So, you’re planning a trip to Alaska and want to know what to add to your Alaska winter packing list? Well, if you want to stay happy and warm during the coldest months in Alaska then you have to bring the appropriate winter clothing.
In this post, I’ve compiled 25 items to pack for your trip to Alaska, including winter clothing and other winter gear.
I’ve also included a free printable Alaska winter packing checklist in this post so that you don’t forget anything while you’re packing for your Alaska vacation.
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5 Tips For Alaska Winter Packing
- Plan your 3 layers. Start with thermal base layers, add a mid-layer fleece or puffy, then protect it all with a windproof/waterproof shell as your outer layer.
- Stick to synthetic fabric. Polyesters and merino wool are great options that wick away sweat and will keep you dry.
- Keep your head, hands, and feet in mind. Make sure you have the gear to keep these parts of your body covered and warm.
- Check the weather. The seasons in Alaska are always changing so don’t forget to check the local weather to get an idea of what you can expect when you arrive.
- Don’t overpack. There are plenty of Alaska clothing outfitters to rent or buy any winter gear that you need. I’ve listed some places in this post.
Planning a trip to Alaska? Get started with my Alaska Travel Guide
Alaska Winter Packing List: Winter Clothing
1. Snow Boots
The first thing you’ll want to pack for a winter trip to Alaska is a pair of warm and waterproof boots. Having the best boots for Alaska winter will help you enjoy the outdoors for so much longer.
I love the Oboz Bridger 7″ Insulated Waterproof Boots, especially since I have wide feet and Oboz always has wide sizes available in their shoes. These boots have great traction to keep you from slipping on icy surfaces. They’re also not as bulky as other snow boots which makes them much easier to pack.
If your feet tend to get cold easily, you may need a warmer boot. Check out the Baffin Marli Boot. This winter boot is a local favorite with a temperature rating of -40C! You will definitely have warm and happy feet.
Don’t forget to order either of these winter boots a size up so that you can wear some thick socks to keep your feet warm on the extra cold days.
2. Wool Socks
A good pair of boots is nothing without a good pair of socks. My sock drawer is full of merino wool socks and I’m always wearing a pair while I’m out adventuring. I love merino wool socks because they’re super soft and comfortable. The best part about wool socks is that it wicks away moisture and odor and will keep your feet dry all day long! This means you can pack fewer pairs of socks without having to worry about smelly feet.
One of my favorite sock brands is Darn Tough. They are a company out in Vermont and all of their socks are guaranteed for life and made in the USA. Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Socks are super comfortable, come in fun colors, and have medium cushioning. If you want a sock that’s a little less cushiony then Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Socks is perfect for you.
3. Down Parka
Besides just keeping you toasty warm, the best thing about having a down parka is that they can pack down much smaller making them the perfect travel companion. My body tends to run very cold so having a good insulated jacket that keeps my butt warm too is everything I need during the winter.
The Patagonia Down With It Parka is just a great overall winter coat. It’s warm, flattering, easy to adjust with its double zippers and snaps and it even has a detachable hood. It’s also made from 100% recycled down… so, yeah.
If you want a parka that’s not as long check out the REI Co-op Norseland Insulated Parka. It’s made with lightweight down insulation and has a super cozy fleece-lined hood to keep your head nice and warm.
4. Down Vest
A down vest is one of the best winter layering pieces and I rarely leave the house without one. By layering with a vest, you will keep your core warm and keeping your core warm is the secret to keeping the rest of your entire body warm.
You’ll definitely want to add this to your Alaska winter packing list.
5. Snow Pants
If you plan on playing in the snow or heading into the backcountry then you’ll definitely want to pack snow pants. Both the Patagonia Insulated Snowbelle Pants and Arc’teryx Sentinel AR Snow Pants are waterproof and windproof and will keep you cozy and dry on the mountain.
The best thing about both of these snow pants is that they’re available in short sizes! I’m only 5’2″ and always have trouble finding outdoor pants that don’t drag on the ground. The short sizes do run smaller so make sure to size up.
6. Fleece Jacket
Fleece is another great layering piece. You can wear it while you’re warming up in the cabin or underneath your down parka during a cold day. The best thing about fleece is that it doesn’t absorb water, which makes it perfect for Alaska weather.
The Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket is a great option for a simple, soft, and good-looking fleece. It also fits well under a heavier coat.
But, let me tell you about the Patagonia Los Gatos Hooded Fleece Pullover. I added this hooded pullover to my closet a few months ago and I haven’t taken it off. It’s so plush and cozy and truly just makes my life better.
