What to Pack for Your Brown Bear Adventure

six people standing in front of a float plane

Once you’ve booked your brown bear adventure and made your travel arrangements to Homer, it’s time to figure out what to pack! While your brown bear tour will only last for the day, you’ll still be embarking on a big journey. Flying across the Cook Inlet will bring you into a different geography and climate than that of Homer. As is true with all Alaskan activities, it’s critical to make sure you’re prepared!

What to Wear

person holding green backpack standing near a river with trees in the background

Summer in Alaska can bring both pleasant and unpredictable weather. While it’s a good idea to monitor the weather forecast ahead of time, don’t base your packing decisions on it. Alaskan weather forecasts rarely get it right, especially in remote locations. We recommend you plan to pack the same items, regardless of what the forecast says. 

Layering your clothing will be key to a comfortable experience. You might not need each and every layer you bring, but it’s better to have it with you than go without when traveling to the wilderness.

Here are the layers we recommend wearing and/or bringing:

  • T-shirt
  • Long sleeve
  • Sweatshirt or fleece
  • Neck warmer
  • Coat
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • Rain pants
  • Wool socks (plus an extra pair in your bag)
  • Gloves
  • Hiking shoes (especially for July & September)
  • Hat and/or sun protection

In Alaska, the weather can change in an instant. It’s important to be able to shed layers or add them as needed. Additionally, when the sun does come out, it’s strong! While you might not notice it, you could still easily get sunburned. Make sure you have something to protect your skin.

What to Bring

man holding camera wearing rain jacket

You won’t be able to rely on any stores or services once we embark, so make sure you have everything you need! In addition to attending your Preflight Orientation at the Homer Spit Office, we recommend arriving to Homer with enough time to pick up any last-minute supplies or food before your tour. 

For any gear-related items, head to Ulmer’s Drug & Hardware, Homer’s one-stop shop for almost anything you might need. For food, swing by the Safeway off the Sterling Highway. 

Here’s our recommended packing list:

  • A quality daypack to hold extra layers, food, water, etc.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Bug spray. There are a lot of mosquitos in the Alaskan backcountry. We recommend a repellant with at least 30% DEET. Insect-repellent clothing is also an option.
  • Camera. Bring extra batteries and/or memory cards if you have them.
  • Binoculars. These are not necessary but feel free to bring a pair if you have them.
  • Toilet paper and a small plastic bag. There will likely be no lavatories at your bear viewing sites. Bring toilet paper for your group and a small bag to dispose of the waste.
  • Snacks and lunch. You will not be able to purchase food on your tour. Bring enough food to last you the day; we promise you will be hungry!
  • Water. Bring plenty!

Our flights are weight dependent, meaning there is only so much gear we can allow each person to bring. If you stick to the above you should be fine, but please refrain from bringing excess supplies. A small backpack and camera equipment, or 10-12 pounds, is allowed per passenger.

What Not to Bring

three people walking up a stream

While bringing a can of bear spray is often recommended or mandatory while embarking on trips to the Alaskan wilderness, please DO NOT bring bear spray (or pepper spray of any kind) with you on the day of your tour. Bear spray has been known to be faulty and discharge accidentally. If this happens within an aircraft during flight, it can be deadly to the pilot and passengers. We can assure you you will not need bear spray of any kind while on the ground with us.

Additionally, firearms are not permitted and Federal law prohibits firearms in the aircraft or in the park.