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Do I really need a light down jacket for July?

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I know I keep reading about layers and I'm planning on bringing zip up hoodies, fleece vest, windproof/waterproof jacket. Do you still think I need to also bring a light down jacket? Weather for next week shows upper 60's during the day and 50's at night. Just your opinion. Packing is difficult and I don't want to bring something I really don't need. Thank you for your help! We're Alaska virgins...LOL

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Unfortunately, this question is nearly impossible to answer.

We just returned on July 4. We had great weather all week (June 27 - July 4). Daytime temps in the 60's. Coldest days were glacier viewing days. But DH wore shorts in Ketchikan.

You are going to hear from people on here that Alaskan weather in particular can change fast--hence layers.

I, personally, would not pack a down jacket though.

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I know I keep reading about layers and I'm planning on bringing zip up hoodies, fleece vest, windproof/waterproof jacket. Do you still think I need to also bring a light down jacket? Weather for next week shows upper 60's during the day and 50's at night. Just your opinion. Packing is difficult and I don't want to bring something I really don't need. Thank you for your help! We're Alaska virgins...LOL

 

We sailed in May and we brought zip hoodies or fleeces and a waterproof jacket. We did not bring a down jacket and didn't miss it. We had weather in the 50's most days, with 40's a few times.

 

Personally, I would leave it home.

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The middle layer is your warmth layer, so pack 2 or 3 fleece pullovers or hoodys, If YOU think you feel the cold more than the average person I'd pack thermal underwear before I'd pack another coat. takes up less space.

 

And keep in mind that you only need to pack 2 or 3 hoodys, not one for every day.... the layer agst your skin needs to be changed each day but not the middle layer.

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We were in Alaska from 6/12-6/30 & brought nothing warmer than a fleece/hoodie. Temps were mostly in the 50’s with some overnight lows in the 40’s (it hit 39 once). Obviously we wouldn’t even consider anything warmer in July if we didn’t in June but I’ll just share my experience and let you decide. Hope it helps.

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In the past, I would have said that you don't need a bulky down jacket, but about a year ago I bought a lightweight, packable down jacket that squishes down into it's own little pouch. It packs smaller than any hoodie I own. From past experiences in Alaska, I would likely only use it on glacier sailing days, but it might be well worth it for that, especially since we have 2 glacier days on our upcoming cruise. I plan to bring it instead of a bulky sweatshirt, and otherwise just wear lighter layers.

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You know how you feel in varying temperatures better than we do. Personally, I think your hoody will be warm enough. If it's not, your windproof/waterproof jacket will add the extra layer of comfort you'll need.

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Thank you everyone. One less thing to pack. I think I’ll be ok with what I got!

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If it's not, your windproof/waterproof jacket will add the extra layer of comfort you'll need.

 

This is actually a very good point even if it seems obvious. We found the wind in certain places played a huge role in how cold it felt & used what we brought as waterproof jackets as windbreakers as often as rain jackets.

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You know how you feel in varying temperatures better than we do. Personally, I think your hoody will be warm enough. If it's not, your windproof/waterproof jacket will add the extra layer of comfort you'll need.

 

This. I brought nothing warmer than a hoodie when we went to Alaska and it was May at the time, so not even as warm as July. But I currently now live in AZ, where people think 60 degree weather requires a winter coat. So I guess it really all depends on how you feel in various temperatures. Personally, I wouldn't waste the space, but I know plenty of people who would use it.

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We sailed in May and we brought zip hoodies or fleeces and a waterproof jacket. We did not bring a down jacket and didn't miss it. We had weather in the 50's most days, with 40's a few times.

 

Personally, I would leave it home.

I was also there in May with similar weather. I was fine with either a wool shirt or a fleece under a waterproof breathable (e.g. Gortex) shell.

 

Down can be great when coping with temps below freezing. Down doesn't insulate well when wet and there can be a lot of wet weather in Alaska summer.

 

You can add warmth with a hat, scarf and gloves - preferably in a material that keeps insulating well even when damp such as wool or synthetics.

 

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We're going this month and I'm not packing heavy coats for anyone. We're taking rain jackets and hoodies/pullovers, plus hats and gloves for glacier viewing day. We live in Florida and we're excited about getting to some cool weather and FEELING it.

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Everyone in my family has a packable down alternative jacket from Lands End. They squish down to almost nothing. It can either be our outer layer as it is good at blocking wind, or our middle layer if we need our raincoats. I can pack all 5 of them in less space than one of my husband's XXL sweatshirts would take.

We are bringing them.

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My husband feels the cold more than I do. He has a down sweater from Costco he'll probably bring on our late Aug/Sep cruise. I will be fine with fleece under goretex as needed.

 

More important for us is a hat. My husband shaves his head - he wears a hat pretty much every day - varying only by season;) He has a couple of goretex hats, a couple of fleece beanies, and a couple that are warm & waterproof - we'll have to figure out the best combo to bring, but a hat can keep him warm without a lot of extra layers elsewhere if needed. Not that we plan to NOT bring those layers, just saying - bring a hat ;p

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A wonderful thing about down is that it weighs nothing and can be stuffed into a really really tiny stuff sack.so if you feel that you might need it, taking it should not be a problem.

 

DON

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I have gone in late July and August twice and always have worn my down. It's packable and light. Mostly at night on deck or during Glacier Bay day. I haven't needed it in port. But for the really cold, I wear a long sleeve t-shirt, fleece, lightweight down, and my shell. lol. I'm more concerned about my outerwear than anything else that I pack.

