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Alaska Packing List with Printable PDF

If you are planning a trip to Alaska, this Alaska packing list with a Printable PDF is for you! What should you pack for Alaska? After four fantastic Alaska road trips, we have put together this comprehensive packing list suitable for travel from late May to late September. It will help you prepare for your Alaska adventure and activities. Because of the vast wilderness, wildlife, unpredictable weather, and diversity, you must prepare and pack carefully for your dream trip. You will need to pack the right gear and clothing depending on your activities. What’s more, we give you a free Alaska packing list PDF for download.

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Alaska Packing List
Table of Contents show

Alaska Packing List – Introduction

We have been to Alaska four times and have traveled extensively to experience the incredible beauty of this state and to pursue the wide variety of activities it offers. These trips have taught us a lot, including how to pack to Alaska. It might be challenging. We packed things we did not need. But it has also happened to us that we needed something badly but did not have it because we decided it was not worth packing or a waste of money for it. We have received a good lesson from Mother Nature in Alaska, which did not spoil us. That’s why we have compiled our experiences in this article and shared our Alaska packing list for summer travel. Use the table of contents for more straightforward navigation.

Alaska packing list PDF

We also give you a free Alaska packing list PDF for download:

Packing List for Alaska – Where to Start?

Before packing your suitcase, please review the following points and see if you have analyzed them in connection with your Alaska trip.

What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Alaska?

Any time of year is good to visit Alaska, but winter conditions are extreme. Therefore, if you plan to see the most beautiful places in Alsaka, watch wildlife, go hiking, or go kayaking, the best time to travel will be the late spring and summer months. From the end of May to the mid-September. However, the best time is from the 21 of June when the midnight sun season starts, as the days are the longest so you can experience more places. But even during summer, the weather in Alaska changes often and is unpredictable. We experienced sun, heavy rain, fog, snow, and a storm in one day! But this Alaska packing list will help you prepare for most surprises.

Alaska Packing List – Activities

Another critical issue you need to consider when packing for Alaska, apart from the season in which you are going, is the activities you intend to undertake. This largest and wildest state has so many unique attractions and adventures to offer that although we have already visited it four times, we are planning another visit.

In this article, we consider a packing list for Alaska for various activities we personally experienced to share our tips with you. So, if you plan camping, hiking, bear-watching, wildlife watching, glacier hiking, kayaking, flightseeing over Denali with landing on glaciers, and more, this Alaska Packing List is for you.

What Activities to Choose during Trip to Alaska?

If you don’t already have a specific itinerary for Alaska, which is crucial to packing correctly for your trip – please browse through some of our articles below to find the most exciting activities that match your interests and needs. All our articles about Alaska you can find here.

alaska packing list - bear safety
alaska packing list - what to pack for admiring northern lights
alaska packing list - what to pack for denali national park

Type of Accommodation and Travel

We share with you many practical tips based on our Alaska travel experience. Whether you plan to stay overnight in hotels, camp in a tent, or an RV, this list is for you. Why? Because we experience all those types of accommodation and travel during our trips to Alaska. We traveled in a rented RV, and once, we traveled in our RV and stayed in campgrounds. We also rented regular cars and stayed in hotels/lodges. And also slept in a tent, especially during our last trip through Dalton Highway. We share only essentials and must-haves for Alaska travel.

What do you find in our Alaska Packing List?

