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Alaska Summer Packing List: 12 Essentials + Tips


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Dodi Kimura



When it comes to traveling, having the right essentials and accessories can make all the difference. And if you’re planning a trip to Alaska during the summer months, it’s important to pack accordingly.


Alaska offers breathtaking landscapes, wildlife encounters, and outdoor adventures that are truly unparalleled. However, the weather in Alaska can be unpredictable, even during the summer. It’s known for its cool temperatures, rain showers, and the possibility of experiencing all four seasons in a single day.


In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of 12 travel essentials and accessories to pack for your trip to Alaska. From clothing and footwear to outdoor gear and electronic essentials, we’ve got you covered. We’ll also share some valuable tips to help you pack efficiently and make the most of your Alaska summer adventure.


So, whether you’re planning to explore Denali National Park, take a cruise through the Inside Passage, or go kayaking in Glacier Bay, make sure you have these essential items with you. Let’s dive in!


Clothing Essentials

When it comes to clothing for your Alaskan summer trip, layering is key. The weather can vary greatly throughout the day, so having the ability to add or remove layers will keep you comfortable and prepared for any conditions.


Here are the clothing essentials you should pack:

• Waterproof and Windproof Jacket:

Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, and rain showers are common. A waterproof and windproof jacket will keep you dry and shielded from the elements. Look for one that is breathable and lightweight for maximum comfort.

• Insulated Fleece or Down Jacket:

Even in the summer, temperatures in Alaska can be chilly, especially in the evenings or at higher elevations. An insulated fleece or down jacket will provide warmth and insulation without taking up too much space in your luggage.

• Moisture-Wicking Base Layers:

Pack a few sets of moisture-wicking base layers made from materials like merino wool or synthetic fibers. These will help regulate your body temperature and keep you dry by wicking away sweat.

• Long-Sleeve Shirts:

Long-sleeve shirts are versatile and practical. They can be worn alone on cooler days or as a layer underneath a jacket or fleece for added warmth. Opt for lightweight and breathable materials.

• Quick-Dry Pants and Shorts:

Alaska’s terrain calls for adventure, so pack a few pairs of quick-dry pants and shorts. These will dry rapidly if you encounter rain or decide to partake in water activities. Look for ones with multiple pockets for added convenience.

• Comfortable T-Shirts and Tank Tops:

Pack a few comfortable t-shirts and tank tops that you can wear during your daily activities. Opt for breathable fabrics that are easy to wash and dry.

• Swimsuit:

Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit, as Alaska is home to breathtaking lakes, rivers, and hot springs. Whether you want to take a dip or relax in a soothing hot spring, a swimsuit is essential for enjoying these experiences.


By packing these clothing essentials, you’ll be prepared for various weather conditions and enjoy your Alaska summer trip to the fullest.


Footwear Essentials

Exploring Alaska’s stunning landscapes requires the right footwear. Whether you’re hiking through rugged trails, walking along rocky coastlines, or strolling around town, having comfortable and durable footwear is essential. Here are the footwear essentials to pack:

• Hiking Boots:

A good pair of sturdy hiking boots is a must for any outdoor adventure in Alaska. Look for boots that offer ankle support, a waterproof exterior, and a grippy sole for traction on various terrains.

• Waterproof Shoes or Sandals:

For water activities or days when you expect rain, pack a pair of waterproof shoes or sandals. These will keep your feet dry and comfortable while exploring coastal areas or if you encounter unexpected showers.

• Comfortable Walking Shoes:

Having a comfortable pair of walking shoes is essential for exploring towns and cities in Alaska. Look for shoes with cushioning and arch support to keep your feet comfortable during long walks.

• Flip Flops or Slippers:

Bring a pair of flip flops or slippers that you can slip on at the end of a long day. They are perfect for wearing around your accommodation or on the campground for added comfort.

• Wool Socks:

Pack a few pairs of wool socks to keep your feet warm and dry. Wool is a great natural material that helps regulate temperature and wicks away moisture, keeping your feet cozy and blister-free.

• Gaiters:

If you plan on hiking through muddy or wet trails, consider packing gaiters. These protective covers wrap around your ankles and lower legs, keeping mud, water, and debris out of your boots.


Remember to break in your hiking boots before your trip to avoid blisters and discomfort. Having the right footwear will ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience exploring Alaska.


Outdoor Gear Essentials

Alaska is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of adventurous activities. To make the most of your Alaskan summer trip, be sure to pack the following outdoor gear essentials:

• Backpack:

A durable and water-resistant backpack is essential for carrying your essentials while exploring Alaska. Look for a backpack with multiple compartments and comfortable straps for a comfortable and organized experience.

