The weather varies quite a bit throughout this great state.  The Inside passage/ Southeast tends to be cool and rainy most times of the year, but that can change and you would be surprised at the weather in the rest of the state.  You may be amazed when you hit Fairbanks on a hot summer day - it can be 90 degrees!  Add to that the fact that the sun doesn't really go down, and you'll find the heat persists through out most of the evening.  But then embark on a boat tour near the coast and you might find yourself freezing and staying inside sipping hot cocoa to warm up!  If you will be traveling around, you will find that the weather can change rapidly, so it's best to be prepared for those changes. Also, the mosquitoes can be terrible at times and long sleeves can sometimes be your only defense.

Therefore, you really need to pack for all seasons when traveling to Alaska, and the key to doing so is packing lots of LAYERS! What follows is a guide to how to do this.

If you'll be spending your time walking around town, stick to jeans, t-shirts, a few long-sleeve shirts, a sweatshirt and a fleece jacket - all of which are not heavy and easy to pack.

However, if you are planning an active vacation or are traveling in the winter, bring clothing made of synthetic fibers. Jeans are a definite no-no: they are heavy and cold when they get wet. Therefore, for all outdoor activities, whether on land or at sea, pack synthetic pants (such as track pants) and synthetic, moisture-wicking t-shirts and long-sleeve shirts that you can layer. These will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter.

As well, if you plan to do a lot of walking or hiking, invest in a couple of pairs of light hiking socks in synthetic fibers or wool. These will keep your feet drier and fresher than cotton socks and can be worn multiple times before needing to be washed.

It is also essential to bring a breathable water-proof jacket and rain pants, as it can be very rainy even in the summer. Make sure to include a warm hat and a pair of gloves, as you may need them for outdoor activities even in the middle of July! Also pack a few basic summer clothes when traveling in the summer in addition to these other items.

As for footwear, a hiking shoe, such as an approach shoe, is essential for hiking. As well, if you are planning any river crossing on your hikes, bring some old shoes that you can change into that you don't mind getting wet. Hiking boots may not be necessary unless you are tackling serious ascents or traveling in winter. For tamer town activities, comfortable walking shoes such as a basic sneaker will do the job.

 Finally, unless you are planning to attend a very formal event, leave your formal clothes at home! Alaska is a very casual, informal place and you will very comfortable anywhere you go in casual clothes.

Other seasoned Alaskans or  Alaska travelers please feel free to add to this page - Happy packing!