We divided the packing list for Alaska into several parts. Moreover, in each part you will find must-have items for packing to Alaska and optional items. It all depends on the trip type and activities you plan to choose. A Must-have is essential for each trip. Optional items should be essential for those who plan camping, sleeping in a tent, backpacking, or hiking in the wilderness of Alaska. Parts of our packing list for Alaska are:

  • Safety Devices is a list of must-have items in case of emergency. Alaska is a huge wilderness; services are limited and hundreds of miles away, so your safety is key for travel.
  • Bear Protection – where we share our tips on what to pack for a trip in case you encounter a bear, which is highly possible when traveling through Alaska.
  • Clothes for Alaska – all you should know about what to wear in Alaska from June to September.
  • Backpacking Gear List – if you plan to camp in a tent, we share our tips and what gear to pack for your adventure. This part is also helpful if you plan only one day of hiking.
  • You will also find what to wear on an Alaskan cruise in part Alaska Cruise Packing List.
  • The last chapter is for wildlife & landscape photography enthusiasts: Alaska Photography Gear Packing List.
bear watching in Katmai National Park

Packing List for Alaska – Your Safety

Alaska is the largest U.S. state by area. It has 663,268 sq mi (1,717,856 km2). Comprising a total area than the next three largest states, Texas, California, and Montana combined. Furthermore is the most sparsely populated state. Only 736,081 people live there. Due to its diverse landscape, wilderness, and wild animals, the most important before you go is your safety. Services are limited, and the centers or towns where you can find medical help are often hundreds of miles away. Below is our must-have for Alaska in terms of safety.

Alaska Packing List – Personal Items

Important Documents

  • ID & Emergency Contact Number with your Alaska Itinerary is a must. Furthermore, for your safety, you should have a note with the person’s emergency contact number to be notified of an accident that happened to you. You should also inform someone about your hiking plans, especially if you plan to hike alone. Give someone your itinerary. Leaving your itinerary in the car (under the seat) with your contact and emergency contact numbers is also a great solution.
  • Don’t forget to pack for your Alaska trip, boarding passes, hotel and/or campground reservations, and travel insurance.
  • Permits. If your trip requires additional permits – don’t forget to take/print your permission. If you want to go backpacking in Denali, a permit is obligatory.
  • If you are going to a national park, like Denali National Park, don’t forget your Annual Pass. Purchase Annual America the Beautiful Pass, which is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country, including all national parks, most national monuments, and state parks. So buy it before your travel.

Smartphone and some cash

  • Cash & Credit Cards. In addition to cards, it is worth having some cash because there may be a problem with coverage in more remote places, or the payment terminal may be damaged. Cash is also helpful for tips during trips or in restaurants. ATMs are hard to find outside of big cities in Alaska, so bringing cash is a good idea.
  • Don’t forget your smartphone and a good quality power bank. Very often, there is no coverage in remote areas of Alaska. The phone trying to find a connection will discharge faster. So, the power bank is always on our packing list; more importantly, we use it a lot while exploring Alaska.

Alaska Packing List – Emergency Must-Have Items

  • A First Aid Kit is a must for each Alaska travel. We like this set because it is perfect for wilderness, hiking, and camping and is waterproof. It contains everything necessary. What’s inside the kit? Shears, polyester bags, adhesive bandages with different shapes, cotton gauze swabs, cotton swabs, CPR Pouch with instructions, emergency blanket, hypoallergenic tape, nitrile gloves, and more. So, it is perfect for an Alaska adventure like camping in Denali or driving the Dalton Highway
  • If you don’t plan hiking wilderness or Alaska camping and backpacking, you can pack something smaller, like this Small First Aid Kit.
  • Medical Splint. Check if your first aid kit is equipped with a First Aid Medical Splint. It is very important that have one. It protects and stabilizes injured arms and legs. It’s lightweight, compact, easy to pack, and perfect for hiking and camping.
  • Don’t forget your Medications and Painkillers that work for you.
  • Pocket Multi-Tool. Necessary to cut the bandage or to repair equipment if something breaks. We used this tool often on a campsite.
  • Headlamp. A good quality flashlight is not only needed while camping. It’s also a must-have for safety. It is always helpful. Darkness may surprise you on the trail. It may be necessary to call for help. It may be needed when the car breaks down, and you need to lie under it to check it. We use headlamps a lot during our Alaska road trips.

