Advice: What to Bring / How to Dress: KodiakIsland.net Internet Directory
Advice for Visiting Kodiak
Weather changes fast on this island, and the seasoned visitors knows to leave an extra day or two in your plans as you could likely could be fogged in during the summer months.
Plan ahead and be flexible. Make reservations in advance for lodging, transportation and tours if at all possible.
Ask about refund policies for cancellations or delays due to weather.
Inquire about travel insurance to cover unexpected costs due to changes.
Local stores will have advice on gear and equipment that you might find too large to bring or you just plain forgot.
Don't forget the camera (most digital camera supplies and processing can be found locally), binoculars and or spotting scope.
If your plans include a local flight or a charter boat you might consider boots / rain gear.
Be Prepared when Exploring
Always be aware of the weather, vegetation, and wildlife and be prepared for emergencies! A waterproof jacket / pants, headnet, compass, topographical maps, nautical charts and a light weight solar blanket are good things to think about. Handheld GPS / Epirb and or Satellite Communication Device (Phone / Spot / DeLorme In-Reach all work well in remote Kodiak). Cell Phones work around town, but are not reliable. Extra supplies in case of weather delays.
Let somebody know your plans. File a Search and Rescue form or "SAR" indicating where you will be and when you plan to return. These forms are available at law enforcement agencies and some retailers.
Observe wildlife viewing guidelines!
How To Dress
Dress for Comfort. Weather in Alaska is notoriously unpredictable and the best insurance against bad weather is preparation. Here is a simple list of items to consider packing for an Alaska vacation. If you are in doubt of what to bring, great gear at good prices are always available locally.
Hats: Hats can be a very important clothing accessories for the Alaska traveler. Not only will a good hat help to keep the sun out of your eyes, it can prevent a "land of the midnight sun" sunburn. Hats are also incredibly important in cold weather. The body looses a tremendous amount of heat from the top of its head; a simple hat will prevent body temperature loss in most situations. A simple fleece pull-over hat is a good option for all windy and wet weather.
Pants and shorts: Choose the most comfortable pants available. Jeans, khakis and or fleece pants will typically do the job, as it will mostly be the other layering that will help even out extreme differences. For travelers that will be spending their time in the elements, hikers, fishermen and hunters, waterproof pants worn over your other pant will help to keep you dry and comfortable. Bring shorts! Alaska experiences some of the nicest weather anywhere in the world. A pair of shorts in a backpack can really save the day.
Shirts and sweaters: Because layering is so important, consider carrying a variety of different shirts on your trip. Include everything from tank tops, short and long sleeve tee shirts, button-down cotton to heavy wool shirts. Polypropylene and fleece are also great options especially if you will be adventuring on the water. The perfect layering combination might include a light tee shirt, a medium weight button down shirt, with a fleece pull over. Traditional cotton or wool sweaters work well yet are slowly being phased out by lighter weight fleece and polypropylene pullovers.
Jackets: For general summer travelers, there are two types of jackets you might want to consider bringing: an all-purpose insulated jacket and a breathable waterproof rain jacket. A person can usually use a lighter jacket in cold situations if it is accompanied by a sweater, gloves and a hat. For people who intend on spending extended time in the outdoors, a heavier weather resistant jacket along with complete rain gear is essential.
Shoes and boots: Comfortable shoes are important - especially if walking or light hiking is part of your travel plan. Tennis shoes will do the job for the average traveler. If serious hiking is going to be a part of your trip, a hiking boot will offer you better support while traversing uneven terrain. While many boots boast being waterproof, a Gore-Tex boot when completely submersed in water is still wet. As a rule of thumb, the socks you choose are almost as important as the shoes or boots.
Socks: A combination of regular cotton socks along with wool socks should keep your feet warm in most situations. If your feet run the risk of being wet for long periods, use polypropylene socks as well.