Packing for 6 days for Alaska, in a carry-on?? Yes, it can be done!!

How? Allow me to show you!

Normally the sheer thought of packing for Alaska stirs up thoughts of multiple suitcases and loads of clothing and gear. You might think, “well, why didn’t you just check a bag”, but if you’re like me, I can’t stand to pay the extra fees airlines tack on to check a bag. So I fought hard and won this time! I packed for 6 days in ALASKA in 1 carry-on and 1 backpack!

To start with, let me first assure you, no I didn’t wear shorts and flip flops! It’s Alaska in mid-May after all!  So NO, I didn’t reuse the same 2 outfits for 6 days, and no, I didn’t wear 15 layers of clothing going through airport security! I used a regular hard case roll bag and 1 regular backpack.

With packing minimal, the trick is to plan plan plan! Plan out each day of your trip with each outfit. By knowing your outfit choices and putting them together before hand, you will be saved from the tempted, “just throw some clothes in there in case I might need them”.

Also, by putting outfits together you can make sure that you don’t need to take 10 pairs of shoes with you! I packed one pair and wore one pair. The pair I packed weren’t small either… They were my favorite pair of duck boots, because well, its Alaska and if you don’t already know, it rains just a little, it can get chilly and if you want to look “local” you gotta have duck boots!

There are so many different thoughts about packing clothing. Roll?, stack?, compress?, origami? I personally like the roll technique and used it for my packing to save space. I personally do think it does help to use all of the room available. I also used my shoes. What do I mean? Fill those babies up! They make great sock holders or breakable items (extra camera lenses) and why not use that extra space. After I had all of my main items that I had to have, I filled the available space with all the other random items. (Gloves, belts, small binoculars etc.)

Carry-on Packing for Alaska

When you go to Alaska, no matter the time of year, I do recommend a jacket and a rain jacket. It is a must! But, I know what you’re thinking, those take up lots of space. COMPRESSION BAGS!

I took my Columbia 2 part jacket. The outer layer is a rain jacket and the inner is a warm heat insulating core. To condense and save space, I used a vacuum sealed compression bag. My favorite kind is the ones that do not need power. All you need to do is stuff the bag then roll the air out. There is a one way air valve in the bag. It is a great way to save space and get more into your bag!

Another item that I could not go without was my large camera, a case and an extra long range lens for those amazing wildlife opportunities! Yes, I did manage to pack it too but in my backpack.

Word of advice on packing carry on liquids and toiletries…

When packing in a carry-on, one of the main things you must remember is your toiletries must meet airline restrictions. Also, do not make the mistake of putting your liquid bag in your zippered carry-on. Make sure to put them in your backpack for easier airport security checks. Trust me, it’s not fun to have to open a “bursting at the seems” luggage case at TSA!

Along with all the other items that I listed already, I also took my laptop, notebook, headphones and loads of chargers. But, one of the most important things I packed was a zipped up duffel bag!! Why? Because when I got to my first hotel I wanted to be able to reorganize! Also, you know that when you travel you are bound to buy things, well, having an extra bag with you allows you to have the option of checking a bag when going home. Yes, I know that dreaded extra fee, but it’s worth it to carry all your “travel loot” home!

Well that’s how I did it! Have you ever packed in a carry-on for a trip that should have definitely been in a checked luggage? If so tell me about it. Did it work for you?