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What To Wear On Your Trip To Alaska

It’s safe to say that when packing for your visit to Alaska, you can probably leave the bikini and flip-flops at home. But do you need to be prepared for sub-zero weather? Depending on what time of year you’re traveling, probably not. So what the heck do you wear?

When you think of Alaska, think of the outdoors, sightseeing, amazing food, and lots of adventure! Alaskans wear casual, informal attire and lots of layers because the climate day to day can be very different. The summers are mild, but the winter can be downright frigid. Let’s break it down by season!

Summer:

Temperatures range between 50-70 degrees, but tend to stay in the middle on average.

  • Start with a lightweight and moisture-wicking layer. Think athletic fabrics that you’d wear to the gym. These make a great layer to wear alone or a solid base when it gets a bit chillier especially in the evenings.
  • It doesn’t hurt to bring some t-shirts. The temperatures can get into the 70’s in the afternoon during the summer; so short sleeves may come in handy. If you’re spending a full day outdoors hiking, you may actually work up a sweat.
  • In the evening and early morning it can be quite cold, even in the summer. Pack several sweatshirts and sweaters that are cozy and will keep out the chill.
  • Do you need gloves during the summer? Yes, especially for those glacial adventures! It’s great to purchase thin gloves, again, made out of athletic material to keep your hands comfortable and dry.
  • Fleece is the perfect material for Alaskan summers. It’s not too heavy, yet keeps you warm when those temperatures drop. It’s also light enough to tie around your waist or throw into a backpack during a warm afternoon hike.
  • Speaking of hikes…bring comfortable shoes! Hiking boots or rugged sneakers that are well-worn in for long days of walking are best. If you’re on a luxury cruise, you may want to pack a pair or two of nicer shoes for dinner on the boat, but once you get on land, protect your feet with some tough shoes.
  • Be prepared for some rain. The weather can be quite unpredictable, so a waterproof rain jacket and pants give you more freedom to bear the elements in comfort. If you have good rain gear, a few sprinkles won’t hinder your sightseeing plans.

Winter:

Temperatures range between 25-40 degrees, with the average being around 32 degrees.

  • Think of the same layers as you’d wear in the summer, but add some hefty ones on top because it gets COLD.
  • Moisture-wicking fabrics and snug fitting inner layers are best because although it is cold, if you’re moving around in heavy clothing you’ll probably sweat a bit. There’s nothing worse than being cold and wet.
  • Bring a heavy parka that is preferably wind and waterproof because you WILL encounter ALL of these elements.
  • Snow pants are also great for longer periods spend outside, especially if you’re going to be hiking through snowy conditions.
  • Didn’t you ever hear that most of your body heat escapes through your head? Bring a warm hat that covers your ears to keep that body heat in where it belongs.
  • Warm socks that also keep your feet dry!
  • Quite simply, the most important item to pack for your winter trip to Alaska is insulated boots. Make sure they’re comfortable enough to walk in all day long and waterproof so the rain and snow don’t soak through.

You won’t go wrong with lots of layers in Alaska no matter the season. The weather can be quite unpredictable, so you do need a little bit of everything. The vibe is always casual on land, but if you’re on a luxury cruise, some nicer attire for dinner on the boat is completely acceptable. Just like any good outdoorsman, be prepared for anything!


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