Heading to Alaska in the summer and not sure what to pack? You’ve come to the right place.
During the summer months, Alaska comes into full bloom after the long, dark winter days. And daylight can last for up to 16-24 hours a day. This is also known as their midnight sun!
Wildflowers bloom, there are summer festivals and plenty of spectacular hiking and wildlife sightings. Plus, all of the restaurants and shops reopen for summer tourism. Alaska truly is a sight to see in the summer months. However, with the abnormal daylight hours, it may be difficult to know what to pack for Alaska in the summer.
For me, packing is never easy, so I thought I’d make it easier on you by creating this Alaska summer packing list. You can use this packing list for any summer adventure to Alaska. Whether you are on an Alaskan cruise and hanging on the cruise ship, find yourself along the coast, or plan to head to the interior, this list will work. My boyfriend and I did a 9-Day Alaska itinerary in the summer and this Alaska packing list was perfect. I hope it helps you if you’re visiting in the summer!
Alaska Weather in the Summer
While summers in Alaska are beautiful, the weather in Alaska is unpredictable. It could be in the mid-80s (around 20 C) in some areas, but you could also wake up to snow the next day. So it is always wise to pack functional clothes that you can easily layer on or off. This is especially helpful if you plan to visit multiple locations throughout the state.
While we were in Alaska at the end of July, early August, it was in the mid-70s and high 60s with a few rain showers sprinkled in. It was typically pretty chilly in the shade and super hot in the sun, so make sure you bring that sunscreen.
What to Pack for Alaska in the Summer: Packing List
One of my favorite bags of all time is my Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Travel Pack 60L. I took it around the world with me and love its ease of use. If I am in an airport and/or on flat terrain I can easily wheel it and if I need to carry it downstairs or across tricky terrain, I can also carry it like a backpack. I think it’s the perfect bag for any trip to Alaska.
I advise packing for Alaska in the summer as light as you can so you can travel with ease. To assist in compressing everything in a smaller bag, I love using packing cubes. They’re the perfect way to organize your clothes, electronics, and other travel essentials. And, compression cubes will help save space. These are my favorite packing cubes right now! I also love using Truffle travel cases so I can easily see and organize everything I’ve packed—especially in my carry-on.
I also suggest packing a daypack. You’ll want to have a place to keep all your personal belongings such as a wallet, cards, camera, snacks, jacket, sunscreen, bug spray, and any items you pick up while you’re out exploring or taking day hikes. This one is great because it can pack super small.
I packed my purse for walking around town and it was handy for carrying my camera. Mine is similar to this and I love it.
Shoes for Alaska
Tennis Shoes or Walking Shoes
I wore my tennis shoes the majority of the time. Alaska is a pretty laid-back place and I wore these with leggings while exploring different towns and walking around. My new favorite shoes for travel though are my Allbirds if you want to give them a try!
I packed these because they are lightweight. I never ended up wearing them because it just didn’t get warm enough. However, in the summer I always like a waterproof option and these are lightweight and nice to have just in case. You could also go with more of a sporty version like these ones I own similar to Tevas.
While packing for Alaska, always opt for functional and comfortable clothing! Layers are key for Alaska in the summer since the temperature can literally drop when you go in the shade and the sun can be REALLY strong.
I packed my Patagonia puffer as my heaviest jacket because it packs really small inside itself. I also loved having my puffer vest for wearing over a long-sleeved shirt or button-down.
Rain Jacket / Rain Gear
I definitely think it’s important to pack a rain jacket or some sort of rain gear as you never know what will happen in Alaska! It rained a few times when we were there so having an umbrella plus rain jacket was key. Here’s the raincoat I have in white.
Warm Hat and Baseball Cap
If you’re going deep sea fishing or will be camping, you’ll definitely want a warm hat. If you’re hiking and will be in the sun, then definitely bring a baseball cap or hiking hat. The sun is strong in Alaska.
Thermal Base Layers
I wore my half-zip thermal base layer quite a bit underneath my raincoat and puffer jacket. Again, it’s just a nice-to-have layering on top of a t-shirt or tank top and underneath heaving jackets.
Sweatshirt or Fleece Zip-Up
Like I said above, layers are key, so bringing a sweatshirt and/or fleece zip-up will be great to have options for staying warm depending on your activities.
I would bring lightweight gloves if you have them in case it gets chilly while hiking or walking around in Denali National Park. I was glad I brought lightweight gloves like these.
These are my favorite leggings of all time and I wore them quite a bit. Although you can get away with wearing leggings almost anywhere in Alaska, I recommend also bringing a pair of jeans. I wore them often when I was in Anchorage.
T-Shirt, Tank Top, and Long-Sleeved Shirt
Bring a selection of long sleeves, t-shirts, and tank tops for your base layers for when the sun comes beating down!
I recommend bringing warmish pajamas as temps can drop at night.
Socks, Underwear, Bras
Try packing some socks for hiking and some for walking around in your tennis shoes. I brought a mix of sports bras and regular bras.
Don’t forget that the sun is very strong during the summer months in the Last Frontier, so make sure you pack sunscreen and sunglasses. Summer is also the season when mosquitoes swarm Alaska, so it is wise to bring an effective bug repellant!
Other personal care items to bring along are:
Eye Mask – This is great for sleeping in the summer when the sun doesn’t set. It’s also nice to have on the plane when traveling to Alaska.
So, there you have it, my packing list for Alaska! I hope this helped you better decide on what to wear in Alaska. If you have any questions about what to pack and/or comments feel free to leave them in the comment section below.
Welcome to the Traveling Spud! I’m Katie, a 30 something from Idaho who quit her marketing job in San Francisco, California to travel the world for a year. After a trip around the world, my heart chose Idaho. I'm addicted to outdoor adventures, photography, and inspiring others to get out of their comfort zones and cross experiences off of their bucket lists. Let's explore together! Read more here.