Pre-Trip Information

Please read through our Pre Trip Information closely. It will help you to prepare for your trip to Alaska with Alaska Outdoors and adds to the information provided on the rest of the website. Our goal is to provide you with the most outstanding trip experience possible. This information is designed to help us (and you) with achieving this goal.


Pre-Trip Questionnaire

Please return our Pre-Trip Information Questionnaire within 2 weeks of making your reservation. You can fill out our Pre Trip Questionnaire Online, or you can download it and email (or regular mail) it to us.


You are responsible for knowing and understanding all of this information prior to your trip participation. If you have any questions let us know.


I. General Information

Reservation Confirmation

Reservations will be confirmed upon the receipt of a deposit of $200 per person for 7-day trips, and $300 per person for longer tours and for river tours. Deposits may be paid for with a credit card, personal/ traveler check or money order and are on a first come first served basis. No reservations can be held without a deposit.

Final Payment

Full payment for all tours is due 60 days prior to departure. If Alaska Outdoors is notified in writing:

  • 60 days prior to departure: $50 administration fee per person is retained
  • 30-59 days prior to trip departure: 25% of trip cost is retained
  • 29 or fewer days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost is retained

Cancelled and/or Altered Trips

Alaska Outdoors reserves the right to cancel or alter any trip prior to or during your tour for reasons beyond our control. Reasons include, but are not limited to weather conditions, changes in ferry schedules, road conditions, and wildlife unpredictability. Alaska Outdoors is not responsible for expenses incurred as a result of these changes. In the rare event that we have to alter your trip in the field Alaska Outdoors will offer a reasonable alternative and no refunds will be granted. In the rare event that Alaska Outdoors cancels a tour prior to departure a full refund will be granted.

Not Included

Not included in the tour price are; airfare to or from Anchorage, accommodations before or after your trip, optional activities, guide gratuities, alcoholic beverages, pay showers, and items of a personal nature. Two meals per 7-10 day trip are also not included and are taken at restaurants (some of our favorites).

Many of our guests ask us about gratuities. Guide gratuities are common in the recreation industry and can range anywhere from 5-20% depending on the length of the trip and/ or activity, the guide’s level of involvement, and ultimately your satisfaction. Gratuities are always appreciated.

Acknowledgement of Risk

All trip participants will be required to sign an “Acknowledgement of Risk” form prior to trip participation. If you would like to read our Risk Form prior to your arrival in Alaska please contact us and we would be happy to send it to you. Participants under the age of 18 years require parent or guardian signatures.

Many of the tour operators that will conduct your independent day tours will also require signed Acknowledgement of Risk forms. Please contact us if you would like to receive a copy of any of these.

Anyone under 18 who is not accompanied on the tour by a legal parent or guardian must have their parent/guardian complete this form and mail it to Alaska Outdoors prior to their tour. Please request a copy from us and we will send it to you.

Hotel Accommodations

We have a special arrangement with a few hotels in Anchorage that give our guests a discount off of standard room rates ranging from 20-25%. Contact us for details.

If you plan to make other hotel arrangements let us know as soon as possible. We will arrange to pick you up from your accommodations at a time other than 9:00 am.

Travelers may also arrange a pick-up directly from the airport on day 1 if desired.

We will return to Anchorage approximately 5:00-5:30 pm on the last day of the tour and can drop you off at your hotel or at the airport.

Combination Tours

Combination tours include a hotel stay in Anchorage the night between trips. Dinner is not provided on this evening. A continental breakfast will be provided by the hotel.

Pre Trip Departure Questionnaires

All trip participants must submit pre-trip departure questionnaires. These forms gather information concerning your medical history and dietary habits and will benefit us in preparing for your trip. This information should be submitted to Alaska Outdoors shortly after making your deposit.

Safety

Many of the locations we travel to are remote by U.S. standards. Medical attention may be hours away at certain locations. It is very important that group participants maintain a high level of safety awareness at all times and avoid potential accidents. Our guides are certified in First Aid and CPR.

