What Clothes Should Be Taken On An Alaska Cruise In September

Planning for an Alaska cruise in September? Wondering what clothes you should pack for this breathtaking adventure? Look no further! This article will guide you through the essential clothing items to take with you on your trip to the magnificent Alaskan wilderness. From layering strategies to the must-have accessories, we’ve got you covered to ensure you’re fully prepared for the varying weather conditions and unforgettable experiences that await you on your Alaska cruise. Get ready to set sail in style and comfort!

General Climate in Alaska in September

September in Alaska brings the transition from summer to fall, bringing cooler temperatures and occasional rainfall. It is important to be prepared for diverse weather conditions, as Alaska’s climate can vary greatly throughout the day. Layering is key to ensuring your comfort throughout the day, whether you are engaging in outdoor activities or exploring indoor venues.

Average Temperatures

In September, the average temperatures in Alaska can range from the mid-40s to the mid-60s Fahrenheit (7 to 18 degrees Celsius). However, it is important to note that temperatures can fluctuate, and it’s always better to be prepared for lower temperatures. Mornings and evenings tend to be cooler, while the afternoons can be relatively warm. Therefore, having the flexibility to add or remove layers is essential to stay comfortable throughout the day.

Rainfall and Weather Conditions

During September, Alaska experiences moderate rainfall, and it is not uncommon to encounter wet weather conditions. Rain showers can be frequent, so having appropriate rain gear is crucial. Additionally, Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, and it is not uncommon to experience rapid changes in weather patterns. Even on days when the weather is generally pleasant, it is advisable to be prepared for unexpected showers or chilly gusts of wind.

Layering is Key

Importance of Layering

In Alaska’s ever-changing climate, layering your clothing is the key to adaptability and comfort. By layering, you have the flexibility to adjust your clothing according to the changing weather conditions, ensuring that you can enjoy your activities without feeling too hot or too cold. This strategy allows you to easily add or remove layers as needed, keeping you comfortable throughout the day.

Types of Layers to Consider

When considering what clothing to pack for your Alaska cruise in September, it is essential to include various types of layers. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, which will keep you dry by wicking away any perspiration. Over this, add an insulating layer such as a fleece or down jacket, which will help to trap body heat. Finally, top it off with a waterproof and windproof jacket to protect yourself from rain, wind, and any sudden temperature drops.

Clothing for Outdoor Activities

Waterproof and Windproof Jacket

A high-quality waterproof and windproof jacket is a must-have for any outdoor activities in Alaska during September. Look for a jacket that is both breathable and durable, ensuring that it can withstand the elements while keeping you comfortable. This jacket will be your first line of defense against rain, wind, and even light snowfall.

Fleece or Down Jacket

As temperatures can vary, especially in the mornings and evenings, having a fleece or down jacket is essential. These insulating layers will provide warmth and comfort when temperatures drop, while still being lightweight and easy to pack. Opt for a jacket that can be easily layered with other clothing items, allowing you to adjust your warmth level as needed.

Hiking Pants or Comfortable Jeans

For outdoor activities such as hiking or exploring, opt for comfortable pants that allow for ease of movement. Depending on personal preference, this could mean hiking pants or comfortable jeans. Look for pants made from quick-drying and moisture-wicking materials, ensuring that any sweat or rain will not leave you feeling wet and uncomfortable.

Long-Sleeve Shirts

Pack a selection of long-sleeve shirts made from lightweight and breathable materials. These shirts provide an extra layer of warmth when necessary, and they also give protection from the sun on warmer days. Opt for shirts with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.

T-Shirts and Tank Tops

While long-sleeve shirts are essential for layering, also include a few t-shirts and tank tops for the days when temperatures are higher. These lightweight options are perfect for exploring cities, attending indoor activities, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the coastline.

Hiking Socks

When participating in outdoor activities, having appropriate socks is crucial to ensure comfort and prevent blisters. Look for hiking socks made from moisture-wicking materials that offer cushioning and support. It is advisable to pack multiple pairs to ensure you have clean, dry socks readily available throughout your trip.

Sturdy and Waterproof Hiking Boots

Investing in a pair of sturdy and waterproof hiking boots is essential for any outdoor excursions in Alaska. Look for boots that offer ankle support, a reliable grip, and are made from waterproof materials. These boots will keep your feet dry and comfortable, even if you encounter wet and muddy terrains.

