FREE ALASKA RVING ROUTE PLANNING GUIDE
Rving to Alaska is such a big unknown for the first timer. We tried to get all the maps and books we could before hand but it just seemed like information overload so we decided to just wing it. That is our style anyway, just go with the flow. Now I know many can not plan this way and deciding to just wing it to Alaska was a gamble, but it was a gamble that paid off for us. You see we don’t need full hookups as we have solar on the roof and have the boondocking thing pretty dialed in. But we still wanted to share with you our route that we took to give you an idea of distances between stops and how much it cost us when we did have to pay for parking.
Alaska wasn’t as expensive as we thought it was going to be but then again we purposely didn’t try to spend a lot. When you decide to go to Alaska you need to decide on how your going to make it for you. Is it a vacation? Or is it a normal traveling experience?
Next, the best thing about traveling to Alaska is Canada. Plan to spend some time in Canada. The scenery is breathtaking and the wildlife is everywhere. The people are kind and will gladly tell you about their local history. When we first left we thought we would breeze thru Canada but that quickly changed. We ended up taking 3 weeks getting thru Canada on the Northern migration and I wouldn’t have done it any slower. Once in Alaska we knew we had all summer to explore so we didn’t try to hurry. In Tok you have 2 choices, go North towards Fairbanks or South towards Anchorage. Depending which way you go it will start your great loop around the State.
Many folks have asked us to share our route so I built this “RVing to Alaska Route Planning Guide” to help those in the planning stages of making the journey North to the land of the midnight sun. This is a 1-page spreadsheet that lists every stop we made while on our Alaskan journey in 2017. It shows how much per night it cost to camp in the location listed, miles between point A and point B, as well as a website if there is one. For this free information I just ask you subscribe to our Pau Hana/RVing to Alaska mailing list. I promise I wont inundate you with spam (I have only sent one newsletter since creating the mailing list back in 2018.) I will eventually be adding additional information regarding Alaska so check back often to the website and make sure if we do send out an email we don’t end up in your spam, junk or promotions folder. Anyway… hope you enjoy this tidbit of information I have put together for you. As always safe travels and until next time!
Click here for the 2017 RVing to Alaska Route Planning Guide: https://mailchi.mp/de22cc08a0dd/phtalaskarouteguide
Our Top Ten List of Items that will make your trip to the last frontier that much more enjoyable.
1. The Milepost Magazine– $26.71 from Amazon at time of publishing. Prices subject to change.
The #1 thing we recommend for your travels to Alaska is the Milepost Magazine. This guide will be a valuable resource for not only the driver but endless hours of entertainment for the navigator and any passengers along for the ride.
Described as the “quintessential reference” for Alaska travelers, The MILEPOST® offers mile-by-mile descriptions of more than 15,000 miles of road in Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alberta. It’s 700-plus pages detail accommodations, camping, sightseeing, attractions and services, as well as fascinating facts on the history and wildlife of the North. Trip planning help and answers to frequently asked questions are addressed in the Travel Planning section, with features on crossing the border, traveling with pets, the Alaska ferry system, driving conditions, railroads, tours and wildlife. Suggested itineraries are mapped out to help travelers plan their trips.
The MILEPOST® was first published in 1949 as a 72-page guide to the recently opened Alaska (“Alcan”) Highway. A history of the Alaska Highway is included in The MILEPOST. The MILEPOST® has more than 100 city and road maps; the wildly popular pull-out Plan-A-Trip Map; more than 600 photos; and free access to a digital edition for print book buyers. Find the 2021 edition here: Amazon at https://amzn.to/3xz78bk.
The 2022 edition of The MILEPOST® will be available March 1, 2022 and is available at a pre-sale price of $39.95 To pre-purchase the 2022 find it here: https://amzn.to/3ivAxOb.
2.Traveler’s Guide to Alaskan Camping– $22.54 from Amazon at time of publishing. Prices subject to change.
We didn’t know about this book until we were in Alaska but many of our friends had a copy onboard and said it was great information to use to preplan their next stops. The latest edition was published in 2020 and you can find it on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/3a2zQHm.
