Packing for Alaska

I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited for a trip as I have for our (Julia, Thomas, Garrett) Alaskan adventure. I’ve never been on a trip like this and I’ve definitely never done anything too outdoorsy so it should be different. I don’t even know what to expect, but from what I’ve heard from anyone who’s gone it should be an amazing time.
The four of us are meeting in Seattle (the airport, wish we had more time there!) and then flying to Anchorage. We’re renting a car and doing a lot of driving (check out this website’s driving tour suggestions) so that we can visit a number of places and go at our own pace. If anyone has been and has any must-see places, let me know a comment!
Packing was a little bit challenging because it’s still cool there and we’ll be doing a lot of hiking and exploring. I ordered a bunch of stuff from Zappos and (This was my first experience with The selection is amazing and the shipping was so fast. Highly recommend if you need outdoors stuff!) I also wanted to make sure that what we bought we could use when the trip was over.
Some of the standout things I’ve packed:

Patagonia Better Sweater | I have a really old North Face version of this from my coxing days and bought the green version because I love it so much. It’s actually what I slip into when I’m heading to a nighttime yoga class.

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket | This is one of those purchases that I was on the fence about, but when the coat came in the mail I kind of wondered why I didn’t get it for NYC winters sooner! I know I’ll wear this a lot when it cools off again here. It should be great for layering or rolling up to keep in my backpack.

Fisherman’s Sweater (c/o) | Is this cute or what? It runs kind of small so if you’re in between sizes (or tall) order up a size. I have a feeling I’ll wear this a lot on the trip. It even looks cute with denim shorts– I’ve been walking Teddy in the morning wear this!

Osprey Backpack | I tried on a few different backpacks in the city but didn’t love the colors. I ended up going with this backpack for our day hiking trips. It’s kind of dorky in a hilarious way.

Striped Shirt (c/o) | My suitcase is packed with all of my long sleeved striped shirts for layering. A good balance between keeping warm and dressing for May!

Barbour Rain Jacket (c/o) | It doesn’t look like rain… but just in case. And I guess you never know.

Hiking Boots | Garrett made me break these in in the city and I was so embarrassed because they’re very, um, not my style. With that said, they’re so comfortable. I’m excited to test them out when we’re really hiking!

Bean Boots | These almost always end up on trips, regardless of the destination.

Hunter Packable Boots | I bought these last year for my Scotland trip and they are too good. They fold up for suitcases and I wear them rain or shine honestly.

Weekender Bag | We’re going Monday through Monday and I know I’m going to overpack. I’m going to pack my regular suitcase and then bring this weekender as my carry-on with all the clothes that won’t fit ha!

Has anyone been to Alaska before?!

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K. Elizabeth Reich

My family is from Alaska! I'm from an entirely different part of the state though, so I don't know too much about Anchorage other than you can pan for gold about 45 minutes outside the city (Crow Creek Mines).

I do recommend getting a can of pepper spray when you go hiking, coming across a bear or an angry moose is very common and you'll need a way to protect yourself (I usually carry a rifle if I'm going hiking). I also recommend telling someone (your parents, hotel desk worker) where you're going hiking at and the trails you're planning on just in case something happens and there's no cell phone service. Have fun!


Yes!!! We got huge cans of bear spray! (I thought it was a joke until we watched videos of it in use, OMG.)

That's a great idea about letting people know where we are going– thank you!

Lindsay Truax

I actually have been to Alaska this time of year and the Bean and Hunter boots will be perfect! Also the yellow rain jacket!

Brienne Peers

I was in Alaska earlier this year! You look like you have bought the perfect Alaskan adventure gear! It is absolutely beautiful and I am sure you will have an amazing time!


