What To Pack For Alaska (Clothing, Gear & Everything Else)

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Planning your Alaska packing list isn’t as easy you may have thought. You need to be prepared for all types of weather, as the weather in Alaska can change at the drop of a hat.

We spent 4 weeks traveling all over Alaska during the months of May and June, classic Alaska spring, so we needed to be prepared for all weather conditions.

Hot Tip: Pack light if you are planning to travel by small plane or float plane in Alaska. Many only allow you to carry on 25 lbs and no more. This includes your clothing and camera gear.

Ultimate Alaska Packing List

Section 1: Clothing

Alaska Packing List

Layering your clothing is the only way to maximize your comfort in the outdoors of Alaska. All clothing you pack for traveling to Alaska should be interchangeable.

The layering concept is simple and it allows you to make quick adjustments based on the weather and your activity level. Each layer has a function. The base layer (anything against your skin) manages moisture.

Next is the insulating layer that protects you from the cold. The outer layer shields you from wind and rain. It’s simple and sweet and you can add or subtract layers as needed.


The best socks for outdoor comfort in Alaska are made of Merino wool or synthetic fabrics. Rather than absorbing moisture, these fabrics wick away perspiration.

You want to bring socks that can work with whatever activity you are taking on but yet also add comfort. Keep your feet dry and change your socks often.

That said, we lived in our Merino wool socks. If you will be up to some very extreme hikes with the possibility of hiking through water, check out these Water Proof Socks.

Long Underwear

Alaska has cooler temperatures so you will need some type of long underwear. Thermal underwear is available in light, mid-heavy, heavy and the type you get should match what your activity and temperature are.

I like tight-fitting when I’m hiking or kayaking but if I’m just lying around in a lodge I like loose-fitting. Buy what you are comfortable with wearing.

The best fabrics for base layers are Merino Wool or Polyester/Elastane. Make sure you try on your base layer with anything you may wear over it so you can tell if it will feel ok or if you will have to get a larger size of pants or shirts. 

Under Armour ColdGear is a great choice for both men and women looking for a great top base layer item. In addition to the compression top, Under Armour also makes great compression leggings for men and women that serve as an excellent base layer on those colder hiking days.

Sleep Shirt

You can use a special sleep shirt or bring an everyday T-shirt. It really depends on the person.

I like to use something lightweight. I’ve traveled for the past years with the same sleep shirt and it is the only sleep shirt I will sleep in.

Men's Alaska Hiking Packing List - David Stock


As we’ve already mentioned, you are going to want to pack a variety of shirts when packing for Alaska. Think lightweight and breathable. Long-sleeve shirts work the best for keeping off the sun along with bugs.  

Hot Tip: Cotton material is not recommended for any Alaska outdoor activity as the fabric does not easily dry and once wet has no insulation. It is best to avoid packing any cotton type items.


I would not go nuts but maybe bring one or two pairs of shorts to Alaska. Many days do get nice, so you will be happy you packed shorts.

The best shorts we used for our time in Alaska were the Duluth Trading Dry on the Fly Shorts. They are made for both men and women which is great, and are lightweight, breathable and insulate even when wet.


Your hotel may have a pool, hot tub or sauna for you to use. Or if you are feeling adventurous you can jump on into one of the many lakes Alaska has. Why not take part in the polar plunge if you are on that cruise ship. We did!

Also, if you make it up to Fairbanks, don’t miss out on a visit to the Chena Hot Springs for a therapeutic soak.

Juneau Alaska Packing List - Lina Stock


You will probably be living in pants in Alaska. I like my outdoor pants for hiking but I love my insulated pants for early morning wildlife viewing.

Top hiking pants we used while in Alaska were the Men’s Columbia Silver ridge pant. These were great because the pants work overtime to keep you cool and comfortable with an advanced wicking fabric and UPF 50 sun protection.

For the ladies, you cannot go wrong wearing the Duluth Trading Women’s DuluthFlex Dry On The Fly Slim Leg Pants.  They are lightweight yet durable with a comfortable waistband with elastic panels. Built-in flex provides more comfort during your day on the move.

