suitcases that all look like yours :)
Luggage and bags:
We took carry-on only for our 10-day trip and couldn't have been happier! We also had smaller backpacks to use as daypacks. Great to carry your jacket/extra shirt, etc.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: The weather varied from mid-40's to mid-80's during our late June visit, sometimes during the same day, depending on location. It is a very good idea to pack layers of clothing and carry a jacket/rain jacket wherever you go. We took goretex rain jackets that doubled as regular jackets. Think tees or tanks, regular shirt (short- or long-sleeved) and a jacket to be sure you are comfortable no matter what the weather. Anytime you are near glaciers or ice fields, the temperature will drop. Also in Homer, along the coast, the wind made the air feel much cooler.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Definitely bring mosquito repellant! Mosquitos were everywhere, with maybe the exception of the coast. We were lucky and didn't get many bites.
Photo Equipment: A good point-and-shoot camera is a must. Unless you are a professional and know your camera very well, you will miss a lot of wildlife shots. The aminals move quickly and will be out of sight before you have your camera ready. One lady on our Denali tour didn't get a good shot of anything because she didn't know her camera. Bring twice the memory/film and 4x the batteries you need if you like to take pictures! Everywhere you go is scenic.
Miscellaneous: A good set of binoculars is essential. We were able to watch grizzlies romp and play about a quarter-mile away, spot hikers on top of a ridge, watch fox kits playing, golden eagles diving for a catch.... you get the picture....more up close and personal with binoculars.
Even if you are traveling to Alaska in the summer as we did, you'll want to have clothes for all seasons -- it can snow in Denali and reach 90F/38C in Fairbanks all in the same week. The main thing we appreciated were waterproof outdoor clothes, since it rained often.
Miscellaneous: Definitely bring miosquito repellent!
Luggage and bags:
With airlines charging more for checked bags and overhead bins filling up, I find myself packing lighter and lighter. A few minutes spent washing clothes at night is a decent trade off to the relief from dragging too much stuff with you. http://www.onebag.com has become a favorite web site of mine as I figure out how to lighten my load.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: After living in Alaska for over 30 years, I've learned to expect any kind of weather any time of the year. Rain, sun, wind, calm. Summer tempuratures range from 45F to 75F on the coast.
Last night it was 39 here in Kodiak and raining (unusally cold) and today at noon it is almost 60 and sunny. You just never know.
So layering up is the best way to dress. That way you can peel off and back on as things change and yet stay as you are without overheating for much longer.
-Water and wind proof outer layer (Gortex?).
-A vest of some sort. (Down in winter and fleece in summer) .
-Avoid white clothes - everyone will know you're a tourist (especially the bears :) and you'll just get dirty.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bug spray - such as Deep Woods Off.
Photo Equipment: With all the wildlife to be spotted in Alaska, a zoom is key. If you can get an optical zoom in the 10X range you'll have a chance at a decent shot.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: If you aren't bringing your own camping gear, there are many places in Anchorage to get cheap gear (a relative term - I know). Walmart, Costco, etc. Sears has some decent sales these days. A favorite of mine is REI on the corner of Spenard & Northern Lights.
The weather in Alaska during the summer months really isn't that cold, so it's not really necessary to take your thermals unless you intend to walk on a glacier for an extended period of time. Wet weather gear will be more useful. The dress code in most restaurants and hotels appears to be casual.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: There are lots of mosquitos, bring the repellant.
Photo Equipment: You will require telephoto lenses for shooting wildlife and a wide angle lense for pictures of the glaciers and other amazing scenery.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: You get eaten alive without mosquito repellent. The mosquitos come in herds. We could not even open the car door without have a few dozens following us into the car anywhere outside of Anchorage or away from the ocean. The good thing is, if you forgot to bring it, repellents are readily available in most shops in Alaska, and come in a variety of selections.
We returned a few weeks ago from a trip to Alaska, in July 2005. We flew up, rented a car and drove 1300 miles, from Anchorage to Denali, then down to Homer.