Emergency Items – Optional

If you plan camping, backpacking, sleeping in a tent, or hiking in the Alaska wilderness, you should also pack:

  • A Safety Whistle is also essential while packing for an Alaska trip. Our First Aid Kit set has it. If your set doesn’t include a whistle, you should buy it. It is small and light. You can attach it to a backpack, and it will not take up space. Sometimes, there is no coverage. So, the only way to be found is to be heard. The loud, crisp sound of the safety whistle help find your location in case of an accident.
  • Emergency Shelter. A sudden weather breaking may prevent your hiking. Or darkness surprises you in the mountains. That’s why you should have just in case an emergency shelter and emergency blanket. We also have these Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter. The price is affordable and it might be very useful.
  • Fire Starter & Lighter.waterproof fire starter waterproof lighter is also essential just in case of emergencies. If you lost your trail and have to spend the night in the middle of the wilderness, this small, lightweight item might save you. We can recommend this fire starter because it also has an emergency whistle. We used this waterproof gear often while camping in Alaska, as the weather didn’t spoil us, and it was rainy often.
alaska packing list for summer
alaska packing list for summer
alaska packing list for summer

Alaska Packing List – Must-Have Navigation & GPS Devices

  • Paper Maps. We always take paper maps for Alaska Travel. Of course, we use phone applications as well. But electronics, even the best and most modern, can fail at the least appropriate moment. Especially in Alaska, where coverage is not very common, and services are limited. You can’t count only on electronics in Alaska’s wilderness and national parks. There is no coverage in the wilderness. When we travel, we use the detailed MILEPOST Alaska Travel Planner the most. But for each hike, we pack detailed maps for a given park, like Denali National Park & Preserve, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Gates of the Arctic National Park, and more. But, if you have to choose one item – buy Milepost – it is by far the best Alaska travel planner on the market!

Optional Navigation & GPS Devices

If you plan hiking or camping during your Alaska trip, make sure also to pack:

  • Compass. A small Basic Hiking Navigation Compass is a must just in case all devices fail. We use GPS devices, which have excellent quality, but the simple small compass is always in our backpacks. If you plan some hiking activities, add it to your packing list for Alaska.
  • Reliable GPS Watch. You need a reliable GPS watch if you love hiking and great outdoor adventures. A good GPS watch offers top navigation features and a long battery life set up for multi-day adventures. It helps you enjoy your adventures, but it is a great safety tool that enables you to find the right way. Outdoor watches can measure your hike’s altitude and speed, offer GPS guidance on walks or runs, and track your trips with long battery life. We love and use this Garmin (Chris) & this Suunto (Agnes) outdoor watch.
  • Handheld GPS. GPS devices are beneficial for safety if you plan backpacking and hiking the Alaska wilderness. For a regular trip, you don’t need it. But it is essential gear for Alaska while backpacking. Consider Garmin in Reach Explorer+ with Satellite Communicator. Having an SOS satellite search and rescue communicator is a perfect solution.
Denali National Park

Packing List for Alaska – Bear Protection

Alaska contains about 98% of the U.S. brown bear population and 70% of the total North American population. An estimated 30,000 brown bears live in Alaska. Only in Katmai National Park live over 2200 bears. Around 300 to 350 grizzly bears live in the Denali National Park on the Alaska Range’s north side. 219 brown bears live in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

The probability of encountering a bear is very high. During each of our four trips to Alaska, we encountered bears: grizzly bears, brown bears, and black bears. Wild animals can behave unpredictably. And you are a guest, only a guest in this wilderness. Often an uninvited guest. Alaska is a bear country. Bears are curious and intelligent and tend to avoid or ignore people, but they can be dangerous. Respecting bears and learning proper behavior can help you avoid conflict. You can read on how to behave when you encounter a bear, in our article.