Word of advice from us, pack jeans sparingly. We each packed one pair for our 4 weeks in Alaska. We wore them only when we were in towns and going out.

Jeans really have no place in the wilderness, hiking, fishing, etc. They are heavy and retain water, so don’t plan to wear jeans when you’re exploring the outdoors.


The best type of belt to pack for Alaska is anything that is not leather. Leather will not dry well if it gets wet. A fabric belt works the best.

Light Sweater

A lightweight sweater is a must when packing for Alaska. So mark it down on your Alaska packing checklist. You will find this is what you will be living in.

For me, I loved wearing my Eddie Bauer Men’s Cloud Layer Pro 1/4-Zip Pullover. This is the perfect insulating layer for cold weather activities.

It offers warm, lightweight, quick-drying performance, with a high collar that adds an extra measure of protection against the chill.

Hot Tip: Don’t go cheap with your clothing you are going to pack for Alaska. Get clothing that has been proven in the outdoors and the elements. This will give you maximum comfort.


This is nice to throw over that lightweight sweater. I would look for one that is waterproof, has down-fill and is rated for cold weather.

Most, if not all will roll up into a ball so you do not have to worry about the vest taking up much room in your bag. Truth be told, we lived in our vests in Alaska.

We both really enjoy the Eddie Bauer Downlight StormDown Vests. Made for both men and women, these vests are windproof and have a 50% recycled 20D Ripstop polyester shell.

Men's Alaska Packing List - David Stock

Warm Jacket

It’s going to be cold at times on your Alaska adventure so you will want a heavy jacket. Make sure it is something that is packable and something that is waterproof.

Just like we mentioned above, it is again an Eddie Bauer item for the win. We love the men’s and women’s Downlight StormDown Jackets.

Similar to the vest they are 800 fill down and feature a StormRepel DWR finish to shed moisture, keeping you dry and warm.

Rain Jacket

Not all rain jackets are the same, don’t go cheap on this. You will probably be wearing this more often than you think in Alaska. Get one that you can also use as a light jacket.

We like rain jackets that come with armpit zips, so when we are hot we can just zip those down and cool off quickly.

A great rain jacket choice is the Columbia EvaPouration Jacket made for both men and women.

Rain Pants

This is something nice to have in Alaska because you just can slip them over your pants quickly when it is wet out.

They are nice for not just rain but early in the morning if you are bear viewing the grass will be wet from the dew. This is a key part of clothing for you to enjoy Alaska.

Frogg Toggs are a great budget-friendly product when it comes to rain gear. We both enjoy using their rain bottoms since they are available to both men and women

Alaska Hiking Packing List

Snow pants

Snow pants are recommended for the winter months. If you are chasing the northern lights in Alaska they are 100% a must. For any other season, do not pack them, you will not need them.

Hot Tip: If you forget something, don’t panic! You will be able to find items in Alaska at outdoor clothing shops. The prices are comparable to the lower 48.


It is smart to pack a couple of hats for Alaska. This helps keep the elements off your head. A basic ball cap to keep off the sun. A good winter cap to keep your head and ears warm from the cold, even in the summer.

A rain cap to keep your head from getting wet. I know what you are thinking, I’m not taking all of those different hats.

Well, it goes back to what your school teacher and your mother would tell you “ Cover your head, otherwise you will get sick.”

Winter Cap

You want to find something that will not only keep your head warm but also something that will cover your ears. Even if you are not a winter hat fan you should bring one to Alaska. You will probably be living in it.

Hot Tip: You can find laundry mats in most cities. The normal cost is $2.00 to wash and $2.00 to dry.  Some of the major cruise ships have laundry facilities.


You will need some good gloves when you are exploring Alaska. You want to find a light pair that you can operate your camera and smartphone with such as the North Face Apex Etip gloves that are available for both men and women.

I would also recommend a waterproof pair. You want your hands to stay warm and that’s hard to do in the Alaskan environment.

Women Alaska Packing List - Lina Stock


Anything with a good solid sole is great for Alaska. The very best choice is anything that is waterproof.

