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What To Wear For Alaska Winter Trip – Ultimate Packing List

Before heading to Alaska for a winter trip, we researched a lot about what to wear and pack which helped us to survive in the Alaska Winters. Here’s the ultimate packing list of what to wear in Alaska in Winters.

We visited Alaska in March 2020. March is a good month to plan your trip to Alaska in winters for two reasons – 12 hours of daylight & Northern lights. We found the temperatures varying between -15 C to -25C. We heard in December and January the temperature goes below -30C in Fairbanks. So, going out at night to see the Northern lights is not an easy task. 

Matanuska Glacier

What to Wear

We wore 4 layers and based on temperatures around we removed the layers. Like, if you are inside a building (eq, Hotel) which is usually heated you may need to take off few layers to feel comfortable and try avoid sweating (sweating is also not good when you will be going out in freezing temperatures)

Here are the details about different layers you would need to wear in Alaska winters.

Base Layer – This is basically thermals and we bought the woolen ones. You can choose either synthetic or woolen for the base layer. After a lot of researching, we picked this Merino Wool Thermals from SmartWool. Here’s what we bought  – 

(1) Base layer top – Woman

(2) Base Layer Bottom – Woman

(3) Base layer top – Men

(4) Base layer bottom – Men 

Mid Fleece Layer – This layer can be anything with fleece 

(1) Women’s Fleece Layer Top

(2) Women’s Bottom – If you are wearing Jeans as outer layer this one can be used as a mid bottom layer. 

 (5) Men’s Fleece Layer Top  

Outer Layer 

 (1) You can wear jeans as bottom outer layer. However, if you are planning for any outdoor activities, you can checkout these fleece lined snow pants to protect yourself from the icy cold temperatures

 Women’s Bottoms and Men’s Bottoms.

(2) Pair a jacket with a parka as the outer top layer

– Packable Jackets   – Women  and Men 

– Parka – provides protection from windy conditions and  especially important during night time (when you are out in the wild for northern lights) –Women and Men

Other option insulated one piece suit – Women & Men .


Beanies – This is to protect your head from harsh winters – Women & Men (and avoids headache due to cold!)

Headband – This is helpful for windy days & nights – Women & Men

Balaclava – I think this is best to keep you warm for any outdoor activities in cold weather including Northern light viewing in extreme temperatures.

Gloves – For any outdoor activities, we found ski gloves are best to survive the cold and chills in Alaska. For others – Buy something with wool or fleece like these.

Mittens – We found the woolen mittens are best to keep us warm. Also, this is the best to operate your phones as they can be pulled up over your fingers and can be folded back. You can pair this with liner gloves inside which are thin so that no part of your hands are exposed.

Socks – Wear 2 to 3 layers of socks , starting with the Liner socks which are thin and then Insulated or Woolen socks over it. 

(Suggestion : Opt for knee length insulated/woolen socks for better protection ! )

Shoes – We bought this shoes to survive the cold winters in Alaska – Women & Men (Not the exact but we used similar kinds)

Warmers – This is an amazing thing to survive extreme cold weather. When you feel cold even after so many layers you have worn, this is something you will need to survive specially during nighttime. (1) Hand Warmer (2) Foot Warmer (3) Body WarmerDo read the instructions and warnings before using them.

Walk Traction for hiking in case you are planning one. 

Bring your favorite swimsuit for taking a dip in the Hot Springs.

TIP : Always wear the layers just before you plan to leave the hotel since the temperature is warmer inside and you may not feel comfortable wearing the winter clothes for a longer time. Start with Socks -> Thermals -> Mid layers -> Shoes -> Outer later (Jacket or Parka). 

Note – These are the items we bought, however not from the same website we linked – you may check the item in a different website or store for a discounted price. 

Few of the items are not cheap. We live in New Jersey and for us it is like an investment. For those who are looking for a single time use may not find it as a best option. You can check Amazon for cheaper options and would suggest to buy after reading the reviews. 

Other necessary things to carry

Sunglasses – Bring your sunglasses to reduce the evaporation of your eyes’ tears and natural moisture. Also, it helps to protect from UV rays which may damage the eyes. Carry an eye moisturizer as well.

Sunscreen – Yes, even in winters sunscreens (for face and body) are essential to protect your skin from harsh UV rays.

Lip balm  – Due to dry weather, it is important to keep a chapstick handy all the time.

Body Moisturizer  –  Winters can be harsh on the skin, so carry a thick Body Moisturizer. It is helpful in such extreme dry weathers to keep your skin healthy.

The most important thing to remember is to keep yourself warm and comfortable. Drink Hot Chocolate and enjoy your time in Alaska. Hope this packing guide helps you to plan your trip to Alaska confidently. 

Thanks for reading! Do let us know if this guide helped you anyway – we would love to know. Pin it or bookmark this post for future reference.

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  1. I’m following to see what you wore as we are going in March! A few weeks! What did you wear under yours outer layer when you were more so in the snow? Did you wear 3 layers or is that too much?

    1. When we were out in the snow or cold, we used to wear a base layer and a mid-fleece layer under our outer layer. Although it did feel a bit heavy to move, layering up is essential to stay warm, especially when you go out at night to watch the Northern Lights. You can also check this Insulated One-Piece Suit. for alternative.

  2. Hi Pranjal and Priyanka,

    Super helpful blog and video. Thank you for the same.

    Seeing northern lights is on my bucket list since long time and this year I want to plan to go in March with my 10 year old daughter. Can you please let me know-
    1) would you recommend traveling with kids during this time of the year?
    Would you recommend any specific dates of week in March?
    2) for the rental car, would you require snow chains, would it be safe to drive or would you recommend booking tours and avoid driving as a single adult?
    3) how much did it cost for 2 or per person if I would like to follow the exact same itinerary?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Yes, it is worth visiting Fairbanks if you want to see Northern Lights (mainly), touch down Arctic circle, visiting Denali National Park and Husky rides.

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