Dressing for Alaska Vacations

Weather in Alaska

Weather will obviously play a large role in what you choose to pack for your Alaskan vacation. The time of year you visit will significantly affect the weather you will experience, as will the areas to which you travel. In general, Western Alaska tends to be cold and stormy while Southeastern Alaska is warmer, though still rainy. South-Central Alaska generally experiences the mildest temperatures, but can sometimes be wet. Northern Alaska is usually quite chilly year round while the Interior is warm in the summer but extremely cold in the winter.

To help you plan for your Alaskan vacation, we’ve assembled historical weather temperature data for three popular Alaskan destinations in different parts of the state and split it into different parts of the year. This data provides a reasonable prediction of the type of weather you can expect.

Time of the year                                                          High Temperatures

Winter (January – March)

Anchorage                                                                    25° to 35° Fahrenheit

Fairbanks/Denali National Park Area                      -2° to 24° Fahrenheit

Juneau                                                                           29° to 39° Fahrenheit

Spring (April – June)

Anchorage                                                                    45° to 60° Fahrenheit

Fairbanks/Denali National Park Area                     42° to 71° Fahrenheit

Juneau                                                                          47° to 61° Fahrenheit

Summer (July – September)

Anchorage                                                                    55° to 65° Fahrenheit

Fairbanks/Denali National Park Area                     55° to 75° Fahrenheit

Juneau                                                                          56° to 64° Fahrenheit

Fall (October – December)

Anchorage                                                                     21° to 42° Fahrenheit

Fairbanks/Denali National Park Area                         1° to 32° Fahrenheit

Juneau                                                                           32° to 47° Fahrenheit

Although these are general temperature patterns for these areas, they can and will vary. For example, the record high in Fairbanks is 96°F, and the record low is -62°F! Because of this, be sure to pack accordingly for the areas you will be visiting and be prepared for inclement and/or unexpected weather.

Alaskan Adventures

The types of activities and excursions you embark upon will also play a big role in determining what you should wear while visiting Alaska. If you are planning to fish, you will need proper fishing attire including clothing made from water wicking fabrics instead of cotton, which tends to soak up and hold water. Make sure to bring a suitable coat, hat and proper fishing boots. If you are planning to do a lot of hiking and walking, be sure to pack comfortable walking, hiking and/or running shoes made of appropriate materials for the outside temperatures. If you are hiking to some of the glaciers, you will want to take a sweatshirt, sweater or jacket that you can tie around your waist when you are hot, but can put on as you get higher and the temperatures begin to drop.

Dress Like an Onion

The absolute best thing you can do is to pack both light and heavy clothing for layering. Cotton clothing is not the best choice for active outdoor activities or very cold climates, nor is it a good choice for layering. It tends to soak up moisture from your body and stay wet, making you colder than you should be. There are a number of specialty fabrics created for maintaining or expelling body heat, and depending on your activity, you should be sure that the clothing you are wearing is best suited for maintaining ideal body temperatures. Layering these clothes will ensure you are properly prepared for the varying weather conditions and temperatures as well as the activities you plan on enjoying while visiting the beautiful, unique and sometimes unpredictable areas of Alaska.

Sources:

1-      Alaska.com. Weather & Climate. http://www.alaska.com/about/weather/

2-      TravelJuneau.com. “Travel Tips & Weather.” http://www.traveljuneau.com/cms/d/weather_and_travel_tips.php

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