• Daypack or Hiking Pack:

For longer hikes and day trips, a smaller daypack or hiking pack is ideal. This allows you to pack water, snacks, extra layers, and other necessities without carrying a bulky backpack.

• Trekking Poles:

Trekking poles provide stability and support while hiking through challenging terrain. They reduce strain on your knees and help maintain balance, especially on steep ascents and descents.

• Binoculars:

Alaska is known for its wildlife, including bears, eagles, and whales. Bringing a pair of binoculars will enhance your wildlife viewing experience, allowing you to observe these magnificent creatures from a safe distance.

• Camera and Lens:

Alaska offers endless opportunities for photography. Don’t forget to pack your camera and a versatile lens to capture the stunning landscapes, wildlife, and memorable moments along your journey.

• Portable Charger:

Keep your electronic devices charged, even when you’re out exploring remote locations. A portable charger will ensure you can capture photos, navigate with GPS, and stay connected without worrying about running out of battery.

• Insect Repellent:

Alaska is home to pesky mosquitoes and other biting insects, especially in the summer months. Pack insect repellent with DEET to protect yourself from bug bites and enjoy your outdoor activities.

• Headlamp or Flashlight:

Don’t forget to pack a reliable headlamp or flashlight. Alaska’s long summer days can be deceiving, and darkness can fall quickly during late-night hikes or camping adventures.


These outdoor gear essentials will ensure you have a safe, comfortable, and memorable experience while exploring Alaska’s natural wonders.


Toiletries and Personal Care Essentials

Packing the right toiletries and personal care essentials will help you stay fresh and comfortable throughout your Alaskan summer adventure. Here are the essentials to include in your toiletry bag:

• Travel-sized toiletries:

Opt for travel-sized versions of your favorite shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion. These will save space in your luggage and comply with airline regulations if you’re flying to Alaska.

• Toothbrush and toothpaste:

Don’t forget your toothbrush and toothpaste for your daily dental hygiene routine. Consider bringing a travel-sized toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste to save space.

• Deodorant:

Alaska’s summer temperatures can still be warm, so bring your preferred deodorant to stay fresh and odor-free during your outdoor activities.

• Sunscreen:

Protect your skin from the intense Alaskan sun by packing a high SPF sunscreen. Apply it generously before heading outdoors and reapply as needed throughout the day.

• Lip balm:

Alaska’s dry air can take a toll on your lips. Keep them moisturized and protected by packing a lip balm with SPF.

• Insect repellent:

As mentioned earlier, Alaska is home to mosquitoes and other biting insects. Pack insect repellent with DEET to ward off these pests and enjoy your time outdoors without constant interruptions.

• Prescription medication:

If you have any prescription medications, be sure to bring an adequate supply for the duration of your trip. It’s also a good idea to carry a copy of your prescription or a note from your doctor, just in case.

• Personal hygiene items:

Remember to pack essentials like a razor, feminine hygiene products, and any other personal hygiene items you may need during your trip.


Having these essential toiletries and personal care items will ensure you stay fresh, protected, and comfortable throughout your Alaskan summer journey.


Health and Safety Essentials

When traveling to Alaska, it’s important to prioritize your health and safety. Here are the health and safety essentials to include in your packing list:

• First Aid Kit:

Prepare a compact first aid kit that includes band-aids, sterile gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications. This will come in handy for minor injuries or ailments.

• Hand Sanitizer:

Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you to clean your hands when soap and water are not readily available. This will help prevent the spread of germs.

• Prescription Medications:

If you take prescription medications, ensure you have an ample supply for the duration of your trip. Pack them in your carry-on luggage to prevent any potential issues if your checked baggage gets lost.

• Basic Over-the-Counter Medications:

In addition to your prescription medications, consider packing over-the-counter medications for common ailments such as headaches, allergies, motion sickness, and upset stomach.

• Medical and Travel Insurance Information:

Keep all your insurance information, including medical and travel insurance details, in one easily accessible place. This will be helpful in case of any emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.

• Emergency Contacts:

Save important emergency contact numbers, including local authorities, your embassy or consulate, and your travel insurance provider. Keep a printed copy and a digital version on your phone.

• Personal Identification:

Bring your passport or driver’s license as your primary identification throughout your trip. Make photocopies or store digital copies in case of loss or theft.

• Travel Insurance:

Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself in case of medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost luggage. Research and choose a plan that suits your needs.


