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Into the Beautiful North!

What to Pack for a Trip to the Yukon – in Winter!

Dempster Alpenglow by Dan Sokolowsk

Alpenglow on the Dempster Highway. Photo by Dan Sokolowski, super talented filmmaker and Director of the Dawson City International Short Film Festival.

Still under the magical spell of the Yukon and planning a return trip in late winter or early spring!  I never would have imagined that I would take a vacation to the far north in winter. This is what I plan to pack:

  • Passport – Cash – Credit Card(s) – Driver’s License – Airline Tickets
  • Lodging and rental car reservation info – Maps – Guidebook
  • Camera, case, extra memory cards, extra battery, charger cable
  • Phone, charger cable, clgarette lighter charger (if driving a car)
  • Sunglasses (it’s sunny!) – spare eyeglasses if needed
  • Ladies: Very small purse (unless you want to carry the camera inside- also depends on the size of your parka pockets)
  • Very warm parka with hood and fur trim (trim keeps the wind off your face)
  • Warm hat with brim (it’s sunny!) that covers your ears and a spare hat (my faux fur hat that attached with a strap under the chin worked great)
  • Very warm gloves or mittens (down is good, mittens are warmer but also clumsy)
  • Warm, thin liners for gloves/mittens plus a spare pare of gloves
  • Warm, thin neck scarf
  • Very warm fleece jacket that can be worn alone or under the parka
  • 2 fleece pants
  • 3 long sleeve tops (I like thin, soft fleece or thick cotton)
  • 2 long wool knee socks (leg warmth) and 3 wool socks
  • Long underwear (I like silk) – Underwear
  • Sleepwear and travel slippers (great to have after taking off boots)
  • Sorel boots (very warm and good for walking)
  • Lighter weight boots: warm, comfy and good in snow/ice
  • Cosmetic kit – moisture cream – 2 chapsticks
  • Herbal tinctures – prescription drugs – packet of handwarmers – hankerchief
  • Reading book (or e reader) – sketchbook – 3 pens – business cards
  • Small gifts to give away (Possibilities: note pads, postcards, small tubes of moisturizing cream, bandannas, crafty items, etc.)
  • Snacks for the plane and emergencies (organic nuts, dried fruit, granola, sliced turkey, cheese and big crackers)
Yukon Quest

A team in Yukon Quest on the Yukon River.

Layering: It is very important to dress in layers so you can peel off clothing when you go into restaurants, bars, shops and homes. You will constantly be going from inside, where it can be very warm, to the extreme cold, wind and snow.

About the parka: A very warm, windproof, down-filled jacket is crucial. The parka that I brought on the last trip was totally inadequate. Fortunately my hosts lent me a very warm Canada Goose parka. I have no idea what I will bring this time, perhaps an old Eddie Bauer parka that I can wear with a short Patagonia down jacket (with hood) and/or a thick fleece jacket. This will give me options if I go up to Tuk and it is much colder.

About the boots: Extremely warm, waterproof, insulated boots with thick rubber soles (to insulate your feet) are called for. I was totally happy with my sturdy Sorel boots on the last trip. The only problem is that they are large, heavy and hard to pack. I wore them on the Air North flight to Dawson City so they did not add to the weight of my big bag, which turned out to be great because the cabin was cold.

About the moisture cream: You will need this. The weather can be sunny and very dry in the far north. I am packing Weleda Skin Food, a thick paste made with excellent ingredients in a tube that can be flattened as it is used. Dawson has an excellent drug store that is open in the winter, but it does not carry the health food store brands.

What you will not need: Dress up clothes, fancy shoes, lots of jewelery or dangling earrings. On the last trip, I immediately learned that long earrings get very, very cold. People look stylish in Dawson, but they do not dress up in the winter. At the Yukon Quest Awards Banquet, everyone was totally casual in fleece, flannel, boots and jeans.

About airline weight restrictions: Air North has two types of planes and both have weight restrictions. Click here for Air North info.

  • Boeing 737: Total weight of 45 kg (100 lbs). First piece can exceed 32 kg (70 lbs).
  • Hawker Siddeley 748: Total weight of 20 kg (44 lbs).

I had a big bag for my month long trip, so before weighing my luggage at the lovely Whitehorse Airport, I put on the Sorel boots and filled my parka pockets and purse with heavy items. I did not have to pay an extra fee even with the super large bag. The Air North flight attendant wears a warm jumpsuit!

Bon voyage! Hope you love it!

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One comment on “What to Pack for a Trip to the Yukon – in Winter!

  1. cconifer
    January 18, 2013

    you are one organized packer! talk to me about small moisturizers…

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