How to Pack for Alaska

Packing light is especially good advice when traveling in Alaska--you may be traveling great distances. The best advice to give is to pack so that you can dress in layers.  For women, pack a few good casual outfits that are complimentary and interchangeable.  If you’re from the southern states, you may be visiting a location 40 degrees cooler than yours.  It's important to bring a few casual outfits that can be layered.  Visit your outdoor store. Synthetics or polypro’s are best, but Casual shirts, a “fleece” sweater, and a lined waterproof and windproof jacket (hoods are a plus!) should go on every trip. If you plan to go hiking bring a good compass, a cell phone and wear bright colors.  For thrifty packing, make sure each item goes with another outfit.  

A crushable hat, stretch gloves, warm socks, a good book, your favorite " bug dope" and sun glasses for summer travelers are also good. 

Shoes!  We suggest two pair of shoes.  Pick good quality, comfortable walking shoes and a pair of casual shoes.  This is the only time we suggest doubling up on an item for your traveling.  Use your slip-off shoes as your "dress" shoes.  Many Alaskans take off their shoes before entering the main part of their homes. Save yourself trouble and time with slip-ons. (I actually expect to get fan mail from this suggestion!)

Finally on the topic of style, Alaska is a different kind of place.  Maybe it's the extreme temperatures or maybe it's the extreme people.   Alaska, I have been told, looks at "dressing up " a bit differently than those from "Outside."  If you have on a clean shirt and your hands are clean at the same time, then you're dressed up!  Clean, casual clothes and good manners will get you just about anywhere you want to go in Alaska.

Thanks to Ann Langenberg-Miller.