Outdoor Jacket/Coat recommendation for Alaska

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#1
Littleton, CO
863 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Hi, this will be our first time to Alaska. We are going Aug 12th on the Statendam cruise/tour. What kind of outdoor jacket do you recommend? I read that someone had a down parka. I wonder if that would be overkill for us. I know we have to be concerned with rain, also. How do you stay within the airline luggage weight limits and/or set amount of luggage per passenger with having to pack for the cold? Do you carry your coats on the airlines?

We were recently at REI and saw "rain pants". Good or stupid idea?

Thanks!
#2
Bend, OR
214 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
You will get lots of suggestions most of which will involve layering. I think a down parka could be overkill unless you are expecting to be out and about in really inclimate weather.
I have used layering for several trips with an outer jacket made by Tilley, a Canadian travel clothing company. It has so many pockets I lose things and zip off sleeves allowing conversion to a vest-the sleeves stow in a large pocket. There are several travel clothing companies that make jackets of this type in varying price ranges.
I do not know what 'rain pants' are but have found zip off pants by several travel companies (Columbia, Eddie Bauer to name a few) that lend themselves to layering in various climates.
Mike
Sorry, forgot to say that I have no problem carrying the jacket on airplanes.
#3
Aloha, Oregon
1,666 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Last summer my daughter and I had the same problem. Not knowing what to pack. In Juneu and Skagway it was 90+ degrees each day. You might want to check one of the weather sites for Alaska. Wished we had done this as we would have packed appropriately
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#4
California - Italy - Switzerland
6,210 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
I brought my LL Bean Waterproof long jacket and pants and then just layered under neath it. Thermal vests are good to keep the upper body warm and not pack too much.

I planned for both rain and cold, but luckily only got cold and wind. Having a windproof outer layer seems to be the most versatile extra layer to have, because even if you don't get the extreme cold, you will probably get wind.

Covering at least head, hands, neck and ears well is a lot more packable and makes a huge difference for me.
#5
ontario, canada
791 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Being from Northern Ontario, Canada...we know cold. We were on the Volendam last September; and were quite comfortable with a waterproof jacket (Eddie Bauer); add to that a fleece vest on the Glacier Bay days; add to that waterproof pants on our whale watching with Harv'nMarv. I added silk long johns, but likely would have been OK without this layer. Enjoy this cruise, it is phenomenal!!
Marilyn
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#6
Brooklyn, NY
17,699 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I had a water/wind resistant jacket and layered underneath with a fleece top over long sleeve T shirt. Layering is the key
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#7
Rochester, NY
109 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
We just got back last week. We found found that fleece jacket (windproof is good) and a gore-tex (or similar) rain jacket worked great. We also did bring rain paints that we used in Juneau for kayaking and the heli/dogsled tours. It rained all day in Juneau. It really depends on your activities and the weather you happen to get.
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#8
Arizona
3,005 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by jiminyC_fan
Do you carry your coats on the airlines?
If you live in Colorado, I would think you may already have everything you need. It's just a matter of the weather and how many layers to put on each day. Do prepare for 40 degrees and rain and be happy when it's really 70 degrees and sunny. (Happened to us.)

Being from Arizona, I did take a heavy down coat because I am not accustomed to snow and ice. I only used it twice (Glacier Bay and Rainforest hiking outside Ketchikan). And I DID carry it on to the plane.

P.S.-You can buy anything you forget or don't bring, in the ports.
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#10
Littleton, CO
863 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
I can't thank everyone enough. Thanks for the suggestions. I think I will dress in layers but go out and look for a nice waterproof jacket. The one with the huge pockets sounds interesting! Living in CO we do have the hats, scarves, gloves type things. I have zip off pants but I believe are more khaki type material that I would think would absorb the rain.
#11
105,597 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
We have Gortex jackets with zipper linings -- great for all kinds of weather and for layering.
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#12
Florida
17,323 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
All of the above is good advice. Do bring a pair of light gloves to keep the hands warm. When your on a boating excursion, viewing glaciers the hands can get pretty cool while taking pics and using binoculars.
#13
Brooklyn, NY
2,445 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Based on recommendations from this board we bought the fleece lined jackets in our first Alaskan port---they worked wonderfully and were very inexpensive (I think they were $17.99). Everyone was selling them and many people had them. We are taking them on our British Isles cruise this summer .
Enjoy your cruise---we loved Alaska!
Marge
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#14
Littleton, CO
863 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Thanks Marge. Perfect price that is for sure and no packing.

aliaschief, I was thinking we needed heavier gloves so I am happy you posted. I am sure it wouldn't be that easy to take pictures or use binoculars with big and bulky gloves.
#15
Selkirk Manitoba Canada
268 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by jiminyC_fan
Hi, this will be our first time to Alaska. We are going Aug 12th on the Statendam cruise/tour. What kind of outdoor jacket do you recommend? I read that someone had a down parka. I wonder if that would be overkill for us. I know we have to be concerned with rain, also. How do you stay within the airline luggage weight limits and/or set amount of luggage per passenger with having to pack for the cold? Do you carry your coats on the airlines?

We were recently at REI and saw "rain pants". Good or stupid idea?

Thanks!
We went in late september only had a lite rain jacket and that was all we neededwe were from central Canada and the weather was warmer in Alaska
#16
California - Italy - Switzerland
6,210 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
The ship store on the Zuiderdam also had some extra warm items as well. Plus you get a discount if there is a HAL logo on them for returning cruiser members of the right Mariners Society level.
#17
California - Italy - Switzerland
6,210 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
If you plan on taking tours you may not be outdoors that much to need rain pants. But if you want to walk around on your own, they would make it a lot easier to get around.

There are some nice walks on your own in each port, and in Juneau there is a longish walk from the dock to town. But if you are on a tour the bus will pick you up close to the ship and keep you covered for most of the time.
#18
7,249 Posts
Joined Sep 2001
Originally posted by Love the beach
Based on recommendations from this board we bought the fleece lined jackets in our first Alaskan port---they worked wonderfully and were very inexpensive (I think they were $17.99). Everyone was selling them and many people had them. We are taking them on our British Isles cruise this summer .
Enjoy your cruise---we loved Alaska!
Marge
I brought one of the jackets too. I just love mine. I paided $19.99

Maria
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#19
Los Angeles
25 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
I was on the Oosterdam over Memorial Day and I took some long sleeved winter tee shirts, a mid weight cardigan and a light windbreaker and I was fine. I live in So California and am not acclimated to cooler weather.
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#20
Roselle, IL
12,905 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
As someone who has been to Alaska every year since 1997--except 2003--I can tell you that when the Sun is out Alaska can be nice and warm and when "old sol" is not out or goies in it can be rather cool.
Himself