Posted in About Alaska


Three hikers in full Winter gear hike Root Glacier with sun poking through the clouds - Westmark Hotels

Hikers in full gear on hike at Root Glacier

The locals will tell you that one of the most important things to know before making your journey to the Great North is to be prepared for varied, and possibly inclement, weather in any season. Most concur that the best way to do this is dressing in layers. Taking off outer layers is simple, but if you don’t dress warmly enough, you may be regretting it if the weather cools. Because of the inherit need for a multitude of gear options, Alaskans and residents of Canada’s Yukon Territory love their outdoor gear. Before your next adventure in the 49th state, think about grabbing some of this outdoor gear that locals can’t live without.


Three people standing and wearing brown Xtratuf boots, Westmark Hotels

Xtratuf boots, popular amongst Alaskans.

Approved and proven by the stars of Discovery Channel’s hit show Deadliest Catch, these neoprene boots are an Alaska staple. Whether you’re on the deck of a fishing vessel or at a downtown Anchorage pub, you’ll see XTRATUF boots everywhere. The brand offers boots that are waterproof and known for keeping feet dry and warm during messy weather. Pair the boots with a pair of wool socks and you’re guaranteed to be dry and warm all day long.

Long Underwear

In this climate, wearing a base layer is key. Outdoor enthusiasts know never to wear cotton long underwear because cotton will make you colder if it gets wet. Choose polypropylene, capilene or thermax tops and bottoms, as synthetic fabrics will keep you warm, even when they’re damp. Brands such as Smartwool, Ibis, Icebreaker and Patagonia offer long underwear that get put to the test every day in Alaska and continue to be favorites among the locals. These brands aren’t the most inexpensive option; but, when you find that the rain has started while you are only halfway through your hike, you will be glad to have forked out the extra cash. Furthermore, reviews of the products show that they last quite a while, even in tough conditions.

Convertible Pants

Contrary to what many believe, it’s not always cold in Alaska and the Yukon. In fact, in July 2013 Alaska’s largest city of Anchorage experienced 19 days of 70° F or higher! And, in Alaska’s interior where Fairbanks is located, temperatures can even climb into the 90s! For those days when the temperature is going to vary a great deal – or if you are planning on an activity that requires a big elevation change along the way –convertible pants are a must! These multipurpose pants are defined by their ability to function as either full-length pants or shorts, and you can find them at most outdoor retailers.

Quality Rain Gear

Two people on a grassy bluff with mountains in background Westmark Hotels

Campers in Rain Gear in Alaska

Even if the day starts out with blue skies and warm temperatures, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to stay that way. Alaskans know that staying warm and dry is integral to an enjoyable day outdoors. Whether you’re hiking, fishing or sightseeing, it’s important to choose rain gear that’s coated in nylon with factory-sealed seams. Albeit the thrifty option, buyer beware if you buy a plastic or vinyl rain suit or poncho, these options tear quickly, becoming ineffective when you need them the most.

Regardless of the temperature, at the end of the day we know you’ll love the warm hospitality that you’ll find waiting for you at one of our nearby Westmark Hotels. No matter the weather, you’ll find that our hotels are places that you can warm up by the fire or cool down with a pint of beer to relax and tell stories from your day of Northern adventure.