Before Chris McCandless, the ill-prepared idealist who was the subject of the Jon Krakauer book “Into the Wild,” starved to death in school bus near Denali National Park, he stopped at Big Ray's in downtown Fairbanks and bought a rifle. He shot a moose with it, but didn’t know how to cure the meat and it spoiled. Big Ray’s no longer sells firearms and it can't be expected to help with common sense, but it does have just about everything else someone preparing to venture into the Alaskan wild might need, from bug-proof net clothing to sleeping bags rated for 30 below zero, to big bags of beef jerky. Even if you’re not in the market for gear, browsing at Big Rays is fun and full of surprises. Who would have expected, for instance, that among all the insulated camouflage clothing, you’d find a bright blue Conoco-Phillips jumpsuit, just like the oil workers of Prudhoe Bay wear?
- Frommer's Staff