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Question of the Day: How Should I Dress to Kayak?

Our number one question is always 'What should I wear?'  It's a great question.  You've probably never been to Alaska and chances are you've heard its cold and filled with bird sized mosquitos.  

Well, that's partially true.  Here along the coast the mosquitos aren't too bad, although if you head into the interior you'll want to have some pretty strong mosquito repellent.  Seward's location along the coast also means we're in a pretty temperate environment.  It rarely gets really hot, and it rarely gets really cold, although we can have pretty rainy conditions.  Check out our weather page for detailed weather information.

Now don't be fooled by the sun because clouds are a kayaker's friend in Resurrection Bay.  Our bay has steep walls, cold water and glaciers high in the mountains all around and when the sun shines we often get what is called Anabatic Wind.  In short, on sunny days when the temperature rises we can experience pretty stiff on shore winds in Resurrection Bay.

On cloudy days the temperature often doesn't vary much and we can experience calm, beautiful paddling weather.

Okay, now that we have you hoping for a beautiful cloudy day let's go back to the original question, 'How should I dress to kayak?'

Our best piece of advice for dressing for any type of travel in Alaska is LAYERS.  Rather than having one heavy piece of clothing think about making multiple layers work to your advantage.  This method will ensure you have clothing for any type of Alaskan weather.

Number one rule for any type of adventure travel (hiking, kayaking, fishing, etc): DITCH THE COTTON!  Cotton will not keep you warm when it's wet.  'Cotton kills' is a common slogan in the adventure world.  Instead, pick up synthetic or wool fabrics.  Did you know Merino wool does not itch?

Base Layers:  Pack at least one long sleeved and one short sleeved top.  Also pack a pair of bottoms.  It can get chilly even in the middle of summer.

Mid Layer:  We like mid weight pull over or zip tops.  This can also double as a dry weather jacket.

Water Proof Layer:  Don't skimp here.  Much of coastal Alaska is considered temperate rainforest. Seward averages 60" of precipitation a year and places like Ketchikan can exceed 13 FEET of precipitation annually.  At minimum you'll need Gore Tex or a similar level of waterproof material. Many Alaskans opt for rubberized rain gear when it's really coming down.

Foot wear:  You'll need sturdy hiking shoes with good tread, especially if you're thinking about venturing onto Seward's trails.  Something waterproof is probably a good idea.

Accessories: Knit hat, baseball cap, warm gloves, waterproof gloves, sunscreen and bug repellent.

The last, most important item to put on your pack list: A sense of Adventure!  You're about to venture into the Last Frontier!   Get ready to have some fun!

Hopefully you're feeling a bit more prepared to pack.  Feel free to comment with any questions!