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Alaska in May what to pack


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8 minutes ago, aalonzo2019 said:

Hello,

 

I will be going to Alaska the last week of May. I have cruises before but it’s been mostly in Europe. What should I pack for May in Alaska? I keep hearing layers but not sure what that means. 

Regardless of what month you may be visiting Alaska, layers is the way to go.

 

Light shirt, with sweater/light jacket, rain jacket or heavier coat on the top.  That way you can take away, add to what you have on dependent on what the weather is doing.  And the the by-word for weather in Alaksa is "if you don't like the weather now, wait 10 minutes".  Yes, it can change that fast, and get colder/rainy/snowy or hotter/humid/rainy in minutes.

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We are from Wisconsin, I see you are from CA- so your mileage may vary. We went to Alaska in the second week of June. The weather we left was mid-50's and the weather we found was about the same.

 

We wore what we wear at home in that weather. A base layer- either short sleeve or long sleeve t-shirts if a bit warmer, or a turtle neck if it was a bit cooler. Then a fleece jacket or sweatshirt and then over that a vest. We didn't take any long sleeve coats/jackets because our fleece/sweatshirt did that for us. Bottom layer, just jeans. I don't event think the day in Glacier Bay we wore any long underwear under the jeans. We did bring mittens/gloves and hats for the day in Glacier Bay, but never needed them for regular shore days. We then could take off a layer if needed, or add a layer.

 

We were on a HAL ship. The day in Glacier Bay they had nice wool blankets on deck, so you could sit under a blanket if you would like and split pea soup on deck as well. We saw many Texan's wrapped up in blankets that day.

 

The Alaska board may have more suggestions. Have fun!

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I would agree with the layers as the temperature can vary from port to port.  A good rain proof outer layer is also good that time of year.  It doesn't have to be heavy, but you will probably appreciate one that is  waterproof.  Enjoy your cruise.

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The majority of my cruises to Alaska have been in May.  My layers include lightweight long underwear for the high-speed catamarans on whale-watching excursions, longer Columbia water-resistant jacket (left liner at home), cardigan sweater that I can remove and put in my excursion backpack when temps rise, and rugby shirts.  I carry a poncho in my backpack.  Add gloves that allow you to use your camera buttons and a warm hat.  Water-resistant shoes, or waterproofed with spray, are important to keep your feet dry.

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Layers are essentially multiple levels of clothing that can be added or subtracted as the conditions change.  Sometimes it is cool in the AM so you layer up, but gets warmer as the sun rises or you get more active, so you layer down.  The opposite can also occur as a cold and/or potentially wet wind can blow in on a day that began warmer.   As others have suggested you should have something waterproof for you to use as your outermost layer when it gets wet.  

I always use Ketchikan as my example.  First visit my son and I kayaked in the rain.  Many layers including those supplied by the boat people.   Last time it was so warm we peeled down to T-shirts.  No way to predict so you just prepare.

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5 hours ago, aalonzo2019 said:

Hello,

 

I will be going to Alaska the last week of May. I have cruises before but it’s been mostly in Europe. What should I pack for May in Alaska? I keep hearing layers but not sure what that means. 

My wife and I were in Alaska in May of 2008. Prior to the cruise I posted on CC asking the same question and based on the replies we took winter coats and sweaters.

The weather  every day was close to 80 degrees.

I would contact the Alaska tourism office and get some ideas from them.

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Layers really are key.  It was so cold in Ketchikan in June that I bought a knit hat. In Juneau, I was warm, but it was raining all day.  So...  pack light layers you can put on or take off as needed. Base t-shirts, light sweaters, a puffy vest, a rain slicker to put over it all (that exact combo kept me comfortable when it was snowing in Nuremberg).  Take a knit hat and some light gloves. I use leggings both to wear under a dress or skirt, and as long underwear if needed.  I like light weight merino wool socks year round as hiking socks.  I did a lot of hiking, so I took my goretex trail shoes.  Your needs may be different. 

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I agree with all above.  We have gone several times the end of May and the weather has been cold and rainy to down right hot.  I bring layers as do my boys but they also bring a pair of shorts.  They did wear them  a couple of times on our last 2 AK cruises.

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MOst of our cruises to Alaska have been in May.  It’s a great time to cruise!  I’m from California as well and live by Sacramento so when we leave on our May cruises, it’s usually around 90 degrees!

 

i bring t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, jeans,yoga pants, light fleece jackets (Eddie Bauer or Rei), light down puffy jacket and a wind-resistant/water-proof shell.  I wear leggings or wool tights under my jeans during glacier-viewing days with a fleece hat, gloves, puffy jacket and outer shell.  I find the wind off the ice to be particularly cold!

 

For shoes, I wear black leather Birkenstock sneakers on board (dressy enough to wear to dinner), Brooks water-proof running shoes on excursions (good for most hiking trails) and Nike water flops for pool/hot tub/spa activities.

 

I’ve stopped bringing dresses or heels on these cruises—I bring a nice pair of black pants to wear with a couple of dressy tops/sweaters.  At night I carry a black wool pashmina for extra coverage in the theater or bars.

 

PJs, swimsuit, coverup rounds out my list.  If my room includes a robe (and I can request one), I leave the pool coverup at home.

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

For our late May/early June cruise in Alaska, we stocked up on Heat 32 items (they are a light weight, moisture wicking layer that doesn't add bulk but were great for additional heat.) We also packed waterproof (as opposed to water resistant) everything-pants, jackets, hats, shoes and gloves. We took long sleeved tshirts, sweatshirts and wool sweaters as well as wool socks (full disclosure-hubby and I are pretty cold-natured.  We get cold if it's below 70 outside.)  Layering is an art form that took us a while to master.  

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