What to pack for Alaska – Winter.
Some of you might now that a few months ago we moved to Alaska. Now I have family that will be visiting during the holidays, and they need a packing list. Because the weather is quite different from most places, you need to make sure you are prepared for the Alaskan winter. People literally freeze up here!
So, I’d like to share my packing list in case any of you is also visiting Alaska during the winter months.
I’m also including a checklist that you can easily print to make sure you’re not forgetting anything essential.
The essential: Clothing
Base layer: You need to wear a base layer, preferably something made of wool, or any thermal and quick dry synthetic. Avoid cotton as much as possible. Cotton will hold moisture, and moisture could freeze. Wool is a great insulator, and even if it gets wet, won’t freeze. The main objective with the base is to keep you dry. A nice example is this Thermal shirt.
Mid Layer (Insulation): The base is to keep you dry, and the medium is to keep you warm. So the best mid layer outfits are comfy and warm items like fleece, but wool also works great. An example of a nice fleece mid layer is this Fleece Jacket., and this fleece pants.
Outer Layer: So, we covered dry and warm. Now to keep the wind and snow away, you will need a waterproof and wind resistant parka and snow pants. For an example of what to look for, check this parka and this snow pants.
You absolutely need all the 3 top layers. But you will be OK with 2 bottom layers, although having the 3 layers is highly recommended. Especially if you go hiking, skiing or will be near snow.
This is for adults. For kids, you absolutely need 3 layers. They are smaller and can freeze quicker. Better be safe.
Wool socks: Warm feet are a must around here! And wool socks are the best. As mentioned above, even if they become wet, they won’t freeze and they are great for insulation.
you won’t believe the stories about people losing toes and such. Wool socks are worth it. See example: wool socks.
Snow Boots: After October, there is snow everywhere. And that also includes ice. If you want to be able to walk without sliding, and also keep those toes warmed up, you need snow boots. Even for a family visit. I wear them even to go to the store. Snow is literally everywhere.
Mittens and warmers: Extremely important! Don’t forget a good pair of snow mittens. Fingers are rather small, and freeze up quickly if you don’t keep them warm. Besides, if you come all the way to Alaska, you might want to have a little play time in the snow. Be prepared. An example of good mittens.
Hats: Not only to keep you warm but also to cover those little ears and avoid frostbite. You can also use a headband/ear warmers. Make sure they are wool, fleece or made specifically for snow. Wool hat, snow headband.
Scarves: Keep your neck warm and cozy. I can’t stress it enough that being warm is not only for a comfort reason but for a survival reason. Temperatures can drop to -43 F. So, yeah… It gets really cold. Balaclavas are a great option. They will keep your head and neck warm and cozy.
Although non-essential for survival. It’s a good idea to keep it on the packing list.
Back-up battery: If you plan to go camping, hiking, or perform any activity that will keep you away from home or the hotel, you might want to have some extra battery for your cellphone.
Camera: Again, non-essential. But there are many beautiful scenes to photograph in Alaska.
Tripod: If you bring your camera, don’t forget a tripod. That way everyone can be on the picture.
Thermos: Take hot cocoa or hot coffee with you to help you stay warm.
Camping Alaska: If you plan to come camping, this book will come in handy.
Lonely Planet Alaska (Travel Guide): Make the most out of your trip and don’t wonder where to go. Make sure to get a travel guide and plan exactly where to visit.
I hope you find this packing list useful and that I was able to help you be prepared for your travel to Alaska.
Remember to stay warm above all.
And don’t forget to download your packing checlist