Ultimate Packing List For Alaska | What To Pack?

Embarking on an unforgettable Alaskan journey? Whether you’re gearing up for a summer exploration of Denali National Park, a winter wonderland adventure, or anything in between, a well-prepared packing list for Alaska is your key to a successful and comfortable trip.

grizzly bear catching fish in alaska

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essential gear and clothing you need to tackle the Last Frontier with confidence. From versatile clothing to camera gear and safety precautions, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into the ultimate packing list for Alaska, ensuring you’re fully equipped for any adventure that comes your way.

To ensure your Alaskan adventure goes smoothly, we’ve put together an extensive packing list that covers everything you’ll need for your journey through the Last Frontier.

Clothing Essentials:

Base Layers: 

Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, so packing moisture-wicking base layers is essential. These will help keep you warm on chilly days and cool on sunny ones.

Fleece Jacket: 

For layering during colder months or chilly evenings, a good-quality fleece jacket is a must-have.

Warm Hat: 

Protect your head and ears from the cold and wind with a warm, insulated hat.

Long Sleeves: 

Long-sleeved shirts provide both sun protection and warmth during sudden temperature fluctuations.

Rain Gear:

 A sturdy rain jacket and rain pants are essential to shield yourself from the unpredictable Alaskan weather.

Snow Pants (for winter months): 

If you’re planning a winter visit, don’t forget to pack snow pants to stay warm and dry.

Wool Socks: 

To keep your feet warm and comfortable, invest in moisture-wicking, insulating wool socks. Wool socks are essential for your packing list for Alaska.

Waterproof Shoes: 

Whether you’re hiking or exploring, waterproof hiking boots or shoes with excellent traction are a must.

Comfortable Shoes:

 A pair of comfortable walking shoes is necessary for everyday exploration.

Bathing Suit: 

Don’t leave your bathing suit behind, especially if your Alaskan adventure includes hot tubs or water-based activities. Bathing suits should 100% be on your packing list for Alaska.

packing list for alaska

Outdoor Adventure Gear:

Day Pack: 

A small day pack is handy for carrying essentials during hikes, tours, and day trips.

Reusable Water Bottle: 

Staying hydrated is crucial, so bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day.

Sun Protection: 

Shield yourself from the strong Alaskan sun with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.

Bug Spray: 

Insect repellent is a must-have, especially in areas with pesky mosquitoes.

Motion Sickness Remedies: 

If you’re prone to motion sickness, come prepared with remedies for boat tours or bus rides.

Waterproof Gloves: 

Keeping your hands dry and warm is essential during outdoor activities.

Eye Mask: 

During the summer months when there are long hours of daylight, an eye mask can help you sleep better.

Pair of Shorts (for warm days): 

Be prepared for unexpectedly warm days with a pair of shorts.

Pair of Shoes (for water activities): 

If you plan to partake in water activities, pack water shoes or sandals.

Extra Layers: 

Depending on the time of year and the specific location within Alaska you’re visiting, you may need additional layers to stay warm.

Camera Gear:

When embarking on a photographic journey to Alaska, it’s essential to carefully consider your camera gear to make the most of the breathtaking landscapes and wildlife encounters. Alaska offers a diverse range of shooting opportunities, from capturing the dramatic landscapes of Denali National Park to photographing bears in their natural habitat. 

Here are some essential camera gear items to bring along: a reliable camera body, versatile lenses such as wide-angle and telephoto, a sturdy tripod for stability, lens filters to enhance your shots, extra camera batteries for the cold weather, ample memory cards, and a lens cleaning kit to maintain image quality in rugged conditions. 

Don’t forget a weather-sealed camera bag to protect your gear from the elements, and consider packing a remote shutter release for long exposures. With the right camera gear in tow, you’ll be well-prepared to document the extraordinary beauty of the Last Frontier.

Health and Safety:

Small First Aid Kit:

While exploring Alaska’s remote wilderness, having a basic first aid kit is essential. Include items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, pain relievers, blister treatment, and any personal medications you may need.

Travel Insurance:

Consider purchasing comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and evacuations. Alaska’s remote locations may require specialized assistance in case of emergencies, making insurance a crucial safety net.

Emergency Contacts:

Carry a list of emergency contact numbers, including local authorities, medical facilities, and your embassy or consulate. Ensure your phone is programmed with local emergency numbers, such as 911 in the United States.

Prescription Medications:

If you take prescription medications, bring an ample supply for the duration of your trip and keep them in their original packaging. It’s also wise to carry a copy of your prescriptions in case you need refills.

Health Precautions:

Be aware of potential health risks in certain areas of Alaska, such as tick-borne illnesses or altitude sickness in mountainous regions. Take necessary precautions and seek medical advice if needed.

Insect Repellent:

Alaska is known for its mosquitoes and other biting insects, especially during the summer months. Pack an effective insect repellent to protect yourself from bites.

Water Purification:

In remote areas, access to clean drinking water may be limited. Carry water purification tablets or a portable water filter to ensure safe drinking water during your adventures.

Bear Safety:

If you plan to visit bear country, familiarize yourself with bear safety guidelines. Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Make noise while hiking to alert bears to your presence and reduce the risk of encounters.

Weather Awareness:

Alaska’s weather can change rapidly. Stay informed about local weather conditions and be prepared for temperature fluctuations, rain, and sudden storms.

Sun Protection:

Alaska experiences long daylight hours during the summer, which can lead to intense sun exposure. Pack sunscreen with a high SPF, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.


Staying hydrated is crucial, especially during outdoor activities. Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it regularly to prevent dehydration.

Wildlife Safety:

Alaska is home to diverse wildlife, including moose, bears, and wolves. Observe animals from a safe distance and avoid approaching them. Store food securely to prevent attracting wildlife to your campsite.

