Revised 10/9/08

Alaska Equipment List

This is the stuff that you need to bring and that you are limited to during the duration of the trip. If you are flying, we recommend putting all your essential trip gear in a carry-on bag to avoid trip delays. Any extra stuff for before and after your kayak trip will be securely stored in locked vehicles or a provided secure storage. Take a minute to look over the optional items and the packing notes, do it now. This gives you time to acquire any items you do not yet have. There are no dumb questions.... feel free to call us (231) 882-5525. Email is good too —


  • Compact Sleeping Bag: synthetic mummy style comfort rated to 20 degrees or lower. Should be compressible enough to fit through small hatches.
  • Sleeping Pad: Closed cell foam or self-inflating Therma-rest type.
  • Drysuit or dry top and dry pants for those with good rolling skills. Gore-tex dry suit rentals available on site with advance notice.


  • Note: Cotton-love it on land, but it can kill you on the water…it holds life-draining cold water like a sponge. Best to stick with synthetics…and you thought you'd never wear that Leisure Suit again….
  • Raingear: Waterproof raincoat or paddle jacket and rain pants…no ponchos. Your raingear can double as a windshell, but not vice versa.
  • Comfortable long sleeve shirt and long pants (quick drying if possible) for bug protection and to wear over synthetic base layers in camp.
  • Two and possibly 3 sets Synthetic long sleeve top and bottom: Polypro, Capilene, Coolmax…any of it.
  • 1 pair of comfortable quick drying loose shorts in case of miracles and bathing.
  • 200-wt Fleece jacket or sweater
  • Additional 100 wt, mid layer fleece
  • Polarstretch or 100 wt fleece midlayer bottoms
  • Rain hat with wide brim
  • Fleece or wool hat
  • Socks and underwear: Again synthetics and wool work best…. usually 3 sets of each work…its easy to rinse stuff out on longer trips. Hint: I am sponsored by SmartWool.
  • Footwear: Whether you call them Sitka Slippers, Wellingtons or Ketchikan pumps, we call 'em knee high rubber boots. You can get these at any farm supply store. Knee high mukluks will work, but take care to keep them dry, or you'll have wet cold feet for the duration. Neoprene booties can work if you wear gore-tex socks inside them over wool socks. Most of the rental drysuits have sock feet by the way, so your feet stay dry…how cool is that? Sandals and hiking boots may see some use around camp, but we are next to one of the world's larger ice cubes (giving you new empathy for that poor martini olive).
  • Gloves for colder water trips: thin neoprene or thin synthetics with a pair of dishwashing gloves pulled over (old trick, but it works).

Nuts and bolts

  • At least SPF 15 waterproof/sweatproof sunscreen
  • A PAPERback book you've been truly wanting to read
  • Small AA flashlight or headlamp
  • Small daypack or waistpack to hold items that you access often
  • Sunglasses with full UV protection/polarized if you want to fish, spare glasses if you wear contact lenses
  • A few Band-aids, chap stick with sunscreen, regular Meds, spare glucose for Diabetics
  • A mug, cutlery and pocketknife
  • At least a one-liter water bottle: typical bottled water bottles are fine
  • A good story to share
  • Personal toiletries including a little TP.
  • A few freezer type zip lock bags for organizing small items, a couple of heavy duty garbage bags to keep wet stuff from migrating into your dry stuff.
  • Either a bug head net or a bug shirt (Can be ordered from UA for $35 if orders are in by the end of May). We may beat the bugs, but maybe not….its not a chance I'm willing to take…


Field guides, binoculars, camera, notebook or journal, watercolor paints, fishing equipment (call for advice), small musical instruments, fishing equipment…did I say that already?, specific diet needs/snacks, kites, Spouse and Prozac, not that those should be related. Fishing equipment…okay, I'm obsessed, but hey, its Alaska, fresh salmon, baked lingcod, crab omelettes….think of the possibilities…

Equipment and Gear Sources

Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find some items like polypropylene long underwear in the summer. If you don't have a local source, we suggest trying these mail order and on-line sources (remember to allow adequate time for shipping):

REI.comEastern Mountain SportsSierraTradingPost.comLL. Bean
(Links open in new windows)

Trip Notes — READ THIS!

Packing: Your gear will be contained in four main parcels. We will provide you with a dry bag for your sleeping bag (parcel 1) and a dry bag or two smallish ones for your clothing (parcel 2). Your third parcel is your sleeping pad and your fourth is a small personal bag only containing things you actually need while you are paddling-i.e. sunglasses, sunscreen, binocs, camera, etc. It is very small and tucks behind your seat or in a day hatch. Odds and ends like spare shoes, wine bottles, cutlery, etc tucked in the dry nooks and crannies. Raingear and fleece jackets are LIFO…Last In First Out in day hatches or small dry bags that are accessed from the cockpit.

    • Group gear…tents, food, kitchen items….they all get parceled out amongst the group at the guides' discretion.

Pace: Generally, we travel in two-hour blocks with breaks to relax, stretch and graze. Our most ambitious day could involve 17 miles from one bay to another with a good stop in the middle. If a crossing looks risky, we spend an extra day loving the place we're in, learning to surf, go fishing, hike, tell stories, bake brownies, take pictures, etc…we really don't mind.

Alcohol: We can't legally provide it, but there is some space available to have wine with meals or a nightcap and you are welcome to bring some if that is something you would like. Glass containers don't work well, but there are better wines being found in boxes these days and bottled wine can be decanted into bottled water containers. Yes, we can make a stop on the way to Seward. Please leave any illegal drugs at puts everyone at risk. I suppose there are reasons to numb myself in everyday modern life in the big city, but out in the wilds I'd like to be aware of every minute!

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