Have Fun with Your Antarctic Gear!
Packing the proper items for your trip to Antarctica is an essential and a potentially fun part of preparing for your trip! There are some Antarctic must-haves on the list which also allow you the opportunity to bring your own personality to your Antarctic apparel.
Boots - There are some colorful and creative rubber boots available at your local department and farm supply stores. As long as they are completely waterproof and knee-high (14-16" high) with a ridged, waffle-tread sole, you will be set. Your boots should be loose fitting and allow for you to wear at least two pairs of socks, such as the Gibraltar Sox found at ShopAntarctica.com, which also offers a selection of excellent boot options.
Socks - As you will frequently switch between your shipboard shoes and your rubber boots, both should easily slip on and off. Some such examples include deck shoes, Crocs, non-lacing walking shoes, gardening shoes, or rubber-soled clogs. If your shipboard shoes are a type of hiking sandal (i.e. Chaco or Teva), these work great as well—plus, you can sport some socks with a bit of personality!
Sunglasses – Though you may not think “sunshine” when you think of Antarctica, the White Continent enjoys six full months of sunlight to its six months of darkness. And, since the sun can be quite intense during the austral summer, it is very important to bring good quality sunglasses with a UV filter to protect your eyes from the glare off of water, snow and ice. On the same 'sunny' note, make sure you pack your sunscreen and a moisturizing lip balm to protect your skin!
Hat - Since 90% of the heat you lose can come from your head, a warm insulating hat that covers your ears is critical. A whimsical and toasty favorite is the Wooly Hat offered from ShopAntarctica.com.
Neck Gaiter – This is a non-unraveling alternative to a scarf and really keeps the wind and cold air from going down the front of your parka as you are zipping along in the Zodiacs. These are available in some great colors at ShopAntarctica.com.
Gloves - As most have experienced, once your hands and fingers get cold and wet, it seems nearly impossible to do most anything like zipping your parka, operating your camera and the like. Therefore, wearing a warm glove liner underneath your waterproof gloves can be quite handy—so when you remove your outer glove, your hands are still warm and cozy while operating your camera! Also, inserting some air-activated hand warmers into your gloves, parka pockets, or even boots will help to keep you toasty during on-deck whale watching or onshore exploration.
Insulation/Fleece - Check out the super new mid-weight insulating jackets, the Nano Puff Pullovers. They're surprisingly warm, water-resistant, wind-blocking--plus, have a 100% all-recycled polyester shell--and can be compacted into a superlight, no-frills package!
Important Note: Though the austral summers can be mild and sunny, you should be prepared for wind, clouds, rain or snow. The weather in Antarctica can change suddenly, so in order to stay warm and comfortable, the name of the game is to stay dry and to layer, layer, layer. Your outer layers should be wind and water resistant to keep you dry on the outside but still allow your body's moisture to escape. It is when you are wet that you rapidly lose a tremendous amount of heat and quickly become uncomfortable.
For a complete Antarctic packing list, contact an ExpeditionTrips Antarctica Specialist.