Tech Tip – Flying to Alaska with Outdoor Gear

bush plane backpackingWhether you’re backpacking, rafting, or mountaineering, it’s hard to fly to your adventure location with everything you need. Here at St. Elias Alpine Guides, we completely understand. We’re always those folks in the airport with 49.9lb duffel bags and a pair of ski boots as our “personal item.” So we polled our guides and compiled a list of our tips and tricks for flying with outdoor gear. Enjoy!

  • Have you ever exploded your duffel bags at the airport after realizing your carefully-packed bag is over the 50 lb limit? Pack using a small hand-held luggage scale, so you can rest assured you won’t be over-charged for heavy bags.
  • Still nervous of being overweight? Keep one small, dense, “carry-on legal” item on top of your checked bag that you can quickly pull out and carry on to save weight if needed. (Examples: a hiking boot packed full of socks and underwear, or a bunch of carabiners).
  • For any sharp items (i.e. trekking poles, crampons) use some old cardboard and duct tape to make protective coverings for the points. It takes only a few minutes, and reduces the chance of punctures in your luggage (or your favorite puffy jacket).
  • Get an Airporter bag and check your backpack. This lightweight bag allows you to use your backpacking pack as a checked bag, but protects the straps and buckles. Simply zip this bag around your backpack before checking it, and you’re good to go!
  • If flying with skis, pack your ski jacket and pants around skis in a ski bag. It adds some much-needed padding to your expensive equipment, and saves weight/space in your duffel!

Like what you see? Check out our other tech tips!

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