Alaska Packing List – Bear Safety Must-Have Items

  • Bear Spray or Pepper Gun is a must during an Alaska road trip. However, the best defense is common sense and compliance with regulations and safety rules. Carrying “pepper spray,” is always a good idea. It’s a bear deterrent made from red-hot pepper juice. This incapacitating spray teaches bears a lesson without permanently maiming them. Be careful with using it. It’s dangerous. We always pack this bear spray and carry it all the time.

Bear Safety Optional Items

What to pack when hiking, camping, and backpacking?

  • Bear Bells. Bears use trails and roads, so during your trip, especially while hiking or camping, make a little noise, talk loudly, or clap your hands sometimes, especially if you are going through a brush. Always let bears know you are there. Buy some Bear Bells. You can attach it to the outside of your backpack, or any other external piece of gear. Bear bells are not meant to scare a bear. They are designed to warn a bear (and other animals – cougars, etc.) of your presence.
  • Smell Proof Bags. Be sure to pack all your food, snacks, and cosmetics carefully in Smell Proof Bags. It’s also a must on the Alaska Packing List while hiking or camping. Bears, wolves, and coyotes have an excellent scent. Every smell attracts wild animals. So, you must pack all your food and cosmetics carefully—even a piece of chocolate or lipstick with a UV filter.
  • Bear Resistant Food Sack. If you plan on camping in Alaska backcountry, you will need a Bear Resistant Food Sack, or Bear Canister, which protects all your food and cosmetics. Don’t leave your lunch or any food where a bear can smell. Keep your food away from your tent. Keep it 100 yards away if you can.
  • Pack all your rubbish in smell-proof bags. Don’t even leave a banana peel on the trail. Dispose of garbage only in places designated for it, to bear-proof containers. No leave trace, only footprints.
Packing List for Alaska Katmai National Park
Alaska Packing List Katmai NP

Alaska Packing List – Must-Have Clothes for Alaska

What to wear in Alaska? Layers are key for your comfort during your Alaska trip. The weather changes frequently, especially during summer. You can start your trip in the sun and end up in a freezing wind. Therefore, the layers are the most important. Below are our essentials clothes for Alaska.

Comfy boots with great traction and warm socks

  • Waterproof outdoor boots are essential on every travel to Alaska, especially if you go for a mountain hike or a glacier trip. They’ll also come in handy on a wildlife-watching cruise where it gets slippery from splashing water. Our favorite brands are Salomon and Mammut. These hiking boots are great for harsh weather conditions. They are reliable and comfortable. They have excellent traction, so you can hike even in mud or snow.
  • Walking boots. Having a pair of lighter-mind hiking boots or trekking sandals is good. Agnes likes her closed-toed Kenn sandals. It’s her favorite model. They are great when you have to cross a river. Chris’s choice is mind hiking waterproof boots.
  • Socks. Good moisture-wicking socks are a must-have during your trip to Alaska. Our choice is Merino Wool Hiking Socks, which are incredibly soft and warm and have natural wicking and odor-resistant properties. It keeps you dry and comfortable.

Hiking underwear

  • You need high-quality and quick dry underwear because it’s essential to feel comfortable during all your Alaska activities, like sightseeing, hiking, and camping. So choose well your travel underwear. For Agnes’ best hiking, underwears are sports bra, and a quick dry women’s outdoor bikini. Chris’ choice is breathable travel boxers.
  • Long-sleeve thermal base layers for us are a must-have, as the weather in Alaska is unpredictable. Layered clothing will help you get ready for any conditions. Right Thermal Underwear is essential during chilly mornings and evenings and while hiking, exploring, or kayaking. It’s also a must for a night in a tent. For Alaska, we pack two sets, a thicker 250 and a thinner 150. Chris likes Classic Thermal Merino Base Layer Pants and Long Sleeve Merino Shirt, which keep you dry and comfortable while active in cold weather, and it’s super soft. Agnes loves and uses Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer and Smartwool Merino Bottoms.
  • It’s also good to have t-shirt base layers. When it’s a sunny or hot day, this t-shirt helps you to stay dry.

