OT: Help me prep/pack for a nearly two-week vacation

& You Dont Stop

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My wife and I will soon embark on the trip of a lifetime, beginning with a week-long tour through interior Alaska and finishing with a four-day cruise from Glacier Bay to Vancouver. This adventure is so far beyond the scale of any trip we've ever taken before. It is our first ever group (packaged) tour and our first cruise.

The challenge in our preparation is time vs space. We want to bring enough [all-weather] clothing for nearly two weeks, yet there are specific space limitations on planes, busses, and staterooms.

I'm assuming some members here at DFO have been on similar trips and I will surely welcome any advice you can give me on proper preparation and expectations. Thanks!
 

A.TomicMorganic

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Protection from mosquito's is recommended. And, I don't think Alaskans mind too much if you wear the same clothes more than once.
 

bongomania

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First rule: layers. You don't need all different thicknesses of outdoor gear, you need just a few well selected layers. The classic arrangement is:
-breathable, quick drying undies and socks.
-normal trousers and shirts, although you can spring for the fancy stain-resistant quick drying ones too.
-insulating layer (thermal fleece or knit wool). I usually pack more than one insulating layer, so I can stack them on really cold days.
-waterproof shell.
That way you are set for all seasons and conditions, instead of lugging around a parka and a rain coat and a jacket.

Second rule: no cotton, except for the regular pants and shirts if that's how you want to go. Cotton is poor at insulating, awful at blocking water, very slow drying, it gets cold when wet and stays cold and wet a long time. Wool and silk are WAY better at keeping you warm and dry, and they dry quicker. Of course there's high tech fabrics too. Good wool also resists spills.

Pick fabrics that will disguise stains.

If you wash your quick-drying undies and socks in the sink, you only need two or three sets no matter how long you're traveling. Dark colored canvas trousers don't need to be washed more than once a week under normal conditions. So really the only thing you need "enough for two weeks" is shirts.
 

Lazmo

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As others have said, take clothes that you can use in combination and/or re-purpose for all sorts of weather.

And yes washing the small stuff in your room, as you go, allows you to pack less.

Also, remember, that no one is looking at you thinking... 'gosh, didn't he wear those pants yesterday and the day before?'

But my best advice and suggestion... is to not make this the "trip of a lifetime" ... but rather make it the first of many.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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My dad and I (and his business partner & his son) went to Alaska in early August 1997 for a men's fishing trip and it was amazing! I wore a t-shirt & shorts most days (jeans/sweater at night). We arrived and it was raining. The next day it was crappy and raining. The next 4 days were sunny and lovely, though. When I decided to go on a hike by myself, the people at the resort asked if I had a gun - I said no, I came on a plane! They laughed and a girl handed me a can of pepper spray as they rolled their eyes ("yeah, HE'S a goner!")......and they told me to keep making noises so as to not startle bears. When I got to the park and it said no bear sighting since Tuesdayl (it was Friday), I figured I'd be fine.

I had my video camera and used a stick to tap the walkways and I also was whistling. When I got to the top of an incredible mountain in Sitka, I had lunch & admired the view - glaciers in the distance, Sound of Music-esque meadows and hills on top and it was sunny & lovely....THEN, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a big brown thing - it of course scared the you-know-what out of me! I dropped my camera and started to run. Then I stopped and thought, if this is it, I better have my camera so someone knows what happened. I grabbed it and started to run down the hill. A few minutes later, I ran into a couple looking for their.....you guessed it.....big BROWN dog! What a bunch of @$$es to let their dog run unleashed and scare this naive city slicker!!!! I remember going hiking in another park with my dad and saw a bunch of native totem poles. We got to a river full of thousands of salmon swimming upstream - that was an unforgettable sight! They also had the traveling mini Vietnam Memorial there when we were there, and it was emotional for us to find my dad's good buddy on the wall.

I will also say I met a lot of people up there and they were all nice. Totally a different world! Not many women but their herbs were quite tasty. We caught a ton of halibut, ling cod & king salmon and they would freeze dry it each afternoon. We each brought back 150 lbs of sealed 1 lb. fillets! Needless to say, we had fish feasts for 1-2 years thereafter!

No mosquito bug issues I recall. It's not a fancy-schmancy place - Sitka was a little town and we stayed at the fishing resort on the lake that provided full meals and had a full bar inclusive, too. Unless your wife and you need to dress up, there is no need to dress to the 9's - you will definitely stick out! The town had a lot of Russian influences, surprisingly, as well as Native American history - it was an incredible trip of a lifetime - so have fun!!

