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Will we need heavy coats at the end of May?

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A group of us will be cruising round trip to Alaska from Vancouver for 7 days, leaving May 23rd.  Not sure what to pack.  I am assuming relatively warm clothes while on deck or excursions - but how warm?  Winter coat or light jacket?  Thanks

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The only times we used winter coats on our late May cruise last year were on Glacier days, both in Glacier Bay and a small boat excursion into Kenai Fjords. Otherwise, a light jacket or raincoat was sufficient on deck or port excursions (not to Glaciers).

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The key is to wear ' layers' in Alaska. 

The top layer should be a waterproof jacket.

The middle layer is for warmth so fleeces/hoodys/wool sweater.  You can rewear them so only bring a couple.

The layer next to your skin can be short/long sleeved T's. Or if you think you'll feel the cold, long underwear.

 

Bring a small daypack so you have somewhere to store the layers, as the weather can change dramatically during the day.  Plus it's a place to store your baseball cap, hat, gloves, scarf, binoculars, camera, wallet, sunglasses, lipbalm, etc.

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Expect anything. I have been in Alaska at the end of May where the highs were 40. It was colder that year.

 

Layers. I used my interior of my 3-1 Columbia jacket -  the fleece inside jacket that year.

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Since you live in upstate NY, you are familiar with cold weather and I am sure you own good quality cold weather gear.  It will be cold and windy out on the deck, and as MapleLeaves mentioned, layering is the best advice any of us can give you.

 

You might be more concerned about packing your cold weather clothes for this cruise.  You may want to check out Space Bags To Go on Amazon (and other retail sources).  While you probably won't be able to travel with just a Carry-on size bag, using one of these Space Bags containing your winter jacket, would fit in a 25 or 29 inch bag.  So as long as you don't hit that 50lbs airline weight limit, this Space Bag might make the decision of what cold weather outerwear to bring easier.

 

FWIW, I also will be cruising around the same time as you, and I plan to bring my winter coat (along with my fleece vest and rain/wind proof jacket).

Edited by Ferry_Watcher
added more information.

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I did 4 ports / 2 glaciers /11 days this May. Temps were from sunny and low 40's to close to 80

in ISP is was in the sunny in the low 40s, on the water whale watching ( cold winds) to nice at lunch to raining when getting back on the ship.

in Juneau it was nice but I was sick and stayed on the ship.

In Sitka, nice during the day but rain in the afternoon

Skagway was in the 40's and windy when we walked to our tour bus to high 70's to cold coming back from emerald lake ( it was too warm for the dogs to pull sleds) .

If you are going out on deck or balconies at glacier, well they are massive blocks of ice and the water is low 40's so any wind is cold.

I layer and bring a heavy coat for long excursions on the water, other than that layers.

 

On the ship it depends on how enclosed the ship is, on Ovation you could wear a light sweater or shorts and tee shirts depending on how you traverse from one end of the ship to the other.

 

A lot of it depends on the excursions you take and how much you want to be outdoors.

 

 

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We used our winter coats on glacier days in July.  I would certainly bring them in May.

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I bring my 3-1 Columbia jacket on Alaskan cruises.  It’s versatile enough for glacier days as well as rainy days.  As mentioned, layers, layers, layers!

 

i also pack gloves and a hat.  The wind of the ice can be pretty chilly.

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As everyone says layering is the key. I'm usually in a t shirt, flannel shirt, sweatshirt then a light jacket and adjust as to how cold it is. Gloves are nice so is a hat. Personally I like a scarf for when I'm out on deck to wrap around my neck to stay warm from the wind. I'd avoid a big bulky jacket as it takes a hug amount of space

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The thing is that I have been there multiple times in May and for the most part - it has been dry. Sometimes it has been very warm and other times cold. Sometimes it stars cold an gets warmer. Sometimes it stays cold all day. Impossible to predict.

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I think for us it was a very individual thing. DW is very cold sensitive. Me not so much. The only day that I felt the need for 4 layers was while at the glaciers when running on the fast boats and outside on the deck. When we went into Prince William Sound, DW wore a layer more than me and we both had taken along the thin outer water resistant Gore-Tex 4th layer in case of rain. Hers one one of the 3-N-1. Me just a Marino piece over Under-Armor.

 

2EJHmEy.jpg

 

The day on Resurrection Bay was very cold (40ish) and rainy. DW wore all 4 layers.

 

UPVbWTl.jpg

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Agree about the layers, but if you can pick up one of the puff down jackets that folds up very small, this would serve as a warm jacket yet takes up very little space in a suitcase.  I will also take my NorthFace rain jacket with fleece lining, that can be separated and again rain jacket part can fold up very compactly and put in backpack.  It's best to be prepared for any temperatures on any given day even in May.

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And rain, be prepared for moisture.   My first time in AK, I didn't bring a hat.   I quickly bought one soon after.

