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How to dress for Alaska!

By August 31, 2018February 27th, 2024No Comments

In Southeast Alaska, the summers are mild. It is typically overcast year round, but over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 18°F to 61°F and is rarely below -3°F or above 71°F. When you visit us in the summer, we always suggest you dress for around 55°F and be prepared for light breezes and overcast skies.

This summer we have been blessed with some incredible weather. We have had dozens of days between 70°F – 80+°F. Pack conservatively, and you will be just fine. When it comes to appropriate attire, be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. Even the warmest sunny day can turn cold and rainy (and vice versa).

Know what to expect

Southeast Alaska is no place to work on your tan as it typically rains about 222 days per year, averaging 62 inches of rainfall. We have had an amazing June and July this year. Typically, these are the driest months, with an average of 16 days of rain, and this year did not disappoint. We have been blessed with blue skies and picturesque views. Some of us even got to work on our tans.

Layering your clothing is therefore key in all seasons. It allows you to be prepared for any type of day we may be experiencing. Ideas for packing should include the following: t-shirt, sweatshirt or fleece, windbreaker, and waterproof outer layer. Also, we strongly recommend sturdy waterproof footwear no matter the season. Keeping your feet dry may be the difference between enjoying all Alaska has to offer versus hating the experience.

Local Tip: Be like a local, and don’t carry an umbrella.


  • Rule #1: Layer up!
    • Inner Clothing Layer: A base layer or inner layer made from a lightweight fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin (e.g., merino wool or another natural fiber).
    • Mid Clothing Layer: The middle insulating layer could be a windbreaker, fleece jacket, or sweater.
    • Outer Clothing Layer: You want a shell that’s waterproof and breathable to stay warm when it’s windy and dry when it’s rainy.  These thin, outer jackets can be tucked into your daypack and should be fully waterproof. The outer shell made of Gore-Tex® material (including a hood) will keep a wet day from becoming miserable.
  • Pant: A pant that wicks away the moisture will be ideal for summertime, especially made of fabric that’s quick-drying.
  • Footwear: Comfortable shoes with good traction that don’t need breaking in. Preferably ones that are waterproof too. Alternatively, consider investing in a pair of waterproof socks.
  • Headwear: A lightweight brimmed hat for protection from the sun and rain, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  • Accessories: A pair of thin gloves can take the edge off a chilly glacial wind.
  • Mosquito repellent: The bugs generally aren’t as bad as people fear, and they’re really only a consideration in June and July. There’s nothing more effective than DEET: 30-40% concentration should suffice. Mosquito head nets tend to be overkill unless you plan on doing a lot of hiking or tent camping.
  • Small first aid kit: All our buses and boats have you covered, but it’s convenient to have Band-Aids and ointment for minor emergencies while you’re on the fly.
  • Camera / Phone: Capture your Alaska experiences, and don’t forget the extras: batteries, lenses, chargers, and memory cards.
  • Storage: Daypack, backpack, or tote bag.
  • Binoculars: The mountain peaks all around store a pleasant surprise of wildlife.
  • Watch: With so much daylight, it’s easy to lose track of time. Just ask anyone for the local time because sometimes phones do not switch to the correct time zone.

See our post on Weather to find out more.

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