Our Travel Style

Our trips travel self contained with a passenger van and trailer to carry all of our equipment and your belongings. At our campgrounds your guide, with assistance from trip members, will organize the unloading of the trailer, camp set up and breakdown, post meal clean-up and the like. With a little teamwork, our efficient systems make these tasks quick and easy. “Leave No Trace” minimum impact camping techniques will be followed.

What to Pack

Included with this information packet is a recommended packing list. Please follow the suggestions carefully. Try not to over pack and ensure that you can lift your luggage and can carry it for short distances over moderately uneven terrain. We recommend that you take special notice of the need for adequate rain and foot protection, these are very important for comfortable outdoor travel in Alaska.

Sleeping Bags and Pads

Sleeping bags should be rated to at least 30 degrees. Early and late season trips (early June and late Aug) bags should be rated closer to 20 degrees. Pads should be durable and comfortable. If you prefer to rent this equipment, you can do so from us ($25 each/ $45 both).

Camping Facilities

Most trips camp at established campgrounds with toilet facilities. Some locations have running water with flush toilets, some do not. We supply drinking water and biodegradable soap for hand and face washing. Showers will generally be available at least every other day and may be pay showers located near our campgrounds. Showers average about $5. Towel rentals are sometimes available, though it is advised to bring your own.

Wildlife Encounters

While it is unlikely that we will encounter wildlife, including moose and bears, in campgrounds and on trails, it does rarely happen. With proper planning, and group participation, these events can be the highlight of our trip! Your guide will explain proper behaviors and etiquettes concerning wildlife encounters and food handling, and all participants will be expected to follow these protocols for their own safety and the safety of the group.

Day 1 of Your Alaska Outdoors Experience

Your trip leader will arrive at your Anchorage accommodations at a pre arranged pick up time depending on your location and number of different pick-ups, usually between 9:00-9:30 am.

Please be patient if your guide is a few minutes’ delayed, sometimes unforeseen circumstances arise. Upon arrival they will park and greet you in the lobby or in front of your accommodations.

Be prepared for outdoor activity this day and all travel days. Have a day pack ready with water, rain gear, sweater, and incidentals; I.D., sunglasses, baseball cap, insect repellent, etc. Leave your weather resistant/ proof footwear accessible in the event we encounter inclement conditions (footwear can be tucked under the seats inside the van). All other luggage will be loaded into our trailer and will generally not be available while we are traveling.

The group will make a brief stop shortly after leaving the hotel on the first day allowing everyone the opportunity to pick up last minute items: bug repellent, film, special beverages, etc. These items are harder to come by away from Anchorage and tend to be more expensive.

Credit Cards, Travelers Checks, and Cash

Almost all service providers in Alaska accept credit cards. Master Card and Visa are the most widely accepted. Discover and American Express less so. Most service providers also accept traveler’s checks, though not all. Cash is good to have for guide gratuities and for minor purchases.

Travel Insurance

We recommend the purchase of travel insurance to protect you in the event of lost or damaged personal items, trip cancellation, or other potentially costly events. Contact us if you need assistance with this.

Travel Guard


II. Packing Suggestions

Please do not over pack. The smaller and more manageable your luggage is the better. Keep in mind that you will be moving your belongings at campsites and hotels and will be loading them into and out of a trailer. Sometimes 2 smaller pieces of luggage are better than one that is larger and harder to carry.

Weather in Alaska can be unpredictable and changes often. It’s not uncommon to experience wind, rain, and sun all in the same day or even the same hour. Dress is very casual throughout Alaska. The most important consideration for clothing needs is staying dry, warm, and comfortable throughout your trip. Layering is a must.

In order to be prepared to camp outdoors and to participate in activities rain or shine, we recommend bringing the following items on your trip to Alaska:

1-2 Medium sized duffle bag(s) or suitcase(s) for personal items

We recommend 2 medium duffle bags- The type with zippers are especially convenient because they are durable, provide easy access to your belongings, and are very “pack able”. For weather protection line them with plastic bags.

Otherwise almost any type of suitcase/ luggage will do as long as it is not too heavy. Your luggage will be exposed to some outdoor conditions.