By packing these health and safety essentials, you’ll have peace of mind and be prepared to handle any unexpected situations during your Alaskan adventure.


Electronic Essentials

Electronic essentials are crucial for capturing memories, staying connected, and navigating your way through Alaska. Here are the electronic essentials to bring on your trip:

• Smartphone:

Your smartphone is a versatile tool that can serve multiple purposes. It can be used as a camera, a GPS device, a communication tool, and an entertainment source. Make sure to bring a charger or a portable battery pack to keep your phone powered throughout your adventures.

• Camera:

Alaska’s breathtaking landscapes and wildlife encounters call for a good camera to capture those memorable moments. Whether you prefer a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, or a compact point-and-shoot, ensure you have the necessary lenses, memory cards, and battery chargers.

• Binoculars:

We mentioned binoculars earlier as outdoor gear essentials, but they are also electronic devices. If you have a pair of electronic binoculars with zoom capabilities, they can enhance your wildlife and landscape viewing experience even further.

• Portable Power Bank:

Having a portable power bank is essential to keep your electronic devices charged when outdoor electrical outlets are scarce. Look for one with multiple USB ports and a high capacity to charge your smartphone, camera, or other gadgets on the go.

• Adapter Plug:

If you’re traveling to Alaska from a different country, you may need an adapter plug to use your electronic devices. Check the type of plug used in Alaska and purchase the necessary adapters before your trip.

• Portable Speakers or Headphones:

If you enjoy listening to music or podcasts, a portable speaker or a good pair of headphones will enhance your entertainment experience during downtime or long flights.

• E-reader or Tablet:

If you’re an avid reader, consider bringing an e-reader or a tablet with your favorite books loaded. Not only will it save space in your luggage, but it can also provide entertainment during downtime.


These electronic essentials will help you capture memories, stay connected, and make the most of your Alaskan adventure.


Travel Documentation Essentials

Proper travel documentation is essential when visiting Alaska. Here are the travel documentation essentials to have on hand during your trip:

• Passport:

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Alaska. Carry your passport with you at all times, especially when crossing borders or checking into accommodations.

• Identification:

Bring a secondary form of identification, such as a driver’s license, as a backup to your passport. This can be useful for situations that don’t require your passport but still require identification.

• Travel Insurance Documents:

Keep your travel insurance documents easily accessible. This includes policy numbers, contact information for your travel insurance provider, and any necessary claim forms.

• Flight and Accommodation Reservations:

Print out or have digital copies of your flight and accommodation reservations. These documents will serve as proof of your travel arrangements in case you need to reference or provide them.

• Itinerary and Contact Information:

Create an itinerary for your trip, including details of your activities, accommodations, and transportation. Keep a copy with you and share one with someone back home. Include important contact information, such as your embassy or consulate, in case of emergencies.

• International Driving Permit:

If you plan on driving in Alaska and you hold a driver’s license from another country, consider obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP). This translates your license into multiple languages and will be recognized as a valid form of identification.

• Credit Cards and Cash:

Bring your credit cards for convenience and security, and make sure they are valid for international use. Also carry some cash in case you encounter establishments that do not accept cards or for emergency situations.


By having these travel documentation essentials in order, you’ll have a smooth and hassle-free journey in Alaska.


Entertainment Essentials

While exploring the stunning landscapes and wildlife of Alaska can be enthralling, it’s important to have some entertainment essentials for downtime or long journeys. Here are some entertainment essentials to bring along:

• Books or E-Books:

Pack your favorite books or load up your e-reader with a selection of reading material. Whether you prefer novels, travel guides, or magazines, having something to read during downtime will keep you entertained and relaxed.

• Travel Journal:

Document your experiences, thoughts, and memories in a travel journal. This not only serves as a way to pass the time but also allows you to look back on your Alaskan adventure for years to come.

• Playing Cards or Travel Games:

Bring a deck of playing cards or compact travel games to enjoy with your travel companions or new friends you meet along the way. They are a great way to engage in some friendly competition and create lasting memories.

• Music or Podcasts:

Create a playlist of your favorite music or download some podcasts to listen to during long journeys. It’s a great way to pass the time and immerse yourself in your own personal world while exploring Alaska.

• Sketchbook and Art Supplies:

If you’re artistically inclined, bring a sketchbook and art supplies to capture the stunning landscapes or wildlife you encounter. This allows you to express your creativity and create unique mementos of your trip.

