Base Camp Equipment List – Katmai/Aleutians

Please follow this equipment list and do not bring extra gear. Space is limited in the airplanes we use. Having lots of unnecessary items only makes packing and unpacking cumbersome. By carefully following this list you can keep your personal gear under 50 pounds.

This checklist has been developed from decades of experience. These are proven items. That said, personal clothing is indeed personal. Bring what you know to be comfortable and practical. If you have questions please ask us.

All garments should be synthetic or wool because they are light, fast-drying, and warmer when wet. Please leave your cotton clothes at home.

This is Alaska, and the weather can be ferocious. You should have 5 layers for your top and 4 for the bottom. For example, on top: a short sleeve thermal shirt, one heavier long sleeve thermal shirt, one fleece jacket, one down vest or parka and a Gortex or rubber shell over everything. On the bottom: two pairs long johns, one pair hiking pants and Gortex rain pants on top. With a warm hat and a neck gaiter you’re cozy even when the north wind howls. We are serious about the need for extra rain gear on the coast. Bring at least 3 pairs for a couple or 2 pairs for and individual. A light pair and a heavier set works best.

If you would like to rent any equipment from us please make note on your Rental Request Form. Items for “Rent” are indicated on the checklist below.

Please use this as a literal checklist. When all the boxes are checked, ✓ you are done. Anything not on the list doesn’t belong.

Having trouble keeping your personal gear within the 50-pound limit? Please contact us.

Dry Bag for Rent

Dry bag, or Duffle: This is the bag that will hold the bulk of your gear. A good waterproof bag is Cascade Design’s Black Canyon Boundary 115. Suppliers like REI, NRS, L.L. Bean, and others carry these and similar bags. Sometimes we have to carry our gear up to a 1⁄2 mile from the airstrip to campsite. It is OK to have a couple smaller bags if that makes carrying things easier.


Tent: A 3-season tent, able to withstand strong winds and heavy rains. Make sure your tent is seam sealed either by you or at the factory. Bring a ground cloth (“footprint”). The stakes you bring must hold in gravel. We highly recommend yellow, plastic 9” “Power Pegs.” There are lots of great tents on the market. We favor Alps and Hilleberg. Single wall tents are not recommended.


Sleeping bag with stuff sack: Your sleeping bag should keep you comfortable to 20 °F. The stuff sack should be lined with a plastic bag. Synthetic is preferable.


Sleeping pad: Thermarests are the warmest.

Rubber Boots for Rent

Hiking boots and/ or Rubber Boots: There are no constructed trails. We hike cross-country, often on soft, wet tundra, across streams. Your feet may be wet much of the time. Wear Goretex boots or leather ones that have been “Sno-Sealed.” Rubber boots such as Muckboots are a good option. Many people bring both regular hiking boots and rubber boots.

Boot insoles or footbeds: Even if you are renting boots from us, you should bring your own insoles. Quick drying is important. Superfeet is a good brand.


Heavy-duty rain pants: Heavy-duty, extra-tall bib style rain pants like Grundens brand are all but required for trips on the southern coasts or Katmai. We rent Helly Hansen brand. Cabela’s Guide-Wear or another 3 layer Goretex bib will also work fine.

Rain Jacket: We recommend 3 layer Goretex or similar. Good quality raingear is critical.

Lightweight Rain Jacket: A second light rain jacket to take on hikes, wear in a mist, or wear under your bigger rain-coat in a deluge.

Rain pants: This is lighter weight, and not necessarily rubberized. We recommend Goretex or Goretex knock-offs. These are the rain pants you will take on a day-hike.

Day pack or fanny pack: Big enough for raingear, water bottle, camera and an extra layer.

Camp shoes: Light-weight hiking boots can fill this need. Or bring a pair of lightweight shoes like Crocs, sneakers or sport sandals.

Stuff sacks: For packing gear and clothes. Line them with a plastic bag as an extra precaution.