Sleeping bag and pad

Evenings can get down to the 30’s and 40’s. Make sure that your sleeping bag is rated accordingly. Sleeping bags and pads may also be rented from Alaska Outdoors if needed ($25 each one or $45 both for your entire trip).

Small travel pillow

Can be used in your tent and in the van on travel days.

Day pack

For day hikes, van travel, and other daily activities: to hold raingear, extra clothes, water, and miscellaneous stuff- sunscreen, insect repellent etc...

High quality rain suit (top and bottoms)

Heavy duty Gortex or equivalent breathable raingear is best, suitable for multiple hours in the rain if needed. Rubberized rain gear is ok, but doesn’t breathe well when you are active. Rain ponchos provide limited protection, rain suites are better. If you have any questions please ask us.

Whether proof hiking shoes or boots: comfortable, and water repellent/proof

Your footwear should be suitable for walking on uneven terrain, and for rainy conditions. Beware: if you purchase new footwear for this trip, plan accordingly. Your footwear must be broken in and comfortable before your trip begins. Spend a few weeks wearing new footwear (or old) prior to the trip to break them in. Blisters are very likely to occur if you don’t.

1-2 quart/liter size water bottles

The air is quite dry up here, lots of water is a must. We will provide drinking water, but you should have your own reusable and durable water bottles.

Medium weight-long underclothes (polypropylene, capilene, silk or wool)

For use under pants and shirts for extra warmth on cooler outdoor excursions: i.e. ocean cruises, river rafting etc., as well as for extra layering during cool mornings and evenings.

1-2 Fleece or wool sweater(s) and vest

Fleece is light weight and dries quickly when wet. Wool is heavier and does not dry as quick. Both provide good thermal protection if wet.

Heavy duty socks (synthetic or wool- NOT COTTON)

For day hikes and other outdoor activities heavy duty synthetic socks are best. They will keep your feet comfortable and warm. Add thin sock liners for additional comfort and protection against blisters.

Cotton socks for camp

Good for under sneakers or sandals while lounging around in camp, and on travel days.

Fleece pants

Warm and comfortable under rain gear for outdoor activities and for lounging in camp.

Pants for daily activities

Wool is great; jeans are ok just don’t get them wet. Quick drying hiking pants also work.

Pants for around camp

Cotton t-shirts- short and long sleeves

Long sleeves are especially good for bugs.

Comfortable in-camp shoe

Sneakers or sport sandals work well.

Shower sandals

Fleece or wool hat

A warm one is a must, better if it covers your ears.

Gloves

Fleece or wool- if you plan to participate in some of the more adventurous outdoor activities (trips on water especially), consider fleece or wool gloves that are on the thicker side. Ski style gloves don’t work as well in rainy conditions.

Baseball cap

Good for bad hair days and for sun protection, especially when on water.

Towel

Small bag for toiletries and misc.

To minimize odors where we camp, all personal items such as deodorant, toothpaste, snacks etc… are kept enclosed in our trailer instead of our tents. Any medium sized bag can work for this purpose.

Toiletries

The air in Alaska can be very drying to skin; include lip balm, skin lotion, and sunscreen.

Sunglasses

The sun can be very bright here, especially important if considering any water activities.

Insect repellent

Can be purchased in Alaska.

Flashlight

Early June and late Aug. trips and/or for reading in your tent, headlamps work great

Camera/ extra batteries

We carry a power inverter in the van to charge re-chargeable batteries

Travel documents

Flight tickets, travel insurance documents, hotels etc.

Personal identification

passport/ driver’s license

Emergency contact information

Family, friends, lost credit card phone numbers, pet sitter, travel agent, etc

Additionally

  • Reading material
  • Alarm clock
  • CD player/ iPod and headphones
  • Binoculars
  • Alaska Outdoors contact information
  • Anchorage hotel contact information

III. Recommended Reading

There are a lot of great books written about Alaska. The following titles may interest you; many of them are our favorites. This list is by no means exhaustive but should get you going.

Coming into the Country by John McPhee
One of the classic books written about Alaska; its history, politics, culture and environment.

Going to Extremes by Joe McGinnis
The account of one journalists experiences while living in Alaska during the 70’s.