7. Hoodie or Sweater
I love an oversized, comfy sweater. They’re perfect for layering or lounging around the cabin and look good with just about anything. The KUHL Sienna Sweater and REI Co-op Wallace Lake Sweater are two cozy options and the best part is that they’re not itchy. That’s what truly makes the ultimate sweater.
8. Base Layer Pants
The first cold-weather layer always starts with your base layer. I always wear thermal pants underneath my jeans or snow pants for added warmth.
Base layers come in different “weights” meaning that a heavier weight will be warmer than a lightweight base layer. I usually find a mid-weight base layer works well for my body during the winter.
REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Tights are soft, flexible, and will wick away moisture to keep you dry. These bottoms also layer well underneath other pants.
The Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Bottoms are made with merino wool and will help regulate your body temperature as you play outside. Smartwool also has a lot of fun colors available in their base layers.
9. Long-sleeve Base Layer Top
You’ll want to add a long-sleeve base layer top to go along with your base layer bottoms. Base layer tops come in a few different styles. You can choose REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Crew Top or something like the REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Half-Zip Top. The nice thing about wearing a half-zip top is that you can easily vent with the front zipper if you tend to overheat.
10. Fleece-lined Leggings
Fleece-lined leggings are a lot warmer and more comfortable than regular leggings. You can wear them during your winter activities or casually around town.
The BALEAF Fleece Lined Winter Leggings are super soft and comfortable and the best feature of these fleece-lined leggings are the pockets on both sides! I love having pockets to easily store my phone or hand warmers.
11. Warm Hat
Any winter outfit could use a stylish beanie. If you want to easily fit in with the locals then check out beanies from The 49th Supply Company, an Alaska apparel company inspired by the outdoors and streetwear culture and I am OBSESSED with their beanies.
The REI Co-op Nook Beanie is another stylish option. Plus, it has a pom-pom.
12. Fleece-lined Neck Warmer
When you’re out adventuring it’s a lot easier to wear a neck warmer or neck gaiter instead of dealing with a scarf that’s blowing all over the place. Buff Polar Multifunctional Headwear is made with polar fleece and it can be worn in 10 different ways. Smartwool Neck Gaiter is made with merino wool. Both are great options to keep your neck warm.
Mittens are way better than gloves because your hands stay warmer because when your fingers are together they share your heat. Black Diamond Mercury Insulated Mittens are fully waterproof and will protect your hands in any weather. The Outdoor Research Alti Mittens have a target comfort rating from -40°F to -20°F.
14. Light Gloves (to fit inside your mittens)
Light gloves are used to layer underneath your mittens or another weatherproof shell. They can also be worn casually on their own when the weather is warmer. The best thing about the REI Co-op Liner Gloves and Outdoor Research Melody Sensor Gloves is being touch screen compatible so you don’t need to remove your gloves to text your friends.
Whether you plan on soaking in a hot tub at the cabin or rejuvenating at a natural hot spring, you’ll definitely want to pack your swimsuit. If you’re looking for a stylish and affordable swimsuit, look no further: ZAFUL Knotted Front High Waisted Swimsuit, CUPSHE Floral Cutout One-Piece Swimsuit, and ZAFUL Bralette Swimsuit.
Alaska Winter Packing List: Other Items
16. Camera Gear
Alaska is an incredible place for landscape and wildlife photography. You won’t regret having a nice camera and the right lenses in your kit while you’re traveling around The Last Frontier. I personally use a Sony a6000 mirrorless camera. It’s lighter to carry around and travel with while still producing quality photos.
If you want to photograph wildlife, I highly recommend a telephoto lens like the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS Lens. But if you want to capture the Northern Lights in Alaska then you’ll want a wide-angle lens like the Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM Lens.
17. Insulated Day Pack
When it’s freezing cold outside you can run into problems with gear that’s not built for winter. I like to use an insulated backpack during the winter because it keeps my water bladder from freezing and makes it easier to carry and protect things like snow goggles and avalanche safety kit. The Osprey Kresta 30 Snow Pack is the perfect size for an overnight trip to a public use cabin or a backcountry trip in the mountains. It has a place for all of your snow gear and it’s built for women.
There’s so much wildlife to see in Alaska year-round. I finally bought my own binoculars last year so that I could scope out bears, moose, and other wildlife while on the trail. I don’t like to add too much weight to my gear so I purchased the Nikon Trailblazer ATB Waterproof 10 x 25 Binoculars. They are super compact and make a perfect binocular for the trails.
