The Ultimate Alaska Packing List (Including Camera Gear)Alaska is like no where else in the world, so you need an Alaska packing list to start your trip off strong. Here's everything you need including camera gear.
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Are you ready for the most fantastic experience of your life? Do you love photography, nature, and adventure?
Alaska is a wild frontier that attracts more than 1.8 million visitors each summer. Cruise ships are a popular way to see the state, but custom adventure tours offer an up-close and personal view of wildlife.
If you're planning on going to Alaska, this article's for you. We'll help you plan the perfect Alaska packing list and help you get started on finding a wildlife tour.
Layer, Layer, Layer!
Every vacation packing list must include light, warm layers. Summertime in Alaska can be surprisingly warm, peaking in the mid-70s or even getting up to 80 degrees. You'll need to bring shorts, t-shirts, and a bathing suit. You might have the chance to take an invigorating swim out in nature, so don't forget to pack summertime basics. In addition to light clothing, you'll want to bring long-sleeved shirts and pants. If you're going to Alaska in the summertime, you can skip the -30-degree parka. You should definitely bring a medium-heavy coat to wear at night, though.
If you're planning on going on a wilderness adventure, make sure that you bring quick-drying layers. You can find them in hiking and fishing catalogs. It's important to make sure that you stay healthy, even if you're sloshing through the mud. Finally, pack some lightweight thermal underwear. You'll be able to stay warm, even if you're spending hours in one spot watching the bears.
Shoes and Boots
When you're going on an Alaska vacation, it's important to pack several types of shoes. You should pack waterproof hiking boots for walking and hiking, but you should also include sandals for your hotel.
Rain boots are also a good choice because you never know if you're going to be splashing through puddles. If you've got a tour company lined up, check with them about the kinds of shoes you'll need.
In addition to hiking boots and rain boots, try to bring one pair of walking shoes. You may need to walk from your hotel to your cruise pick-up zone.
If you can find a pair of walking shoes that is also good for hiking, just bring one pair.
If you're going to waterproof your shoes, try to do it at least one week in advance of your trip. That way, you can put on a few coats of waterproofing and let them dry in between. Another pro tip is to break in your hiking boots a few months before your trip. You don't want to end up with blisters on the first day of your vacation.
At the very top of your Alaska cruise packing list should be camera equipment. Before you invest in a camera, talk to your cruise company about the kinds of sightseeing you'll be doing. Will you get up close or will you primarily be shooting from the deck of a ship? If you're just going to be taking landscape shots from a distance, you can stick with a low-aperture lens with a focal length up to 100mm. Make sure you invest in a tripod to get those action shots without blurring them. If you're going to be shooting pictures of wildlife from a closer vantage point, try to get a teleconverter lens. It'll help you get those candid shots, even from your cruise ship's observation deck.
In addition to the basics, make sure that you bring enough media cards and batteries. You should have a camera backpack or bag that will allow you to be mobile, and a remote picture release. If you can, try to bring your laptop along. You can leave it at the hotel, but it'll let you download your pictures every day. Finally, remember to bring some camera lens cleaning solution and rags.
When you're making your packing list for your Alaska cruise, make sure that you're bringing charging cables for your laptop and phone.
Bring your binoculars, but pack them in your carry-on luggage to make sure they don't get broken.
If you can, try to get a small first aid kit. Your tour company will have medical supplies on hand, but it's always nice to have a few band-aids handy. If you take medication, make sure that you've brought enough for your entire trip. In fact, it's a good idea to bring a few extra days' worth, just in case of an unexpected delay. Make sure you pack some insect repellent but try to get one that's hand pumped rather than an aerosol container. You can bring aerosol cans on flights, but they have to be smaller than 3.4 ounces.
As you start packing, give your tour company a call to see what they recommend. They might want you to include a raincoat, a winter hat, and a pair of gloves. Ask them if they have laundry service on the cruise ship. If they don't, just pack extra clothing and socks.
Get a Head Start on Your Alaska Packing List
You can start buying clothing for your Alaska packing list a few months before your trip. If you're ordering from catalogs, make sure you leave enough time for the packages to arrive. It's a good idea to start packing your luggage a few days in advance of your trip. You don't want to rush the packing process because that's how most people forget essential items. To save space, try packing phone cords and other small items into your shoes. Put them in a plastic bag and tuck them inside. Always put the shoes in their own plastic bags so that they won't ruin the rest of your clothing on the way home. We offer custom tours to people who love photography and nature. Our ship is safety-rated to Coast Guard standards, and we can take you on an immersive trip into the heart of bear country.