• Camera or Smartphone for Photography:

Photography is not only a way to capture memories but also a form of entertainment. Spend time exploring Alaska’s landscapes and wildlife through your camera lens, experimenting with different compositions and capturing stunning images.

• Outdoor Activity Gear:

Alaska offers a wide range of outdoor activities, so consider bringing gear that aligns with your interests. Whether it’s fishing gear, a frisbee, or a travel-size telescope for stargazing, these additional items can enhance your entertainment options.


Having these entertainment essentials will ensure you stay entertained and enjoy your downtime during your Alaskan adventure.


Food and Snacks Essentials

While exploring Alaska, it’s important to have food and snacks readily available to keep your energy levels up and satisfy cravings. Here are some food and snack essentials to consider packing:

• Snack Bars:

Pack a variety of snack bars such as granola bars, energy bars, or protein bars. They are convenient, compact, and provide a quick boost of energy when you’re on the go.

• Dried fruits and Nuts:

Bring along a mix of dried fruits and nuts like almonds, cashews, or dried berries. They are a nutritious and satisfying snack option that can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime.

• Trail Mix:

Trail mix is a versatile and filling snack that combines a mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and sometimes chocolate or other savory additions. It’s an ideal snack for hikes, road trips, or any outdoor adventure.

• Jerky or Beef Sticks:

Beef jerky or beef sticks are a good source of protein and can be enjoyed as a quick and convenient snack. They’re a great option for when you need a savory pick-me-up during your Alaskan explorations.

• Instant Meals:

Pack some lightweight and compact instant meals, such as dehydrated soups or noodles. These are easy to prepare and can be a comforting option for a quick meal, especially if you’re camping or in remote areas without access to restaurants.

• Fresh Fruits and Vegetables:

Consider bringing some fresh fruits and vegetables that can withstand the journey, such as apples, oranges, carrots, or celery. They provide essential vitamins and hydration, and they also offer a refreshing break from packaged snacks.

• Water Bottle:

Stay hydrated throughout your Alaska adventure by carrying a reusable water bottle with you. This will help you save money and reduce plastic waste. Look for a bottle with insulation to keep your water cool in warmer weather.


In addition to these essentials, keep in mind that Alaska offers a variety of unique and delicious local foods. Don’t miss the opportunity to try fresh seafood, wild berries, or traditional Alaskan cuisine at local restaurants or markets.


By having these food and snack essentials, you’ll have a variety of options to keep you energized and satisfied during your Alaskan explorations.


Money and Payment Essentials

When traveling to Alaska, it’s essential to have the right money and payment essentials to ensure a smooth financial experience. Here are some important things to consider:

• Currency:

In Alaska, the official currency is the US dollar. Make sure to have some cash on hand for emergencies, small purchases, or for establishments that may not accept cards.

• Debit or Credit Cards:

Bring debit or credit cards that are widely accepted, especially Visa and Mastercard. Notify your bank or credit card company about your travel plans to avoid any unexpected card holds or restrictions.

• ATM Access:

Find out about ATM locations in the areas you plan to visit. It’s good to have access to ATMs to withdraw cash if needed, especially in remote or less populated areas of Alaska.

• Travel Wallet or Money Belt:

Consider using a travel wallet or money belt to securely store your cash, cards, and important identification documents. This helps protect your valuables against loss or theft during your Alaskan adventure.

• Mobile Payment Apps:

Check if your mobile payment apps, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, are widely accepted in the places you’ll be visiting. Some establishments, especially in larger cities, may offer this convenient payment option.

• Emergency Funds:

It’s always wise to have some emergency funds set aside in case of unforeseen circumstances or unexpected expenses. This can provide peace of mind and ensure you have a buffer if needed.

• Exchange Rate:

Stay updated on the current exchange rates if you plan to convert your currency to US dollars. Consider exchanging a small amount of money in advance to have some cash upon arrival in Alaska.


Remember to keep your money and payment essentials secure and easily accessible throughout your trip. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of any payment transactions for your reference and budgeting purposes.


By being prepared with the right money and payment essentials, you’ll have a convenient and worry-free financial experience during your time in Alaska.


Eco-friendly Essentials

When exploring the beautiful landscapes of Alaska, it’s important to minimize your impact on the environment and promote sustainable practices. Here are some eco-friendly essentials to consider for your trip:

• Reusable Water Bottle:

Carry a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated while reducing plastic waste. Look for a durable and refillable option that can withstand outdoor activities.

• Reusable Utensils and Containers:

Bring your own reusable utensils, such as a set of bamboo cutlery or a metal straw, and a food container for take-out meals or picnics. This reduces the need for single-use plastics.

