It's been said that getting there is half the fun, and nowhere is that more true than in Alaska. In a state where outdoor recreational opportunities are nearly endless, the means of getting yourself and your gear there are also diverse. Whether you're looking at a weekend camping trip on the road system or a remote fly-in fishing or hunting trip, the logistics of packing and shipping require forethought and good planning.
Means of Access
There are many ways to access Alaska's outdoors. Check out our Accessing Alaska page for details on our highway system, off-road travel, ATV usage, snowmachines, and the various types of Bush aircraft.
Packing and Repacking
Space and weight are the two primary considerations on fly-out trips. The ideal situation involves reducing the weight and bulk of your gear and other items to save money on air travel. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Poor Man's Dry Bag"- Saving Money on Packing Your Dry Goods
Dump the Trash
Re-pack your food, eliminating cardboard boxes and other packing materials. Items such as breakfast cereals, oatmeal packets and boxed noodle dishes can be repacked into Ziplock bags, and the cardboard box thrown away at home. This eliminates bulky packages for shipping, reduces your shipping weight, and reduces the trash that would accumulate in the field.
Consolidate the Food
Dry foods can be repacked and consolidated into "breakfast", "lunch", and "dinner" piles, which can be packed and labeled to keep them separated.
After separating your food items into different piles, fill out a tally sheet that itemizes the contents of the pile. This helps you find things later.
Repack your foods into unscented plastic trash compactor bags, which are then loaded inside nylon grain sacks. The trash bag provides water-tight containment, while the grain sack offers structural support to the trash bag to keep it from tearing in transit. Twist the top of the trash bag around a few times and double it back on itself before tying it shut with parachute cord to seal it. Don't use duct tape for sealing the bag; tape tears the plastic bag when you pull it off. Use duct tape and a felt marker to label the grain sack, so you know what the contents are.
Pack food items that should not be crushed (chips, bread, etc.) in protective containers. Northwest River Supplies (NRS) carries a large square "Kitchen" bag (22" x 18") that accomodates two apple boxes (from the grocery store) side-by-side. These boxes can be sub-divided into compartments by inserting smaller boxes in them. This allows fragile items such as small glass bottles of hot sauce, condiments and the like, to be separated from bread, hamburger buns and other items you don't want crushed.
A Video Overview of Shipping Hazardous Materials by Air in Alaska
Weigh and number each package, and add that information to your tally sheet. This information will provide a huge benefit to your air charter, as they calculate their weight and balance numbers for your flight. When you collect your shipment, you can replace the items if you know what is missing.