The Fool Proof Packing Guide For Adventures in Alaska

Will you be visiting Alaska in 2021 either on a cruise or a self-guided adventure?  I recently took an Alaskan cruise and I found it very difficult to know what to pack.

Yes! It is possible to cruise and stay healthy, even during these difficult times. Visit here for some tips on keeping yourself healthy while onboard.

I had no idea what the Alaskan meaning of “cold” was, which left me in a dilemma as to what to pack.   I googled and googled and googled and all I could find was “layers”.   The definition of “layers” wasn’t exactly clear, so I brought a lot of everything with me.  Half of which I never wore.  It was at that time that I  decided that I would be making a fool-proof packing guide for adventures in Alaska, detailing what the adventurous person should be packing so that she would have everything that she needed.

Just One Tip: Shop for your base layers during the winter months before your cruse in order to get the best deals the the “winter” items that you will need for your Alaskan cruise.

Weather in Alaska

The weather in Alaska can be very unpredictable.  The best time to visit Alaska is in the summer, during the months of June, July and August.  These months are also the most expensive months to travel, but if you want to be close to guaranteed warmer weather, these are the months to go.

If you are on a budget and are looking for cheaper travel, then I recommend going on the fringe months of May and September, which is what I did.  Be warned though, these months are considered to be the rainy season in Alaska.

A waterfall we had to climb on our hike up to the Mendenhall Glacier

When people think of Alaska, they tend to think of snow and frigid temperatures.  This is not typically the case during the Summer months.  Having said that, it is still best that you dress in “layers”.  Meaning a base layer, sweater or sweatshirt, jacket, and pants.  Luckily when I was in Alaska in May, the temperatures were high 70’s, which is extremely rare.  The temperature in Alaska during the month of May is on average 65 degrees.

What Clothing to Bring to Alaska?

I have already mentioned that dressing in “layers” is recommend.  What exactly is meant by layers?  Exactly that!

  • base layer, which would consist of an undershirt made with breathable fabric which will soak up any sweat, or a t-shirt
  • mid, which would consist of a sweatshirt or a zippered jacket as shown in the picture below
  • long johns
  • hiking pants, waterproof pants

Just One Tip: Avoid wearing jeans when outdoors, as jeans retain the moisture

  • outer layer, which would consist of either a waterproof jacket or winter jacket if you are travelling during the winter months
  • waterproof, cushioned socks if you plan on hiking
  • waterproof hiking boots for hiking or comfortable walking shoes if you are just sight-seeing
  • Either a winter hat or a baseball hat, depending on the time of year you are visiting.  During the summer months, the sun does get hot so don’t forget a hat
  • Waterproof gloves.  These will be needed to keep your hands warm or protect your hands if hiking (there may be a bit of climbing you will do when hiking
packing for Alaskan cruise
Base and Mid Layer

During my visit in May, I took a waterproof windbreaker and I was plenty warm enough both while hiking and sitting on the balcony of the ship.

The most valuable article of clothing that I brought were my gore tex gloves.  They went everywhere with me.  They kept my hands warm while sitting on the balcony of the ship and they were invaluable when hiking one of the many trails.

The trails can be slippery, steep and not to mention cold as you rise in elevation.  I am sure that regular gloves would have also done the trick, but I found that the gore tex helped immensely in protecting may hands from the moisture and mud when climbing the trails.

If you are an outdoor person and plan on taking part in any adventurous actively, I strongly recommend that you invest in a good pair of hiking boots, if you haven’t already.  Make sure that they are water proof/resistant, as the trails are wet, muddy and very slippery.  They will also keep your feet warmer if you are doing any type of sightseeing on the glaciers or out on the water.

packing for Alaska - outer layer
Outer Layer

Many articles that I read on what to pack for Alaska advised to bring rain boots.  As usual, I didn’t listen and I am so glad that I didn’t. You will need a good pair of hiking boots, with a good grip for the trails.  Rain boots would have been a complete waste of space in my suitcase.


When packing your clothes for Alaska the main thing to remember is that layers are a necessity.  Base, middle and outer….I can’t stress this enough.

Alaskan Packing Made Easy
What to pack to take to Alaska

Miscellaneous Items to Pack for Alaska

In addition to your clothing (including the usual clothing not mentioned above), a few of the other items that I packed and found useful are:

  • sunglasses
  • bug spray
  • suntan lotion
  • bear spray
  • backpack
  • baggie or waterproof case for phone, money, ID, etc.
  • phone charger and phone
  • camera and camera accessories
  • binoculars
  • umbrella

So there you have it!  Everything that you will need to pack for all of your adventures in Alaska.  I hope you have a fantastic trip.  It really is a once in a lifetime experience that I’m sure glad got crossed off of my bucketlist!

PRO TIP:  If you are a newbie to cruising, make sure that you have everything you need packed in your carry-on so that you don’t waste the first day onboard the ship.


Kelly xoxo


6 thoughts on “The Fool Proof Packing Guide For Adventures in Alaska

  1. Pingback: Carry-On Essentials – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  2. Pingback: Two Short Days in the Rocky Mountains – JUST ONE PASSPORT

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