Alaska is one of the world’s last remaining great wildernesses, a vast expanse of tundra, mountains, and glaciers that is wild, tough, and endlessly exciting.
It is one of the greatest family vacation destinations possible, full of natural beauty, adrenaline-packed adventure, and exciting experiences for all ages.
But packing for a family trip to Alaska can be a tricky business. The Last Frontier can be a rugged, rough-and-ready place to explore, and the weather can be a challenge, even in the summer. Ensuring that you bring everything you need, and are ready for any eventuality, without overloading your suitcase, can be a daunting task!
Luckily, help is at hand. If you plan to take a cruise to Alaska with the family this year, read on for hints, tips, and a checklist of essentials that will make your vacation easy and truly memorable.
Alaska packing tips
Layering is one of the most important parts of backcountry adventuring. Make sure your kids have plenty of thin layers that they can put on or take off, to help them stay comfortable, warm, and dry while you explore.
Focus on function
Ditch the formal attire, princess dresses, or superhero costumes. Alaska is all about practicality, so pack sturdy shoes, waterproofs, and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty!
You will almost certainly spend plenty of time exploring the wilderness, so comfort is key when it comes to packing for a family adventure in Alaska. Making sure your kids feel comfortable will ensure that they don’t get tired or irritable, and will help you make the most of the experience.
Don’t forget safety
While places like Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks offer all the home comforts you’ll be used to back home, the most exciting experiences in Alaska are often far from civilization. So consider safety and health when packing your bag - make sure your first aid kit is fully stocked, and you bring any medications you or your kids might need.
Alaska packing checklist
Long underwear - thermal leggings and tights are a great way to keep out the cold.
Thick socks - warm, merino wool socks will keep cold toes warm, and feel great all day long.
Conversion pants - For long hikes shorts might be necessary, so pack some conversion pants that zip off at the knee and double up on space.
Wicking t-shirts - a great way to layer up and stay fresh, cool, and dry, some t-shirts made of wicking material will help everyone stay comfortable.
Flannel shirts - practical and stylish, a flannel shirt helps you look the part and is a great option to pop on top of a t-shirt for extra warmth.
Fleeces - when the temperature drops you will be delighted you have a warm fleece to keep the heat in.
Waterproofs - bring lightweight waterproofs for showers, storms, and unpleasant weather.
Sunglasses - although the weather can be cold, the sun shines brightly in Alaska, so don’t forget your shades!
Sunblock - similarly, the glare of sun on snow or ice means sunburn can be an unexpected factor, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
First aid kit - Alaska is a wild, rugged, outdoorsy place, and you might find your adventures take you away from civilization. It is always worth carrying a first aid kit in case of emergencies.
Plastic bags - zip lock bags are a great way to keep valuables dry or to store wet clothes after a rain shower.
Water bottle - for long hikes, staying hydrated is essential. Pack a reusable water bottle and do your bit for the environment!