What do I pack for Alaska?

Alaska cruise season is quickly approaching.  Many people are wondering “WHAT DO I PACK!”.  After cruising to Alaska for over 10 years, I think I may have figured this out. 🙂


First off remember….it’s summer!  Just because you are heading to the great northern region of Alaska, that does not mean it will be snowing and cold.   Sure, it will most likely rain (and therefore be a tad chilly) and you may get chilled while sailing into the glaciers.  BUT….once the ship stops, if the sun is shining, it can be very warm.  I have been to both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay and gotten sunburned.  I’ve also been there, and Tracy Arm Fjord, with rain….so be prepared!  There have been visits to Juneau when the temperature climbed into the 80’s! It was so hot!

The most useful suggestion I have is layers, layers, layers!  Bring a lightweight waterproof jacket….heavy down coats are NOT required!  Neither are UGGS!  I can’t tell you the number of times I have watched people walk off the ships looking like Nanook of the north, only to be lugging all that gear back to the ships later…sweating!  Seriously, light weight layers is the answer.

The above photos are from Glacier Bay….a little overcast, but VERY warm!  The trip into Glacier Bay was a tad chilly…but hey!…the ship was moving, creating a slight wind. 🙂

If you plan to do any type of strenuous activity, bring the proper gear.  Waterproof shoes are always a good idea.

Here is what I have compiled after my years of Alaska sailing:

Alaska Packing List

2 pair jeans or other long pants (in case one gets wet) Leggings are very popular now and are perfect for Alaska. Fleece lined and water resistant are a great option!


3-4 shirts to wear with jeans

one pair capris wear onboard.

1 nice dress for formal nights

1 or 2 skirts and/or nice pants and shirts/sweaters to wear with them – choose colors that work well together to create more outfits.

1 hooded sweatshirt

1 or 2 zip up sweatshirt-like jackets or sweaters

1 waterproof jacket or warm vest… or poncho This is jacket is waterproof, lightweight and good for hiking and travel. It keeps you dry when you need it and packs down small. https://amzn.to/3ARTnaV

Another cruiser recommended this jacket also. She sized up to fit layers underneath. https://amzn.to/3ARTnaV

scarf, hat and gloves (for sailing into the glaciers)

1 or 2 pair dress shoes/sandals

1 pair sandals for pool deck

swimsuit and coverup (Many are probably thinking…seriously? a bathing suit?  Yes!  The ship’s pools will be open and the hot tubs will be running….enjoy them!)

2 pair good walking shoes (waterproofed is a good idea)

Hint…wet shoes can be smelly. I use these to remove odors, you get enough for 3 pairs of shoes. They also work really well in your suitcase to remove odors. https://amzn.to/3mYOPfI

It’s also smart to protect your clothes from dirty shoes with shoe bags. https://amzn.to/3MqIEcG

good sunglasses – the glare off the deck will be very strong


socks and underwear (duh)

workout clothes – if you plan to hit the gym

small backpack (easier than carrying a purse)


More and more passengers are using this type of bag. Wear around your waist or as a crossbody. https://amzn.to/3LAtYrm

sunscreen (glare off boat can be strong) https://amzn.to/3S6t5If

Magnetic chip clips to keep papers organized…cabin walls are metal, so magnets will work. https://amzn.to/3VuP2n9

Stonger magnetic hooks are very useful to hang up coats and hats. Keep the cabin organized! https://amzn.to/3lFSKwE

After sailing many times and finally having our luggage go missing due to luggage tags being torn off, we now use these. Highly recommend. https://amzn.to/3YMxjJ0

Many stores are not providing free bags with purchase in an effort to reduce waste. I take reusable grocery bags. https://amzn.to/409nx3x

Of course, this is a female list…just make the necessary adjustments for males.

I hope this list helps with your packing questions.  Check back and let me know if this was useful for you.  Or if you have any suggestions!

I have lots of other helpful cruise and travel items in my Amazon store. https://amzn.to/3EKalLq  

Follow my travels on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/travelswithmickey/ and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqQeVrLSGSKfAHi2aJfTuPg

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Published by zest4travel

Addicted to Travel and New Adventures...With a Touch of Disney

27 thoughts on “What do I pack for Alaska?

  1. Thank you for the helpful list. We’ve been on many Caribbean cruises but our first Alaska cruise is in 4 weeks. I figure that anyone wearing BSU apparel must know what they are talking about (we live in Boise). Go Broncos! 🙂


    1. Not really. Plan on doing laundry once onboard. I find it easier to lighter. If you find you need another outer layer, there are inexpensive jackets and sweatshirts in every port. Plus they make a great souvenir. Have a great cruise 🚢


      1. I would expect cooler temps but not cold. Layers are the most important thing and waterproof. May tends to be the driest month but best to be prepared. There will still be snow in the mountains but not likely in town unless they have a freak late storm


      1. I have not used those, have only commented that they would work. There are waterproof tennis shoes on the market now. Vessi.com has some…not cheap but they work.


  2. The soles of the water shoe need to be thick and flexible to allow for easy portage if needed. This usually involves crossing rocky surfaces so a sole with traction and one that protects your feet is important.


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