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Thread: Need advice from the real Alaskans

  1. #1
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    Default Need advice from the real Alaskans

    I've been reading the forums for awhile and have found all the info really helpful. I was just offered a job at a fishing lodge in Wood Tikchik State Park. I'll be working there as a Grounds Worker(loading/unloading float planes, cutting the grass, gutting fish, general maintenance and repair). I will be there from Late May until Late September. I have lived most of my life in Kansas which is a very different climate than Alaska. So I could use some help deciding on gear. Here's what I'm looking for:

    Rain Gear: I'll be moving around alot, so I've thought about something that's breathable, but at the same time Gore-tex and the like gets pretty pricey. I've heard good things about the Helly Hansen Impertech and have thought about this(but i hear it doesn't breathe too well)

    Hip Boots: As told by my boss I will be wearing these almost everyday as I run to help to unload the float planes and work on things down near the lake shore. I've heard good things about Lacrosse but not sure what kind would be good for me(insulated vs. non-insulated and Lacrosse makes quite a few models: big chief, marsh, etc.)

    Waders: A lot of options here...neoprene, rubber, breathable, boot vs. stocking foot. How do you people figure this out?! I won't be wearing these much at all just when i have to go in the water a little deeper for a float plane or when I go fly fishing on my one day off a week.

    I've heard a lot about the Buzz OFF bug repellent clothing. Does this stuff really work? Is it worth the money or should I just bathe in bug repellent.

    That's really what I'm looking for. I'm also taking my fishing gear, sleeping bag, tent, etc. If anyone has any other recommendations on what else would be useful I'm all ears.

  2. #2
    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    From the sound of your job description I think you should consider military surplus Gore-tex gear for your rain gear. It can be had cheaply enough from outfits like http://www.sportsmansguide.com .

    Since you are going to be working gutting fish a second pair of Grundens or Helly-Hansen commercial rain bibs are probably in order just to keep yourself clean and dry as well as a pair of knee-high rubber boots.

    Hip boots? Waters in Alaska are cold year round. Insulated is probably the way to go if you are spending much time in the water.
    LaCross is good gear and would be my first choice.

    Waders are easy. I have the reversable 5 mm neoprene stockingfoot waders from Cabela's with spiked felt bottoms. You need to pick your wading shoes based on the type of use your going to put them through.

    Most of us use DEET products to keep the bugs at bay. Repel, Ben's, Cutter, Muskol and military surplus are all good. Consider bringing a few cans of Permanone to treat your clothing as part of your anti-bug strategy. Permanone is permitherin based. Bugs land and they fall off. It's used on clothing ONLY.

    The mosquitoes up here regard OFF as a delicacy.

    Bring some polar fleece to layer under your rain gear and use as outerwear. Even though summers are warm, there are those rainy days that cool off enough to be uncomfortable when you spend long hours outside.
    Now what ?

  3. #3

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    Stay away from the military gore-tex rain gear, i've owned it for years, wore for 1 hunting season and that was enough for me. If you want to stay dry then I'd take a serious look at the Impertech rain gear. It is not breathable but it will keep you dry, it's darn good stuff IMO.
    For hip boots I'd check out the LaCrosse Big Chief waders, i believe you can get them insulated or unisulated and they are ankel fit so no rolling of the ankles.
    For waders, I like the breathable chest waders for fishing.
    DEET is about the only thing that really keeps the bugs off and 100% is the ticket.

  4. #4
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    Smile Rain Gear Thoughts..

    Just some Ideas on your Hunt for Rain gear .. Some things you might want to Ask yourself ..

    1, How long are you going to be In it Meaning ( everyday , All day , )

    2. How much do you want to spend $$$$$

    3. Breathable or Rubberized ..

    4. what do you plan on wearing under it ..

    For the work you are planning on doing , and the area you are going to be in a good pair of Helly Hansen bids with a rain Jacket and ( A pair of good Rubber boots ) Might work for you ..

    I'de stay away from the Millitary stuff the Used stuff might like good $$$$ , but it sounds like you are going to be Living in this stuff ..

    You might want to think about Two Pair of bibbs , while ones drying your wearing the other pair .. Breathable thats your choice boils down to how much you want to spend and If your gears going to get trashed A.K.A wripped .tron , fish gutt's Blood why throw good money after Bad.. I know the Rubberized Helly Hansen is great stuff and wears like Iron ..

    Fleece pants and Wool type socks and lots of them would work .. Nothing like having wet soggy feet all day ( Keepem Dry ) thay'll love you for it ..

    Bugs !!!! well that Boils down to Bathing In spray . wearing a Head net If you can get away with it when there bad ( meaning can you work safley in it ) or just putting up with them .. The clothing you spoke of I hear does work , $$$$ ,,, but after all there just bugs ...

    hope this helps


    Froggy 123

  5. #5
    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    I don't know if you need commercial grade rain gear, so Impertech would be more practical. If it breathes it will let rain pass eventually. PVC doesn't leak, but will sweat.

    I'd get ankle fit waders, probably uninsulated (I'd bring good wool/synthetic socks-like Thor-Lo's).

    Bring a few headnets too. The mosquitos can be REAL BAD up there. I haven't been to the lodge but commercial fished up on the Wood River and we've been mugged by mosquitos up there. Amway sells 100% Deet and that works the best. If you can't get it find something with a high Deet content.

    Breathable waders are more comfy but less warm. Wear fleece of something under the breathable waders if thats the route you go.

    A good 20 degree +/- sleeping bag will do. I'm assuming you'll be sleeping in a cabin/lodge and using your tent for side trips and spiking out when your off so I don't know if it would be necessary for you to go overboard on either item, unless your spending your entire summer in the bag and tent.

