One of the biggest challenges when traveling is often not "Where am I going to go?" but "What am I going to bring?" When it comes to an expedition, which is unlike your typical cruise, it can be even more puzzling—hint: muck boots are much more important than high heels and rain jackets outrank dinner jackets! We've created an Alaska cruise packing list to make your job easier. We asked our veteran expedition team including our photographers, for what's not only in their bags but what should be in yours.
Peek inside our pros' gear bags
Every Alaska departure sails with a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor (CPI) like Doug Gould and an undersea specialist like Alyssa Adler aboard. CPIs are specially trained to assist you in the field, providing tips and techniques that ensure you go home with fantastic photos of Alaska's iconic wildlife and epic landscapes. Our undersea specialists dive the frigid waters to bring back video of Alaska's strange and wonderful marine life for you to enjoy on the ship. Packing the right gear is paramount to their jobs as you can see from Doug's (below left) and Alyssa's (right) comprehensive collections.
What to pack in your bag
While there's no need to tote an arsenal of camera equipment like our pros, expedition travel in Alaska does require a certain amount of gear to protect you from the elements and keep you comfortable during active exploration. Here's everything we suggest you bring along.
- Essential: Waterproof knee-high rubber boots with a strong non-skid sole. Our expeditions take you deep inside authentic Alaska and that means some of our landings will be wet, either by Zodiac onto a beach or low jetty. You will need to step into ankle or even calf-deep water to get ashore. Insoles can make these boots more comfortable for walking.
- Warm jacket.
- A woolen or fleece hat with ear protection for colder weather.
- Baseball cap or visor (for rain or snow).
- One or two pairs of waterproof ski mittens or gloves. You might want to bring a pair of thin, polypropylene gloves that fit under your ski mittens so that you can take your mittens off during photography without your hands getting cold. You may also want to bring an extra pair of mittens or gloves in case one gets wet.
- Waterproof rain gear. Be sure to bring waterproof pants and a waterproof jacket, under which you can wear a regular pair of pants and a sweater, to protect you from spray during Zodiac rides, as well as from possible rain when you are walking in various areas.
- Comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles and good support (for onboard the ship and town excursions). Most people find tennis shoes or sneakers suitable. You may want to bring two pairs so you will have a dry pair if one should get wet.
- Lightweight thermal underwear.
- Cotton slacks (khakis, jeans, corduroy), or travel/hiking pants.
- Short and long-sleeved shirts/blouses.
- Three or four pairs of warm, sturdy, tall wool socks and an equal number of thin socks to wear underneath for extra insulation. Silk or polypropylene sock liners do well for this purpose. Make sure to bring several pairs of socks as your feet will probably get wet.
- Two or three different weight sweaters or fleeces.
- Lotions/creams for sun and wind protection.
- Travel laundry detergent, such as Woolite. Please note that there are no laundry facilities aboard.
- Small backpack or rucksack; waterproof bag to hold camera gear.
- Waterproof insect repellent.
- Travel alarm clock.
- Camera, lenses, plenty of memory cards, and extra batteries.
- ChapStick or other lip balm