One of the biggest questions we get about our Go North trip is about packing for Alaska. For this trip, we downsized from a 33ft fifthwheel to a Lance 1172 truck camper, meaning less space and weight carrying capacity. This made it even more critical for us to narrow in on the essential packing list we needed for our RV trip to Alaska.
In Go North Episode 3, we take you through our packing process and the gear we took for our Alaska.
(Note: This article contains affiliate links.)
Downsizing to a Truck Camper
Fortunately, unlike when we first hit the road and had to downsize from our house, the change isn’t quite as drastic and we are downsizing temporarily vs. permanently. We just have to live without some things for 6-9 months instead of getting rid of all the things we won’t be taking.
Strategies for Creating Our Alaska Packing List
Alaska take a long time to drive to in very remote areas, so we wanted to be sure we could be as self-sufficient as we could be. We also wanted to be prepared beforehand rather than rely on finding essential supplies locally when we needed them (although there are plenty of stops along the way where you can get pretty much anything you’d need.)
The climate and expected activities helped to narrow down a few things: I don’t expect I’ll be doing much sewing on this trip, so the heavy sewing machine can stay! “Yes” to the hiking boots, “no” to the sun dresses.
➡ Click here to check out the list of Our Recommended Alaska Gear ⬅
Here are some strategies we used for packing for our RV Trip to Alaska by category:
We were anticipating being down some long, remote roads. If something happened to the truck or camper, we wanted to be able to fix 90% of problems. This meant bringing some essential tools.
Downsizing the tool collection was very challenging for Tom. But somehow he narrowed his collection down to one tool-bag and 2 small plastic containers of hand-tools, electrical tools, and fasteners that should help with our most common needs.
On the roof, we strapped 2 traction boards and a shovel in case we needed some help getting out of a sticky situation.
Here are some more tools that made our Alaska Packing List:
- Viair Compressor
- Tire Repair Kit
- Windsheild Crack Repair Kit
- Folding Hand Saw
- Soldering Iron Kit – We were glad we had one of these especially after running into some wire-hungry porcupines in the Yukon!
- OBDII Scanner – to self-diagnose problems when you’re far from a mechanic
- 100 Watt Lightweight Portable Flexible Solar Panel Kit from Lensun – since we only had 200 watts on the roof, bringing this thin, lightweight solar panel kit along would give us half again as much solar power charge to the battery system. (Product review below)
If we needed additional tools, we hoped to find a friendly neighbor, purchase the tool we need for the fix, or utilizing tool rental programs if they are available.
Packing the Truck
The truck is a big component to consider in the packing for this trip. Although, unlike with our fifth wheel RV, we can’t really use the bed for storing anything else other than the camper. (And even with the camper off, there is no tailgate.)
So, we took some extra effort to make the back seat of the truck extremely usable.
A critical piece to our Alaska packing strategy was getting a Pet Bridge – this is a platform that extends the back seat to the back of the front seats, covering the gap. (We put some foam under the back to level it out some so the dogs and cooler weren’t on a slant)
This allows us to fit our electric Dometic CFX Cooler (we’ll talk more about this in the Food section below) at one end of the back seat while leaving plenty of room for the dogs when we travel. It also allows us to more effectively use the space under the bridge and seat for storage.
Clothes & Shoes
Since space was limited in the Lance camper, we were going to mostly be in a cooler climate, and clothes are pretty heavy, we only picked our favorites and focused on long-sleeves and clothes good for layering.
The Lance 1172 truck camper has a decent closet, and a few cubbies in the bed area for non-hanging clothes. We got some packing cubes to help keep our clothes orderly (and easy to tell apart) in the condensed space. You’re going to have to assess your RV’s capabilities.
Shoes are also important gear for Alaska, and we selected our shoes based on functionality. We each packed pair of:
- hiking boots
- flip flops
- Teva sandals
- …and I snuck another pair in there that is a sneaker/sandal hybrid 😉
We also packed our L.L. Bean slippers, because cold feet when editing video is miserable!
Gear for Alaska
When you’re thinking of RVing through the Canadian Rockies and Alaska, think of the outdoor activities we want to do there: Hiking, Camping, Biking, Fishing?
We packed the gear we had/needed to do the things we wanted to do, so we can partake when the opportunities arise:
- Hiking Poles
- Salomon Hiking Boots (Tom)
- Oboz Hiking Boots (Cait)
- BEAR SPRAY – SUPER IMPORTANT TO HAVE THIS!
