What kinds of trips do you offer?
Whether your interest is in rafting trips, canoe trips, backpacking trips, base camp trips, packrafting trips, or winter trips we likely have a trip that you will enjoy. They are almost all fly-in/fly-out, wilderness expeditions to Alaskas wildest places. We offer an assortment of scheduled trips each year and we arrange custom trips for a variety of groups and individuals. We also provide logistical support, safety and guiding services for Film and Science expeditions through-out Alaska.
How long do your trips last? What’s included in the cost?
Our trips last anywhere from five to twenty-two days, and they start at about $6,500/person. Cost includes everything from the departure town (usually Fairbanks) and back (but see our Terms and Conditions on our Reservation Form about contingencies). All of our trips are fully guided by sturdy, experienced, mostly Alaskan, professional wilderness guides with training in first aid, river safety, bear safety, and “leave no trace” camping practices. Arctic Wild provides everything you will need, except for your personal gear (clothes and the like). You can bring your own tent, sleeping bag/ pad, and (for river trips) rubber rain gear and boots, or you can request to use select gear from us.
How many other people will be on the trip?
Including your guide(s), no more than ten people tops on a river trip, and seven for backpacks. Typical river trips have 6 people and backpacks usually have 4. For a custom trip we may be able to accommodate larger groups.
What about COVID?
Being outside is a relatively safe place to be and you won’t see very many people once in the wilderness. But there is risk of COVID transmission in small planes and between members of your group. Social distancing is not always possible, for example in a raft or kitchen tent. We are working to learn more about the disease and are working to keep everyone healthy on our trips. Feel free to discuss any concerns you have with us.
What are your river trips like?
On river trips, we use paddle rafts, canoes, or packrafts. Brooks Range rivers tend not to have a whole lot of whitewater. The emphasis is more on the wilderness than on high-adrenaline rapids. For the average day on a river trip, you could expect to be in the boat and paddling for about 5-6 hours total, including a nice stop for a picnic lunch. River trips often begin and end with a short portage (to transport gear from bush plane to river). On each “moving day,” everyone works as a team to bring gear to/from the river, and to load/unload the boats. River trips frequently include one, two, or three layover days, spent day hiking or relaxing, or both.
What are your backpacking trips like?
Backpacking trips are some of our best trips but experience backpacking is highly recommended. We travel about 6 – 7 miles a day, overland without trails. The scenery is unparalleled, but the walking can at times be pretty tough. These are our hardest trips, and well worth the effort if you enjoy carrying 50# on your back.
What’s a base camp trip?
Base camp trips allow you to settle into one really great campsite for a week, with all exploring happening from there. Base camp trips are often focused on wildlife, be it caribou in the arctic, or bears in Katmai there will be great opportunities to watch and photograph animals. These are our easiest trips, and what you do in camp is up to you: day hike, read, knit, whittle, paint, yoga, tundra volleyball, etc. Your guide will offer suggestions, lead day hikes, or just let you relax in peace. It’s your trip to enjoy!
What is a typical camp like?
On all of our trips, we camp in three-season tents (each person/couple sleeps in their own tent). Your guide(s) will prepare the meals in a “camp kitchen,” complete with a weather shelter, a hand-wash station, and water filter. For river trips, we add a little kitchen table. Nothing fancy– just a few creature comforts that can make all the difference after a long day of hiking, paddling, or just soaking up the midnight sun. We camp on either gravel bars or just the open tundra.
What is the food like?
You will enjoy three square meals a day and plenty of snacks. Our food is wholesome, delicious, and much of it organic. We do not serve freeze-dried meals. Hot drinks are plentiful in camp, and a nice way to stay hydrated and warm. Filtered water is always available. Many clients say it is the best food they have ever eaten on a camping trip.
What kind of weather can I expect?
Weather-wise, it’s prudent to expect nothing, and to be prepared for anything. On our arctic trips, summer temps range from the 20s to the 80s. It can be sunny, rainy, or snowy… all in one trip, or even in a single day.
June tends to be cooler. July tends to be “buggier” (mosquitoes). August tends to be wetter. On trips south of the Brooks Range, the weather is just as unpredictable, though generally warmer overall.
Whichever trip you join, Arctic Wild will help you prepare. We provide a detailed Equipment List to follow while you’re packing. Gear is available. As you get ready for your trip, you have access to unlimited, personalized customer service (Q&A about gear, conditions, how to pack, etc.). Before we fly into the field, your guide(s) will “double check” all gear during our mandatory Pre-Trip Meeting, which happens the day before your trip’s start date.