Jackets

  • Flees jacket is a must in your Alaska suitcase, and we assure you that you will wear it often, as mornings and evenings are pretty chill even during Alaskan summer. Agnes loves her Kuhl Flight jacket ( check her detailed review and more photos). It’s one of the best she ever had because it’s warm enough and comfortable and has big pockets for necessary gear such as a smartphone and headlamp. During our last Alaska road trip, she also wears Kuhl Prism Hoody, which is also a perfect choice for the summer months (here is a review). Chris’s choice is Kuhl Spekter Full Zip Hoody, which is warm and great as a layer as well (check review). Yes, we are a fan of this brand, as it worked great during our Alaska trips.
Kuhl Prism Hoody
  • Windstopper jacket. Very often in Alaska, you will encounter a cold and unpleasant wind. A windproof and warm jacket in the mountains or during a scenic flight, glacier hiking, or kayaking, is a must-have. Chris’s choice is this Marmot Softshell Windbreaker Jacket, and Agnes loves Black Diamond softshell jacket.
  • Waterproof rain jacket. Packaging for Alaska a simple waterproof hooded rain poncho that is reasonably priced is also a good idea. And it works great in heavy rain. But it would be best if you had something warm and windproof below.
  • Puffer jacket. It’s great to have ultra-light fill goose-down jackets because they are so warm and easily packable that you can keep them in your pocket. We love this technology. And yes, we used it a lot during Alaska summer.
packing list for Alaska

Hiking pants

  • Comfy hiking pants should be on your Alaska packing list. Chris loves this SILENCR ROGUE KARGO PANT, that coped great with the rain, wind, mud, and snow during the Alaskan summer. These pants are perfect for hiking and camping during Alaska trips (check the review). Agnes’ choice is KLASH women’s hiking pants.
  • Hiking shorts (OPTIONAL). We are always honest with you and will remain so. We packed shorts for each of our four trips to Alaska, hoping to wear them. But we never succeeded. Maybe you’ll have better weather. Agnes packed SPLASH 11″ Hiking Shorts (here is a review, as they are great for hiking). Chris’s choice is AMBUSH Cargo Shorts (read review).

Head and Hand Protection

Even in summer, you must remember to protect your head and hands against the cold and against the sun. The weather in Alaska is often changing, so a warm hat and gloves are a must-have in your suitcase for your trip. Below are some items that we always pack to Alaska. And we use them a lot.

  • Warm hat. When the weather is chilly, it’s good to have a warm Windstopper hat. Mornings and evenings in Alaska might be chilly, even in the middle of summer. And it can snow even in July or August. We experienced snow during our Dalton trip.
  • Gloves. We prefer windproof and warm Touchscreen Gloves because they are helpful while taking photos.
  • For sunny days pack a hat or cap. Choose a classic wool hat that protects hair before the sun or regular caps.
  • Don’t forget to pack sunglasses for your Alaska trip.

Swimsuit

Are you surprised? On warm days you can bathe in the Alaskan river if you are brave enough. For us, it’s too cold. But if you read our text about 10 of our favorite places in Alaska, you will see that one of the best places to chill in Alaska is Chena Hot Springs. After trekking or a few nights in a tent, it’s great to relax at natural hot springs in Alaska.

Sun and Insect Protection

  • Insect repellent and Head Net. Intrusive mosquitoes during Alaska summer are every traveler’s nightmare. We didn’t believe it until we experienced the hundreds of mosquitoes cutting through every garment. Make sure to pack the Head net. The price is affordable, and it’s a helpful item. Also, pack insect repellent containing DEET at least 40%.
  • Also, don’t forget to pack to Alaska sunscreen to avoid getting burned.

