Tips: What to wear in Alaska

Be Prepared

Our advice is to use the weather information as a guide and to dress in layers. Think practicality, active comfort and layers. Weather and activities are your best guides when planning what to pack for Alaska. Following a layering technique allows you to stay comfortable by adding or removing layers as conditions change throughout the day. Multiple thin layers are better than one or two thick layers. Outer layers should be waterproof and be able to withstand the rain. Moisture-wicking/quick- drying fabrics are most effective in keeping you warm and dry, especially when participating in off-vessel activities, including Zodiac excursions. You can feel much colder when sitting in a Zodiac then you will when walking or hiking ashore. Each person is also different and deals with cold weather differently. Cotton absorbs moisture and is slow to dry in Alaska’s moist environment, so keep cotton items to a minimum. Climate data for Alaskan cities, by month, including average monthly temperature and rainfall, can be found on the U.S. Climate Data website. Simply click on the city you are interested in depending upon your itinerary – for example, Anchorage, Seward, Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, Ketchikan, Homer or Kodiak.

Weather in Vancouver

The windward outer coast of Vancouver Island receives the greatest amount of annual rainfall. The Georgia Basin, which includes the east coast of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast, lies in the rainshadow of Vancouver Island than Prince Rupert, on the north coast and at a higher latitude. This more protected region has considerably less precipitation and a greater quantity of sunshine. For example, Vancouver’s average maximum temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit / 22 degrees Celsius in July. A temperature chart, including the average rainfall totals, is included below:

Average min and max temperatures in Vancouver, Canada

Weather in Prince Rupert

The following website provides charts showing the average monthly minimum and maximum temperatures, average monthly hours of sunshine and average monthly precipitation for Prince Rupert

Average min and max temperatures for Prince Rupert, Canada

Top 5 “Must Haves” for Alaska

1. Binoculars

Why: Close up viewing of the magnificent glaciers and fascinating wildlife. Keep them with you at all times. Invest in high-end for unparalleled quality or for under $100 you can purchase binoculars that will do the job.

Expert-tested binoculars can be found under "accessories" here.

2. Waterproof Backpack

Why: Keeps your hands free if you plan on taking a Zodiac tour. A backpack provides convenient access to the essentials such as camera, binoculars, extra layers of clothing. If you opt for a more economical water-resistant backpack, pack your electronics in a leak-proof/seal-proof bags.

Expert-selected backpacks can be found under "Packs & Travel Bags" here.

3. Inspect Repellent and Sunscreen

Why: Be prepared to protect yourself from the sun reflection of UV from the ocean and from mosquito bites. Reminder to pack non aerosol if you are flying.

A 4-in-1 Package can be found under "accessories" here.

4. Lightweight Vest

Why: Vests are one of the most versatile travel essentials. A vest provides core warmth and packs down to a small size for easy packing in your backpack when not needed.

Warm, lightweight vests can be found here:

Men's | Women's

5. Exclusive Windstar Signature Expeditions Jacket

Why: Designed for the Windstar Alaska traveler in mind to commemorate Windstar’s inaugural season in Alaska. Waterproof with hood. This special jacket also serves as a keepsake from your voyage.

Buy your jacket

Men's | Women's

A Word About Mosquitoes

Alaska has 35 species of mosquito. Protect yourself with insect repellent and/or a headnet, especially if you plan on being ashore in the early evening. You may also consider:

  • Wearing loose-fitting long sleeve shirts and pants as they create a barrier that keeps bugs away from your skin. Tighter weave cotton shirts and pants work better than more porous synthetics.
  • Wear khaki or neutral colors. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors.
  • Don't use scented soaps, lotions, or shampoos.