• Biodegradable Toiletries:

Opt for biodegradable toiletries, such as shampoo bars, solid soap, and toothpaste tablets. These alternatives minimize plastic waste and are environmentally friendly.

• Cloth Shopping Bag:

Carry a compact and reusable cloth shopping bag for your grocery runs or visits to local markets. This reduces the need for plastic bags and helps to minimize waste.

• Eco-friendly Sunscreen and Bug Repellent:

Choose eco-friendly sunscreen and bug repellent options that are biodegradable and reef-safe, reducing harm to aquatic ecosystems.

• Leave No Trace Principles:

Familiarize yourself with the Leave No Trace principles, which promote responsible outdoor ethics. Respect wildlife and nature by leaving everything as you found it, disposing of waste properly, and staying on marked trails.

• Energy-efficient Electronics:

Consider using energy-efficient electronics, such as solar-powered chargers or devices with low power consumption. This reduces your carbon footprint and reliance on disposable batteries.

• Respect for Wildlife:

Observe wildlife from a safe distance and respect their natural habitats. Do not approach or feed animals, and always follow park or reserve regulations to protect the local wildlife.


By incorporating these eco-friendly essentials into your travel routine, you can play a role in preserving the pristine environment that Alaska is renowned for.


Tips for Packing Efficiently

Packing efficiently is essential to ensure you have everything you need for your Alaskan adventure without exceeding baggage limits or carrying unnecessary items. Here are some tips for packing efficiently:

• Make a Packing List:

Create a detailed packing list before you start packing. This helps you stay organized and ensures you don’t forget any essential items.

• Check the Weather Forecast:

Check the weather forecast for your destination during your travel dates. This will help guide your clothing choices and ensure you are prepared for the expected weather conditions.

• Use Packing Cubes or Compression Bags:

Invest in packing cubes or compression bags to maximize space in your luggage and keep your clothes organized. These handy tools allow you to pack more efficiently and separate different types of clothing.

• Pack Versatile Clothing:

Choose clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. Opt for neutral colors and versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down for different occasions.

• Roll Your Clothes:

Instead of folding your clothes, roll them tightly to save space and reduce wrinkles. Rolling also makes it easier to see and access items in your luggage.

• Wear Your Bulkiest Items:

Wear your bulkiest items, such as hiking boots or a heavy jacket, while traveling to save space in your luggage. This also keeps you warm and frees up valuable space for other essentials.

• Pack Travel-Size Toiletries:

Opt for travel-size toiletries or transfer your own products into small, reusable containers. This saves space and weight in your luggage.

• Leave Room for Souvenirs:

Leave some extra space in your luggage for souvenirs or items you may purchase during your trip. This prevents overpacking at the beginning and gives you room to bring back memorable items.

• Pack Essential Documents and Valuables in Your Carry-On:

Keep important documents, such as your passport, identification, and travel insurance, along with valuable items like electronics, in your carry-on bag. This ensures they are easily accessible during your journey.


By following these tips, you can pack efficiently, save space, and have everything you need for a memorable and stress-free Alaskan adventure. Happy travels!



Packing for your Alaskan summer adventure requires careful consideration of the essentials and accessories that will enhance your experience. From clothing and footwear to outdoor gear and toiletries, each item plays a vital role in keeping you comfortable, prepared, and entertained.


Layering clothing, packing waterproof and windproof gear, and bringing versatile pieces will ensure you’re ready for the unpredictable Alaskan weather. Sturdy footwear, trekking poles, and binoculars will enhance your outdoor explorations, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes and wildlife encounters.


Keeping toiletries and personal care essentials on hand ensures that you stay fresh and protected throughout your journey. Meanwhile, prioritizing health and safety essentials, documenting your travel information, and having proper electronic gadgets add convenience and peace of mind to your trip.


Remember, as you embark on your Alaskan adventure, it’s important to be mindful of the environment. Incorporate eco-friendly essentials, respect wildlife, and follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural beauty of Alaska for future generations.


By packing efficiently and maximizing space in your luggage, you’ll have room for both essential items and memorable souvenirs. Planning ahead, making a packing list, and utilizing organizational tools will help streamline the packing process and ensure you have everything you need.


Lastly, embrace the beauty and diversity of Alaska, immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes, and create unforgettable memories. Whether you’re trekking through national parks, cruising the stunning coastlines, or immersing yourself in local culture, these essentials will enhance your overall travel experience in the magnificent land of Alaska.