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Can I rent gear and apparel for a trip to Alaska?

Hello,

My wife and I, we are planning to visit faribanks in the next march to see northern lights. We would like to know if you offer winter clothes rental. We even do not know what kind of clothes we should wear when trying to see the lights. If you could help us, we would be very grateful.

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@LEANDRO 

Thanks for reaching out!

I'm really excited to hear that you are making a trip to see the Aurora Borealis in Fairbanks! I recently moved back to the lower 48 after calling Fairbanks home for more than 6 years. If you have any other questions about the area or Alaska as a whole please do not hesitate to reach out here in the community.

In terms of renting winter clothes, there aren't many options in Fairbanks. None of the outdoor retailers, including REI, offer winter clothing rentals. It is my understanding that some of the Aurora touring companies rent out clothing, however, I believe that you must book a tour with them to do so. Much of the dog mushing touring outfits operate in the same way. 

What is your current plan for viewing the lights? Are you doing a self-guided tour? A tour company? Heading to Chena Hot Springs? Thinking about going up to Ski Land? I'm not sure what the current status is of any of those options, given COVID restrictions at this time. Additionally, the true Aurora season hasn't quite started yet so their operations may not be up and running yet.

When you're facing conditions like you will in the winter in Fairbanks, the most important thing you can do is layer appropriately. A thin base layer, a fleece mid-layer, and an insulated outer layer generally works well for your legs. This could look like lightweight long underwear, fleece pants, and a pair of snow pants. Warm socks and insulated, winter boots on your feet should be adequate. In terms of your upper body, the same system with an additional mid-layer insulated jacket should keep you pretty warm. One thing that is really important to staying warm is making sure you're able to seal off any potential openings in your outer layers, such as around your waist or the cuffs and neck of your jacket. You'd be amazed at how much heat you can lose through the smallest of openings!

When you're viewing the lights often times the challenge is staying warm because you're not moving very much. Hand/feet warmers are really helpful, as is having a thermos of something warm to drink on hand. Depending on your plans you may be able to find a place where you can wait in a warm building until the lights are strong, then go outside to view them and return inside when you get cold. You can also do this with a vehicle if you're planning on a self guided option. You just want to make sure you know how to turn off the headlights and dim the interior of your rental car!

Hopefully this helps, please don't hesitate to ask any other questions you may have!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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