Two in the Far North by Margaret Murie
Wife of famous biologist Olaus Murie writes of their experiences living in Alaska and studying wildlife behavior.

Travels in Alaska by John Muir
The famous naturalist from California found true wilderness when he visited Alaska. This book offers short stories about his trip.

A Naturalist in Alaska by Adolph Murie
A biologist’s account of wildlife observations in Denali National Park. Informative short stories.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Tragic story of a young man’s quest to find nature in Alaska, author of bestseller Into Thin Air.

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez
Life in the Arctic

The Best of Robert Service
Great collection of classic poems

Alaska by James Michener
Fictional account of the historic events of Alaska; from pre-human to statehood.

The Alaska Almanac: Facts about Alaska
Everything you ever wanted to know about Alaska and more.

Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers by Verna Pratt
Our favorite, easy to use wildflower guidebook.


IV. Useful Anchorage Information

A few of our favorite things to do in or near Anchorage

Anchorage Downtown

Anchorage Museum of History and Art
121 W 7th Ave (Downtown)
Phone: 907-343-4326
www.anchoragemuseum.org

Saturday Market
A festive market held outdoors with music, crafts and displays.
10 am.-6:00pm. Saturdays
3rd Ave and E St.
907-272-5634

Downtown Bicycle Rentals
Rent a bike or go for a walk on the scenic coastal trail- an 11 mile paved trail easily accessed from downtown- great views of cook inlet and always a possible place for wildlife sightings!
333 W 4th St.
907-279-5293
www.alaska-bike-rentals.com

Outside of Anchorage

Alaska Native Heritage Center
A 26 acre sight with displays, traditional Native village exhibits, dances, story telling and more.
14 miles north of Anchorage
Call for bus service information 907-330-8000

There is a lot good hiking around Anchorage for all skill levels. If you have a car, call us for the directions to several trailheads.

Contact us for additional information about local activities.


Places to eat

Close to the Executive Suites

Gwennies
A classic Alaskan eatery featuring huge portions and lots of Alaskan memorabilia
4333 Spenard Rd
907-243-2090

Downtown

Glacier Brew House
One of our favorite brew pub restaurants (families welcome) good food and local beer
737 W 5th Ave
907-274-2739

Simon and Seaforts
xcellent seafood and beautiful view- reservation recommended
20 L St.
07-274-3502

Within 5 miles of the Executive Suites

Organic Oasis
Vegetarian and Organic food
2610 Spenard Rd
907-277-7882

Moose’s Tooth
Our favorite pizza in a festive environment
3300 Old Seward Highway
907-258-2537

Bear Tooth Theater Pub
Very popular small movie theater and restaurant.
1230 West 27th (off Spenard)
907-276-4200


How to get around

Bus passes $3 a day
907-343-6543
www.peoplemover.org

Ask your hotel about cab service.


Last minute outdoor equipment/ clothing needs

REI
Outdoor related equipment
1200 W Northern Lights Blvd
(907) 272-4565


Alaska Information Online

Alaska Weather

National Weather Service
www.arh.noaa.gov

The Weather Channel- weather for Anchorage, AK
www.weather.com/weather/local/USAK0012?x=9&whatprefs=&y=7

Alaska News

Anchorage Daily News
www.adn.com

Fairbanks Daily News Miner
http://www.news-miner.com/

The Frontiersman (Matanuska Valley)
http://www.frontiersman.com

Alaska Daily
http://www.alaskadaily.com/

The Anchorage Press Art, Entertainment, Recreation and Metro weekly newspaper
http://www.anchoragepress.com/

Publications

Books about Alaska

Alaska Natural History Association
http://www.alaskanha.org

General Information

The State of Alaska Online
http://www.state.ak.us

Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau
http://www.anchorage.net/6.cfm

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“Your guide went the extra mile and then some. He was an incredible host and extremely knowledgeable about Alaska and our surroundings. If he didn’t know something, he would always find out for us and let us know, and was always flexible and extremely patient with us "east coast city folk." We always felt safe and well taken care of with him. He was an 11.”

“The veggie offerings at dinner and lunch were great, as were the hummus, quinoa salad, chicken salad, bean salad – wonderful!”