Whatever mode of transportation you use to get to Alaska, you probably won’t have unlimited space for luggage. But you don’t have to let packing limits dictate what adventures you choose! Use this guide to narrow down what you should bring and what you can rent in the 49th state.
To buy and pack:
Whether you’re hiking through Denali National Park and Preserve or strolling around Fairbanks, rain gear and waterproof shoes are a requirement anywhere you visit in Alaska. As are a camera and binoculars! Alaska’s scenery is something you won’t soon want to forget. Mosquitos can sometimes be vicious in Alaska, so pack insect repellent. Bring your own water bottle, too. Depending on the time of year you visit, it’s also a good idea to pack ski pants, a warm winter jacket and non-cotton layers. In Alaska, layering is the name of the game.
While the state isn’t necessarily known for its pristine beaches and swimming holes, you should also pack a swimsuit just in case. If you’re visiting Fairbanks, you might want to take a dip in one of the natural hot springs in the area, like Chena Hot Springs.
For a fishing trip, purchase or bring a pair of good, polarized sunglasses for the water glare, a hat for sun protection and warm layers like long underwear. A day pack is also a good idea.
To rent or borrow:
For fishing expeditions, you can bring a lot less gear than you would expect. Most outfitters will supply you with everything you need if you choose an all-inclusive package. This generally includes: Rods, line, life jackets, lures and waders. Some anglers have a favorite rod, and that’s okay! Bring whatever gear you’d like. If you didn’t opt for an all-inclusive fishing trip, there are several places to rent gear across the state.
Exploring a glacier in Alaska? Don’t stress about packing crampons – visitors aren’t expected to bring their own ice climbing gear. If you’re going through a guide company (which we strongly suggest, as glaciers are unpredictable and ice climbing can be dangerous) they will supply you with axes, crampons, harnesses, helmets, ropes, and potentially, warm outer layers. But when visiting Alaska, you should pack for extreme temperature differences, especially if you’re visiting a glacier.
Triple check that you have these things packed before your visit:
- Rain gear and waterproof shoes
- Insect repellent
- Water bottle
- Swim suit
- Warm layers
- Day pack
If you forget something, don’t worry! If it cannot be rented, Alaska has national outdoor chains such as The North Face, REI and Cabela’s as well as several local outfitters where you can purchase anything you need.