What to Take

10:04 a.m. on June 6, 2010 (EDT)
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My son is going to Alaska, the Fairbanks area, leaving in just over a week. He is the outdoor type, he has packed up the truck and gone camping, yet he has little experience backpacking. We got him two pairs of good hiking boots, Vasque and a Merrel, an Osprey Kestrel backpack, and he has a decent sleeping bag. What I need help with is a solo tent and related gear. It seems in reviews that they all have some sort of serious drawbacks. What would the many of you suggest? Other than the normal camping supplies, fire starter, can opener, spork, water purifier, is there anything we may be over looking that you could suggest? Thanks all.

10:14 a.m. on June 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Sure, check out this guys gear lists and discussions.


He is currently hiking and rafting along the Lost Coast.

The trip just blows me away.

2:42 p.m. on June 6, 2010 (EDT)
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As always, this is the tent I recommend for lightweight hiking and lots of space. At 2.5 lbs it is one of the lightest tents on the market today. Its called the Shangri-La 5. Its sold by www.golite.com and is the kind of tent I have used everywhere from a months bicycle trip across Alaska in 2006 to Wyoming,Utah and Arizona's Grand Canyon. I have used the Shangri-La 3 which is exactly like this tent above except it is a 3 person tent, the above is a 5 person but is lighter than mine. The tent comes in two piece's which are the outer rain fly which is either Gold like the one above or forest Green which is the color I have. The other piece is the bugnetting floor which serves especially in Alaska to keep the mosquitos away while inside. See illustration below.

The tent has but one pole in the center. It is as roomy as a dome tent but not selfsupporting. But for Alaska that is no problem. The tundra is easy to set up apon there. The above bugnetting can be used separately as can the rainfly when conditions are right for each.

He may also want a bugnetting hat which also keeps the mosquitos away from the face and head. There are millions of mosquitos in Alaska, as there are many trpes of water (Streams,lakes,ponds,etc) I like them better than having to spray bug dope on my face and head.

Also good rain gear will be needed as it rains a lot in Alaska. Something in Goretex or a simular fabric is best, something that "breathes" while keeping one dry. Both a jacket and pants.

Gaiters too, as the countryside of Alaska's ground is Tundra, a soft moss/lichen that is like walking on spongecake and is usually damp. They go over the tops of the boots and up the leg to below the knee, or just over the ankle depending on which model you get.

That pretty much covers all the basic things needed for an Alaskan summer, if he plans to stay during the winter that is another matter altogether.

During the next few months the sun will be up about 20 hours of the day, with about 4 hours of dimmer light but not darkness. Midnight will be about as bright as noon. So a flashlight except for when in a dense forest camp won't be needed as much.

Also when hiking just about anywhere up there its good to wear little bells on the boots or talk to oneself aloud to let the big carnivore's know one is there. A startled bear is not a friendly bear. Its better to sound like Santa Claus than be a bears midafternoon snack.

5:52 a.m. on June 7, 2010 (EDT)
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My son is going to Alaska, the Fairbanks area, leaving in just over a week. He is the outdoor type, he has packed up the truck and gone camping, yet he has little experience backpacking... What would.. ..suggest?

If you could describe what kind of camping he expects to do, perhaps someone with experience specific to his interests can help out. As it is we are all second guessing his needs, when in fact they can vary widely, according to the specifics, especially where is is headed.

April 21, 2018
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