Alaska Packing List – Must-Have Hiking Gear

  • Trekking Poles. There are many advantages to using trekking poles. Above all, the poles used for hiking need to be smoothly regulated. Trekking poles relieve the joints and the spine. With trekking poles, you can gain more control when going down and soften the momentum of descent. Check how to choose trekking poles.
  • Leg Gaiters. They protect your boots and pants from water, mud, and ice. Protects feet and legs from getting wet and cold. You need them because if you are hiking, stream crossings are common. Also, the grass is wet and damp. What’s more, they are perfect if you decide on a glacier trip, like Matanuska Glacier Hike Tour. In Denali were very useful. Also, we used it while hiking in the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Wrangell-St Elias National Park. So, the best is waterproof Leg Gaiters.
  • Hand and Foot Warmers. Consider packing Hand and Foot warmers, if you plan some hiking in the mountains, like Hatcher Pass or Denali. We have already used these heaters several times in winter and fall conditions. Pack a few pairs of Hand Warmers, and Foot Warmers or Toe Foot Warmers.
packing list for Alaska

Alaska Packing List – Camping and Backpacking Gear

Here is our essential Camping and Backpacking Gear List for Alaska adventures. After driving the Dalton Highway, hiking in the Gates of the Arctic National Park, camping in Denali National Park and Katmai National Park, and visiting the Wrangel St-Elias National Park, we have some camping and backpacking experiences and tips that we share. Please review those earlier lists at the beginning of this article regarding hiking clothing, bear protection, and safety gear, as we do not repeat these items here. But they are a must-have if you plan to camp in Alaska.

Hiking backpack

If you plan backpacking, you must pack your trekking clothes and camping gear properly. Most importantly, the backpack must be comfortable not to burden your spine. Our choice is Deuter. These backpacks are of excellent quality. They lie on your back very well. Trekking with them is a pleasure. Agnes’ choice is Deuter Aircontact 60 for women. Chris has Deuter Aircontact for men. They are stable, solid, and have a lot of space for equipment for the necessary camping gear with a tent and your clothes for Alaska.

Packing List for Alaska – Sleeping in a Tent

  • Lightweight tent. It’s important to have a solid backpacking tent. But should be light and easy to put up. We have 2 person tent, which offers a good amount of space and it’s warm inside.
  • Lightweight & warm Sleeping Bag. A light or ultralight sleeping bag is a must-have. But most of all it has to be warm. Above all, it keeps you healthy. A sleeping bag keeps you comfortable in cold temperatures, especially in the morning. It’s essential to be warm enough for you; otherwise, camping will stop being a pleasure. Our choice is Mummy Sleeping Bag. We slept in a tent in Denali NP and Katmai NP in September. At night and in the morning, there were already the first frosts. These sleeping bags have worked great. Even in summer, you must be prepared for cold nights and frosts, especially in the mountains. So to Alaska, it’s worth packing a winter sleeping bag.
  • Light Thermarest Sleeping Pad. Insulation is important. So don’t forget a camping mattress with you for camping. Our choice is Thermarest Sleeping Pad, which is self-inflating, light, solid foam type, and we enjoy our nights in a tent with this staff.
Alaska Packing List for Denali

Alaska Packing List – Cooking & Eating

  • Travel Stove. We use an ultralight backpacking travel stove to prepare hot meals while camping. Agnes will not get up without a cup of hot coffee, so for us, it is a must-have. And don’t forget coffee, matches, camping plates, and a camping pot.
  • Headlamp. It’s a must-have on camping and also during only a one-day hike. Our choice is a waterproof headlamp.
  • Camping knife. It should be of high quality, from carbon stainless steel. We use Benchmade and Gerber
  • Water Reservoirs so that you can reduce your plastic waste. Agnes uses these HydraPak Water Bladder (3 liters), and Chris has Camelbak Reservoirs. They are perfect for hiking and camping. Very high quality and well constructed. If our hike is longer, especially in summer, we also carry on a durable water bottle.
  • Emergency Water Filter. We take it for longer hikes or when we camp in remote/wilderness areas. Potable aqua tablets are light and make questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink within 35 minutes.
alaska packing list
alaska packing list