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You wouldn't have needed it last week! Temps in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan were in the 70s and sunny (even Glacier Bay day was in the high 60s and sunny) and the onboard pools were filled with swimmers and sunbathers. I did suffer some moans and groans from my 2 kids and their spouses about all the layers I insisted they pack that were never used but DH stood up for me and said our 1st Alaska cruise was the same week in 2007 and we used all our layers. I just replied that if I hadn't told them to bring layers we would have had cold, rainy weather the entire cruise.

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Unfortunately, this question is nearly impossible to answer.

We just returned on July 4. We had great weather all week (June 27 - July 4). Daytime temps in the 60's. Coldest days were glacier viewing days. But DH wore shorts in Ketchikan.

You are going to hear from people on here that Alaskan weather in particular can change fast--hence layers.

I, personally, would not pack a down jacket though.

 

I was there during the same days and wished that I had brought my thick down jacket. Maybe not for Ketchikan, but certainly up to Skagway.

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In the past, I would have said that you don't need a bulky down jacket, but about a year ago I bought a lightweight, packable down jacket that squishes down into it's own little pouch. It packs smaller than any hoodie I own. From past experiences in Alaska, I would likely only use it on glacier sailing days, but it might be well worth it for that, especially since we have 2 glacier days on our upcoming cruise. I plan to bring it instead of a bulky sweatshirt, and otherwise just wear lighter layers.

 

I have one of those "pouch" jackets, too, and am taking it for our 1/24/18 cruise just in case.

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I was there during the same days and wished that I had brought my thick down jacket. Maybe not for Ketchikan, but certainly up to Skagway.

 

Hence, again--this question is nearly impossible to answer. Way too subjective. What is cold or warm to one is not to another.

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We're sailing next week. We're from Colorado and used to extreme temps both high and low. I'm only taking light rain jackets, one long sleeve shirt and a beanie. Temps usually have to be in the single digits for me to put on gloves and a scarf. Temps in the 50s are still considered shorts weather where I'm from lol ....I too think temps are subjective. If you're from a climate where you are used to cold, take what you'd normally wear. If you're from a warmer climate and not used to lower temps, take more layers.

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We're sailing next week. We're from Colorado and used to extreme temps both high and low. I'm only taking light rain jackets, one long sleeve shirt and a beanie. Temps usually have to be in the single digits for me to put on gloves and a scarf. Temps in the 50s are still considered shorts weather where I'm from lol ....I too think temps are subjective. If you're from a climate where you are used to cold, take what you'd normally wear. If you're from a warmer climate and not used to lower temps, take more layers.
Though another factor is wind & humidity. In Alaska, it is often a very wet 50 degrees. That makes it feel colder. There was a time when I had regular business trips to Colorado and it was routinely so dry there that I got in the habit of touching my car door first with the key because of the static electricity spark. It's dry enough that snow subliminates rather than waiting to melt first.

 

On the deck of a ship, it is often pretty windy too.

 

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We decided to go with layers for our upcoming trip in late August, when I believe it can be warmer or freezing! LOL who knows, we are going with tshirts short sleeve and long, hoodies/fleeces, fleece vest, rain jackets that fold up into small waterproof backpacks, along with gloves, North Face fleeced hat and scarf. and lots of socks! I have waterproof tennis shoes and regular tennis shoes.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the thread. We are cruising Alaska next week. I just ordered a packable down jacket while reading this thread. $49 from Am***n.

 

BTW, I’m also bringing a pair of Timberland black waterproof hiking boots. I’ll wear them on the ship if it’s raining, off the ship no matter what, maybe even the MDR with a smart pair of grey pants ;)

Edited by MrJulius
Used “boat” instead of “ship”. Oops :)

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You can always buy one there if you find you need one. They sell them at all the shops, usually for about $20.

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Buying one if needed is my decision (we're cruising in Sept). I'm in the market for a new one, anyway. A friend who cruised a few years ago said she bought the best coat she's ever had at one of the stops on her cruise. DH didn't think that was a great idea, but if $20 is accurate, that might change his mind!

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countingmomma: I've bought a jacket on all three of my Alaskan cruises. The first one was on a clearance rack and I think I paid $15. The other two were $19.95. It's been a couple of years, so hopefully that hasn't changed.

 

A couple of caveats though; First there will be a logo of some kind. Usually the name of the town you are in, i.e. Juneau, Ketchikan, etc. Second, if you buy it in the first shop you see because it is raining harder then you thought it would, be prepared to see your jacket all over town. My sister had a great time all day long pointing at people and saying "Look, there's your jacket".

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Buying one if needed is my decision (we're cruising in Sept). I'm in the market for a new one, anyway. A friend who cruised a few years ago said she bought the best coat she's ever had at one of the stops on her cruise. DH didn't think that was a great idea, but if $20 is accurate, that might change his mind!

 

The $20 jackets are generally water-resistant with a fleece lining. They are jackets, not coats typically going to mid-thigh.

 

Don't expect a down jacket (or even synthetic equivalent), water-proof breathable or a winter coat for that price.

Generally most find them adequate for an Alaska summer though I prefer to have something that is water-proof, breathable rather than water-resistant. I also prefer to have the shell and fleece as two separate pieces so I can wear the water-proof layer with insulation when it is rainy but not that cold or wear just the fleece when it isn't rainy or windy and I just want a little insulation.

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We cruised July 1-8. We took packable down jackets and only wore them in Tracy Arm (scenic cruising) and on our helicopter ride and glacier walk in Skagway. We appreciated having them, but we also probably would have been fine without them as long as we had a couple good layers and a hat.

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