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Old 02-24-2013, 11:38 PM   #1
mickeyhereicome
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What to pack for Alaska, especially for kids

I have read as many threads as I could about what to pack for Alaska. Some suggest a heavy jacket, some say it's not needed. So for those who have gone on a cruise to Alaska, please help me out. We will be cruising with our 4.5 yr old and 3 yr old boys. We are going on the first cruise of the season (May 27)

Here is what I have found.

3 in 1 Coat/Parka (Some have said no, as the excursions that need it provide it)
Hat and gloves
Waterproof pants (Opinions about these, as I would need to buy)
Hiking boots

Do you think the boys would benefit from having snow/winter boots? We have them, but they do take up some room in luggage.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:47 PM   #2
MikeAndNick
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Layers. We went June 15 last year and was surprised how warm it was. You want layers so you can pull them off. Most of the time my polo shirt was enough for me and I ended up carrying my jacket. Both me and my son ran around in tennis shoes. The average temperature where you will be is 41 as a low and 56 as a high. If 50 is cold or not depends on where you currently live.

Note: The only snow we seen was when we went to the mendenhall glacier and we did not get close enough to touch it.

Here is a picture that shows how people from the ship were dressed Alaska Cruise
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:49 PM   #3
PrincessShmoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyhereicome View Post
I have read as many threads as I could about what to pack for Alaska. Some suggest a heavy jacket, some say it's not needed. So for those who have gone on a cruise to Alaska, please help me out. We will be cruising with our 4.5 yr old and 3 yr old boys. We are going on the first cruise of the season (May 27)

Here is what I have found.

3 in 1 Coat/Parka (Some have said no, as the excursions that need it provide it)
Hat and gloves
Waterproof pants (Opinions about these, as I would need to buy)
Hiking boots

Do you think the boys would benefit from having snow/winter boots? We have them, but they do take up some room in luggage.
The secret for Alaska is layers. Layers, layers, layers.

The weather is quite variable (hour to hour, even minute to minute). Tshirt, fleece, light jacket to be added or removed as necessary.

On a daily basis I wore a long-sleeve t, blouse, and down parka (not necessary for most people, but hey, I wear it in southern California ). Some days I would just wear a regular t shirt and light jacket.

Also had 2 pairs of walking shoes, one pair of low cut hiking boots (we did a land tour first). Just purchase the waterproofing spray you can find at Big 5 to spray everything (shoes, jackets) and you'll most likely be fine.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:06 AM   #4
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It really depends on your excursions.

We did not need boots at all--and that is something I really thought long and hard about bringing! I waterproofed our sneakers using waterproofing spray and that worked GREAT! (I read that tip on here and I am so glad I did!)

I also did not bring waterproof pants. It was drizzly on our Tracy Arm day and that meant my children did not *want* to stay outside all day staring at a glacier in the cold and the damp...which I could totally understand! They were fine in their jeans.

We brought warm wintercoats (Lands End--just my kiddos regular wintercoats) as well as fleece jackets that could be layered underneath if necessary. They wore jeans and long sleeve shirts most of the time. Sneakers were the shoes of choice (no hiking boots). Hats and gloves also were key.

