Gearing up to go, having seemed like it would never come around all of a sudden I am looking at the packing list for my trip to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica. What to pack is a question I get asked often so now it is my turn to question my judgement.
The best way to approach it is with a layering system so a good set of thermals both top and bottom, followed by a mid layer, ideally a thin fleece or turtleneck (ski wear) and trekking style trousers or fleece trousers. On top of this will be your thick fleece and finally the outer waterproof jacket and trousers which are essential. On your feet 2 layers of socks and wellies, I always take 3 pairs of gloves, one skinny liner type so I can wear and still use my camera, one waterproof outer pair and a spare pair in case one lot gets wet. I have a hat with ear flaps to keep my noggin warm and a neck gaiter which is much better than a scarf as it doesn’t flap or fall off. My adage is if you keep your head, hands and feet warm the rest of your body tends to keep up.
Almost all ships carry a selection of wellington boots which are essential for landings and also ideal for walking in snow. Many of our operators provide a good quality jacket with a zip in fleece and some even provide over trousers – what you do need to provide will be in your confirmation
I also pack some less obvious useful gadgets, a waterproof rucksack (or a good rucksack liner) for a day pack to keep camera, spare gloves and an extra base layer. As a keen photographer I also use a kneeler pad / sit mat – basically a bit of folded foam mat. If you are in the zodiac you can kneel in the bottom and use the pontoon as a rest which will help steady your camera and also makes it easier for everyone in the zodiac to see. Kneeling for a long time on a cold floor can be uncomfortable so I use my kneeler in its folded state.
Being prepared will make the most out of your trip, always assume it will be a wet landing (waterproof trousers outside wellies NOT tucked in). If you are going to be out in a zodiac for a while put on extra layers, if you are planning a longer walk you should heat up so a number of thin layers are will make it much easier to regulate you temperature then one big chunky one.
In Antarctica there is a lot of white and black so try to get bright clothes – it looks so much better on your photos.
If you do get cold think of those who went before you in their oils skins and heavy canvas, who didn’t have a nice expedition ship to return to with hot showers and cookies etc and next trip out remember that you need an extra layer or two.
If you want further advice about what to pack, or my Antarctic voyage, give us a call.