July is one of the best months to visit Alaska. The weather is warmest, the days are long (more than 20 hours of daylight in many parts), and the landscape is mostly green. Packing for a trip to Alaska during July is much easier than, say, January but it is not without its quirks. Without proper preparation, even a July trip to Alaska can fall prey to the elements.
Alaska's July weather is some of its most moderate. Depending on just how far north you plan to travel, average highs can range from 60 to 80 degrees F with lows in the 40s and 50s. Alaska experiences precipitation throughout the year. In July, it comes in the form of rain. For example, Anchorage experiences, on average, about 1.6 inches of rain in July. The Inside Passage experiences rain as well due particularly to its climate.
Because of its size, Alaska has five climates: the Inside Passage climate, the broad Anchorage-area climate, the Interior climate, Northern Alaska's arctic climate and Western Alaska's climate. Depending on where your travels plan to take you, each one must be considered. For the most part, though, with the exception of Northern Alaska's arctic climate where temperatures are always much cooler than the rest of the state, temperatures and weather are the same as listed above. The Interior climate is the warmest, where temperatures can even reach the 90s and the Inside Passage climate is the most moderate with consistent rain due to its oceanic climate.
What to Pack--Clothing
Every visitor must consider his own itinerary when packing for a trip to Alaska in July. Depending on where and how you plan on traveling, specific articles of clothing will be necessary. For instance, if you take a cruise through the Inside Passage, you would probably need a swimsuit, whereas a backpacking trip through Denali National Park does not call for this. In general, all visitors should bring clothes to wear in layers (T-shirts, polo shirts, light long sleeves), as the temperatures will change throughout the day, so sweatshirt or a fleece is recommended. A raincoat or an umbrella is a must because of the weather. Bring comfortable shoes or waterproof boots depending on your hiking ambitions. Also bring shorts for the daytime, and because of the cooler nights and the abundance of mosquitoes, long pants for the evenings. Sunglasses are also recommended as are light gloves.
What to Pack--Non-clothing
The most obvious is a camera. If bringing a film camera, have plenty of film, and if bringing a digital camera, then have plenty of batteries and memory cards. Sunscreen is highly recommended, especially in the Inside Passage. Mosquito repellent can come in handy during the evenings and while on hikes (100 percent DEET is the most effective). Binoculars can make for easy viewing of distant wildlife. You should also bring plastic zipper top bags to help protect your valuables from the rain. Most importantly, bring a day pack to carry all of these items as well as other small items you will need throughout the day to prevent any inconvenient trips back to the hotel room or tent.