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    June 13, 2024 4 min read

    Preparing for an Antarctic expedition is no ordinary packing task. The extreme conditions and unique environment require careful planning and the right gear to ensure comfort and safety. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a first-time explorer, this guide will help you pack smartly for your journey. From essential layers and protective footwear to must-have accessories, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover the key items you’ll need for an unforgettable Antarctic adventure.

    1. Master Layering

    Instead of bulky jumpers and jackets, pack layers. Layering options are key to enjoying variable conditions over a long timeframe in a winter environment. While its cold out, ships are warm inside, so you’ll be able to adjust your layers accordingly. 

    Base Layers

    Thermal base layers, preferably wool or wool blends, provide the best insulation. Avoid cotton as it retains moisture and can cool you down. We recommend the Women's Icebreaker Merino 300 Long Sleeve Roll Neck or the Mens Helly Hansen LIFA Merino Midweight (225g) Thermal Top as great base layer options. Browse our complete thermal base layer range for men and women.


    Multiple thin layers of a poly blend or fleece allow for better temperature control. Ensure they are loose enough to accommodate base layers underneath and make sure you have at least one thicker fleece option for particularly cold conditions, such as Zodiac rides. Vests are a fantastic way to add high levels of warmth whilst being easy to pack.The Women's Fusalp Meryl Jacket and the Men's Mammut Rime Light Flex Vest are both highly recommended mid-layer options. Browse our complete mid-layer range for men and women.

    Outer Layers

    It is essential that your outerwear is 100% waterproof. Some cruises may provide jackets, but having your own insulated, waterproof pants is essential for shore excursions and deck activities. Our Men's The North Face Chakal Pant and Women's Kjus Formula Pant are high quality, reliable options. 

    2. Secure Your Headgear

    Antarctica’s winds are fierce, so bring a snug-fitting beanie that covers your ears. It’s wise to pack an extra one in case you lose the first or need a backup. View our extensive range of Men's and Women's Beanies.

    3. Opt for Proper Footwear

    Forget standard hiking boots; you need muck boots for Antarctica. Designed for traction on ice and snow, these boots like the Men's and Women's Attiba Snow Boots keep your feet warm and dry. These also have the added benefit of
    built in spikes for extra traction when you’re on the ice. Consider your second pair of shoes to have waterproof protection as well. These On Cloud horizons and Cloud 5’s are prime examples of comfortable shoes for onboard activities.

    4. Choose the Right Socks

    Choose socks that have high levels of Merino for moisture wicking and warmth.
    Choosing a few thicker full cushion options as well as thinner targeted socks will allow you to keep your feet warm and cosy throughout your whole travel experience.

    5. Keep Your Hands Warm

    Layer your gloves with a polyester base liner for both protection and comfort. Look for high levels of waterproofing and adequate insulation throughout. A short cuff option would pack slightly easier in limited luggage space. Think about a second pair that you could wear whilst taking in the view when not on your excursions and bring extra pairs in case you lose one. Photographers might prefer fingerless gloves or touchscreen-compatible options such as the Men's Reusch Discovery GORE-TEX Touch Tech Glove.

    7. Protect Your Neck

    A warm neck gaiter will keep your neck protected from the elements. It's more practical than a scarf, which can come undone or get caught on Velcro and other fasteners, but ensures warmth, sun protection and breathability in extreme conditions. The Helly Hansen Merino Neck Gaiter 2.0 is a staff favourite.

    8. Don’t Forget Sun Protection

    Despite the cold, the sun can be strong in Antarctica. One of the most valuable pieces for any Antarctica traveller would be high contrasting, shield style sunglasses. These will not only enhance the colours of a fully white environment but also reduce glare and strain on your eyes. The range from Smith Optics are market leaders in this field.
    Wearing regular sunglasses will significantly reduce your enjoyment of your life changing trip. Bring broad-spectrum sunscreen, and SPF lip balm.

    9. Moisturize Regularly

    The cold, dry air can be harsh on your skin. Regularly applying moisturizer helps prevent dryness and keeps your skin healthy.

    9. Prepare for Seasickness

    Crossing the Drake Passage can be rough. Whether or not you’re prone to seasickness, bring anti-nausea medication. Consult your doctor before the trip to ensure you have all necessary medications.

    10. Think baggage

    In tight accommodation quarters, thinking smart when it comes to luggage space is key to maximizing your living space. We recommend taking at least 1 soft shell style bag. These 55 - 70L duffels from Patagonia not only ensure protection from water, rain and snow but also can easily be easily packed away in a drawer once you have unpacked in your room. The perfect accompaniment.

    Additional Essentials:

    • Camera gear, including spare batteries and memory cards
    • A reusable water bottle to reduce plastic use
    • Waterproof cases for electronics
    • Heavy-duty garbage bags for separating wet clothes
    • Ziplock bags for waste during excursions
    • Binoculars for spotting distant wildlife
    • Day backpack for those Zodiac trips to the ice
    • Cash or credit card for purchases at Port Lockroy, the only shopping spot in Antarctica
    • Earplugs to block out ship noises or snoring roommates

    Above all, bring a sense of awe and respect for the incredible environment you’re about to explore. This journey promises to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life!

    For product recommendations and advice on gear for your Antarctica trip, get in touch with the friendly Snowscene Team by phone 1300 139 119, email: shop@snowscene.com.au or in store at 743 Stanley Street, Woolloongabba QLD.