One of the most popular excursions people take while they’re on an Alaskan vacation is a trip out to see the glaciers up close. While most people only ever see these massive ice formations from afar on cruise ships, trains or helicopters, others choose to go on hikes that allow them to get on top of the glaciers themselves.
So how should you go about preparing for your glacier tour in Alaska? Here’s some information to keep in mind as you pack your suitcase.
How to dress
No matter what time of year you visit Alaska, you’re going to want to dress in layers. In the summer the weather can be in the 70s with plenty of sun, or it can be in the 40s with rain. In the fall and spring the weather is almost unpredictable, and in the winter the extra layers will keep you warm during the long, cold, dark hours.
Here’s a list of clothing items we recommend you pack for your glacier tour excursion. There will be some variance for each person depending on their comfort level and the type of glacier tour you expect to go on, but this should give you at least something you can work off of:
- Wool socks: Wool socks provide extra warmth, absorbency and cushion, which makes them comfortable for long walking excursions and less likely to result in you having wet feet all day if you’re trudging through rain or snow.
- Long underwear: Cotton long underwear can help you stay warm on long hikes and sightseeing excursions.
- Pants: Jeans are just fine for your hike, but synthetic pants will also work.
- Shirts: Bring a few long-sleeve shirts, as well as short-sleeve or t-shirts, giving you some layer options.
- Jacket: We recommend a sweater or a fleece jacket to act as your insulation layer. If you know you get cold easily, you might want to bring a couple.
- Shoes: While normal tennis shoes are flexible and always welcome on any type of trip, we strongly recommend waterproof hiking boots for a glacier excursion, or for any type of long hike, really.
- Rain gear: Lightweight rain gear is helpful if rain is in the forecast. It should be easily compactable so you can fit it in with your other gear.
- Hat: Bring a wool or synthetic hat that covers your ears.
- Gloves: Light cotton gloves are ideal for hiking.
Beyond the clothes you bring, you’re going to want to have some equipment with you. Again, the equipment you need depends mostly on the type of excursion you’re taking, so keep that in mind.
- Day pack: This pack will allow you to carry everything you need on your excursion, and should be capable of keeping these items dry.
- Sunglasses: Polarized sunglasses are ideal.
- Binoculars: The Alaskan wilderness is vast and expansive, and a pair of binoculars will help you take in all the sights.
- Toiletries: Any personal toiletries you may want to bring for particularly long hikes or overnights are a good idea.
- Medications: Any medications you need or depend on should be in your pack.
- Snacks: Trail snacks are helpful to keep you going as the day drags on.
- Other: Phone, camera, batteries, journals, pens, etc.
For more information about preparing for your glacier tour in Alaska, contact Alaska Wild Guides today.