PS: On the way up, we flew from LA with a few hour layover in Seattle. We landed and it was sunny, nice & clear. Of course, we expected the stereotypical gloomy cold rain! I had pre-arranged with the cemetery where Hendrix was buried to come visit it. I took a cab and my dad reluctantly came along. Got there, met the lady, and found his grave. Lit some incense and other stuff, and spent about 20 minutes there talking with a few "locals" about Jimi. That was an incredible moment in my life. I think my dad had a good time, too. On the flight back, the weather was typical so we hung at the airport bar!

PPS: A few years later, a good friend of mine went up to Seattle and made a charcoal trace drawing of Jimi's headstone and brought it back for me which I still have today. This was when it was literally just a headstone (now it's a big monument thingie).....but I digress...enjoy!
 
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Bongo Brad

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I wish I could help, but when we made our trip 4 years ago we went from Vancouver to Alaska, inside passage, up to Denali, then to Anchorage, so it's the wrong way.


I don't remember much about the clothes, except my wife spent so much $ on new clothes for the trip we could have bought another ticket & brought a friend.

She did buy me all new underwear and put it in the suitcase unopened. She hasn't bought me new underwear since!
 

Hop

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Also consider shipping some of your items to/fro if your not into doing the laundry while traveling.
 

Mcjnic

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I’ve spent quite a bit of time up there over the years. It really comes down to how you deal with cool or moist environs.
Obviously I dressed a bit warmer north of the Arctic Circle, but honestly in Alaska it was just shorts or jeans with a tee ... I kept a windbreaker in my backpack. I always keep a hat and gloves.
Your results may vary.
I'm headed back up there in a month or so. I'm packing shorts and some Caribbean shirts and a windbreaker. I usually wear a comfortable pair of sneakers and keep a pair of safety boots with me just in case. I pick up a package that covers a pair of skivies every day ... I'm not a wash in the sink kinda guy. That's all I'll require. I pack light.

Good luck on your trip. It's an amazing place. HUGE!
 

Neal Pert

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Layers and buy a tube or two of woolite or some other washing liquid for the sink. I can pack in a small carry-on for a trip that lasts for weeks as long as I can wash my clothes in the sink. And man, what freedom.
 

Vistalite Black

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First rule: layers. You don't need all different thicknesses of outdoor gear, you need just a few well selected layers. The classic arrangement is:
-breathable, quick drying undies and socks.
-normal trousers and shirts, although you can spring for the fancy stain-resistant quick drying ones too.
-insulating layer (thermal fleece or knit wool). I usually pack more than one insulating layer, so I can stack them on really cold days.
-waterproof shell.
That way you are set for all seasons and conditions, instead of lugging around a parka and a rain coat and a jacket.

Second rule: no cotton, except for the regular pants and shirts if that's how you want to go. Cotton is poor at insulating, awful at blocking water, very slow drying, it gets cold when wet and stays cold and wet a long time. Wool and silk are WAY better at keeping you warm and dry, and they dry quicker. Of course there's high tech fabrics too. Good wool also resists spills.

Pick fabrics that will disguise stains.

If you wash your quick-drying undies and socks in the sink, you only need two or three sets no matter how long you're traveling. Dark colored canvas trousers don't need to be washed more than once a week under normal conditions. So really the only thing you need "enough for two weeks" is shirts.
The hate for cotton here is absurd. Cotton is a good insulator while also being breathable. Oh, it's not water proof, but neither the silk you recommend (which costs like 10 times as much as cotton). I just Googled "men's silk t-shirt" and the first one that came up costs $295... I mean it's impressive someone took the time to pull all of that material out of a moth's backend, but a six-pack of Hanes Beefy Ts costs $40 delivered. It's been a while since I've watched "Nanook of the North," but I'm pretty sure there was no silk clothes in that igloo.

First time I've heard that wool is fast drying. It also ignores the fact that if you put an XL wool sweater in the dryer, it'll come out as an XS in less than an hour. I've been wearing my favorite thick cotton college sweatshirt since college.

Plus, cotton doesn't make you itch. I promise you nothing will make your trip more unpleasant than wearing wool underwear.

Cotton. The Fabric of Our Lives.
 

bongomania

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Except I have spent decades traveling around the world in all kinds of conditions, and I also guarantee anyone at a mountaineering or backpacking specialty shop will give the exact same advice I did. Including the “hate” for cotton and praise for wool and silk. Plus I repeatedly brought up poly fleece and other cheaper modern tech fabrics.
 

mfryed2112

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Europe last summer, Germany, Austria, Italy, 2 weeks, comfy shoes, don’t overpack, you’ll come across a laundry mat. Call your bank and credit card to let them know you are traveling, this is a must!!! Check extended weather forecast a few days before you leave. Try some new food, wine and beer, keep an open mind, have fun!
 

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