You’ve booked your Antarctic cruise and you are feeling ready to set sail but are you? We’re here to help you out with some essential tips on packing for Antarctica. Enjoy spectacular scenery and wondrous wildlife without freezing as if you are in the worlds southernmost continent and site of the South Pole!
When packing for Antarctica you need to ensure you’re prepared for the icy cold temperatures when you’re not on the cruise ship. We highly recommend layers, layers and more layers.
Your base layer should be some form of thermal; ski thermals are the best choice as they’re made for extreme temperatures. Bring 2 or 3 sets to ensure you’re covered for your entire trip.
On top of your thermals, we recommend you wear a merino wool sweater. A thicker fleece jumper/jacket is an essential when you’re on the zodiac, watching whales and leopard seals. It’s a good idea to also bring a pair of fleece pants to keep your legs warm
Your outer layer should be a windproof/waterproof jacket. Normal waterproof jackets will not keep you warm against the ice-cold temperatures. It’s worthwhile to purchase a jacket made for Antarctic temperatures. In addition you will also need a pair of high quality waterproof pants. However, if you’re traveling with One Ocean Expeditions, they will provide both a waterproof jacket and waterproof pants for you to use.
Whilst on board the cruise ship, the dress code is casual, however some cruises do have formal dinners (be sure to check).
We recommend packing:
3-4 long sleeve t-shirts
2 pairs of pants
1-2 nice shirts (men)/blouses (women)
If travelling with One Ocean (or most other cruise operators), you will be provided with a pair of rubber boots for you to wear outside.
While on the ship you will just need normal closed toe shoes, however given how slippery the deck can get, we strongly recommend hiking shoes with a strong grip to avoid falling over.
Socks, you cannot forget socks! We recommend roughly 8 pairs of socks:
3 pairs of ski liner socks
2-3 pairs of thick merino woollen socks (thick hiking socks)
2 pairs of woollen socks (to wear with your hiking shoes on board)
The winds are rather chilly, so make sure you’ve got a warm beanie and earmuffs or a warm hat that also covers your ears.
You will definitely need a pair of waterproof gloves, and also a few thermal gloves to wear underneath to ensure your hands don’t freeze.
You might want to bring a scarf, however we recommend a fleece buff to keep your neck warm. To keep your neck completely covered, try a buff.
Antarctic sun is blinding, so don’t forget to pack a pair (or two, in case one breaks) of polarised sunglasses
Electronics & Camera Equipment
With so much beautiful scenery and incredible wildlife, you cannot afford to forget your camera. Most people choose a DSLR, because of the excellent zoom and high photo quality or a compact camera in order to save space. Whichever camera you choose make sure you know how to use it effectively, there’s no use buying a high tech expensive camera if you don’t know how to use it properly.
If you’re planning to bring lenses, bring two. A telephoto lens is ideal for capturing whales in the distance. A wide-angle zoom lens captures images whilst on the zodiacs.
To ensure your camera lasts your entire trip, make sure you bring 2 or 3 spare batteries and also make sure your charger is working before you go, or you may be left with no photos at the end of your expedition.
Additionally, bring multiple SD cards; no space to take photos is the equivalent of not having a camera.
You may want to bring a camera rain cover, to protect your camera from any water that may splash onto it.
Some people choose to bring a tripod, however if you’re not planning on taking videos on land, it’s a smart idea to leave it behind.
Additionally, you will definitely need a good pair of binoculars. Make sure you check to see if your cruise operator will provide you with a pair.
Now that your packing for Antarctica is sorted, you’re ready to board your Antarctic cruise for the journey of a lifetime…