With less than a day to go before I leave, I’ve pulled my rods, flies and all the terminal tackle I need for these two trips. In Alaska at Rapids Camp Lodge, this gear is provided for you, unless you prefer to bring your own. This makes packing easy, light and indulgent. In Part 1, I talked about rods and leader/tippet size. A 6wt fly rod and the Suimenka tenkara rod cover most everything in Alaska. So what about clothing and any other gear? Lets take a look at what else you might need if traveling to these two location.
If you are staying at a lodge like RCL, as I just mentioned, they usually have rods, flies and the terminal tackle you will need for fishing. Many lodges can also provide waders and boots. So really, you are just packing your clothing and personal items. A layering system is always best for these northern destinations. Rain and wind can also make a big difference in your comfort so always always check the 10 day weather forcast, and still be prepared for unexpected systems to move through. Also consider that standing/wading in cold water all day can lower your core temps if it’s really icey. So be prepared.
I always bring a waterproof pack like from Fishpond or Simms. I use these bags as my personal item when I fly. And I always throw in one under-wader layer and another shirt incase my luggage gets lost. That the fun continues and I can still fish. Many lodges will do laundry for you for a small nominal charge, so packing a ton of clothing isn’t necessary. I typically bring 2 under-wader pants such as a mid-weight Simms legging or the Orvis under-wader pants. A also pack 4 or 5 light base layer shirts for 6 days of fishing (because they get stinky), a fleece pullover, a Patagonia Puff or Nano synthetic jacket, plus a rain/waterproof wading jacket. For the evenings at the lodge I throw in 2 or 3 button downs for drinks and dinner to with the pants I traveled in. A comfortable pair of scuffs or sandals to wear around the lodge always make the feet happy after a day in wading boots and a brimmed fishing hat is essential but I also like to pack a warm beanie just in case it gets really cold. Your run-of-the-mill undergarments and socks, of course, and your toiletries are a no-brainer. Sunblock, 2 pairs of sunglasses (just in case), a waterbottle (I like the Life Straw Refillable Bottle), bug spray and a bug net to wear over your hat if the bugs are really bad. Sun gloves and a sun gaiter are important. If they have Insect Shield, even better.
In fact, almost all my clothing that I pack is either Insect Guard branded or are items that I have treated with Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent. This stuff works great and you can treat everything from your socks, to your pants or jackets – even your tent and sleeping bags (which I don’t need at Rapids Camp Lodge but I will in Greenland). Packing when staying at a lodge is pretty straightforward and easy. And if they offer laundry service, then you can really go light. If you are camping like I will in Greenland, it is a bit of a different story. Here’s what I’m planning on bringing.
Layers, layers, layers. I’ll be there for 9 days.
- Five top baselayers of a fast drying, wicking insulating long sleever shirt with hood
- One middle layer, polar fleece top for insulation that can be removed if too warm
- Two base layer pants or leggings, midweight or fleece for under waders
- One synthetic Outer layer jacket, like a Patogonia Puff
- One wading jacket, wind and waterproof
- Waders & Boots
- Warm wool socks
- Sun gaiter and gloves
- Fishing hat & beanie
- Two pairs of sunglasses
- One Nemo 15 degree sleeping bag
- One head lamp
- One wader patch repair kit
- One pair camp shoes (Xtratuf Sport 6″ Boot is a warm, waterproof, comfortable and an easy pull-on)
- One sleeping fleece pullover and undershirt
- One pair fleece or Patagonia Puff Pants for relaxing and sleeping in
- One pair neoprene wading socks to wear with wading boots to use for hiking in lieu of packing hiking boots
- Life Straw Refillable Waterbottle
- Waterproof pants for campsite
- Bug Net to wear over hat is needed
- One package of personal wet wipes since showering won’t be a thing
- Underwear and 3 or 4 pairs of socks
- One pair wind proof mittens or gloves
- Minimal persoanl toiletries (remember sunblock
- Camera or phone (there will be no cell service at all)
- Solar charge
All of this needs to be packed into a large waterproof duffel with shoulder straps and weight no more than 44lbs. I can also bring one carry-on/personal items that weighs no more than 15lbs. Mind you, this also includes my fly rods, reels, tenkara rods, lines, leader and tippet spools, and flies. So gear needs to be highly functional, lightweight, multi-purpose and effective.
I will pack, weigh it, and probably repack one or two times to get it right. Current conditions are a high of 40and a lows in the 30s. Temperatures are pretty constant witout big dips at night since it doesn’t get very dark. But nine days is a long time to be cold or uncomfortable. Thoughtful packing is essential.
One last items I want to mention that works great and are worth the weight if I can fit them in my bag. are Stream Cleats by L.L.Bean. I will absolutely bring them to Alaska since weight limits are not as strict. I’m unsure if I will need them in Greenland but if I have unused weight, I will consider bringing them there too. Slippery rocks, combined with high or fast water, or both can be quite tricky to wade or cross in. Cleats are not permitted in the float planes or in the boats. These Stream Cleams are simple and quick to put on over your Vibrum bottom wading boots and give you added stability in the water. They are reasonablity priced and I think are well worth it.
Wish me luck and check back for a follow up of how I did and a full trip report when we in mid-August. And thanks for reading