Our trips can be divided into four categories: rafting trips, canoe trips, backpacking trips, and base-camp trips. They are all fly-in/fly-out, most trips beginning in Fairbanks, Alaska. We offer an assortment of scheduled trips each year and we arrange custom trips for a variety of groups and individuals.
Our trips last anywhere from seven to twenty-two days, and they start at about $3000/person. Cost includes everything from the departure town (usually Fairbanks) and back (but see our Terms and Conditions about contingencies). All of our trips are fully guided by sturdy, experienced, mostly Alaskan, professional wilderness guides with training in first aid, river safety, bear safety, and "leave no trace" camping practices. Arctic Wild provides everything you will need, except for your personal gear (clothes and the like). You can bring your own tent, sleeping bag/ pad, and (for river trips) rubber rain gear and boots, or you can rent high-quality, affordable gear from us.
Including your guide(s), no more than ten people tops on a river trip, and seven for backpacks. Typical River trips have 6 people and backpacks usually have 4.
On river trips, we use paddle-rafts, canoes, or kayaks. Brooks Range rivers tend not to have a whole lot of whitewater. The emphasis is more on the wilderness than on high-adrenaline rapids. For the average day on a river trip, you could expect to be in the boat and paddling for about 5-6 hours total, including a nice stop for a picnic lunch. River trips often begin and end with a short portage (to transport gear from bush plane to river). On each “moving day,” everyone works as a team to bring gear to/from the river, and to load/unload the boats. River trips frequently include one, two, or three layover days, spent day hiking or relaxing, or both.
Backpacking trips are some of our best trips but experience backpacking is highly recommended. We travel about 6 - 7 miles a day, overland without trails. The scenery is unparalleled, but the walking can at times be pretty tough. These are our hardest trips, and well worth the effort if you enjoy carrying 50# on your back.
Base camp trips allow you to settle into one really great campsite for a week, with all exploring happening from there. Base camp trips are often focused on wildlife and wildlife photography, be it caribou in the arctic, or bears in Katmai there will be great opportunities to watch and photograph animals. These are our easiest trips, and what you do in camp is completely up to you: day hike, read, knit, whittle, paint, yoga, tundra volleyball, etc. Your guide will offer suggestions, lead day hikes, or just let you relax in peace. It’s your trip to enjoy!
On all of our trips, we camp in three-season tents (each person/couple sleeps in their own tent). Your guide(s) will prepare the meals in a "camp kitchen,” complete with a weather shelter (a.k.a. “the good time tent”), a washbasin, and water filter. For river trips, we add a little kitchen table. Nothing fancy-- just a few creature comforts that can make all the difference after a long day of hiking, paddling, or just soaking up the midnight sun. We camp on either gravel bars or just the open tundra.
You will enjoy three square meals a day. And plenty of snacks. Our food is wholesome, delicious, and mostly organic. Hot drinks are plentiful in camp, and a nice way to stay hydrated and warm. Filtered water is always available. Many clients say it is the best food they have ever eaten on a camping trip.
Weather-wise, it’s prudent to expect nothing, and to be prepared for anything. On our arctic trips, summer temps range from the 20s to the 80s. It can be sunny, rainy, or snowy... all in one trip, or even in a single day. June tends to be cooler. July tends to be “buggier” (mosquitoes). August tends to be wetter. On trips south of the Brooks Range, the weather is just as unpredictable, though generally warmer overall. Whichever trip you join, Arctic Wild will help you prepare. We provide a detailed Equipment List to follow while you’re packing. Rental gear is available. As you get ready for your trip, you have access to unlimited, personalized customer service (Q&A about gear, conditions, how to pack, etc.). Before we fly from Fairbanks, your guide(s) will “double check” all gear during our mandatory Pre-Trip Meeting, which happens the day before your trip’s start date.
Our guests range in age from 8 to 80, mostly falling somewhere closer to 50. They are men and women from all fifty states, as well as a handful of other countries. They are solo travelers, couples, families, or just friends. Our scheduled trips attract a diverse mix of adventurous guests. Our custom trips attract families, couples, groups of friends, or the occasional solo traveler.
We make sure that folks are adequately prepared-- physically and mentally-- for our wilderness trips by taking time to learn about potential guests' fitness levels before encouraging them to sign up on a trip. This is fair to the guest, the guide(s), and the rest of the group. Wilderness travel involves risk. This risk is reduced when all guests are in good physical condition, and when they have reasonable expectations for their wilderness trip. You don't have to be an athlete, but upper body strength, good balance on uneven terrain, and decent cardio capacity (for sustained paddling or backpacking) all make the trip safer and more enjoyable. Many people set fitness goals in preparation for their wilderness trip. The incentive: the better shape you are in, the more fun you will have on the trip. We never run from bears, so you don’t have to worry about that.