Who usually signs up for your trips?
Our guests range in age from 8 to 80, mostly falling somewhere closer to 50. They are men and women from all fifty states, as well as a handful of other countries. They are solo travelers, couples, families, or just friends. Our scheduled trips attract a diverse mix of adventurous guests. Our custom trips attract families, couples, groups of friends, or the occasional solo traveler.
Has my guide been on this river/ route before?
We have exceptionally skilled and experienced guides leading each of our trips. Your guide may have paddled the river you are on 10 times, or they may be exploring the area for the first time. Even guides who have worked with us for 20 or more years find themselves on new rivers every summer. Alaska is that big!
I’m in pretty good shape. Do I have to be an athlete to join one of your trips?
We try to make sure that folks are adequately prepared– physically and mentally– for our wilderness trips. We invite an open dialogue about your abilities and try to present a realistic picture of each trip in an effort to help everyone find the best trip for themselves. This is fair to the guest, the guide(s), and the rest of the group.
Wilderness travel involves risk. This risk is reduced when all guests are in good physical condition, and when they have reasonable expectations for their wilderness trip. You don’t have to be an athlete, but upper body strength, good balance on uneven terrain, and decent cardio capacity (for sustained paddling or backpacking) all make the trip safer and more enjoyable.
Many people set fitness goals in preparation for their wilderness trip. The incentive: the better shape you are in, the more fun you will have on the trip. We never run from bears, so you don’t have to worry about that.
What is your cancellation policy?
Our policy is as follows:
Deposit & Cancellation policy: For our scheduled trips, we require a $750 non-refundable deposit to confirm each reservation. Custom/ Private trips require a $5,000 non-refundable deposit to secure dates for the group.
Full payment is due 90 days prior to the trip start. Reservations made less than 90 days prior to the trip must be paid in full at time of booking. If you need to cancel more than 90 days prior to the trip, a refund will be given less any deposit. If 90 days or less notice of cancellation, 100% of funds paid will be retained by Arctic Wild. Neither the deposit nor the final payment will be refunded for any reason unless we are unable to operate your trip.
Travelers’ Insurance: We ask that everyone purchase traveler’s/trip cancellation insurance. If you need help deciding on the right policy for your needs we suggest you contact The Expedition Broker. Coverage should start when you send in your initial deposit and many insurance policies have benefits for policies purchased with 10 days of making a reservation. You may incur significant financial liability if you do not purchase insurance.
Trip Cancellation: In the rare event that we cancel a trip, we will give you a full refund. In such cases, financial responsibility of Arctic Wild, LLC. will be limited to the amount actually paid to Arctic Wild, by the participant(s), and shall not be extended to cover any other costs incurred by the participant(s). We reserve the right to refuse or terminate any participant, from any trip. We also reserve the right to cancel trips for under-enrollment. Please contact us for the minimum number of participants for your trip. Additionally, Arctic Wild is not obliged refund trip costs in full or part if weather or other factors make completing the trip impossible or dangerous.
Delays & Schedule Changes: All wilderness trips are dependent on the weather and flight-service schedules. Arctic Wild reserves the right to change trip dates and/or details (including trip location) for these or other reasons. Trip charges do not cover the costs incurred as a result of bad weather, sickness, or other contingencies. Participants who vary from scheduled itineraries shall bear any costs thereof, which are not deductible from the trip prices. Inclement weather, mechanical difficulties and a host of other factors can delay travel; we cannot assume financial responsibility for costs due to delays or other events beyond our control. We strongly encourage you to arrange your travel at trips end, to accommodate weather delays. Flights out of Alaska or other activities that will be difficult to reschedule should not be planned within 48 hours of the scheduled end of any trip.
Can I store some luggage with you while I'm out on a trip?
If your trip starts in Fairbanks or Kotzebue we do have a place you can store items you don’t want to bring into the field. We can’t be responsible for your valuables, but have never had any problems with theft either. Another option is to keep them at your hotel.
There are bears in every region of Alaska (except the Aleutians). Though they do pose a risk, we generally enjoy watching them and have few problems. Through our decades of experience and extensive research we have developed a bear safety program which emphasizes educating trip participants, prevention of conflict, and awareness.
We also issue everyone on all of our trips a can of pepper-spray and will train you in it’s use. It is a proven bear deterrent. Your guide generally brings a shotgun on your trip if weight permits. We do not allow trip participants to bring a firearm and firearms are not a central part of our bear-safety planning.