Going to Alaska is quite an adventure, especially if you are out having fun in the snow and searching for the Northern Lights. To give you an idea of what an arctic experience is like, here are a few things you should pack:
A Winter Hat
This hat should protect the top of your head, back of your head, ears and even cheeks and neck if you want to be bundled up in the snow-covered interior of Alaska. Common styles of hats worn during cold weather are Watcher’s Cap, Chullo, Trapper’s Hat, Aviator’s Hat, Felt Dress Hats.
Typically, insulated mittens keep fingers warmer than gloves. If mittens still are not enough warmth, you can always layer a thinner pair of gloves under your mittens, like some ski gloves. Ski-gloves that come with removable, built-in liners are always an option as well.
Balaclava or Face Mask
During our dog-sledding adventure, you will race through a forest filled with snow-covered trees and then rush into vast, open snowy plains. When on the sled, the dogs will make your fast-paced excursion nothing short of exciting. The rush of the wind against your face is an exhilarating feeling, however, it is important to protect your face from the cold wind as well. A balaclava is an essential item while dogsledding. Scarves can also offer the same effect of protecting your face from the winter wind as well.
When you are hiking down an icy trail or snowshoeing, you are going to want to stay warm. That is why we suggest you bring warm, waterproof boots with an insulated inner lining. Some even come with a removable insulated liner, so you can take them out and let them dry between uses. Many winter boots have a “comfort rating,” such as “comfort-rated to -15 degrees Fahrenheit.” However, there is no industry standard for these ratings, and these numbers are basically estimates that the manufacturer has created. When purchasing your boots, we suggest the low temperatures such as -30 or -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to note whether the comfort rating is listed in Fahrenheit or Celsius, although some brands list both.
When you are not out searching for the Northern Lights and bundled up in the cozy lodge by the fireplace, you are going to want some nice lodge shoes to walk around in. Light insulated shoes or regular shoes are fine–anything that makes you feel comfortable and at-home during your stay.
Moisture wicking shirt
When dressing for winter weather, there is a hierarchy. This shirt is going to be your base layer. When you’re outside having fun in the snow, you are all wrapped up and might sweat a little. That can bring your body temperature down, making you cold. It’s important to layer in extremely cold conditions, but the order of the layer is just as important. You want moisture wicking material, such as synthetic fibers like Windstopper® polyester and acrylic, which pulls moisture away from your skin (wicking) and after dries quickly, to be your base layer.
Next is your second layer in your Northern Lights ensemble. It is also your insulating layer and should be a fleece, pile or wool shirt and pants. When you put this over your moisture-wicking base layer, it creates a nice insulating effect that will keep you warm throughout your journey north.
The parka is your third layer. It is worn over your moisture-wicking shirt and insulating layer. We recommend that it be filled with either down or synthetic material to offer you the ultimate warmth during your hunt for the Northern Lights.
Snow and Wind Protection Jacket
When you are out looking for the Northern Lights, this jacket protects you against the snow and the wind. Typically Gore-Tex is the material that we recommend because of its durable, waterproof, and breathable qualities. However, if Parkas are out of the budget, many of times, manufacturers combine the insulating layer and the snow and wind proof protecting layer (the outer-most) into one jacket.
When you are out trekking around in your winter wonderland, your feet need protection–regular socks and shoes just won’t do. Two types of socks will protect your feet for the winter snow. The first layer of socks you need is the Lightweight synthetic liner socks. The second layer is the heavy wool or fleece socks (smartwool recommended).
Lipbalm, Vitamin E Oil and Sunscreen
We’ve protected pretty much every part of our body, but we should pay extra attention to our face. The cold, the wind, and the snow could all cause our faces to become dry. That is why it is important to not only protect it but restore it. With your lips, make sure you moisturize your lips with lip balm regularly or you can bring pure vitamin E oil, which you can moisturize both your lips and your face.
The beautiful snow’s pristine white color reflects the rays of the sun. This is an amazing sight to see, but it is important to remember that when the sun’s rays bounce off the snow you’re getting an extra dose of sunlight, so protecting yourself with a little sunscreen everyday is important.
So here you have it, your basics for traveling far north.
Experiencing the Northern Lights is one of the most spectacular sights you can see. It is my prerogative to bring people to experience earth’s greatest events while they are prepared, safe and secure. I could not imagine a job more fulfilling than sharing the beauty and drama of our world.
Let’s go search for the Northern Lights on our small group tour to Alaska!