Are you unsure of what to pack for your UnCruise in Alaska? It’s one of my favorite ways to experience Alaska and you can read my previous trip report here. UnCruise does a great job of telling you their suggested packing lists on their website, so I suggest you make sure you consult all your pre-departure documents to make sure you’re ready for your trip!
Here are all the items that I was glad I brought on my UnCruise in Alaska, and some that I wish I had packed:
What to pack for your UnCruise in Alaska:
- Rubber rain boots: UnCruise does supply these onboard but I appreciated bringing my own so that I knew they would fit well. I suggest bringing your own if you have unusual feet sizing. Trust me, if you do any type of land activity, you will wear these every day. If you plan on ONLY kayaking for the majority of your trip, you wouldn’t wear them – sneakers are preferred for that activity.
- Shoes for the boat: I liked having a pair of slip-on shoes to be more comfortable on the boat.
- Sneakers/hiking shoes: Although you’ll wear rubber boots for most of your trip, you may appreciate having sneakers either for 1) onboard the boat 2) certain stops such as Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay which have some boardwalks/hiking trails that are well maintained or 3) your pre- and post- stays on land in Alaska.
- Waterproof rain-coat: I cannot overemphasize how important it is to protect yourself from inclement weather. RainPROOF is better than “rain resistant”. Kayaking and other activities will continue regardless of rain so you want to keep dry! If possible, the type with ventilation zippers are useful.
- Rainpants (waterproof)
My rain pants were the best investment for this trip. I purchased mine at REI and Mr TravelObservations purchased his at Columbia Outlets. If you’re kayaking you will splash water inside your kayak and/or be in the rain. During hikes, I wore these over athletic pants and it protected me when scooting along a wet log or getting splashed during the skiff ride.
Most people without waterproof pants regretted it. I liked the kind that zipped at least halfway up as then you could put them on without taking off your shoes.
Rainpaints are designed to be an outer layer, not your complete outfit. You can wear workout clothes or hiking pants underneath them so that you can take them on/off if you need to.
- Socks: Bring extra socks so that you always have a dry pair available. Wool is better than cotton.
- Long sleeve layers (thin enough to go under your fleece sweater)
- Short sleeved t-shirts
- Puffer jacket: I personally liked my thin down packable jacket and layered it under my raincoat or had it handy for rushing outside to photograph orcas.
- Fleeces/sweatshirts/hoodies: Everyone is very casual onboard. During cooler days you’ll definitely enjoy the comfort of a fleece or sweatshirt over your layers.
- Vest – padded or fleece
- Wool-lined tights: I liked to wear these under my hiking pants for kayaking or for glacier days when the wind was colder, but you could also wear a pair of workout leggings instead or long underwear
- Brimmed hat: A baseball cap was useful for keeping rain off your face.
- Winter hat: Keep your ears warm or layer over your baseball cap while kayaking or in cold weather.
- Hiking pants: If possible you’ll want to make sure you have NON-JEAN options for daily activities. Jeans are very heavy and take forever to dry when wet!
- Real camera: If you have a camera with a great zoom, this is invaluable for taking animal photos. Don’t buy a new expensive piece of equipment if you’re not sure how to use it though – practice before you go. Some smartphone zooms are also very powerful nowadays.
- Sweatpants/lounge clothes for walking to/from the hot tub if desired: It’s very casual on board and most people didn’t blink an eye if you had to dash back to your room in a towel, but you might want to bring lounge clothes if you prefer.
- Gloves – lightweight: Most people don’t need heavy snow gloves, but a cotton or wool pair is great to take the wind chill off. You might want to bring multiple pairs so that if they get wet, you have a new pair for the following day.
- Swimsuit – for hot tub or polar plunge or snorkeling
- Binoculars – only if you have them already. UnCruise supplies these on board, so no need to buy a pair of your own if you don’t already own one. However I was glad I brought the ones I already had since they were more lightweight and I was used to them from my previous cruise.
- Small backpack or daypack: Very useful for skiff rides and hiking, to keep your water bottle, camera equipment, scarf/gloves even if you don’t think you’ll need them, snacks, etc. It’s good to always have a layer of clothing to take on/off as the weather changes constantly.
What did I wish I had brought?
- Next time, I will invest in waterproof gloves. Kayaking in the rain I was perfectly dry thanks to my rain pants and rain coat… except for my hands which got pretty wet and soggy.
- A hanging toiletry bag and/or a hanging organizer – my room had a closet that was very tall to accommodate life jackets inside so there was some wasted space, and I could have hung up things on the bar inside (no point in hanging up my sweatshirts! 😉
- The phone water protector cases for peace of mind during kayaking photo opportunities.
What does UnCruise supply onboard?
- Hiking poles
- Water bottles
- Rubber boots
- Special lifejackets for kayaking and other activities
- A shared clothes dryer for passengers to toss in really wet clothing if you need to re-use it**I was on the Wilderness Explorer, please check with your travel advisor for your specific boat as this article is specific to my experience.
Do NOT pack:
- Formal clothes
- “Dinner clothes” – there is no dress code for dinner on board, most people will wear the same things all day, or change into clean clothes if it was a very cold/muddy day
- Any type of high heels
I hope this helps as you research what to pack for your Alaskan cruise! Let me know if you have more questions about what to pack for your UnCruise in Alaska and be sure to check out my Alaska travel planning services page.