Try out your shoes before you go off on your Alaskan adventure, you do not want to be hiking in shoes that haven’t been broken in. It will make your trip miserable.

We use and like Keen Sandals, Crocs waterproof shoes and Merrell hiking shoes. Rubber boots are a must if you are doing any wildlife viewing on a boat because you will shore dock.

Almost all boat docking in Alaska is done by pulling up on to the shoreline with skiffs, you will get wet.

Hot Tip: Depending on the time of the year Alaska has a High UV index rating. So do not forget to cover up, it may be cool out but the sun is still shining.

Quick Dry Towels

You will need something that drys relatively easy in Alaska and the best option is quick-drying towels.

Buff Headwear

We love our buff headwear because you can wear them in 16 different ways. This is a must-have item for any traveler.

Use it to cover your face from the wind, use it to cover your head, our Buff’s go on all of our adventures. We typically carry 2-3 different patterns (each!) in our bags when we travel.

Head Net

Keep the bugs off without ruining your visibility. Bugs can be bad in Alaska, so be prepared with a head net that you can throw on over your hat.

Most head nets pack into a little ball, that makes it great for Alaska packing. This is a packing must for the summer months in Alaska. Locals joke that the bugs will be able to carry you away.

HOT TIP: Visit Alaska in the Spring!! We spent the month of May traveling throughout Alaska and there were little to no bugs. Call it luck or call it perfect.

Sunglasses with Retainer Strap

The UV rays can be bad in Alaska, not many people think about that. You will need a good pair of sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses are the best to protect your eyes from the sun.

You should also think about a retainer strap since you do not want your sunglasses slipping off your head and ending up in the water. We like and use Costa Polarized Sunglasses and Suncloud Polarized Sunglasses.

Eye Shade for sleeping

Did you know you sleep the best when it’s the darkest? Alaska is known for its 80 days of uninterrupted daylight. You can count on long hours of daylight if you’re visiting in Spring, Summer, and Fall.

We have to admit, we spent the first couple of weeks sleep deprived because it never got dark out. Easy solution, buy a sleeping eye mask to avoid this problem!

Hot Tip: If you plan to go wildlife viewing you do not want to wear bright colors; stick to browns, blacks, and greens.

Section 2: Personal Items

Bear vs person

Yes, you can buy any of these products once you are in Alaska, but not having them with you to start will leave you somewhere wishing you had them.

We pack everything we need before we leave home because when we arrive somewhere, the last thing we want to do is shop. Save your precious travel time by being prepared from the moment you step off the plane.

I also love my Neatpack Hanging Toiletry Bag because it keeps all of my toiletries together and if the shampoo breaks it is contained.

Section 3: Gear

Adventure packing list for a trip to Alaska

If you’re planning to spend any time in the outdoors without a guide or company, you should be prepared.

Alaska is made up of mostly rugged wilderness and not meaning to scare you, has more disappearances than any other state.

Section 4: Bags and Backpacks

Hiking in Alaska Packing List

We found ourselves using a variety of bags during our trip. When we travel we each check a bag and we each carry on a bag. This is mainly because of the camera equipment we carry.

However, because we like to adventure, we find ourselves needing a variety of bags when we travel.

So we always pack extra day bags, dry bags, etc in our luggage when we travel. We used every single bag we brought to Alaska.

Section 5: Camping Gear

Camping in Alaska Packing List

We buy our camping gear at REI. They offer great deals on all of the name brand camping items that you will need for Alaska (plus they offer a 1-year guarantee – return for any reason- policy!).

Below we will list what camping gear you should pack for Alaska. Keep in mind it is best to buy your gear at home instead of paying great Alaska prices.

Section 6: Camera Gear

Wildlife Viewing in Alaska Packing List

We have put together a shortlist of what camera gear you should pack when traveling to Alaska. We want you to get those amazing shots and you need to have the right gear to do that.

Do not forget to pack extra batteries, this is a must when visiting Alaska. The weather variations will suck your batteries dry. We recommend always packing at least 3 extra batteries.