    Tim

  6. #6
    Member ripnlip's Avatar
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    My 2 cents from working in the Aleutians:

    Dont know if its possible but I would seriously consider bringing both Grundens and a Gore-tex/breathable type. Take out some other clothes from your gear if you have to (or mail a box up). You will pretty much be living in the rain gear so wear the rubberized for guttin fish and less movement. Wear the other stuff while you are moving alot. The fleece is a must.

    Hope this helped a little.

    Have fun!!!!!

  7. #7
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default gear...

    You will die in 5 mm neoprene waders. I would anyway. But I am 6'6" 310 lbs. It will be pretty warm for neoprene if you ask me. Not to mention, Ben's (best bug dope) will eat through it. Take breathable waders instead and have fleece pants or thick long johns to put under them. Polartech thermal bottoms from Cabelas are my top choice. BY FAR. I prefer breathable waders in every possible way to neoprene. Much more comfortable for someone who will be active in them. Boot soles are fine. Don't bother with the expense of stocking foot waders and wading boots. Not unless you plan on spending a lot of time in them. Use gel insoles in your wader boots! Best thing I can tell you in this whole post. Get some!

    For rainwear, listen to Ripnlip. Two rain suits for two different uses. Perfect logic and there is not much that can be added to that way of thinking. Cabelas has some Dryplus stuff that is real good, yet not as pricey as Gore tex. Check the Bargain Cave on their website for good deals on clothes, boots, waders, etc.. I have got some stuff over half off there. Grundens and Hanson is good stuff for the heavy downpours when you are not overly active. And you can just spray them off when they get grimy. You may want to invest in a few pairs of gloves. One protective pair for cleaning fish perhaps. Unless you are already pretty experienced at it. Being an ER nurse, I am all to aware of the aftermath of a cut. It is not the cut, but the infection that you would have to worry about. It might be worth your time to see your family doc before going to Alaska and having him write you a presciption for Keflex. It is a good antibiotic and if you were to get a nasty cut, it would be great to have on site. A cheap script too. Like $20 and you would be set. Something to think about anyway.

    Hip boots. Get what ever you can get a good deal on that fit well. Then buy nice thick gel insoles to put in them. Makes them fit like a glove. Take medium and thick socks so you can adjust them as the season changes. Do the same with some warm wool pants and medium weight long johns under the hip waders.

    The Polartech stuff from Cabelas is the best I have ever used. Wicking, dries fast, low odor, and very warm. It comes in lightweight, medium, cold weather, and military weights. Again, check the bargain cave at Cabelas. Always some of that stuff on sale there. I bought some windproof fleece things from Cabelas a few years ago. Nicest stuff I have ever bought. Windpro is what Cabelas calls it. Gloves, cap, pull over, and such. Very warm and high quality stuff. Keeps the wind off you. Some of this would go real well with the breathable waders later in the season. VERY WELL.

    Buzz Off is a rip off. Take the money that you would have blown on it and get a good quality pair of sunglasses.

    Take plenty of Ben's 100% deet (in the spray bottle, not pour bottle). Order from www.campmor.com if you can't find it near home. It is good stuff. It will eat your plastic sunglasses and watches so be careful. Speaking of sunglasses, take two pair of polarized brown/amber glasses and a few ball caps. You will be glad you did. As for Ben's, it is the best. A little goes a long ways. Dress right and put a spray on the back of each of your hands and rub under your neck and around the sides of your face. I usually put one or two sprays on my ball cap. A good reason to take cheap caps that don't have much value to you. Keep Ben's away from your eyes and mouth. It makes your lips numb as heck.

    As for sleeping bag and tent, with one day/week off, it won't matter much.

    For fly rods, you will find use for anything above a 5 wt. I suspect you won't have trouble finding a rod to use while up there. A 6-7 wt would be a nice rod to have if only taking one. A 5 wt and an 8 wt would be great if taking two was an option.

    Either way, sounds like you have a wonderful summer ahead. You will have a ball man! That is a pretty part of the state. I lived in NW Alaska for two years and have only been to SW Alaska once. We were in Dillingham for a few days before/after our 13 day float trip on the Goodnews River this past September. Wonderful fishing, lots of bears, and great scenery. What more could you ask for? One of my favorite float trips so far. We usually float arctic rivers in NW Alaska fly fishing for dollies. Floating the Wulik in NW this coming Sept. NW Alaska is very remote and offers incredible solitude. As some say, the silence is deafening. But that trip on the Goodnews left me wanting to get back soon. We will likely float it for kings week of July 4th, 2009. Just for the heck of it I will attach a link to some pictures from our recent float trips. If you are in Kansas, you might like the change of scenery for sure. Any particular gear questions come up, let me know with a pm. Happy to help if I can.

    When the below link opens, click "view slideshow" in upper right side

    http://www.flickr.com/gp/21144083@N02/Qp59w2
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  8. #8

    Default I agree.. no neoprene waders

    Buy breathables from one of the better wader manufactures if you can, Simms, Patagonia,Cloudveil etc. They are much more comfortable and you can layer underneath if its chilly....lightweight bottoms for hot days to fleece pants for cold. Enjoy your summer, that is some beautiful country.

  9. #9
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    Default thanks!

    thanks for all of the advice everyone I really appreciate it. I can't wait for this summer, but in the mean time I'll enjoy the rest of the snow that is out here in colorado.

    Luckily, I've talked to a couple employees who used to work there and it sounds like i'll be working my butt off, but they also said the owner is great and I'll have a blast on my days off. So i can't wait.

  10. #10
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default yep...

    Have a ball man! Sounds like a great opportunity to learn. Ears open, mouth shut kind of learning. I bet you will have a great time!
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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