What to Pack for Southeast Alaska
Travel may be on hold, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start thinking about what to bring on our next adventure in Southeast Alaska. If you’re curious about what to pack for your small boat Alaska cruise, read on for our top tips.
The biggest influence on your packing plan will be the weather. Southeast Alaska’s summers are mild, with long days providing 15-18 hours of daylight. In the heart of Earth's biggest temperate rainforest, precipitation is common. We call it “liquid sunshine.” Embrace it and you’ll thrive.
As far as temperatures go, you can expect days to be anywhere from 55-65˚F (12-18˚C), but can soar to 80˚F (27˚C). Meanwhile, evenings dip to 40-50˚F (4-10˚C). If you're tempted to take the "polar plunge" - and you should! - the water will be mid-40s˚ to low-50s˚F (7-10˚C).
If you have added on our land tour into Southcentral Alaska, anticipate high temperatures similar to Southeast, though daytime highs can occasionally hit the 90s˚F. Evenings are slightly cooler, dipping to 25-35˚F. Rainfall is considerably less in Southcentral Alaska.
In Southeast and Southcentral Alaska, conditions change week-to-week and historic averages are changing. Check the weather forecast via your preferred weather source (such as NOAA's National Weather Service) for your cruise dates before packing.
Whether it’s liquid sunshine or cloud failure, each day will bring adventures—kayaking, hiking, and skiffing about. Bring clothing that layers easily so that you can add or remove them as conditions change throughout the day.
It can be chilly near glaciers and on deck when the ship is underway, but much warmer when you go ashore. While you want to be sure you bring everything you need, storage space in your cabin is limited, so pack efficiently and try to use soft-sided luggage.
One thing to remember: the UnCruise style is casual! While on board, that means t-shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, jeans, khakis, even shorts. For outdoor activities, pack clothes that layer: convertible hiking pants, moisture-wicking base layers, and thermal underwear (top to bottom). Multiple thin layers are better than one or two thick ones. You won’t need fancy attire.
Lastly, think about your fabrics when packing. Moisture-wicking/quick-drying (wool, polyester, etc.) fabrics are most effective in keeping you warm and dry, especially when participating in off-vessel activities. Cotton absorbs moisture and is slow to dry in Alaska's damp environment, so keep cotton to a minimum.
Chances are it will rain and be windy. It’s Alaska! Therefore, a heavy-duty, waterproof rain jacket and rain pants with waterproof, taped seams (made of Gore-Tex, Pertex, or a similar waterproof fabric) are highly recommended. Fleece jackets/pullovers and zip-up vests will be good for layering and warmth. Bring a scarf, gloves, and warm, water-resistant hat that covers your ears. If you're travelling with kids, bring an extra pair of gloves—they get wet!
Whether it's heavy rain, ankle-deep water, or mud... the "Alaskan sneaker" (aka a pair of calf-high rubber boots, Wellingtons, or gummies) is a must. Consider replacing the insoles with a padded set for more comfort. Hiking in Alaska is best in rubber boots, but you may also want to bring a pair of waterproof hiking boots. Water socks or multi-sport shoes are handy for paddle boarding. On board, a skidproof deck shoe is a good idea. Bring lots of moisture-wicking, quick-dry (synthetic or wool) socks.
We recommend that you bring your own rubber boots for best fit and availability. We have a very limited supply aboard our vessels. Youth size boots are not available aboard any of our vessels, so bring your own.
Binoculars are provided on board but you may prefer to have your own.
Paddling gloves or "Pogies" (paddling mitts) or any waterproof gloves add extra comfort while kayaking.
The sun does shine from time to time... so sunglasses and even sunscreen and lip protection are a good idea.
Bring your swimsuit if you want to take a polar plunge or soak in the ship's hot tub.
We’ll take care of the basics so you can have fun - your cabin comes complete with a hairdryer, towels, eco-friendly shampoo/conditioner, and bodywash.
We know you're as excited to sail as we are. Discover more about The Great Land by checking out our video playlist. See you soon!