Here are some things you might want to take on a trip to Alaska:
Small bottle of hand sanitizer (like Purell). Most of the rest stops along Alaska roads have outhouses, and few have running water. Especially true on the Denali bus trip. Antiseptic hand-wipes would serve the same purpose.
Small-to-medium sized collapsible, soft-sided cooler. You can take this in your luggage, folded up, then use it to keep drinks cold in the car, to transport perishable foods from one hotel to the next, and on the Denali bus trip (8 hour trip is too long for sandwiches to be out of a cooler).
Sunglasses and sunscreen (it never got dark when we were there in July). You won't need a flashlight!
Luggage and bags:
Regular suitecases are fine - bring a backpack as well for day trips and or over night trips!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Rain Jacket
Layers, layers, layers - one minute you could be hot, the next cold so wear things you can layer up and down to keep good. I suggest a tank top, then a thin thermal or T, thin fleece and a wind braker
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sun block - bring it or buy it here, you may be suprised at how often you need it if it's nice outside. If doing any glacier trips or spring outdoor activities you will need it as well.
Lotion - it is dry here compared to some places, people that live in humid areas find they use lotion way more here than at home.
Photo Equipment: ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM - some wildlife may be a bit far away so make sure you have what you need to take a great pic.
I also suggest a camera tripod thing that has flexable arms that you can wrap around a tree branch or whatever happens to be around so you can get that great shot or self portrait!
Luggage and bags:
a backpack is a necessity
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: hiking boots - and a wind-breaker if going to the arctic ocean (the temperatures dropped significantly)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: if you are camping do NOT bring perfumes, and please also avoid perfumed deodorants and soap. Anything with a smell attracts bears - toothpaste too, but one can't really be without it.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: a food canister to hang up on trees and keep bears away - it's also a good store place for your toothpaste
Miscellaneous: mosquitos... they are voracious. Bring strong mosquito reppelent and be aware that it won't protect you from bites - it'll just let you avoid some. I tried a combination of DEET repellent on my naked skin - all over the body - topped with another weaker repellent all over my clothes. Occasionally I even wore a headnet. Moral of the story: 2 weeks and 58 bites.
Be sure to pack rainy weather gear. It rained many days while we were in Alaska. Temperature in late June, early July was in the mid-50's. I packed a water-resistant jacket, umbrella, and several light ponchos. We needed them all!! For those particularly sensitive to the damp and chill, pack fleeces or sweaters which you could put over a light shirt in case the sun makes an unexpected appearance!
Photo Equipment: Film and batteries can be expensive here so be sure to pack extra. However, if you run out, use your ship-supplied coupon for a video of the history of Skagway for $1.99. A true bargain.
Luggage and bags:
I used a large wheeled duffle bag.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: 2 pairs of fleece tops, 2 pairs of fleece bottoms, REI waterproof/breathable pants, waterproof slip on shoes, woven cap, woven gloves.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Seasickness medications, melatonin, vitamins, the usual things I can't live without
Photo Equipment: Sony CyberShot 150 7.2MP with Sony Underwater Housing
Luggage and bags:
Backpack is essential especially if you don't have a car.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Top quality boots, you'll often be hiking off trails. Rain gear is essential, it can be a very wet place.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bug repellant and suncreen, por favor.
Photo Equipment: Wide angle for the expanses, zoom for the wildlife. I had a 300mm and it really wasn't enough. Tripod is important for wildlife as you are often in poor light situations.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Put the money out for a good tent. You will save so much on rooms and you won't mind camping so much if you're dry and not being eaten alive by mozzies. ;-)
A big tarp is very handy to eat under and give you a little more space, important if you're camping for five months.
Miscellaneous: If you think you need it, bring it. You're not backpacking from Amsterdam to Paris here. One more plus for the car is you can bring whatever you want. We brought A LOT of stuff and used everything, but the spare car parts.
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