Alaska Packing List – Health & Hygiene

  • Don’t forget the waste bags, and don’t leave any traces behind. Even a banana peel must be taken. Their scent can lure wild animals, so you must pack all your rubbish.
  • Taking care of hygiene is also essential during hiking and camping, so a small hand sanitizer gel with alcohol must always be in our backpacks.
  • We also always pack moisturizing/wet wipes. Choose biodegradable ones. We use them to refresh the face, wiping hands, for intimate hygiene, or clean dirty surfaces (picnic tables). Small biodegradable toilet paper is the best.
  • We always pack small and light trowels. It is essential not to leave your trace. It’s also for your safety because your smell can attract wild animals.
  • It is worth protecting your lips before the sun but also before frost. During physical exertion, the lips crack faster, so we wear lip balm at any time of the year.
  • Don’t forget menstrual products if you need them during a hike or camp.
packing list for Alaska

Packing List for Cruise in Alaska

It’s different between packing for the sunny Hawaii cruise and what you’ll experience during a cruise in Alaska. Alaskan cruises are amazing. You can observe unique animals: orcs, whales, seals, or even polar bears. During the cruise, the weather can vary dramatically. What to wear on an Alaskan cruise? What gear should I take for the cruise? We share our opinions about cruise clothing and the best equipment for a cruise.

Packing List for Alaska – Cruise Gear

  • Binoculars. Taking waterproof binoculars for the Alaska cruise, which help you observe wildlife, is a great idea. Finding whales and orcs in the water or seals on the rocks will be much easier. It’s also an excellent item for birdwatching.
  • Rain cover for a smartphone. If you like taking photos on your smartphone, you should use a dry bag for it.
  • Rain gear for the camera. It’s good to also take a rain cover protector for your camera and lens. And it’s a great idea to pack your equipment in a waterproof floating backpack in case of a stormy or rainy day.
  • Camera. Photographing Alaska from a cruise ship is an adventure. For sure, you want to take great photos during the cruise. It is a fantastic opportunity for wildlife photography. The best camera for the Alaska cruise is a camera with fast AF because catching animals in the water is not easy. Our choices are Canon EOS R (Chris’ choice) and Nikon D750 (Agnes’ choice).
  • Lens. The best lens for an Alaska cruise is a lens with zoom. The best will be a lens in the range of 200-600. We use Canon EF 100-400mm and Nikkor 80-400mm. You can check out our wildlife photos taken with these gears, e.g., in the article about bear watching in Katmai National Park, camping in Denali National Park, or driving the Dalton Highway.

What to wear on an Alaskan cruise?

Deciding what to wear on a cruise in Alaska depends on what type of cruise you choose, how long it’s going to be a journey, and when you are going. If you are going for longer, you should take a mix of formal, casual, and sporty attire to cover all aspects of cruising in Alaska. But first of all, your comfort and warmth matter. The weather is unpredictable. So, pack layers. Evenings and mornings can be chilly. Pack the windproof and waterproof clothing for your Alaska cruise.

packing list for Alaska

Alaska Packing List – Photography Gear

We love wildlife and landscape photography. And Alaska is, for us, one of the premier photo travel destinations in the US. So, here we share our experience with our camera gear packing list for Alaska’s journey. Chris uses a Canon, and Agnes uses a Nikon.

Cameras and Lenses

The best camera for the trip to Alaska is a camera with fast AF because it’s not easy to catch wildlife. Our choices are Canon EOS R (Chris’ choice) and Nikon D750 (Agnes’ choice).

Regarding the lenses, it’s good to have at least two of them:

packing list for Alaska wildlife

Memory Cards

With memory cards, you should buy the fastest and most reliable ones. For years we were using SanDisk and Lexar CF and SD cards. We never had any issues with them, so that we can recommend them to you.

