What to pack for a winter Alaskan vacation

I visited Alaska in February and needed to know what to pack for my winter vacation.   I kept a list of the things I brought and actually used, as well as the items that I wished I brought along.  The weather will undoubtedly be cold and there will probably be precipitation during any winter visit to Alaska.  Obviously, a lot of time will be spent outdoors to make the trip worthwhile.

My list is below:

Bathing Suit (there’s nothing more relaxing than a Jacuzzi soak after spending a cold day outdoors.

Warm winter boots and woolen socks. (I can’t say enough about the qualities of woolen socks, especially if you plan to stand on ice or snow for an extended period.)  My boots happen to be Bogs brand and they are great for water as well as for cold to -40 degrees.

Warm outerwear including a hat, scarf, winter coat, snow pants or skirt. (Most of the ladies in Alaska have snow skirts.  They look just like snow pants, but are shaped like a skirt instead.  They come in all different lengths, but if you are going to wear a sleeping bag around your body to stay warm, why not get it long enough to cover your legs completely.)

Layers of inner clothing. (This should include wicking fabrics such as under armor for long underwear and shirts.  Remember to bring a warm heavy sweater that will fit under your jacket.)

Hand and foot warmers if you aren’t used to New England or Mid Western winters.  Note: these can be purchased in a local Alaskan store too.

Sarah Palin and Jared at Musher's Banquet Anchorage Alaska
Sarah Palin and Jared at Musher’s Banquet Anchorage Alaska

Evening attire.  (I attended the Musher’s Banquet, where most people wore whatever they wanted, the variety was astounding.  I would have been most comfortable, though, in a pair of dress pants and nice top.   Sarah Palin was wearing camo pants and a USA T-shirt and Alaska Governor Sean Parnell was wearing a tailored suit.  The variety was also present in restaurants and bars.)

Bring your cell phone, driver’s license and ATM card; after all it all works since you’ll be in the USA.


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