Packing for Job in Alaska

What you bring with you to Alaska will depend on the type of work you’ll be doing, your living arrangements, how much storage space you’ll have, and what you plan to do during your time off. The general rule of thumb for fisheries work is not to bring anything you are going to want when you’re done. It’s going to be dirty and smell awful fishy!

Also, you won’t have a lot of space or free time for formal events, so you can leave behind your favorite suit from Men’s Warehouse. Take only what you need and only what you won’t mind getting dirty and smelly.

The suggested packing list varies depending on whether you’re working onshore or at sea. The list below is general – packing for specific types of work will be addressed on other pages. After reading this JobMonkey material about Alaska fishing jobs you will definitely know what to pack.


  • Money. Bring traveler’s checks and cash. These methods are best and the most reliable. There won’t be a lot of places that take your debit card out in the wilderness! You should have enough for at least round-trip transportation plus three weeks’ living expenses. If possible, bring a credit card for emergencies.
  • Warm clothes. This might include flannel shirts, a light jacket, hooded sweatshirts, sweatpants, stocking caps, and wool socks. Packing a raincoat wouldn’t hurt either.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Camera and/or binoculars. Who goes into one of the most gorgeous locations on earth without documenting their experience? Bring a camera, digital or otherwise, with batteries and a charger.
  • Books. Bring something to read for those off nights and any traveling you might do. An iPod allows you to listen to your favorite music.

  • Good hand lotion. It may sound silly, but cracks in your hands because of dry skin are a fishermen’s worst nightmare. You can purchase lotion rather easily, but packing it yourself means you are prepared to deal with this problem when it arises.
  • Prescription medicines. If you think you may get seasick on an offshore vessel, bring something to help you through the first few days, such as Meclizine. Also bring extra toothpaste, shampoo, tampons and other toiletries you need.
  • Extra glasses or contacts. These items are easy to forget, and horrible to misplace. Don’t forget extra lens cleaner and solution.

  • Identification. Bring your driver’s and other operator’s licenses, passport, Social Security card, birth certificate, Green card, work permit, and whatever other documentation you might need. Remember that you will be required to fill out an I-9 form.
  • Sleeping bag. This should be a good, synthetic bag (down bags lose warmth when they get wet). The temperature in much of Alaska is actually fairly mild in summer, so a four-season bag is not necessary.
  • Insect repellent. The bugs can get very bad in Alaska. Bring protection with you to avoid being bitten on the job or when you are trying to get some rest.
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