 

 

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For folks who live in those wonderful 'sunshine' states, many retailers have their cold weather outerwear on sale, or even better on clearance.  Perfect time to start shopping if you need to buy anything to keep you warm on your cruise.

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2 hours ago, Jnsplace1 said:

And rain, be prepared for moisture.   My first time in AK, I didn't bring a hat.   I quickly bought one soon after.

 

 

I would recommend a hat that will stay on in the wind and keep you dry /warm. My winter baseball type cap took a few hundred yard blow off my head and bounced down the pier, I finally caught it but it was tough to keep on on deck in the wind and rain, now I bring a beanie for the really cold days.

Edited by AlanF65

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1 hour ago, Ferry_Watcher said:

For folks who live in those wonderful 'sunshine' states, many retailers have their cold weather outerwear on sale, or even better on clearance.  Perfect time to start shopping if you need to buy anything to keep you warm on your cruise.

I bought a very nice Columbia Down coat about this time last year or a little later for about 60% off, North face was also on sale at the same time.

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We are in WI so we have cold weather gear.  We plan on bringing our winter coats.  But they are Eddie Bauer poofer style jackets that pack inside a pocket so they will not take up much space in the room or out in town to throw in a backpack.  We will also bring a fleece and a rain jacket so we should be set for a variety of temps (our winter jackets are also rain resistant).  We are traveling with my in-laws who only have bulky winter jackets so they will plan on layering a fleece and a rain jacket.  Then depending on how cold they might have a heavier shirt on.  

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I would say no to winter coats but everyone is different (obviously). 

 

We also cruised in late May to Alaska and we had beautiful weather...no rain.  So we were glad we didn't lug along our winter coats.  We both had rain jackets (from Costco $20) and then we just layered underneath...if we got too hot, we took off a layer.  We didn't get crazy about it - I would often wear a tank, a thin sweater and the rain jacket.  If I was worried about temps when we were off the ship, I'd take a zip up fleece jacket and keep it in my backpack so I could layer it on underneath the rain jacket (never needed to).  I also took a hat, gloves and a scarf.  I never wore the hat, but I did wear the gloves and scarf on a small boat tour.

 

We also just wore jeans each day - and we were perfectly fine.  But different strokes for different folks.

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Layers are the answer but make sure they wick -- wool is nasty as it gets wet and you will be cold. Sweating feet in wool socks. sweating with a wool layer next to your skin -- not going to be happy. There is a reason those of us that work / play in the snow all winter avoid wool and anything else that doesn't wick. 

 

Under Armour and others make great base layers. As for outerwear -- there is a reason Columbia is a price point product (i.e. cheap). Don't let those silver dots that they brag about fool you -- silver dots are just that, silver dots. Guarantee it will be a one and done purchase when it comes to cold weather.

 

 

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On 1/25/2020 at 4:48 PM, upstatecruisers said:

A group of us will be cruising round trip to Alaska from Vancouver for 7 days, leaving May 23rd.  Not sure what to pack.  I am assuming relatively warm clothes while on deck or excursions - but how warm?  Winter coat or light jacket?  Thanks

 

The answer to this question is one word:

 

LAYERS!

 

A heavy coat is overkill, but you might need three or four layers.

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19 hours ago, snowskier said:

Layers are the answer but make sure they wick -- wool is nasty as it gets wet and you will be cold. Sweating feet in wool socks. sweating with a wool layer next to your skin -- not going to be happy. There is a reason those of us that work / play in the snow all winter avoid wool and anything else that doesn't wick. 

 

Under Armour and others make great base layers. As for outerwear -- there is a reason Columbia is a price point product (i.e. cheap). Don't let those silver dots that they brag about fool you -- silver dots are just that, silver dots. Guarantee it will be a one and done purchase when it comes to cold weather.

 

 

I beg to differ on the silver dots.  I thought it was a bunch of hooey until I wore mine on a cold, windy day.  I was genuinely surprised at how warm the little jacket was.  Now, if it were below freezing, that may have been a different story.  The reason I bought the jacket (other than being on sale) was because it is more versatile with the zip-out jacket.  Now I'm more worried about keeping my feet & legs warm.

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Like it's been stated, layers is the key for sure. We're from Chicago and cruised in July. We understand cold weather. I didn't pack a winter coat, because I thought that would be too heavy, for wearing and definitely packing. So I did bring some other jackets, including a waterproof one. And then, once we were there, I found that I was colder than I thought I would be. I ended up buying a somewhat warmer jacket on the ship (good sale price!) that had a lighter fleece lining and more of a windproof outside (it's actually reversible). It was great to have that one more layer! And I will also say, I'm one who gets cold more easily than others! You can see our son in a sweatshirt, and me bundled up...

 

 

15391366_10211269628367267_4190870900184538185_o.jpg

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