You mention bringing either a .357 or a .44 Mag. If it were me, I'd go for the .44; the .357 isn't big enough for the larger mosquitoes. But if you think it will defend against bears, you'd better be awfully good, and the bear had better be mighty small. As one poster said - you only need one round for a big bear - to use on yourself. :eek1 Gosh, sometimes I wonder how I've managed to survive 50 years up here without a gun in my hand most of the time. Have yet to carry one on a bike, and still manage to sleep comfortably in a tent. Someday I'll have to find where all those bears hang out so I can at least get some photos of them. Personally, I'd be more concerned about surviving the traffic in Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well as the highways in every direction - with all those rubber-necking RV drivers added to our own kamikaze-emulating cagers. Forget the gun - save the room for raingear, bug dope, and lotsa money. On the way home you can carry raingear, souvenirs, and receipts.