Anchorage Alaska Trip Advice

Updated on October 28, 2014
L.H. asks from Coleman, TX
8 answers

We are a family of 4 and have business in Anchorage mid January. Generally speaking our kids travel with us (homeschooled) and we take time to learn about cultures, traditions and places of interest while there. So far they have visited over 25 states and I believe this experience is part of their education. I am excited about this trip but also wondering about the costs of investing in the garments we will need. I've been told to expect -15 for temperature at that time of the year and could be as cold as -40. Brrr!

I know the Alaska landscape is going to be far different than any we've experienced. We live in Texas so we don't have snow jackets, boots, gloves, etc. I'm trying to wrap my head around investing in this type of clothing which might be a one time experience. Does anyone have any suggestions about where to find this type of clothing second hand? We do not snow ski so I don't know that we would use this gear very often if at all.

Also if anyone has any tips, I would be so appreciative.


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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the responses so far. We will be in Boston for business in December so I hope to find some thrift stores for items then.

I have never bought snow boots. Do I buy them the same size as regular boots? Also thinking about buying ski bibs for the kids (15 & 11). My daughter is a size 5 in juniors, what size bib would she wear?

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answers from Anchorage on

I live in Anchorage so feel free to message me with any questions. There are tons of fun things to do here in January. We have many thrift stores here where you can pick up winter gear cheap. Yes expect cold temps. Negative 40 is extremely rare here. It will be closer to negative 10 or so. Alaska is simply beautiful in the winter. Its a winter wonderland.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Denver on

So, my number one thing is check when the iditarod starts. I think its the beginning of February but not totally sure, that would be really awesome to experience. I doubt you have anyone to borrow that type of gear from but you will definiately need it. My husband and I went up the same time of year 2 years ago. We had a blast but we bundled up like crazy and I am used to the cold. A key is good socks, hats and boots. You could skimp on the other stuff a little. Maybe get used gear online or new, discount stuff from sierra trading post.
That is such a wonderful experience for your kids. If you learn about Alaska history and Alaska natives beforehand that would be great, which is sounds like you're planning to do. Alaska history is very interesting as is the current native culture. You will also be close enough to denali national park that you could do an overnight or day trip. Just bring some wool blankets to have in the car as if something happens you should be prepared. Oh, and those little foot and hand warmers that people use for skiing would be really helpful too.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Many people post on Facebook or a place where you have contact with many friends you know requesting something that is a one use item (in your case snow gear for you and your family). You never know a few friends may be will to loan the items you need.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Here in California you can rent snow/ski wear at many sports stores, check into that.
Otherwise, ebay.
You can't NOT have cold weather gear in Alaska in January.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I would check a thrift store or something like that. It does get extremely cold up there so you all need to be dressed accordingly. Do you know anyone in colder climates? Maybe they can look on craigslist and ship stuff to you prior to your trip.

By the way I think this would be an awesome homeschooling trip.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Well I would imagine that a big part of your homeschool experience is about the cost of education and travel, right? You want to go to Alaska in January then you will need to be prepared, and that includes clothing.
My advice? Start teaching your kids how to pay for this lifestyle that you have chosen for them NOW.
Once (if) they get to college they will be expected to pay their way so this is good practice for that.
Babysitting, pet sitting, yard care, washing cars, whatever.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

How long will you be in AK? How much of that time do you expect you and the kids will be outdoors? Where will you be staying at that time? if you plan a ski/ snowmobile trip, they often will rent you appropriate clothes for the excursion. Maybe you can ask to keep it for the length of your stay.

F. B.

I've never been to AK, but I've been to Iceland in January. Be prepared for curtailed daylight. Be prepare for cold like you haven't experienced before. If you spend any amount of time outdoors, prep to refuel with calorie dense foods. Extreme cold can be challenging.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Hmmm anchorage at that time is pretty boring. Try skiing (can rent skis) could do that at alyeska or could go to portage to see the glacier which is near the same place. Take the train to Whittier which I hear is beautiful. Def try thrift stores or FB yardsales if you want to save on winter gear. Got some great advice on that. Or sign up for e-mails from companies like LZl Bean,🎵REI, Lands End to get savings codes or google that & online shop.
Good Luck & Have fun,

1 mom found this helpful
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