The Best Clothes for Alaska (and More!) I Packed

We’re back from Alaska and I have to say, it was a trip of a lifetime. Truly one of the best vacations I’ve ever gone on for so many reasons. I was pretty anxious about the trip because I didn’t know what to expect but we had more fun than I ever could have imagined. And Alaska is stunning. I have more detailed posts on the way– just need to sort through all the incredible photos first! (In the meantime, you can see my recent Instas.) The easiest way to start is by sharing the clothes for Alaska I am definitely glad I packed.
One of my biggest unknowns going into the trip was what to wear in Alaska! Based on the emails/comments/tweets I’ve received it seems like a lot of people have trips coming up for Alaska or want to go and I thought I’d answer some of the questions I had before my trip when it comes to packing.
I was pretty surprised that I packed pretty well for the trip. I think I wore 95% of what I packed at least once, which rarely happens! You must to add these to your Alaska packing list.
best clothes for alaska including patagonia nano puff
The best clothes for Alaska (and more!) I packed:
1. Patagonia Nano Puff | This was the biggest purchase that I was most on the fence about. I felt weird buying a puffer jacket in May and I also felt weird spending $200 on something that I might not wear for months in the future. Wrong and wrong. This was hands down the best thing I brought for the trip. It’s super lightweight and still super warm. (But also not too warm, magically!) We were traveling between places and some cities were chillier than others and even day by day temperatures changed dramatically. I wore the nano puff at some point every day (if not all day), even if it was 70 degrees.
I’m so glad I bought this and I’ll know I’ll pull it out for some chillier on-the-water vacations this summer and definitely the falls/winters to come. I actually want to get a few more colors I love it so much.
hunter rain boots for alaska packing list
2. Hunter Rainboots | I almost didn’t bring these and I’m SO glad I did. They were my go-to choice of shoes, and Julia’s too. I wish I had brought two pairs. I feel like every trip I go on, I rave about how much I love the travel packable Hunter boots. They are just too perfect for traveling and that is especially true for Alaska. We even got complimented by our fishing guide on being just like the girls in Alaska because they wear their boots with everything, even dresses.
We drove a lot and would pull off on the side of the road to take in the views. We never knew what the ground would be like and the boots were great for water, mud, dirt, and even climbing some hills. It was so nice to not worry about getting shoes dirty or wet, we were just good to go.
carly riordan and julia berolzheimer in alaska
3. Hiking Backpack | I hated this backpack when I got it. Garrett encouraged me to get it and I was just not a fan. (I wanted to get a “cute” backpack.) Wow, this backpack ended up being my best friend basically throughout the trip. I never took it off. It fit everything and was incredibly comfortable throughout the entire trip. If you need a daypack for hiking this summer, this is your bag. I got the blue/grey but it also comes in a pretty magenta.
clothes for alaska including striped shirts on carly riordan and julia berolzheimer
4. Striped shirts | Striped shirts are simply the best for travel, I’ve determined, no matter where you’re going. They’re great for layering and can add a little extra pop to an otherwise simple outfit. LL Bean, Saint James, J. Crew, and J. Crew Factory have some of my favorite options. And I firmly believe you can never have too many striped shirts.
clothes for alaska including field jacket on carly riordan
5. Field Jacket (c/o) | If I wasn’t wearing my puff jacket, I was wearing this field jacket. Julia and I showed up at the airport wearing nearly identical outfits– including the jacket. It was great for layering over some of my warmer sweaters if it was chilly or just a t-shirt if it was warmer. I wore it mostly with my jeans, but I actually think it’d be cute to dress down a pretty white dress this summer.
6. Denim shorts | I mostly wore jeans and expected the trip to be generally chilly, but we had some genuinely warm afternoons! I wish I had brought more shorts, and these denim shorts turned into my go-to.
7. Mosquito spray | Other than the clothes for Alaska I brought, this one is a requirement that’s self explanatory. The mosquitos are no joke. We were pretty lucky that we were just arriving at the beginning of the season and they weren’t too bad. The ones that we did see were massive. Basically flying horses. I only got bit one time and without the spray and I’m sure we would have been eaten alive.
what to wear in alaska including rain jacket on carly riordan
8. French braids | This is not so much what I packed, but what I didn’t. I left my blowdryer, straightener, and curling iron behind. I was constantly braiding my hair, but it was the best option while traveling in Alaska. No need for pretty hair and I had a lot of hat days because of the cold. French braids, fishtail braids, side braids, pigtail braids. I had them all throughout the trip.
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I loved following all four of your guys' photos on Instagram this past week! Thanks so much for this post – I think I might actually take some of this to heart for my upcoming study abroad adventure to Edinburgh. I look forward to more Alaska posts filled with all the beautiful photos of the scenery 🙂

Annie N Belle

Brienne Peers

I am so happy you enjoyed Alaska! I cannot wait for the opportunity to go back again! I loved following your Instagram pictures and Snapchcats throughout your trip!

Rowan M

I cannot wait to see more pictures from your trip! I am definitely adding Alaska to my travel bucket list! Thanks Carly.

xox, Rowan


Love that jacket! My team got custom Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4 zips and I can't put it down, its so nice and fluffy. Your Alaska pictures are so pretty, definitely makes me wanna travel!

Peppermint + Ivy


I've been twice and you're pretty spot on with your items. Layering is the key. The closer or more you are on the water, the more you're going to need layers and I mean 3-4. Insulated Gloves are also a necessity on the water as are scarves.
can't wait to read more about your trip!!

Fairy Princess Jord

I loved following your snaps and instas of yor Alaska trip. It seems like you had such a fun time and you looked completely adorable while doing it (no surprise there). I also love striped shirts and believe there is no such thing as too many!


Hi Carly! Looks like a really fun trip! I wonder if you might be able to post where Julia's jacket is from? It is really cute but I can't quite make out the brand label. Thanks! 🙂

Brittany Conner

Love this post! Thank you for sharing. I'm trying to pack for our Alaskan cruise next month and I'm struggling. I'm a southern girl and will be 24 weeks pregnant so this is more difficult to pack for than I thought. Can you tell me what red patagonia jacket your friend is wearing? And the jacket/pullover you have on in the demin shorts picture? Thank you!!


I know you posted this forever ago, but I am planning a trip to Alaska and was wondering what cameras you took with you? Worth packing a full size or just go with a good point and shoot?


who makes the yellow jacket you have on? what is the style name of the red patagonia julia wore? heading to alaska in june and definitely need better all weather jackets!

Nancy Noble

Thank you so much for recommending the Patagonia jacket!!! I too was on the fence about what kind of jacket to purchase. I didn’t want to make a pricey mistake! But this jacket was worth (actually on sale) every penny! It not only packed beautifully but kept me warm and dry on my cruise!


Hi! I love the outfits you girls are wearing in the picture of the two of you in stripes, red, black, and grey. What is the black jacket you girls are wearing under your red ones?

Jennifer Klabunde

I really like the red jacket that your friend is wearing, can you tell me what brand it is or where I could find one? We are headed to Alaska in July and I love your looks!


I’m curious to know about your friend’s read jacket (the one she’s wearing over her black Nano Puff)– I can’t quite read the label to see the brand. Also, what is the gold/yellow jacket you are wearing in the fishing picture? Thanks for any info. We’re heading up there soon!