Check out our website and send us an email for more information. We're looking forward to meeting you and going on a true adventure with you.
Identifying Alaskan Bears: Make the Most of Your Visit to Alaska
Are you planning to visit Alaska? Do you want to make the most of your trip? If so, use this guide on how to identify Alaskan bears.
Alaska is one of the most unique states in the entire country. It's home to beautiful mountain ranges, tundras, and unique wildlife.
Among the Alaskan wildlife are bears, which many tourists and photographers seek out during their visit to the state.
If you're looking for help in identifying the many types of bears Alaska is home to, we've got you covered.
Let's take a look at how you can tell Alaskan bears apart from each other.
A Word of CautionWhile it may be tempting to get close to the bears you encounter, it's important to remember that bears are wild animals and could potentially pose a threat to individuals who encroach on their territory. This is especially true if you get too close to a mother bear and her cubs.
Also, don't be fooled by their large size: grizzly bears can reach top speeds of approximately 35 mph. Therefore, if you put yourself in danger, there's a good chance you're not getting back out of it.
Thus, guided tours conducted by professionals are the best option for viewing bears during your visit.
Now that that's settled, we can move on to...
During your trip to Alaska, you're almost guaranteed to see a few Grizzlies along your journey. Also known simply as "brown bears," Grizzly bears are easily recognizable by their large size and brown coat of fur. But, it's best to use more than fur as an identifying factor, since some grizzly bears can be black, and some black bears can be brown. Grizzly bears have a large hump on their back of their neck that black bears do not. There are also differences in toes and claws between the two. But, it's not safe to get close enough to see which is which.
If you're looking to make a bear sighting on your own, rivers and streams give you the highest chance of catching them in their natural habitat. In fact, if you stumble upon one of these locations while bears are hunting for salmon, there's a solid chance you'll get to witness a large congregation of them as they feed. Rivers aren't the only place you'll find Grizzlies, though. If you improperly store food while camping or cook too close to your camp, you may encounter unwelcome guests in the form of scavenging grizzly bears.
Grizzly bears also have a tendency to get into trash, so it's important to store your garbage in bear-proof garbage cans or dumpsters to prevent them from becoming a nuisance.
As previously mentioned, there are occasionally black bears with brown coats. Thus, the absence of the telltale hump on the back of their neck can allow you to quickly discern between the two. These bears are often seen searching for or eating fruit. They also have a strong affinity for honey, a trait which inspired character Winnie The Pooh's love for it. As you may be able to tell from their less-imposing appearance, black bears are less likely to be aggressive than grizzly bears, and often immediately retreat when they encounter danger. That being said, bears, in general, are often shy and will not attack humans.
Like grizzly bears, black bears are notorious for rummaging through trash and following scents back to a campsite. To eliminate this issue entirely, you should store your food in a scent-proof container at least 100 feet from your campsite. If you have the opportunity, you can also hang your food from a tree using a food bag to prevent bears from getting into your belongings. You can encounter a black bear at any hour of the day. But, they tend to be most active at night, so be wary of where you're traveling after dark since they can be difficult to see.
If you're staying in a cabin, you may also find that curious black bears occasionally approach your doorstep. Making loud noises to scare them or simply leaving them alone until they lose interest are options to handle this situation.
As their name suggests, polar bears live and hunt on ice, particularly by the shore. Thus, you're highly unlikely to see them near black bears or grizzly bears. You won't see them on a GMX Tour! If you're fishing at sea, there's even a chance you may find them on sea ice located miles and miles from the shore.
Regardless of their location, polar bears are immediately recognizable by their snow-white fur coat. If you happen to encounter one, chances are you'll find it hunting for (or already consuming) seals, their main choice of meal. Since polar bears are the largest bears on Earth, they're very difficult to scare off if you happen to scare or anger one. A guided tour is once again the safest option for seeing one in the wild. You should exercise extreme caution when camping or fishing in or near their habitat, especially since there aren't many places to hide in those areas. If you do find yourself in a situation where a polar bear is showing aggression toward you, bear spray is your best option due to its ability ward off an angry bear.
Alaskan Bears Are Unique Wildlife ExperiencesBut, they're still wildlife, so it's important to exercise caution.
With the right safety measures taken, viewing Alaskan bears can be a rewarding experience that you won't find anywhere else.
Interested in going on a tour to make the most out of your trip to Alaska? Feel free to get in touch with us and see what we can do for you.