Trash compactor bags: For lining stuff sacks. This ensures that your clothes and sleeping bag will be dry.

Socks: 3-4 pair heavy polypropylene or wool.

Light weight long johns: 1 – 2 pair top and bottoms.

Hiking/ camp pants: Synthetic,  fast drying.

Heavy pants: Wool or fleece for the cold.

Down vest

Fleece jackets/ sweaters and or wool shirts: You need a total of 5 layers on your torso including long-johns. A cozy configuration could be 2 long-john shirts, one wool shirt, one fleece jacket and a down vest.

Shorts and T-shirt: Sometimes it is really hot, really!

Sun Shirt: Tightly woven, lightweight shirt to protect arms from sun and bugs.

Warm hat: A nice warm comfortable winter hat. Do not skimp here. Many guides prefer 2 hats. One thick one for the day and a thinner one for sleeping.

Neck gaiter: a.k.a. Dickie, cowl, or neck-warmer. A fleece tube to wear around your neck or to augment your hat. A scarf works too. Buff makes some stylish ones.

Brimmed hat: Whether a ball cap or a wrap-around brim, you’ll need something for the intense sun.

Gloves: pile or wool gloves.

Quart water bottle: or two.

Personal toiletries: Scale down. For instance, you will not need a 6-oz. tube of toothpaste.

Toilet paper: Place the roll in a quart-size Ziploc bag.


Lighter: For burning toilet paper. We have some but you might want your own.


Mosquito head net: Hopefully you won’t need it but you will be really glad you have it if you do. Outdoor Research  makes a nice light one.

Mosquito repellent: Keep in plastic bags. 35% DEET is adequate.

Emergency kit: Band-Aids, aspirin, Moleskin, sewing kit. We carry a full medical kit, but having a few common items of your own is convenient.

Special medications: Inform the guide of your special medications and consider bringing a backup supply for the guide to carry.

Glasses or contacts: Bring an extra pair.

Sunglasses: and croakies (Strings that keep sunglasses on).

Sunscreen, lip balm, and hand cream: Cracked hands and sunburn can be a real problem for some people. Bring good quality hand salve like bag balm if you are prone.


“Bug shirt”: Original Bug Shirt Company is a good brand.


Pocket knife


Gore-tex socks: Use these over heavy socks for day hiking to keep your feet as dry as possible


Cell Phone: It won’t work.

Don't Bring

Satellite Phone, InReach, Spot Tracker or other satellite communication device: We carry a satellite phone for emergencies. Unplugging from communications is a valuable part of our trips. Call us if you want to discuss this policy.


Watch: Best to leave it behind with the cell phone and your other worries.


Trekking poles: While theoretically optional, they can be essential on stream crossings and on tussocks (rough ground).


Camera: with memory cards and spare batteries. In a waterproof, durable case.


Binoculars: Though these are technically optional, we strongly recommend that you bring binoculars. You miss a lot without quality binoculars.


Bird book/nature guide: We carry a small library of natural history titles and field guides. Ask your guide at the pre-trip meeting about the contents so we don’t duplicate.


Reading material, journal, and pen


Chair: We usually pack three-legged stools for your use. If you prefer a Crazy Creek chair or have another chair of your own, let your guide know and we won’t lug the extra stool.


Small towel/wash cloth


Fishing pole: A small, folding backpack rod is sufficient. Pack in rigid container.


Fishing reel: Doesn’t have to be fancy. 6-12# test line is sufficient for most trips. Fly fishers will, of course, want to bring a fly reel.


Fishing lures: The fish aren’t really picky. Spinners with orange dots like Mepps work fine. Bright colors are good when the water is murky. Grayling like flies. Char seem to like pink pixies.

Required if fishing

Fishing license: Fishing licenses can be obtained at many stores in Fairbanks or online. You may not fish anywhere in Alaska without a valid Alaska fishing license.