We hope this information will help you plan a fun and safe trip with Arctic Wild. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to seeing you this summer, and thank you for choosing Arctic Wild!
Deposit and Payment
Air & Lodging Reservations
Return to Fairbanks and Possibility of Delay
Pocket Money, Valuables and Extra Gear
Deposit and Full Payment: A $500/per person deposit and a completed Reservation Form will hold space for you on a trip. The remainder is due 60 days prior to the trip departure date.
Air & Lodging Reservations: We urge you to make your travel plans as early as possible. Airlines, hotels, and bed & breakfasts fill up quickly. See our Lodging and Transportation recommendations list. Plan to arrive the day before your trip starts in time to attend a mandatory, 4 pm pre-trip meeting. Plan to depart no sooner than the evening following the last day of your trip’s published end date.
Return from the wilds & Possibility of Delay: Weather and airline connections permitting, you will return from your trip late in the day on the last day of your trip’s published end date. It is a good idea to plan one or more extra days in the area following your return in case of delay. Relatives and employers should be made aware of delay possibilities.
Pre-trip Meeting: Unless notified otherwise, there is a pre-trip meeting the night before the trip. We usually meet at 4pm. If your trip starts in Fairbanks, rendezvous at the Morris Thompson Visitors Center, located on Dunkel St. in downtown Fairbanks. www.morristhompsoncenter.org. For trips starting in other locations, we will contact you about the meeting location and time. This will be a meet-and-greet, orientation, and Q&A session all rolled into one! Please bring all your gear in backpacks or river bags- all of it- as you intend to carry it. We will weigh it, and help winnow it, if necessary. We’ll have you back to your place of lodging by 7pm
Communications: Leave your cell phones and satellite phones at home. We carry satellite phones for medical emergencies and for the safe conduct of every trip. Few technologies impact a wilderness experience like a satellite phone and its ability to instantly contact the outside world. People traveled in remote wilderness for centuries without the aid of satellite phones. So can we!!
Pocket Money, Valuables & Extra Gear: You may want to leave airline tickets and valuables in your hotel safe while on the trip. Bring enough cash for souvenirs, post cards, or for purchasing snacks/meals at villages we may visit en route to/from the trip. Most hotels or B&Bs will store your extra gear. We can leave it in our van or at our shop, but we cannot guarantee it.
Personal Gear: Follow our Equipment List closely. On backpack trips, limit your personal gear to no more than 35# including a tent and rental gear. Leave room in your backpack for an additional 12-18# of food for one week, or 18-24# for 10-12 days. Backpackers may be issued additional community gear. On river trips, limit your gear to 50#. You will be issued a day bag for use on the river. It’s a 20” x 20” dry bag for items to which you want access throughout the day.
Rental Gear: Rental gear is available on a first-come, first-served basis. We need to receive your Rental Request Form with your full payment 60 days before the trip.
Tents: Those of you joining us singly, especially for backpacking trips, please let us know if you are willing to share a tent with someone else to reduce weight of the gear. If, as most people do, you are bringing your own tent, it MUST be at least a three-season tent with three poles.
"Combination" trips: If you are joining a backpack followed by a river trip, place your river gear (rubber boots, change of clothes, extra film, books, etc.) in your river bag. Tag it with your name, "Arctic Wild," the name of the river trip, and the departure date. Give it to your guide the morning that the backpack trip starts. It will be put with the river supplies.
About Backpacking: Previous backpacking experience is required for most of our routes. Though the mileages we travel daily might seem meager, hiking in the arctic is an “off-trail” experience, so a six-mile day can take as long and be as taxing as ten miles in other parts of the world. We frequently use streams as our highways (as the animals do), crossing back and forth, utilizing the best hiking terrain. Expect to have wet boots much of the time while backpacking–- the scenery alone is worth it!
Conditioning is highly recommended for everyone, even those of you in excellent shape. We recommend walking as often as possible with 25-30 #. in your backpack. Use the boots you will be hiking in. A couple weeks before your trip, add weight ‘til your pack weighs 40-45 #. You can alternate this with the stairmaster or bike riding. The better condition you are in, the more you will enjoy the backpack.
About Rafting: On all of our raft trips, a raft captain is in charge of each boat. Everyone joins in the fun and work of paddling. Previous experience is not necessary except where specified in the itinerary. In some cases, the rivers may be shallow and braided in places. We may have to get out and walk along the rafts for short distances or slide the rafts over shallow spots. During abnormally long dry periods we may have more of this than usual.
About Canoeing: Except where specified in the itinerary, experience canoeing is not required. We use 16' and 17' PakCanoes and AllyPak canoes. We call them “boats in a bag,” and they are good crafts. They perform much like a hard shell canoe.
Weather & Bugs: Weather in Alaska is highly variable. On any one trip we can get all kinds of weather. Generally speaking, though, the following applies: June tends to have tumultuous weather, a mix of cold, snow, rain, and wind and hot, dry spells. Bugs (read: mosquitoes) come out late in the month. July tends to have the steadiest weather: hot and dry with afternoon thunderstorms. Bugs taper off toward the end of July. August can yield some of the finest weather if you’re lucky, but it tends to be the rainiest month. Chances of weather delay are highest. Bugs may persist into early August. We encounter our first dark period of the summer in August: sometimes we can see stars and the aurora borealis.
Maps: You can order topographic maps from the Geophysical Institute, Geo-Data Center, UAF, 907/474-6960; 903 Koyukuk Dr., Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320. Or make your own maps with mytopo.com. We use map software from National Geographic called TOPO!
Tips and Tipping: If you think your guide(s) did a great job, a tip of 5-10% is very much appreciated.