Handwarmers were fabulous! (The kind you shake to activate) I ordered a big package of them and they were terrific! I tucked them into pockets on Tracy Arm day and on the day we went whale watching. I also gave some to a little girl who was freezing on Tracy Arm day. I highly recommend bringing them.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:00 AM   #5
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May is usually one of our nicer months...I say usually because we have also had snow in May but not at the end of the month.
You don't need rain pants unless you plan on hiking in the rain, same with boots. Don't bring the snow boots.
Like others have said, bring layers. Fleece jacket with a nylon or gortex shell. A rain hat or ball cap is also nice and it never hurts to have a pair of gloves in your pocket.
I hope you have good weather while you are here!!
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:58 AM   #6
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It honestly depends on what you plan to do. Also remember that when the ship is moving the breeze will make it very chilly on deck. We were on the 7/26/11 cruise and there were times I wore many layers including turtleneck, sweatshirt, fleece jacket, warm lined winter jacket and one of the fleece blankets supplies on deck 4. If it is foggy/misty when the ship is moving and you want to be outside whale watching and enjoying the beauty, then you will use a warm coat. Our day in Ketchican was very foggy and it cold walking around the town. We hiked to see Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls on their trail and all removed our coats along the way. The sun did make it warmer, but we still needed a couple lighter layers with a sweatshirt/sweater. We spent 3 days in Vancouver before the cruise and while the weather was beautiful, we saw a great deal of snow on Grouse Mountain. The paths were clear but there was a large area of it that was out of the way. The kids enjoyed throwing snowballs in July.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:42 AM   #7
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Layers are great as everyone recommends. We were on the beginning of July cruise 2012 and our Tracy arm day was drizzly. Having water proof rain coats help. I also brought Hiking pants (that shed water). http://www.rei.com/product/802319/pr...e-pants-womens

Also Ketchikan was also rainy the whole day and just to walk around the town would have been terrible without the rain proof coats.


While on the ship, I wore t shirts or light weight long sleeve shirts, but then when on the excruisions just layered the clothes.

Gloves and Hats, yes. Our hands were cold and you will pay a premimum for them on board.

We didn't need hiking boots.. but then again we didn't do any hiking and we brought tennis shoes.
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:02 PM   #8
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We cruised Alaska in late May. This is what worked for us..

Lots of layers so you can peel off as needed. Turtle necks or long sleeves with a fleece vest topped off with a lightweight rain/wind jacket. Sometimes we put a thermal top on the kids as a first layer. The vests were awesome because they kept the kids warm, but it wasn't too bulky. The jackets could be taken off and tied around the waist or thrown in my bag without being bulky. We used gloves and beanies. I brought scarfs for the kids, but they didn't like them. I brought the kids 2 pairs of shoes each..nice dinner shoes and a pair of older tennis shoes that I sprayed with waterproofing spray.

I looked for waterproof pants and even considered spraying jeans with waterproof spray, but we didn't end up needing them at all. An umbrella worked fine for us.

I also looked for waterproof hiking boots, but the older shoes with waterproof spray were perfect.

It wasn't as cold as we expected. We had rain all day in Juneau. We traveled with another family that brought an entire suitcase filled with boots and puffy jackets. They didn't even need to open it the entire week.

The coldest days were the Tracy Arm day and when we went to see the Mendenhall Glacier.

Best trip ever! We loved it and would go back in a heartbeat!
Have fun!
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:52 PM   #9
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We left on RCI from both Seattle and Vancouver. The Vancouver cruise was rather rainy. So yes pack a rain jacket. I have a nice one I bought from LL Bean. I mostly wore t shirts with sweatshirts jeans. 4 years later we sailed out seattle and we got sun burned before we left port . Juneau was 72! Skagway was cooler in the 50's and the last port was cooler. I did not bring a parka as I live in florida and did not want to buy something I am only going to use one time. I have several polar fleece jackets one vest and one jacket that I will bring. Sweatpants t shirts tennis shoes and my crocks and my flip flops too.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:40 PM   #10
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I have also cruised Alaska in late May. I took a warm winter jacket, and never touched it between hanging it in the closet and taking it out to re-pack it. As others have said, layers are the way to go. I have a nice gortex rain-proof jacket that is big enough for me to wear a fleece jacket underneath. Ear warmers and gloves are a good choice, especially for Tracey Arm day. Unless you are doing an excursion that goes out on the ice/snow (like a glacier landing) you can get by without hiking or snow boots.

I didn't see anyone using waterproof pants. The whole concept just seems so uncomfortable to me!

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Old 02-25-2013, 03:19 PM   #11
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A beanie/warm hat.