We give you a free Alaska packing list PDF for download:

Beyond cameras and lenses

We decided to take some more gear for our last trip to Alaska. And it was the right choice because we were delighted with the results. So, we have taken two things:

With the recent one, please remember that you need to register it with FAA to fly in the USA, and you are not allowed to operate in national parks.

Alaska Packing List


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19 Comments

  1. I am dying to go to Alaska. Seems it will be one of those trips I’ll need to plan and prepare well ahead. Thanks for sharing this list, it’s very detailed and a great reference

  2. Wow! This is an overwhelming travel packing list. I don’t have many of the things recommended so I’d have to go on a major shopping trip before going. However, I would love to visit Alaska.

  3. I was definitely surprised to see swimsuit and puffer jacket in the same packing list, but for Alaska I suppose that makes sense! You sound like you had a very adventurous trip here, and I would love to experience the same. Also, thank you for listing your camera & lens suggestions! I’m always curious to see what other people are shooting with and how they like it. 

  4. We do know how hard it is to pack when the weather is very changeable.  Seems like my bag starts with everything but the kitchen sink.  I agree that layering is a great way to reduce the bulky clothes.  And we opted for all outerwear to be rain repelling.   And we finally did buy a waterproof backpack.  A great checklist for a return to Alaska.

  5. Wow! You packing list is so so detailed. I am a big fan of merino wool thermals and under layers too. I am a big REI fan and I am so glad you have suggested trek clothes from there. Gives me a reason to get quality clothes and decent REI dividend now when I plan a trip to Alaska! Gonna check out the rest of your suggestions now! 😀 

  6. This article is very helpful. I’m from Southeast Asia, so I had absolutely NO CLUE what to pack for cold weather. And for someone like me who thinks that anything below 20 degrees Celsius is freezing, this might actually be lifesaving. Thank you for the list of recommended items. Will definitely check them out.

  7. I almost booked a cheap flight for Alaska right before covid hit – so I am truly dreaming of visiting. great packing list! Saving for the day I get to go. 

  8. I wish I’ve read your post three years ago when I went to Alaska. I didn’t think of packing any trekking clothes because we went on a cruise, so I ended up by buying hiking shoes and a thicker jacket. I didn’t forget the swimsuit though, lol!

  9. Alaska is the stuff that dreams are made of. Hope to get there someday. Loved your detailed packing list. It is so exhaustive and covers every single item that would be necessary. Bookmarking this for our own preparations when we do get to visit Alaska.

  10. We were supposed to visit US this December and my planning had already started. Alaska was our top priority.But man proposes God disposes is what happened.We will definitely visit next year and this post is what will now help me to plan. Bookmarking and thanks.

  11. Very very useful post. The details of what all need to be carried while planning for Alaska make it so easy for travellers to plan beforehand. Love the detailing done and the relevant links shared as well. Bookmarking this for future travel plan.

  12. This is such a complete list! Honestly, I had no idea that there was such a thing as hiking underwear. So interesting! I have a travel puffer that has been a lifesaver, and it packs to be so tiny, which is convenient. 

  13. Alaska is indeed every photographer’s delight. The landscape is so beautiful. I’ve been wanting to visit Alaska and I hope to soon. So, thanks much for this ultimate packing list. Mammut Boots looks so strong, good to know that you’ve walked many a mile with those. I will definitely consider that. Thanks for the tip about also carrying a light boots. Touchscreen Gloves are indeed a blessing in this era of smart phones. 

  14. Making noise so that the bears know where you are seems very counterintuitive, but I know you’re right.  It just feels odd while you’re doing it.  And it never occurred to me that cosmetics also needed to go in the smell-proof bag.  Duh on me!  Thanks for the very thorough packing list!

  15. That’s an extensive list of every possible item you might need for Alaska, and to suit all interests and activities like camping and hiking. It’s tricky packing for weather changes, but great tips on layering and not forgetting outwear for rainy days.

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