10 Things to Pack and 10 Things to Leave Home

Things to Pack:

  1. Layers

Group of hikers by glacier

No matter the destination, Mother Nature can be unpredictable. The best way to prepare is to have long and short sleeved layers available, with one heavier layer for the top like a sweater or sweatshirt and jeans or slacks. Remember that cotton can hold dampness – wicking fabrics will keep you more comfortable. Bring lots of socks!

  1. Sunscreen

Reef Safe Sunscreen Infographic

You will spend a lot of time outdoors in nature wherever we go, and sunscreen is important. In the tropical destinations, it can prevent burns that will ruin your trip! Even in Alaska, it’s a good idea to protect your face and legs. Please join us in protecting the environment by choosing reef-safe sunscreen. We will also have this available on board.

  1. Camera with memory and charging cords

Photographer on the bow of the boat

You will go places that very few ever reach. Jaw dropping glaciers. Families of bears, goats, or otter. Puffins. Old growth forest, from deep within. Trust me, you are going to want as much camera memory as you can bring. Make sure you bring charging cords or batteries as needed! For tropical vacations, an under-water camera is a lot of fun as well.

  1. Appropriate shoes

Boots in a skiff

Your feet will carry you through all your adventures, so treat them right! As mentioned under layers – I’m a big fan of packing more socks than you think you need. Clean dry socks are a simple pleasure after a day of hiking through streams, kayaking near glaciers, or skiffing far points searching for wildlife.

In Alaska, the most important footwear is a rubber boot (wellie, galoshes, etc.). Calf height at least and waterproof. We have a shared supply on board our boats in Alaska, ranging from women’s size 5 to a men’s 12, all medium width. If your feet are smaller, larger, or size wide or narrow, please do bring a pair – you will wear them every day for hikes and wet landings (no nice piers to dock at in the wilderness!) We do not carry children’s sizes.

In Hawaii, a good pair of waterproof sandals with some tread are a good idea. We hike through a stream to a waterfall. Most of the time you will spend in flippers or your sandals.

In Costa Rica & Panama, you must have closed toe shoes to do hiking. This is due to a combination of the terrain conditions and the local wildlife.

  1. Hat with a brim

UnCruise Blue Alaska 2022 Cap

Hats keep off both the sun and the rain. You will probably experience both on your adventure, and a hat makes things much more comfortable! We have a great selection in the gift shop.

  1. Raingear

Fun Rain or Shine Hike Group

In Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, you are in a temperate rainforest. In Costa Rica & Panama and in the Galapagos, you are in a tropical climate. You will likely have rain for at least part of your trip. A waterproof light jacket as a top layer and waterproof rain pants are a very good idea for Alaska and the Pacific Northwest especially. They are lightweight and can be inexpensive – and they will make a huge difference in your comfort. We go out rain or shine!

  1. Swimsuit

Woman posing on beach in swimsuit and hat

In Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica & Panama, and the Galapagos, you will have multiple opportunities for snorkeling. Be sure that you bring a swimsuit that you are comfortable moving in. A rash guard and/or swim tights or capris give more sun protection and keep you warmer for longer in the water. In the Pacific Northwest, the Rivers, and especially Alaska, the suit will serve you well in our hot tubs as a wonderful way to unwind after a chilly polar plunge or mountain hike.

  1. Curiosity

Uncle Pilipo Welcome

You will have so many opportunities. Learn a new skill. Try something you never have – maybe always wanted to. Be willing to really see and experience the world around you in these special places. Be curious about everything. The animals from air to land to sea. The plants. The local cultures. Soak it all in.

  1. Patience

Waiting in line infographic

The old saying goes “Did everybody pack their patience?”. Corny I know, but traveling does require a certain amount of flexibility and patience. International and domestic travel runs us through a certain number of hoops. The goal is worthwhile, and you will have a much better time if you can go with the flow.

  1. Adventurous spirit

Hikers on Molokai

This is not a passive vacation. It’s an adventure. Be ready to get outdoors and stretch your wings a bit. Use muscles you haven’t in a while! Trust our crew to encourage and enable you to do the things that you want to do. Stand up paddle board. Bushwhack off trail. Snorkel with sea lions. Heck, try the vegetarian food – I promise it’s amazing! Take this vacation in both hands and make it yours.


Things to Leave Home:

  1. Walking poles

Hiking with poles

No need to find a way to get your walking poles into your luggage diagonally from corner to corner! We provide walking poles on all our boats. They are collapsible / adjustable for people of all heights. Some guests want two for hiking, some want one for a bit of stability while tide pooling. They are always available on the back deck.

  1. Water bottle

Aluminum water bottle

If you have one you love, by all means bring it. But we do provide refillable metal water bottles that have been sterilized. You borrow one for the week and return it at the end of the adventure. We have chilled water stations on board to refill any time, and water onboard is always potable.

  1. Snorkel gear

Snorkeler in Baja

If you have a mask that you love – a prescription mask or special style – do bring that. Prescription masks make a huge difference in the experience – if you wear glasses, we do recommend those for the tropical adventures. Masks, breathing tubes, and fins are all available onboard to borrow for the week, however, so you don’t need to take up room in your suitcase for those – fins may not be heavy, but they are awkward! In Baja, we do offer wetsuits (some long, some shortys) as the water is cooler there than our other snorkeling destinations. In Alaska, if there is a snorkeling opportunity, you will be outfitted in intense thicker wetsuits including covering hands and feet.  

  1. Binoculars

Older woman in orange jacket using binoculars in Alaska

We provide binoculars in every cabin, and you will also find them scattered throughout the lounge and other public spaces.

  1. Hair dryer

Guide in windy spot in Hawaii

Provided in the bathroom. We don’t recommend curling irons, flat irons, etc. – your hair is going to be in the great outdoors and isn’t going to stay styled. Embrace the wind-blown look!

  1. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash

Bath products in shower pumps

Also included in every cabin. We provide high quality natural products in the shower.

  1. Evening attire

Mother daughter glacial mud

All casual all the time. No swimsuits in the dining room, and we’d prefer you wear shoes. All that matters is that you have clothes that are comfortable for the activity you are doing. You will probably wear the same thing multiple times, and that’s okay! No fuss, no muss.

  1. Bathroom Scale

Lamb Chop

You are on vacation. We will offer amazing food including the best arts of a pastry chef, and an open bar. We will also offer lots of activity in the open air – hiking, kayaking, snorkeling. Enjoy your time. (That said, we do happily work with dietary requirements such as diabetic, vegan/vegetarian, gluten free, lactose intolerant, etc.)

  1. Routine

Duo Stand Up Paddle Board

You are on an adventure. Every day will look different than the one before. The plan may even change from last night to this morning! Our flexible itineraries let us take advantage of the weather, wildlife, and the whim of the captain to take you to the best possible playground for the day.

  1. Day to day concerns

To the best of your ability, leave your work and your normal day to day at home. To help you out, we have no wi-fi on board. Some destinations may have occasional cell coverage depending on your plan, but in general plan on being out of touch. (We do have a satellite phone for emergencies – check your final travel details for the numbers). Your time on this adventure is about connecting with the people and the places where you are right now. You made the investment of your time and money to come out to the world’s wild places. Live this time here and now. It is an investment you will never regret.