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 around 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 (polypropylene or Capilene) or wool because they are light, fast drying, and warmer when wet. Please leave your cotton clothes at home.
This is the arctic, March and April are winter. Temperatures could be mild (around freezing) but sub- zero temperatures are also likely. With appropriate clothing you can be very comfortable. The most important and specialized clothing you will need is for your extremities. Warm shoepacs (insulated, waterproof, winter boots) or mukluks, heavy mittens and an outrageously warm hat are worth the investment. The more specialized items are best purchased in Fairbanks from retailers like Apocalypse Design or Big Ray’s.
Layering is the key to staying comfortable. Bring a variety of layers in various weights and make sure you try EVERYTHING on before heading into the field. It may be necessary to wear all your clothes at once. It is generally safe to assume that it will be cold and dry, which greatly simplifies staying warm. It is important to be prepared for a thaw or even rain.
We can provide select Camping Equipment. Please indicate which items you might want on the Equipment Request Form. Heavy Parkas and other cold weather clothing can be rented in Fairbanks from Arctic Wear.
Please use this as a literal checklist. When all the boxes are checked, ✓ you are done. Anything not on the list doesn’t belong.
Any questions? Please contact us.
Duffle: This is the bag that will hold the bulk of your gear. Below freezing weather means that things generally stay dry so a waterproof bag is not essential.
Arctic Wild Provides
Tent: We will be using an Arctic Oven winter camping tent, which we heat with a small woodstove. This tent will serve as kitchen, warming and drying area and general “hang-out”. Depending on how many people are on the trip and the anticipated temperatures, some of us may sleep in regular un-heated backpacking tents, which will be supplied by Arctic Wild.
Arctic Wild Provides
Sleeping bag with stuff sack: Your sleeping bag should keep you comfortable to -20 °F. Layering multiple sleeping bags can work if the outer bag is sufficiently large. The stuff sack should be lined with a plastic bag.
Arctic Wild Provides
Sleeping pad: Thermarests are essential. Get the thickest one you can find. Bring 2.
Winter boots: Insulated shoepacs or mukluks are ideal. Sorel type winter boots are adequate so long as they are one of the warmer models and you bring a second set of liners for them. Heavy winter boots are available from Arctic Wear.
Mukluks are a more traditional and comfortable choice. Don’t scrimp on your boots. If bringing mukluks bring a back-up pair of water-resistant shoes just in case it gets warm. Waterproof hiking boots and mukluks is a good combination.
Rain pants and jacket: Goretex or Goretex knock-offs. We don’t expect rain but it is important to be prepared just in case.
Day pack: Big enough for raingear, water bottle, camera and an extra layer.
Waterproof hiking boots: Just incase it gets warm.
Down slippers: For in the tent.
Stuff sacks: For packing gear and clothes.
Socks: 5-6 pair heavy polypropylene or wool
Light weight long johns: 2 pair top and bottoms.
Heavy weight long johns: 1 set of bottoms, 2 for the top.
Snow pants/ Bibs: Synthetic and windproof. Should be able to fit over the heavy pants. If they are waterproof then you need not bring rain pants. Tight fitting cuffs are a plus. Full-length leg zips are also a nice feature. Available from Arctic Wear.
Heavy pants: Wool or fleece for the cold. One pair is sufficient.
Fleece jacket and/or thick wool shirt: You need 5 layers on your torso including long johns, but not including your parka. Make sure your layers can all be worn at once without constricting your movements.
Hats: Bring a light one and a heavier hat too. Do not skimp. Windproof is great. Fur is very warm. Many prefer earflaps. Apocalypse Designs in Fairbanks makes a popular “Explorers Hat”which is a good medium weight option.
Neck gaiter, a.k.a. cowl, or neck-warmer: a little tube of synthetic material to wear around your neck or to augment your hat. A scarf works too. Bring 2 of these or a facemask and a neck gaiter.
Sun hat: Whether a ball cap or a wrap-around brim, you’ll need something for the intense, arctic sunlight.
Gloves: 2 or 3 pairs of pile or wool gloves.
Mittens: Thicker the better. Szed to go over your gloves.
Gaiters: Help keep snow out of your boots.
Quart water bottle or small vacuum bottle: A lightweight thermos is ideal to keep your water from freezing.
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 with a lighter.
Lighter: In case you lose the first one.
Flashlight/headlamp: Darkness is brief but a small light is helpful.
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 ski goggles: The spring sun is very intense. Snow blindness is a serious concern and an extra pair of sunglasses is a good idea.
Sunscreen, lip balm, and hand cream: Cracked hands, chapped lips and sunburn can be a real problem for some people. Bring good quality sunscreen and be sure to wear it everyday!
Cell Phone: It won’t work.
Watch: Best to leave it behind with the cell phone and your other worries.
Camera with tripod: with memory cards, lots of spare batteries. In a waterproof, durable case. Extra batteries are essential in the cold.
Binoculars: Though these are technically optional, we strongly recommend that you bring binoculars. You miss a lot without quality binoculars.
Reading material, journal, and pen
Skis, poles and ski boots: Snow conditions may be poor for skiing but if you enjoy cross country skiing then weight permitting you can bring your own skis.
Snowshoes: Arctic Wild will provide snowshoes for everyone, but if you have a pair you like, please bring them.