How to pack for Alaska winter vacation

"Jeff King Frozen Alaska"
Iditarod Sled Dog Race Champion Jeff King of Denali Park knows how to pack for an Alaska winter vacation.

It’s winter and I’m wearing my Mukluks to break them in for my upcoming trip to Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska. Only problem is, I live in Northern California, so my two teenagers are giving me the look.

I’ve snow-proofed my Arctic Mukluks with water repellent and added the felt inserts to keep my feet toasty warm as I watch the start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and while I’m checking out the ice sculptures at the 2010 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska.

My last trip to Anchorage and Fairbanks was August, 2009. A highlight of that trip was holding a sled dog puppy. Termination dust was just starting to blanket the hillsides. A sign that winter was on its way.

Early March I’ll be flying Alaska Airlines from San Francisco to Anchorage to watch the “Last Great Race on Earth” as a guest of Alaska Travel.

For all things Alaska, follow them on Twitter. Of course, I’ll be tweeting during my trip, as well. The Fairbanks CVB is on Twitter, too.

Prepare for wide temperature ranges during Alaska winter vacation

“In a winter trip to Alaska, you have to be prepared for a huge temperature range,” notes Lyle Croft of Fairbanks-based Apocalypse Design. “It can be 40’F above one day and -40’F the next. You worry about moisture at warmer temperatures as everything around is melting. Colder temperatures you want to stay warm.”

When Croft volunteers for the Yukon Quest, a dog-sled race in Fairbanks, he has multiple outfits for different temperatures, including different insulation levels of hats and boots. (Clearly this guy doesn’t need to worry about carry-on restrictions.)

How to pack for an Alaska winter vacation

  • Layering is key.
  • Synthetic is in – cotton is out.
  • Long underwear – Cuddl Duds for me.
  • Fleece Pants – mine are from Apocalypse Design
  • Snow Bib – Apocalypse Design
  • Moisture wicking t-shirts
  • Long-sleeve shirts for layering
  • Snow Parka – insulation levels vary – Apocalypse Design Alpine Parka Review
  • Arctic Mitts – mine are from Steger Mukluks & Moccasins
  • Smart wool socks – Icebreaker Merino Wool Sock Review
  • Arctic Mukluks – Steger Mukluks Review
  • Warm hat
  • Bathing Suit – I’m going to Chena Hotsprings
READ  Guideline Sunglasses Travel Gear Review

The key to warm feet on Alaska winter vacation

Patti Steger of Steger Mukluks and Moccasins adds that, “flexibility, insulation and light weight are the keys to warm feet. If your hand are cold, you understand that with vigorous motion you will generate blood supply to warm them. That same principle applies to your feet. The colder it gets, the more flexible and insulated you must be.”

Have you been to Alaska in the winter? What have I left off my “How to pack for an Alaska winter vacation” list? Please leave a comment with your suggestions.

Related Posts:

Apocalypse Design Alpine Parka – Travel Apparel Review

Future Iditarod Found in Denali Park, Alaska

Sled Dog Ride in Fairbanks, Alaska

Things to See and Do in Anchorage, Alaska

Things to See and Do in Fairbanks, Alaska

4 thoughts on “How to pack for Alaska winter vacation”

  1. You’re spot-on with the Steger mukluks. They’re perfect for standing around in the cold in while watching dog races or viewing ice sculptures. Plus, you can go from -40 to a restaurant in them and your feet won’t get hot. They don’t slip on ice, either. I practically live in mine all winter. Well worth the money.The other absolutely essential item for winter travel in Alaska in what I call my secret weapon against the cold: a fleece neck gator. They’re cheap, so buy two.Finally, don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen. Contrary to what many think, we have lots of sun now!

  2. Vera Marie Badertscher

    Wow! Haven’t been to Alaska, but looks like I have a lot of preparing to do. Never heard of fleece neck gators or snow bibs! But then, I’m a desert rat.

  3. @Nancy Thanks for the Steger Mukluk and fleece neck gator tips. I’m told the snow is falling in Anchorage. Wouldn’t have thought to bring my sunglasses. @Vera I’m no desert rat, but will try not to dress like a Northern California girl.

  4. Andy Hayes - Sharing Travel Expereinces

    Great tips – sounds awfully cold to me but your gear sounds pretty cosy 🙂

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