19. Satellite Phone
Okay, a satellite phone is quite the investment… but it’s a life-saver. There are many places in Alaska that lack cell service and having a satellite phone like the Garmin inReach Explorer+ will give you peace of mind when you’re in the middle of nowhere. Invest in your safety and get yourself a satellite phone.
Since Alaska only sees 4 to 6 hours of daylight during the winter months, you’re going to need a headlamp if you want to go on an outdoor adventure in the late afternoon or evenings. The Black Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp is 400 lumens bright, lightweight, and has 3 settings you can switch between.
21. Portable Charger
I can’t even tell you how often I run out of battery on my phone or camera. Having a portable battery charger is so useful when you’re constantly on the road or on an overnight trip to a cabin that lacks electricity. The Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD Power Bank is a good option if you need to charge multiple devices multiple times.
Even though Alaska only gets about 4 to 6 hours of daylight during the winter months, there are still plenty of days where you’ll want to protect your eyes from the sunlight. This is especially important when the sun is reflecting off the snow. goodr OG Sunglasses are a great, affordable option if you tend to lose or break sunglasses like me.
23. Reusable Water Bottle
I hope you already have a reusable water bottle in your kit. If not, I love this REI Co-op Nalgene Force of Nature Wide-Mouth Water Bottle design. Alaska has amazing water and you can get fill up your water bottle straight from the tap!
24. Insulated Water Bottle Sleeve
You can’t really drink water if it’s frozen. Get yourself a Nalgene Insulated Sleeve to slow down your water from freezing when you’re outside. It will hold a 32 oz. bottle.
25. Hand + Toe Warmers
HotHands Hand & Toe Warmers is seriously your best winter accessory. Nothing feels better than the added warmth from placing these in your gloves or snow boots.
Where to Buy or Rent Winter Clothes in Alaska
I’ve compiled a list of Alaska clothing outfitters so you can pick up any winter outfits or gear you need or forgot to pack.
Anchorage Clothing Outfitters
6th Avenue Outfitters – 520 W 6th Ave, Anchorage, AK
Alaska Mountaineering and Hiking – 2633 Spenard Rd, Anchorage, AK
Alaska Outdoor Gear Rental – 540 W Potter Dr, Anchorage, AK
Duluth Trading Co – 8931 Old Seward Hwy Suite A, Anchorage, AK
Eddie Bauer – 320 W 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK (Inside 5th Avenue Mall)
REI – 500 E Northern Lights Blvd, Anchorage, AK
The Hoarding Marmot – 231 W Northern Lights Blvd, Anchorage, AK
The North Face – 305 W 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK
Fairbanks Clothing Outfitters
Beaver Sports – 3480 College Rd, Fairbanks, AK
Big Rays Store – 507 2nd Ave, Fairbanks, AK
Prospectors Outfitters – 1512 S Cushman St, Fairbanks, AK
REI – 19 College Rd Unit A, Fairbanks, AK
Woolly Rhino – 250 3rd St. Suite 6, Fairbanks, AK
Juneau Clothing Outfitters
Alaskan Outdoor Wearhouse – 9105 Mendenhall Mall Rd, Juneau, AK
Foggy Mountain Shop – 134 N Franklin St, Juneau, AK
Nugget Alaskan Outfitter – 9107 Mendenhall Mall Rd. Ste 301, Juneau, AK
Second Wind Sports – 8363 Old Dairy Road, Juneau, AK
Answering Your Alaska Winter Questions
How cold is it in Alaska during the winter?
Temperatures in Alaska vary in different regions. During the winter months, you can experience cold temperatures ranging from 0°F (-18°C) to -40°F/C.
What is the coldest month in Alaska?
The coldest month in Alaska is January. The coldest average temperatures in Alaska in January are −3°F (−19°C)
How long does it stay dark in Alaska?
Alaska is dark for half of the year. During the shortest day of the year, Juneau, Alaska only sees 3 hours and 42 minutes of daylight while Utqiaġvik, the northernmost city in Alaska, won’t see any daylight for 67 days during the winter!
How do people dress for winter in Alaska?
Alaskans dress in layers during wintertime. Lots of thermal base layers, fleece, down, and other waterproof and windproof gear. Check out my Alaska winter packing list to see how people dress for winter in Alaska.
How many months out of the year does Alaska have snow?
There are places in Alaska where you can find snow year-round, but it typically snows in Alaska from late October to March. Alaska has snow for 6 months out of the year.
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Is there anything you would add to my Alaska winter packing list? Share them in the comments.