Sounds so amazing! Have an amazing trip! Alaska is on my list to go. I've heard amazing stories about going on a cruise to Alaska and seeing blue ice. Your packing list is also perfect for my camping trip this summer. I'm going to somewhere that's like 7000 feet elevation so I'll be bringing a lot of layering because I get cold. Easily. It sucks lol

Taylor Hoffman

You will have so much fun in Alaska! After I graduated from high school I went on a 4 week hiking and kayaking trip in Alaska and it was amazing!! It rains a lot there so be prepared for that! It's good you broke in your hiking boots because you will end up with terrible blisters if you hadn't. Make sure to take lots of pictures…you will see a ton of wildlife!! Have a great time, I can't wait to see how your trip goes!!

xo, Taylor

Southwestern Prepster

Ahh, Alaska sounds amazing! Some of my parents' friends took a nice little vacation there and loved it! It sounds like you'll be doing a lot of hiking, and so many of their pictures of the mountains were beautiful, I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun – be wary of bears!
xx, Mikkaela
The Southwestern Prepster


I've never been, but I'm sure you will all have a great time together exploring!
I can't wait to follow along through your Instagram feed next week!
Best of luck & wishing you safe travels.
xo, Amanda
Affordable by Amanda

Amanda Burnham

Hey Carly. I have one question for you. How do you pack your hunter boots? I usually just stuff like socks in them but they take up so much space in suitcases. Do you have a better way to pack them?

Rachel Sederberg

I'd love to know how the backpack works out! I've got a trip to Montana this summer and it would be a great thing for me to take. A laptop style north face backpack isn't really appropriate I don't think, ha!

The Life of KPM

I'm actually from Anchorage and here currently. It's been in the high 60s and it hasn't rained in the week I've been back to school. I actually wore shorts and a tank top all day yesterday. Only a light sweatshirt is necessary for night or maybe a light windbreaker for hiking. Also don't forget sunscreen, so easy to get burnt on a mountaintop. Alaskan weather seems scary and way cold, but we are having a really warm spring.

Julia D.

Thank GOODNESS Garrett made you break in your hiking boots. Might have been embarrassing, but nothing is more humiliating and painful than being the hiking newbie who has blisters from not knowing how to break in new boots.

Similar to what K. Elizabeth said upthread, I think it is very important to review appropriate wildnerness procedures. Be prepared for how you'll react if you see any animals (how you react to a bear is different than a cougar), always make sure someone knows where you are and when you're expected back, have a beacon on you if at all possible, and most importantly: carry extra supplies (water, first aid, matches/lighter, extra layers and food).

Hope you all have a great time!

Fairy Princess Jord

Wish you were staying in Seattle longer but I know you're going to have a fab time in Alaska with Julia! Can't wait to hear all about your trip and of course see all the adorable pictures of you and Julia together! (:

Mikayla McCallum

I'm Alaskan born and raised from Anchorage. I have a few awesome places and recommendations if you guys are going to be staying in town for a few more days before heading on a road trip. Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth, and Humpy's are some great restaurants. There's also a lot of cultural places around town if you're looking for information on Alaska Native culture! My absolute favorite outside spots around Anchorage are Pt. Woronzof (near the airport, has a beautiful view of the bay), and an area above Anchorage called Flat Top (great view of all of the city, and a prime hiking spot.) The drive you're taking is going to be beautiful also! I can't wait to see yours and Julia's photos. Huge fan! xx

Mikayla McCallum

Also, I really hope there's a trip to Homer on your agenda, it's a bit of a drive from Anchorage but it's so gorgeous and worth it! Other small towns to check out (which are on the way to Homer) are Whittier and Seward. Very cute and quaint. Perfect for tourism!


I did a cruise along the Inside Passage years ago and it was extremely beautiful. We did visit Anchorage where it was 80 degrees–compared to 40s and 50s along the coast. Be sure to pack some clothes for warmer weather. Alaska isn't all cold!

Denali was beautiful-I def suggest visiting.

Also, take advantage of the fresh salmon. I had a sandwich of fresh-caught salmon and just-picked blackberries and it was one of the best sandwiches I ever had.

Have a great time!


Going this May to visit Kodiak. I am so excited to visit a school friend with a b&b there. So how was your trip? Any more advice?