Here is the description from Amazon:
For RV and outdoor enthusiasts camping in Alaska is the experience of a lifetime. Miles and miles of virtually empty roads thread through towering snowcapped mountains, crystal blue glaciers, and colorful wildflowers. Away from the road there’s even more–true wilderness just a short boat or airplane ride from civilization. Traveler’s Guide to Alaskan Camping gives you the information you need to experience Alaska’s outdoors. The book features almost 500 campgrounds throughout Alaska and also along the roads north in the Yukon Territory and Northern British Columbia with full campground descriptions, addresses, website addresses and maps showing exact locations, complete coverage of the routes north, including the Alaska Highway, the Cassiar Highway, the Klondike Loop, and the Alaska Marine Highway, RV rental information for renting a camping rig in either Alaska or Canada, and much more.
3.A Good Pair of Binoculars
Bears, eagles, caribou… you will see them all but not always as close as you want. Having a good pair of binoculars is something that can be overlooked and forgotten.We have onboard the Leupold Acadia Bx-2 8x42mm binoculars that can reach out and see the wildlife at a safe comfortable distance. Although a bit pricey it was well worth it while in Alaska. We always tried to remember to take them on our truck hikes as well because you never know when you will spot the wildlife. Especially on tours. I cant count the times I gave up my binoculars so some one else could enjoy too. Find on Amazon at: http://amzn.to/2DVrTlK.
4.A Good Point and Shoot Camera
A good camera is always great to have when your traveling anywhere. We love our little Canon G7X Mark II camera for its light-weight portability. This is the camera we mainly vlog with but it takes amazing pictures as well. If you cant afford or want to learn a big DSL camera this little point and shoot will get the job done. Find on Amazon at: http://amzn.to/2s224Pl.
5.Bear Spray, carrying pouch and Bear Bells
Now remember this is bear country and whenever recreating you should be prepared for an unexpected encounter. We always carried our bear spray with us but it was always a hassle. I didn’t know about these bear spray carriers until our return but will be buying a pair for upcoming trip back in 2019. These can conveniently hold a can of bear spray as well as your cellphone. Perfect for hikes in the outdoors. I cant tell you how many times I accidentally dropped my bear spray and this would have eliminated this problem from the start. The GRIZ Scat Belt can be found in several different colors starting at $34.95 and can be found on their website at www.scatbelt.com. Be sure to enter our COUPON CODE: “RV15” for 15% off your purchase!
And if you plan to spend any time in the woods bear spray is highly recommended. Keep in mind if traveling through Canada the bear spray must say “for wildlife protection”. Pepper Spray is illegal in Canada and anything that says to defend against humans is not allowed. Guard Alaska Bear Spray is the only bear repellent registered with the EPA as a repellent for ALL bearsEnvironmentally safe – Does not contain flammable or ozone depleting substancesFogger delivery system to quickly engulf bear’s face for maximum effectivenessSix years of intensive testing in Alaska wilds – Maximum strength 1.34% total capsaicinoid formula9 ounce (255 Grams) UltraMag shotgun size – E-Z Access Firemaster Actuator – 15-20 feet firing range. Guard Alaska Bear Spray is what we recommend and it can be found on Amazon for $28.95 at: http://amzn.to/2FG9jhE.
Finally the easiest of the three to carry is Bear Bells. Now some say you are just calling the bear’s in for a meal but I would rather them hear me coming down the trail than startle them, which is when they are more likely to attack. We found these bear bells with a magnetic silencer at a local store in Tok and let me just say they are way cheaper if you buy in advance ($5.09 on Amazon) than in the bush. To find on Amazon click here: http://amzn.to/2DYvQG3.
6.The Garmin DriveSmart 61 GPS Navigation System – $249.99 on Amazon at time of publishing. Prices subject to change.
This has been a lifesaver for us when in areas of no cellular signal. Our Garmin GPS Navigation system sits on our dash and has directed us when our coach navigation drew a blank… even on the backroads of the Northwest and Yukon Territories of Canada. Find it here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3FjTEUX.
The Drive Smart 61 features:
- Easy to use GPS navigator with connected Features and bright 6.95 Inch Capacitive touch display. The display resolution is 1024 x 600 pixels
- Detailed maps of North America with free lifetime updates. Battery : Rechargeable lithium ion. Battery life is up to 1 hour
- Provides real time services, such as Live traffic and select Live parking, when using free smartphone link app on your compatible smartphone
- Bluetooth calling, smart notifications and voice activated navigation. This USB mass storage device is compatible with Windows XP or newer and Mac OS X 10.4 or later
- Built in Wi Fi for easy map and software updates
7. Thermacell MR-9SB Patio Shield Bristol Mosquito Repeller plus Lantern– $21.97 on Amazon at time of publishing. Prices subject to change.
