Summer temperatures in Southeast Alaska range in the 50s to 70s, with some nights reaching down into the 40s! Though we do have sunshine, you must be prepared for rain. To be prepared for both, we stress utilizing the layering principle of dressing, where you add or subtract synthetic or wool layers as the weather changes. Synthetic (fleece, pile, polypropylene) or wool clothing keeps you warm even when wet. Cotton is not sufficient.
Raingear & Rubber Boots
Rain Coat/Pants/Hat or attached hood: sturdy, TOTALLY WATERPROOF (not just water resistant). We cannot stress enough the IMPORTANCE of GOOD RAINGEAR. These should be among the highest priority items when planning for any outdoor trip in Alaska. We do not recommend Gore-Tex, but rather a RUBBERIZED, waterproof fabric. If you cannot find these, or do not wish to purchase them, we do have raingear for rent. Our raingear is a mid-weight rubberized Grunden's style with bib overall pants and a hooded jacket. To assure proper fit, please include your sizes on your reservation form. Rubber boots are men's size 3-14 and raingear is men's size XS - XL. If renting rubber boots from us, we recommend bringing a pair of wool or other type of cushioned insert to make them more comfortable. Often you can simply use the inserts that come with your lightweight hiking shoes. For the length of your trip regardless of the number of days, boots are $5/person and rain suits are $30/person.
- Rubber Boots (not booties): sturdy, calf length are best. Sorrels or similar boots with laces/zippers are NOT adequate. Wool or other padded insoles for comfort.
- Sturdy sneakers OR lightweight hiking shoes.
- 3 or 4 pairs Wool socks: depending on how often you like to change
- 1 Sweater: light or medium weight wool
- 1 Pile Coat: pile or synchilla (zip or pullover)
- 2 Hats:
- 1 wool hat that covers your ears
- 1 baseball cap with visor (for when the sun is out)
- 2 Shirts:
- 1 long-sleeved medium weight wool shirt
- 1 short-sleeved t-shirt or polo shirt (nylon or quick dry fabric is best).
- 1 pair of Shorts: nylon are best, with pockets
- 2 pair Pants:
- 1 wool, pile, or synchilla
- 1 pair of nylon wind pants (to wear over your long underwear and shorts)
- 1 set Long Underwear: (top & bottom) of medium weight wool, polypropylene or capilene. NO COTTON!
- 2 pair Gloves:
- 1 pair wool or pile
- 1 pair rubber gloves that will fit over your other pair to waterproof them.
Toiletries (eliminate sweet smelling lotion, sprays, deodorant), sunscreen, suntan lotion, lip protection, mosquito repellent -- we recommend a repellent with a high content of the chemical DEET, mosquito head net, flashlight, sunglasses, sharp knife, pocket books--on wildlife, plant and bird identification, something to read on a rainy day, camera and film, binoculars, fishing gear for the Bartlett River area. Fishing licenses are available online through the State of Alaska website.
Sleeping Bags & Duffels
- Sleeping Bag: we recommend Polarguard, Hollofill or other synthetic fiber with a minimum temperature of 20 degrees F. In rainy climates down looses it loft and effectiveness when it gets wet. FAIR WARNING: no Goose Down!
- Sleeping Pad: closed cell foam or Thermarest w/ stuff sack lined with a plastic bag.
- Day Pack: for daily necessities (binoculars, hat, gloves, sweater, etc.) located for easy access.
- Duffels, Stuff Sacks or Dry Bags: several about 12 x 20, one each for personal gear, cook gear, camp gear.
- Bear/Food Canisters: mandatory and available from NPS at your kayak orientation. Both sizes (8x12 & 8x18) fit anywhere.
ALL of your gear bags (even dry bags!) and bear canisters should be lined on the INSIDE ONLY with an appropriate sized HEAVY - DUTY GARBAGE BAG. This is the key to keeping gear dry in this climate. Plastic ZIP LOCK BAGS are useful for organizing and protecting small items and packing individual food items. We personally prefer duffels and stuff sacks over dry bags for general packing because they are more pliable, easier to pack, and make more efficient use of space.
When packing your kayak, gear will fit best into the nooks and crannies of the kayak if packed SEPARATELY rather than having everything in one large pack. This is why each gear bag, sleeping bag, etc. must be individually water-proofed with plastic bags. Our "Standard Beluga" double kayaks by Easy Rider are 17 feet long with a 32 inch wide center and come with built-in foam flotation in the bow and stern for your safety in case of tipping: because flotation does take up space, we use these kayaks only for day trips and shorter trips in the lower bay and Beardslees, for which you should be able to pack gear easily. Our Easy Rider "Expedition Belugas" are 18 foot long doubles with bulkheads both bow and stern, and easily pack gear and food for up to a 2 week trip. Our singles kayaks are 17 foot "Eskimos" by Easy Rider and with bulkheads both bow and stern. Limited unsecured storage space for your baggage and excess gear is available for free at the NPS Visitor Information Station storage shed, or secured storage is available through Glacier Bay Lodge for a fee of $5/bag/day.
Nesting cook set w/ plates and cups, spatula, silverware, large knife (for cutting bread, veggies, etc.), measuring cup, stove with repair kit, stove fuel, collapsible water containers, water bottles, scrub pads and soap for dishes.
A sturdy TENT (seam sealed -- know that it WON'T LEAK before you leave home!), tarp, toilet paper and matches, extra line for hanging food (in forested areas) and stringing tarps, extra zip locks and plastic garbage bags, and iodine tablets/water filter for treating water. Note: heavy glacial silt can clog filters so if you use these you will need to let the water settle for an hour in a pan before filtering. We recommend that you purchase a Trails Illustrated Glacier Bay combination nautical chart/topo map, which is the most current and complete map available, from the NPS at your orientation. A tide table is available from the NPS at the camper orientation.
Fully equipped First Aid kit, compass, matches in waterproof container, garbage bags and zip lock bags, space blanket, fire starter, flares, duct tape, gear repair items, and any other emergency items you deem necessary. We don't provide a kayak repair kit. Generally, a high quality duct tape will suffice for field repair of any cracks in the fiberglass. Other helpful repair items to bring along include a few feet of nylon parachute cord, a large safety pin and thin wire for field repairs of tents or rudders. Paddle floats are included with the rental of the single kayaks An extra paddle or paddle float is available upon request when we issue you your gear at your orientation.