What should I pack for an Alaska cruise?

Pack the right clothing so that you can kayak in Sitka. - Photo by Thinkstock

Glaciers, mosquitoes, and bears, oh my! Alaska is often full of surprises — you’ll see wildlife around every bend, but the weather is erratic. Make sure these must-have items are on your packing list to ensure you’re ready for whatever comes your way:

Layers: The best defense against the unpredictable weather is dressing in layers. When the conditions change, adding or removing pieces of clothing will keep you comfortable all day.

Rain Gear: You’ll want to bring an umbrella and a rain jacket or poncho for those unexpected rain showers. An extra pair of socks can come in handy, too, after you’re caught in a downpour.

Bug Spray: Mosquitoes can’t ruin your good time unless you let them. We suggest a waterproof insect repellent spray or lotion in a pump bottle. You won’t have to reapply as often, and you can avoid aerosol can issues at the airport.

Hiking Boots: It’s no secret that the terrain can be rough, so good foot support is vital. A basic pair of hiking or work boots will do if you plan to take it easy in port. Even so, coat them in a waterproof spray before your cruise to keep your feet dry longer. Should some serious trekking be on your agenda, take a close look at the soles of your shoes. A deeper lug pattern will grip better on rocky, steep trails, and a defined heel brake offers more balance on slippery surfaces. And as with any new shoes, breaking them in ahead of time is always a smart move.

Sun Protection: Pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses — and remember that just because it’s not bright and sunny out doesn’t mean the ultraviolet rays can’t get to you.

Camera: For many people, a highlight of an Alaska cruise is capturing the scenery and wildlife on film. This is your ticket to bragging rights, so bringing extra film or memory sticks is a good idea, too.

Binoculars: You won’t want to miss any whale, bird, or bear sightings — and there will be many.

Waterproof Pouch: Carry your phone, money, and ID in a bag that will protect them from sudden downpours.

Backpack: Bring a small bag to carry all of these essential items throughout the day. That way, your hands will be free to capture unforgettable memories.

Wristwatch: It’s easy to lose track of time during those long days, when the sun doesn’t start to set until around 8 pm at the earliest. So unless you’ve always wanted to try your luck at real-life “Survivor,” Alaska-style, you’ll want to readily know the time to head back to the ship.

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What do you pack for an Alaska cruise?

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