It is incredibly windy up on deck most days, and windy & cold on Tracy Arm day. They can easily get a headache from the wind if you don't bundle up their ears/heads. On Tracy Arm day you'll be outside for HOURS in that wind.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
I have also cruised Alaska in late May. I took a warm winter jacket, and never touched it between hanging it in the closet and taking it out to re-pack it. As others have said, layers are the way to go. I have a nice gortex rain-proof jacket that is big enough for me to wear a fleece jacket underneath. Ear warmers and gloves are a good choice, especially for Tracey Arm day. Unless you are doing an excursion that goes out on the ice/snow (like a glacier landing) you can get by without hiking or snow boots.

I didn't see anyone using waterproof pants. The whole concept just seems so uncomfortable to me!

Sayhello
I wore my waterproof pants as a third layer (thermals/long pants/waterproof pants) on my legs for Glacier Bay day as well as in Ketchikan.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessShmoo

I wore my waterproof pants as a third layer (thermals/long pants/waterproof pants) on my legs for Glacier Bay day as well as in Ketchikan.
I have them recommended on glacier walks and glacier dog sled excursions as well
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:44 PM   #14
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zip offs

I bought a pair of zip off pants at REI (their brand was less expensive than some). They zip from long pants to capris and then you can roll them up if you want shorts. They were great because mornings were cool, but the days heated up quickly when the sun came out. They may have been waterproof, but I didn't buy them for that reason.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyhereicome View Post
I have read as many threads as I could about what to pack for Alaska. Some suggest a heavy jacket, some say it's not needed. So for those who have gone on a cruise to Alaska, please help me out. We will be cruising with our 4.5 yr old and 3 yr old boys. We are going on the first cruise of the season (May 27)

Here is what I have found.

3 in 1 Coat/Parka (Some have said no, as the excursions that need it provide it)
Hat and gloves
Waterproof pants (Opinions about these, as I would need to buy)
Hiking boots

Do you think the boys would benefit from having snow/winter boots? We have them, but they do take up some room in luggage.
Yes, we have done an Alaskan cruise. I was really stressed out about the weather and what to pack but ended up doing really well. Layers is the key and I struggled with that advice for a long time. I wasn't sure what layers, how many, etc.

But, here's what we ended up with and it was great. I'll start with the base layer and work up. T-shirt (usually long sleeve but also brought short sleeve); then a sweatshirt or fleece or fleece vest; then a fleece jacket; and then a rain jacket. Add on a hat and gloves. Add in rain pants. Makes for a very puffy, marshmallow like person but was awesome! We were never cold and never wet and miserable like so many other people we saw. And then as the weather changes you add or subtract layers as needed. I personally like the fleece vest as opposed to a sweatshirt because it cuts down on the arm puffiness without sacrificing warmth. And I do believe that on our Glacier Bay morning I wore the vest AND the fleece pullover. It was chilly.

Obviously, carrying around said layers can be a pain, especially for a whole family on an excursion, so you'll want a decent backpack for excursions. I'd recommend buying a can of waterproof spra and spraying the backpacks. Otherwise you'll end up with a bag of wet clothes. Oh, and we wore baseball hats a lot too to keep the rain out of our face.

I say for sure get the waterproof pants - shop around online, you can find reasonable prices. I was leary of spending the money for something we might not use, but it POURED all day in Juneau but my DH and I were totally dry and had a great day there while my DFIL and DMIL went back to the ship because they were cold andwet. Hiking boots - yes or no - it's more important to have a comfortable waterproof shoe. We have Keens low trail shoes and they are a dream. I do not think you'll need snow boots.

A hat and gloves really are a must. You're going in May which is still early there. It can get very cold on deck when you are at the glaciers or out on the water for an excursion. The weather is so unpredictable too. We had gorgeous sun in Ketchikan which is unheard of. But then pouring all day in Juneau. Alaska is expensive and far away. You don't want to waste a vacation because you are unprepared clothing wise.
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