Emergency Beacon:

In remote wilderness areas, consider carrying an emergency beacon or satellite communication device that can transmit distress signals and your GPS coordinates in case of emergencies.

whale breaching the surface in alaska

Alaskan Cruise Packing List:

Evening Wear: 

Depending on your cruise line and preferences, you might need some formal attire for onboard dinners and events.


Most cruise ships have hot tubs or pools, so don’t forget your bathing suit.

Alaska Packing Tips:

  • Layering is key in Alaska due to its unpredictable weather and temperature fluctuations.
  • Consider investing in merino wool clothing, known for its warmth and moisture-wicking properties.
  • Even during the summer, pack a warm coat for chilly nights and unexpected weather changes.
  • Ensure that your gear and belongings are waterproofed to protect against moisture.
  • Opt for comfortable, waterproof gloves for outdoor activities.
  • If visiting during the winter months, pack insulated snow boots or footwear.
  • Keep motion sickness remedies on hand if you’re prone to it.
  • Stay updated on the weather forecast for specific locations within Alaska, as conditions can vary significantly across the state.

Additional essential Items to Include In your Alaska Packing list:

Personal Identification: 

Ensure you have your passport, driver’s license, or any other valid ID for travel purposes.

Travel Toiletries Kit: 

Pack a TSA-approved toiletries kit with travel-sized essentials.

Compact Hand Sanitizer: 

Carry a travel-sized hand sanitizer for cleanliness on the go.

Over-the-Counter Medications:

 Include travel-sized over-the-counter medications for common health needs.

Sun Protection: 

Don’t forget to bring sunscreen to shield yourself from the strong Alaskan sun.

Communication Gear: 

Bring your cell phone and charger to stay connected during your trip. If you need it, pack your laptop and charger too.

Vehicle Insurance Documentation: 

If you plan to rent a car, have proof of vehicle insurance handy.


Protect your eyes from UV rays, snow glare, or coastal winds with a good pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses are a must on your packing list for Alaska.

Lightweight Gloves:

 Keep your hands warm and functional with a pair of light gloves.

Brimmed Hat: 

Opt for a baseball hat or another hat with a brim to shield yourself from sun and rain.

Trekking Poles: 

Consider packing trekking poles for added stability during hikes and outdoor adventures.

Sleep Aid: 

If you’re sensitive to light, a sleep mask can help you get quality rest, especially during the long daylight hours of an Alaskan summer.


Enhance your wildlife and landscape viewing experiences with a pair of binoculars.

These items will ensure you’re well-prepared for various situations and activities during your Alaskan adventure.

camera and lens


When is the best time to visit Alaska?

The best time to visit Alaska depends on your interests. Summer (June to August) offers long days and pleasant weather, making it ideal for outdoor activities. Winter (December to February) is perfect for seeing the Northern Lights and enjoying winter sports. Shoulder seasons like spring and fall offer a mix of experiences.

Do I need a visa to visit Alaska?

If you’re a U.S. citizen, you don’t need a visa to visit Alaska as it’s part of the United States. However, if you’re an international traveler, you should check the U.S. visa requirements.

What should I pack for an Alaska trip?

Pack clothing suitable for layering, including warm layers, rain gear, and comfortable footwear. Don’t forget camera gear, bug spray, and bear spray for outdoor adventures.

Are mosquitoes a problem in Alaska?

Yes, mosquitoes can be quite bothersome in some areas of Alaska, especially during the summer months. It’s a good idea to bring insect repellent.

What are the must-visit places in Alaska?

Must-visit places include Denali National Park, Glacier Bay National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and the Inside Passage if you’re taking a cruise.

Is it safe to encounter wildlife in Alaska?

While wildlife encounters can be thrilling, it’s essential to keep a safe distance and follow park guidelines. Bears and moose, in particular, should be approached with caution.

What’s the best way to see the Northern Lights in Alaska?

To witness the Northern Lights, visit Alaska during the winter months, head to areas with minimal light pollution, and monitor aurora forecasts. Fairbanks and Anchorage are popular Northern Lights viewing spots.

Are there road trip opportunities in Alaska?

Absolutely! Alaska offers fantastic road trip opportunities, such as driving the Alaska Highway or exploring the scenic Seward Highway.

Do I need travel insurance for an Alaska trip?

While not mandatory, it’s advisable to have travel insurance, especially for remote areas. It can provide coverage for unexpected events like medical emergencies or trip cancellations.

What’s the currency in Alaska?

Alaska uses the United States Dollar (USD) as its currency.

Remember that Alaska’s vast and varied landscapes offer a wide range of experiences, so plan your trip according to your interests and the activities you want to enjoy.

iceberg with lots of ice floating in alaska

Conclusion For The Ultimate Packing List For Alaska

As you prepare to embark on your Alaskan adventure, armed with the ultimate packing list, you’re setting the stage for an unforgettable journey through the Last Frontier. Alaska’s rugged landscapes, breathtaking wilderness, and diverse terrain offer a unique experience for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. From the towering peaks of Denali National Park to the tranquil waters of an Alaskan cruise, this remarkable state has something for everyone.

Remember that Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, but with the right gear and essentials, you’ll be ready to face whatever Mother Nature throws your way. Whether you’re hiking through pristine forests, cruising along the Southeast coast, or chasing the elusive Northern Lights, proper preparation ensures you can fully embrace the wonders of this extraordinary land.

So, pack your bags with confidence, knowing you’ve covered all the bases. Your journey through the Land of the Midnight Sun promises awe-inspiring vistas, close encounters with wildlife, and an adventure like no other. Embrace the spirit of exploration, and make every moment count as you experience the unparalleled beauty and untamed wilderness of Alaska. Safe travels, adventurer!

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