If there is one thing you can count on about the weather in Alaska it’s that it can change more quickly than you would think possible. The weather is also variable depending on where you are in the state and what time of year you are visiting. For example, during the summer months in the interior parts of the state you could see temperatures as high as 90 degrees (F) while areas along the coast may not see 70 degrees for a whole year. Because of the quick changing variable weather, your best bet when deciding what to pack is to think in layers.
By planning to dress in light layers, you will ensure you have what you need on hand to dress for just about any weather Alaska offers. An adaptable wardrobe will enable you to take advantage of all the wonderful things to see and places to go without having to worry about being too hot or two cold. The key to layering is to pack things like long underwear and wool socks that can go under your regular clothes, and a warm jacket to go over your clothes. If you pack thin layers, you may be able to leave the heavy, bulkier clothing items at home.
In addition to planning a wardrobe that can be worn in layers, you will also want to put some thought into what you are planning to do during your visit since you may have different needs for different activities.
If you plan to stick to in-town activities like shopping and sightseeing, you aren’t likely to need anything different than you would at home. You will want a sturdy pair of walking shoes and it is a good idea to bring a waterproof jacket no matter what your itinerary contains.
If you plan on a very active visit full of hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities, you will want to plan your wardrobe accordingly. While jeans and sneakers will do for others, they will not do for you. Make sure you pack breathable clothes like synthetic pants and shirts that are made to wick moisture away from your skin. Pack heavy duty hiking socks and a good pair of boots to keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable. You will also want raingear that includes a waterproof jacket and pants.
No matter what activities you plan, you should also pack a warm hat, a pair of gloves, and a warm jacket. If you will be visiting during the summer months, you should also bring along some standard summer clothing like shorts and t-shirts so that you are ready to take advantage of those 80-90 degree days! To be completely prepared, toss an umbrella in your suitcase as well since it can be very rainy depending on the time of year.
In addition to clothing, you will also want to pack these other vacation essentials:
- Sunscreen – This is an easy one to forget but the sun shines as brightly here as it does in Florida
- Bug Spray – Big spray is necessary in interior Alaska, but here on the coast, it’s not needed as much. So, depending on where your travels will take you, you may want to toss it in your suitcase, too.
- Swim Suits- You will want to pack your swimsuit for lodging hot tubs, community pools, and if you visit one of Alaska’s many natural warm springs.