You have the job, Now what do you take?

This is the new version of the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) forum for teachers, education majors, and school administrators to discuss working and living in the state of Alaska. Those considering an Alaskan job, or considering a new Alaskan education job ask questions, and those with information and/or opinions provide answers. Although many users are teacher or principal candidates from the Lower 48, a large number of current and former school district HR and school administrators subscribe.

Moderators: Johncn, Betty Walters, Toni McFadden, Damon Hargraves

You have the job, Now what do you take?

Postby jen_sargent679 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:39 am

What do you recommend that I pack to take on the plane? :shock:
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:46 pm

Re: You have the job, Now what do you take?

Postby Darla Grediagin » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:18 pm

Search the ATP Forum Archive:

Search the old ATP forum. It has a lot of great information. You can do a keyword search and have access to 10+ years of Alaskan teacher experiences.

Darla Grediagin
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: You have the job, Now what do you take?

Postby Johncn » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:07 pm

jen_sargent679 wrote:What do you recommend that I pack to take on the plane? :shock:


We had a long-time regular contributor on the ATP Forum who used to say, "Make sure you bring some things to make you smile." I like her advice, and agree with that premise. ;-) Flat rate boxes (weight does not matter) are a great bargain from the Lower 48 for heavy items. Clothing is a separate topic, but I don't usually recommend buying winter clothing until you get to your new location, and see what people wear. A rain parka, polar fleece sweater, hat, rubber or waterproof hiking boots, and light glove liners will be fine to wear, and still get you to October in any Alaska location.

However, deciding what to take on the plane to Alaska itself may be different from what you take with you on the airplane to your village if you are moving to rural Alaska. This is because many teachers mail their non-perishable items like clothes in their luggage from Anchorage (or a regional hub), and take perishables such as fresh vegetables and meat with them as "luggage". The number of bags, the pound limit and the over weight charges vary a great deal, based on what air service you use to get to your village.

I do usually mail my clothes or other groceries in cardboard apple boxes from Anchorage - where mail out to the villages is much cheaper than it is from the Lower 48- and use my Alaska air service's baggage allowance to my town for food.

For my trips into the village, what I do is use one Tough Box tub from Home Depot (see pictures), and one rolling "cube" cooler on wheels (see pictures) as my two pieces of "luggage". The cooler keeps perishable items from spoiling when it's warm, and from freezing when it's cold in the belly or back of the plane. The Tough Box closes with zip ties, and I put bulky items and bread in there. I use a portable luggage scale at the supermarket or airport to make sure I am under 50 pounds for each.

Here are some images with travel tips showing our usual approach to travel in our family. Other rural educators may have different approaches, or favorite methods, but this is ours. Hope it helps those coming up.

Rubbermaid, Sterlite or Apple Boxes - Oh my!

First of all, although most teachers now seem to prefer the Rubbermaid or Sterlite tubs for mailing, old school apple boxes are impregnated with wax, are a perfect size, and resist moisture very well. They also allow me to get 4 12-packs of my favorite soda water AND four 2 liter bottles in the same box at under the weight limit. ;-)


The Tough Box is a Home Depot item that is a very sturdy alternative to Rubbermaid or Sterlite tubs, and comes with pre-made holes for zip ties AND for attaching to your hand scale. They are also larger than the Rubbermade ones, so fit more or bulkier items. We prefer them at $13 or so over the more commonly popular tubs, but your mileage may vary.


Igloo Cube Rolling Cooler

Rolling coolers of various types are very popular. We prefer the Igloo Cube.


Here are our coolers in "stacked" mode. We buy ours in the Lower 48 at Walmart for $28, as they are so popular up in Alaska that the same cooler usually sells for $50 or more.


This is the usual scene in the parking lot of the grocery store or hotel as we get ready to head to the airport. You will get incredibly good at shopping and packing for 50 pound coolers and boxes with a little practice. It's just plain scary how good this woman is at it - usually within a pound of the limit when she gives me one to weigh. Seriously. Spooky.


The Bush Travel Essentials

This is what we travel with each and every time we get on a airplane. These items will really prove their worth over and over again while traveling in rural Alaska.


Hope this helps,

User avatar
Posts: 278
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:05 am

Re: You have the job, Now what do you take?

Postby Darla Grediagin » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:32 pm

Hi again,

John had some great information. Now comes the time that we caution about the totes that we use. John gets the ones he showed at Home Depot. I like Rubbermaid and usually pick them up at Fred Meyers. The big message is to not get Sterlite. They are a lightweight tote made by Rubbermaid. They do not handle the cold at all.

When a family member sent me groceries in one, I thought it was great. They had reused something I had in storage. It was broken from the cold, but it was already old. When I asked about sending the tote, I found out that it had been purchased new at the store. It just couldn't handle the trip.

Holes for the zip ties can be added with an awl.(Yes I do carry one.) Best is to put a hole in each handle and do all you tops at one time and match the top to the tote to make that hole. That way all lids can interchange with other ones.

Good luck
Darla Grediagin
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: You have the job, Now what do you take?

Postby cyclone67 » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:00 pm

One more thing on totes. Walmart has some tubs that look just like the Home Depot ones. The only difference in looks is the tops have diamonds instead of squares. These tubs are not up to traveling in the Bush. My roommate had some sent to her over the winter and they tended to shatter on the corners. Get the Home Depot ones; they do not have that problem.
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:56 pm

Re: You have the job, Now what do you take?

Postby Darla Grediagin » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:01 am

Thanks to Cyclone for pointing out the WalMart versions of the totes. I had seen these at WalMart and thought that it was a great price. Good to know this information before I ever bought any.

FYI, the difference in the lower cost totes is that their plastic compound is missing something that allows the compound to expand/contract with temperature changes. This causes the totes to crack and break when they are moved from warm postal environment to the frozen north.

I hope this helps.
Darla Grediagin
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:55 pm

Return to ATP Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest