What to Wear: Winter in Alaska
Close your eyes and picture a Winter Wonderland. There’s snow gently falling on evergreens; you can see your breath when you exhale, and your cheeks have a frosty, rosy glow. This is what you can expect in Alaska in the winter. As the most Northern state, it’s no surprise that Alaska gets cold in the winter. With temperatures that average 5-30 degrees Fahrenheit, visitors will want to prepare a comprehensive Alaska packing list to ensure warmth and comfort throughout the trip.
Continue reading for a complete list of what to wear in Alaska in winter:
One of the most effective ways to stay warm in cold climates is by layering. However, you don’t need to bundle up like the Michelin Man to stay warm. Smart layering is more effective than simply piling on the clothes. For example, when it comes to Alaskan winter wear, it’s more important to choose materials that are known for their warm properties. Natural fibers such as merino wool and cashmere are two of the best materials to look for in a layer. Unlike synthetic fibers, wool and cashmere actually retain heat when they get wet, which is perfect if you are planning an outdoor activity that might cause you to sweat. Including an exterior wind-breaking layer is also essential, since it will keep the wind off you and, therefore, keep you warmer.
A good pair of winter boots is vital in Alaska. Look for boots that are waterproof, insulated, and the right size. If your boots are too big or too small, they won’t keep your feet warm. If you’re not able to find boots that go past the ankle, consider a pair of gaiters to protect your legs. Gaiters are essentially tall, waterproof protectors that go over your boots and over your pants, protecting your legs and ankles from the cold.
Inside the boots, make sure you have some high-quality wool or Gore-Tex socks for ultimate comfort and warmth.
3. Gloves and Mittens
Your hands will probably be the first part of your body to feel cold, and if your fingers are not protected from the elements, you can risk frostbite. Invest in a good pair of gloves or mittens to protect your hands. If you don’t think you will be using your hands a lot outside, opt for mittens over gloves. Having your bare fingers rub against each other will create more warmth and you will feel it better in mittens. However, if you can’t lose the dexterity, a good pair of gloves will also do the trick.
4. Hat and Balaclava
Whether you’re roughing it in nature or staying at one of the many high-quality hotels in Anchorage, a hat or balaclava is an item you won’t want to forget. Not only does most of your heat escape from the top of your head, but wearing a hat will also protect your ears from frostbite and painful cold-induced earaches.
Even though Alaska may not boast the tropical climate you typically associate with sunburns, it’s still possible to sustain sun damage in the winter. In fact, in many cases, the sun glare off the snow can make it easier to get sunburned. Make sure you always wear SPF if you’re outside in Alaska.
When you arrive at your Coast Inn at Lake Hood, you may notice that things just seem to be brighter here. That’s because the sun’s rays are bouncing off the white snow, causing a glare that could cause some to go “snowblind.” Wearing sunglasses is vital to protecting your eyes from the glare and staying comfortable during your trip.
These tips will help you stay warm and cozy during your stay. Coast Inn at Lake Hood is one of the best local hotels to enjoy everything that the North has to offer. Book your trip and warm up with us during your stay in Anchorage!