- Bike rack (for the ladder)
- Climbing Gear
- Sleeping bag
- Cook stove
- Lawn chairs
Mosquito Gear for Alaska
We’ve also heard about the atrocious mosquitoes in the north during the summer, so we packed:
- Mosquito head nets
- Exofficio bug repellant-infused clothes – GREAT INVESTMENT – we wore these all the time.
- LOTS of bug spray!
For this long of a trip, you’re going to want to bring kitchenware that allows you to cook meals in the RV. So you’re going to want to add the essentials plus your favorite kitchen gadgets to your Alaska packing list.
For us, we had to majorly cut down on our dishware. We only brought 2 of following:
- Medium plates
- Small plates
All of these fit on a plate rack to keep them organized in the cabinet.
Instead of heavy glasses and coffee mugs we packed:
- light-weight plastic Govino cups
- stainless steel mugs (which work just as good for things other than wine and coffee).
We also brought limited silverware – enough to get through about 3 meals before needing to wash. This was to reduce weight and take up less space.
Pots, pans, and appliances were similar – we only brought our most-used cookware for our most common meals. We ended up with:
- 2 pots – one small, one medium
- 2 frying pans – one small, one large
- Instant Pot – brought the 3 Qt version instead of my massive 8 Qt one
- Magic Bullet blender Collapsible colander
- 3 Pyrex cooking dishes (double as storage containers for leftovers)
This overall reduced dish situation does make it so that we have to wash our dishes more often, and we might have to get creative if we have guests, but this fit in the camper nicely and we realized the weight and space savings!
Whatever fridge and pantry situation you have in your RV you’re going to have to work with it for your Alaska Packing List. However, keep in mind that you will have longer distances between grocery stores. It might even be further to find one with a good produce selection.
In the Lance Truck Camper, we had a smaller fridge than we were used to in our fifth wheel RV. We got a Dometic CFX 50W electric cooler paired with the Dometic Portable Lithium Battery pack (the PLB40) in the truck that can act as a second fridge or freezer for us on this journey. We expect that this will be very handy for a number of situations:
- Traveling long distances between town with good fresh produce selections,
- Boondocking in remote areas for long periods of time,
- Catching Alaskan Salmon and needing a place to store them for travel back to the United States.
Camera Gear for Alaska
For the production of our Go North series, a big section of our storage space has gone to the camera gear. But even if you’re not shooting a docuseries, you’re going to want to make sure you add your good cameras to your Alaska packing list! You’ll be glad you did as you document this bucket-list adventure!
Check out our Camera Gear Kit for the full details on our camera gear.
Storing The Fifth Wheel & Truck
Whether you’re leaving behind your home or larger home-on-wheels for this trip, there are some additional preparation activities you’ll need to do to.
In our case, we had several tasks to make our fifth wheel & truck ready for storage for the 6-9 months we were going to be away:
1. Solar and Electrical System Shut-Down.
Because we run a custom lithium ion battery system, it was critical that we ran the battery level down to 50%, balanced the cells, and disconnected the battery for storage. We also disconnected our solar panels from the charge controller so the electrical system would completely shut down.
2. Winterize our Truma AquaGo Water Heater.
While we don’t expect freezing temps while we are away, we winterized our Truma AquaGo just to be safe, and because it is super easy to do with just the pull of a lever.
Read more about Why We Love Our Truma AquaGo here!
3. Composting Toilet.
In our fifth wheel we also use an Air Head composting toilet that had to be shut down. The toilet requires power to compost and without power in the rv we had to empty the toilet and install a lid to stop the composting process.
4. Final RV Cleaning.
Who wants to come home to a dirty house?
5. Damp-Rid Dehumidifiers.
Put one in each room and storage compartment.
6. Shut Off Propane at the Bottles.
7. Prop open RV fridge door.
8. Top off the truck’s fuel tank and add diesel stabilizer.
This will help prevent fungus and algae growth in the tank.
9. Put covers on truck and RV.
Note: This would be very difficult to do in the wind!
It was bittersweet seeing our home of nearly four years all wrapped up, but we knew we had an amazing adventure ahead of us in the new Lance Camper!
Keep reading!: The Adventure Begins | Go North Episode 4
The Go North Expedition is made possible by Lance Camper Manufacturing, Battle Born Batteries, Truma North America, Dometic, LivinLite.net, Hellwig Suspension Products, and viewers like you through Patreon. Thank you!
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