Afraid of the Alaskan State bird the mosquito? Be afraid no longer with the Thermacell Patio Shield. This little bug repellent lantern worked like a charm when the wind was low and the bugs were flying. Amazon link: https://amzn.to/3l77h1K.
- Scent-free and DEET-free
- Repellent provides 15-foot mosquito protection zone
- The lantern that also repels mosquitoes. Turn it on… Mosquitoes Gone!
- Decorative bronze lantern provides ambient lighting powered by LEDs. Lantern and Repellent operate independently.
- Same proven Thermacell technology, in a decorative for design for patios, decks, and more
- No messy sprays or lotions. No open flame, no smoky candles
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on all Thermacell products
- Package contains: 1 lantern and 12 hours of refills – 3 repellent mats and 1 fuel cartridge. Requires 4 AA-batteries (not included)
- 15-foot by 15-foot “Zone of Protection” against bugs or 225 square feet
- Effectively and silently repels mosquitos, black flies and other flying, biting insects
- Cordless, battery operated, portable and lightweight lantern
- Features (8) LED lights and requires (4) AA batteries for operation
- All ThermaCELL products come with a one year warranty
Other Thermacell products we have purchased include a Thermacell Refill Kit including extra mats and fuel cartridges $19.99 on Amazon.
8. Windshield Repair Kits– $12.98 on Amazon at time of publishing. Prices subject to change.
We always make sure we have at least 2 RainX Windshield Kits onboard while traveling for that inevitable rock chip to the front glass. Although we never took a chip to the motorhome we did in our toad and the kits helped us keep the chips from spreading. Not only is this item good for Alaskan roads but any roads as rock chips happen. Find on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2E2XBgK.
9. Rugged Tire Plug Kit– $29.53 on Amazon at time of publishing. Prices subject to change.
Everyone hears how bad the Alaskan roads can be and a flat tire is always a possibility. We tried to lessen our worries by purchasing this Rugged Ridge Tire Plug Kit to self-patch a tire if necessary to be able to limp in to a service center instead of being stranded on the side of the road. Even though we never had a tire issue where a patch was necessary we did get a chance to plug up a fellow traveler’s tire on the Dalton Highway at the Arctic Circle. (We saved him several hundred of dollars on a service call by having our plug kit with us. We recommend to carry not only in your RV but your tow vehicle as well.) Find on Amazon at: http://amzn.to/2E2PYLD.
10.Air Tight Pet Food Container– $29.21 on Amazon at time of publishing. Prices subject to change.
Spirit and Sofi wanted to chime in on an item that pertains to all their little pet friends… an air tight pet food container to store their food in that wont attract bears to your campsite. Yes the threat is real even in the RV Parks. If you store your bag of dog or cat food in your bay compartments you may want to think about a container that wont attract wild predators. We found this Vittles Vault at a local PetSmart and it fit a 35lb bag of dog food nicely under our coach but you can have it shipped to your door thru Amazon at http://amzn.to/2E2PYLD.
11.weBoost Cell Phone Booster– $298 from Amazon at time of publishing. Prices subject to change.
While RVing you will sometimes find your cell signal is too weak to pull in enough signal to make a call or check your email. We solved this problem by installing the weBoost Cell Phone Booster in our rig to help amplify our cell signal. As long as there is some sort of signal the weBoost will boost your signal to a usable level to at the minimum make a call or get out a text. It has been a game changer with our off the beaten path travels. Find it on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2EfTrW4.
12.Handheld Walkie Talkies– $69.99 from Amazon at time of publishing. Prices subject to change.
If you will be traveling with friends at all on your journey a good pair of walkie talkies are highly recommended. We used these often in Alaska especially when on the Dalton Highway headed to Prudhoe Bay with our friends Brock and Janine. Make sure you get a kind that can be charged by batteries as well so if you are on a long trip you can change out the batteries. (Make sure you bring extras batteries too.)
Check back often for more Tips and Tricks for RVing to Alaska.