The wildlife photography opportunities are abundant in Alaska and having the right camera gear to capture it is essential. You will not get shots like this without a good tripod and a sharp telephoto lens.

If you would like to see our full list to camera gear you should pack when traveling, check out our Ultimate Travel Photography Gear List.

Alaska packing list - Bear Camp Lake Clark National Park

GoPro Cameras/Gear

Section 7: Everything Else

Alaska Packing List for both men and women

Make sure you pack some fun stuff to play within Alaska. You will have some downtime and what better way to make friends is by playing games.

Some of our most memorable travel moments have been while sitting in camp playing games. Below are some fun items you should pack.

Men’s Alaska Packing List

Men’s Alaska Packing list
  • Socks
  • Thermal Underwear (Top & Bottom)
  • Underwear
  • Sleep Shirt
  • Sleep Pants
  • T-Shirts
  • Long Sleeve Shirts
  • Shorts
  • Swimsuits
  • Pants
  • Belt
  • Light Sweater
  • Heavy Sweater
  • Vest
  • Light Jacket
  • Heavy Jacket
  • Rain Jacket
  • Rain Pants
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Shoes
  • Hiking Boots
  • Mud Boots
  • Quick Dry Towels
  • Scarf
  • Buff Headwear
  • Head Net
  • Sunglasses with Retainer Strap

Women’s Alaska Packing List

Women’s Alaska Packing list
  • Socks
  • Bra
  • Underwear
  • Sleep Shirt
  • Sleep Pants
  • T-Shirts
  • Long Sleeve Shirts
  • Tank Tops
  • Dress
  • Shorts
  • Swimsuits (Top and Bottom)
  • Pants
  • Yoga Pants
  • Belt
  • Light Sweater
  • Heavy Sweater
  • Vest
  • Light Jacket
  • Heavy Jacket
  • Rain Jacket
  • Rain Pants
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Shoes
  • Hiking Boots
  • Mud Boots
  • Quick Dry Towels
  • Scarf
  • Buff Headwear
  • Head Net
  • Sunglasses

Other Considerations

Alaska’s Climate

Adventure Travel Alaska Packing List

In the early mornings, it can be cool out. In the mid-afternoon, the sun is at its fullest so if it is not raining, it can be hot. As the late afternoon sun moves or as the rain blows out it will get colder again.

Now that I have you thinking about the weather, let us think about what activity you are doing in Alaska: bear viewing, wildlife viewing, hiking, kayaking, hunting or fishing.

Each activity adds another element that you need to prepare for.

We’ve included some average weather estimations around Alaska’s weather below to give you an idea of what to expect.

Over All Totals and Averages for Alaska’s Weather

  • Annual High Temperature: 43.7 F
  • Annual Low Temperature: 30.0 F
  • Average Temperature: 37 F
  • Average Annual Precipitin: 16.57 inches
  • Days per year with Precipitation: 103 Days
  • Annual Hours of Sunshine: 1992 Hours
  • Av. Annual Snowfall: 74 Inches

Outdoor Brands We Love

Lina and David Stock (America's Adventure Travel Couple) in Alaska

These are companies that make quality outdoor products that actually hold up to travel and outdoor adventures.

If you look anywhere on this site or any of our social media accounts where we share photos, you will see photos of us wearing and using these products daily.

We are not affiliated with these companies, we just want you to get the right quality gear to make your Alaska adventure a trip of a lifetime.

  • Columbia Outdoor Clothing makes quality outdoor products for men and women. Their products have outlasted almost everything in my backpack.
  • Smartwool is yet another great outdoor company that makes quality products. They really do keep you warm and they last forever.
  • Eddie Bauer makes true and tested outdoor clothing that we love. We both lived in our micro-lite storm down vests during our 4 weeks in Alaska.
  • I have had one pair of Merrell shoes for over two years. I’ve done more hiking in these shoes than any other pair I own. These have by far surpassed my expectations in durability and comfort.
  • I’ve had the same Bluff Works Pants for three years now. These are the pants you see me wearing in every photo on our adventure travel blog.
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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.

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