Clothing for Indoor Activities

Comfortable Shoes

While exploring Alaska’s indoor venues, such as museums or restaurants, it is important to have comfortable shoes. Opt for shoes with good arch support and cushioning, as you may spend long periods on your feet. Sneakers, flats, or loafers are all excellent choices to provide both comfort and style.

Casual or Dressy Outfits

Alaska in September offers a mix of casual and dressy activities, so be sure to pack a variety of outfits to suit different occasions. For casual outings, such as sightseeing or casual dinners, opt for comfortable yet stylish outfits. For dressier venues or formal evenings on your cruise, plan to bring a few elegant ensembles to ensure you are appropriately dressed.

Layering Pieces like Cardigans or Shawls

To add versatility to your outfits, consider packing layering pieces such as cardigans or shawls. These items can easily be added or removed as needed, allowing you to adjust your warmth level and transform your outfit from day to night. They also provide an extra layer of warmth for cooler indoor spaces.

Casual Dresses or Skirts

For those who prefer dresses or skirts, pack a few casual options that can be dressed up or down. Opt for lightweight materials that offer comfort and ease of movement, as well as versatility in styling. These pieces can be paired with tights, boots, or high heels, depending on the occasion.

Nice Shirts or Blouses

For dressier occasions, pack a selection of nice shirts or blouses that pair well with different bottoms. Look for materials that are wrinkle-resistant, making them easy to pack and wear. Depending on personal style, choose from classic button-down shirts, chiffon blouses, or silk tops to add elegance to your wardrobe.

Jeans or Dress Pants

To complete your indoor outfit options, pack a few pairs of jeans or dress pants. Jeans are a versatile choice, suitable for both casual and semi-formal occasions. Dress pants provide a more polished look and can be paired with blouses or shirts for a more refined appearance. Opt for comfortable fits and materials that allow for easy movement.


Warm Hat

A warm hat is essential for any outdoor activities in Alaska during September. Look for a hat that covers your ears and is made from insulating materials. Beanies or fleece-lined hats are excellent choices to provide warmth and protect you from chilly winds.


Having gloves is crucial to protect your hands from the cold temperatures. Opt for gloves that offer insulation while still allowing for dexterity, so you can engage in activities such as photography or handling belongings with ease. Look for waterproof and windproof options to shield your hands from rain and wind.

Scarf or Neck Gaiter

A scarf or neck gaiter is a versatile accessory that can provide warmth and protection against wind. Depending on personal preference, choose from infinity scarves, knit scarves, or fleece neck gaiters. These accessories can be layered with your jacket to shield your neck and face from cold temperatures.


Despite the cooler temperatures, it is still essential to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Pack a pair of sunglasses with UV protection to safeguard your eyes and keep you comfortable when the sun is shining. Polarized sunglasses are excellent for reducing glare, especially when observing glaciers or bodies of water.


Even during September, it is crucial to protect your skin from the sun’s rays. The UV index can still be high, and the reflection off snow or water can intensify sunburn risk. Pack a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF rating to effectively shield your skin from harmful UV rays. Apply it generously to exposed skin before heading outdoors.

Bug Spray

While bug activity tends to decrease in September in Alaska, it is still wise to have bug spray on hand for any outdoor excursions. Mosquitoes or biting insects may still be present, especially in certain areas. Look for a bug spray that provides protection against a variety of insects to ensure a comfortable experience.

Swimwear and Spa Facilities

Indoor Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs on Cruise Ships

Many cruise ships have indoor swimming pools and hot tubs, allowing you to relax and unwind while enjoying the stunning views of Alaska. Pack your swimwear, including a swimsuit and cover-up, to take advantage of these onboard facilities during your downtime.

Use of Swimwear in Spas or Thermal Suites

If you plan on visiting spas or thermal suites, be sure to check their specific dress code requirements. Some locations may require specific swimwear or prohibit the use of swimwear altogether. To avoid any inconvenience, do your research ahead of time and pack accordingly.

Formal Nights and Dinner Attire

Cruise Line Dress Codes

Most cruise lines have dress codes for formal nights and certain dining venues. These dress codes can vary, so it is important to review your cruise line’s specific guidelines. Formal nights often require elegant attire, such as cocktail dresses, suits, or tuxedos, while other nights may be more casual. Be sure to pack accordingly to adhere to the expected dress code.

Options for Formal and Semi-Formal Attire

For formal nights, pack elegant attire such as a cocktail dress or a suit. Ladies can also opt for formal skirts paired with dressy blouses. For semi-formal evenings, choose outfits that strike a balance between comfort and style. Slacks with a nice blouse or a dressy skirt paired with a smart top are excellent choices. Accessorize with statement jewelry and stylish shoes to complete your formal or semi-formal look.

Special Considerations for Excursions

Glacier Excursions

If you plan on experiencing a glacier excursion, such as kayaking or walking on the ice, it is important to dress appropriately. Layer up with insulating clothing, including a waterproof and windproof jacket. Wear sturdy and waterproof boots to protect your feet and ensure good traction on the slippery ice. It is also wise to bring gloves and a hat to provide additional warmth during these chilly adventures.

Wildlife Viewing Tours

When embarking on wildlife viewing tours, comfort and mobility are key. Dress in comfortable layers that allow for easy movement, such as hiking pants or jeans, paired with long-sleeve shirts and a waterproof jacket. Consider wearing neutral colors to blend in with the surroundings and avoid disturbing the wildlife. Additionally, bring binoculars to enhance your wildlife-watching experience.

Hiking or Adventure Activities

For hiking or adventure activities, it is essential to dress in appropriate and comfortable clothing. Opt for hiking pants or comfortable jeans that allow for ease of movement and protect your legs from thorny or rough terrain. Wear long-sleeve shirts and a waterproof jacket to shield yourself from various weather conditions. Ensure you have sturdy and waterproof hiking boots to provide stability and support during your outdoor adventures.

Floatplane Tours

If you plan on taking a floatplane tour, it is important to dress in comfortable clothing that allows for easy movement in a small aircraft. Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics that will keep you comfortable during the flight. Layering is also essential, as the temperatures can vary inside the plane and during any stops you may make along the way. Additionally, wear comfortable footwear as you may need to step onto water or uneven terrain during the tour.

Rainy Weather Gear

Waterproof Pants

To keep your legs dry during rainy weather, pack a pair of waterproof pants. These pants are designed to repel water and are often made from materials such as nylon or Gore-Tex. Look for pants with an adjustable waist to ensure a comfortable fit over your other layers.

Rain Boots or Waterproof Shoes

When rain is in the forecast, it is wise to have a pair of rain boots or waterproof shoes to keep your feet dry. These shoes are designed to repel water and provide additional traction on wet surfaces. Opt for comfortable options that allow for extended periods of walking or standing.

Umbrella or Poncho

To provide additional protection from rain showers, pack a compact and lightweight umbrella or a waterproof poncho. These items can easily be carried in your bag and quickly deployed when needed. Look for options that offer good coverage and are wind-resistant, ensuring that you stay dry even in blustery conditions.

Laundry Facilities and Packing Tips

Laundry Options on Cruise Ships

If you are vacationing on a cruise ship, it is worth considering the laundry options available onboard. Most cruise ships offer laundry facilities or laundry services for guests to use. This allows you to pack fewer items and have access to clean clothes throughout your trip. Be sure to check the specific pricing and availability of these services and plan accordingly.

Packing Tips to Maximize Space and Versatility

To ensure that you can comfortably pack all the necessary clothing for your Alaska cruise in September, consider these packing tips. Roll your clothes instead of folding them to save space and minimize wrinkles. Pack versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. Opt for lightweight and quick-drying materials, as they are easier to pack and dry in case of unexpected rain or spills. Additionally, consider using packing cubes or compression bags to maximize space and keep your belongings organized.

In conclusion, when packing for an Alaska cruise in September, it is essential to be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions. Layering is key to ensuring your comfort throughout the day, whether you are engaging in outdoor activities or exploring indoor venues. Pack a variety of clothing items and accessories, such as waterproof and windproof jackets, hiking pants, long-sleeve shirts, comfortable shoes, and warm accessories. Additionally, consider the specific activities and excursions you plan to participate in, such as glacier excursions, wildlife viewing tours, or floatplane tours, and pack accordingly. With proper planning and packing, you will be ready to fully enjoy the beauty and adventures that Alaska has to offer in September.

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