Going to Antarctica? Trouble packing? This might help.

Famous for its enormous icebergs, towering glaciers and shimmering summer light, Antarctica offers some of the planet's most awe inspiring landscapes. The North Atlantic and Arctic evoke images of sparse snow covered lands, but when summer comes it bursts with colour and life.

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Going to Antarctica? Trouble packing? This might help.

Postby danamcc » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:46 pm

I went on the Spirit of Shackleton trip during January. If you’re going in November or March you may need to adjust your packing accordingly.

Vicks. Not for if you get a cold, no, it’s for the smell. Just put it under your nose and poof the smell is temporarily masked. You will need to re-apply. Don’t bring anything that you plan to wear on land that absorbs smells. You will be smelling penguin all the way home.

I highly recommend merino wool. Thermal pants, shirts, gloves, neck warmer. It doesn’t smell and it’s warm. Excellent investment and light weight which is key as there is a weight limit on the flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. I think it is 15kg (33lb).

You’ll want to bring different weights of gloves. I brought a heavy pair and used my merino wool liners (very helpful, especially if you want to take your hand out to take a picture, your skin isn’t completely exposed), as well as a lighter pair for walking on deck and a waterproof pair (as I did the kayaking).

Kayakers: Dry suits, lifejackets, “poggies” are provided. The poggies are the equivalent to a warm mitten attached to your paddle. However, you’ll need more than that to protect your hands which is why waterproof gloves are important. The salt will damage your clothing and gloves, please be aware you might need to soak them in water and let them dry before your next outing. If you wear glasses, you’ll want to have ski goggles.

Laundry services: There is a nominal fee which is outrageously expensive. I would suggest doing laundry in the bathroom sink and bring a travel Tide package or something similar.

You will not need to bring a towel of any sort, those are all provided. Hair dryers are also in the rooms.

Promethazine! I called it my happy blue pill. Gravol and milder seasickness medications didn’t work for me. Consult your doctor.

Entertainment such as a book, there is a library but it mostly has travel books and they’re reference items so you can’t remove them. I also recommend bringing a tablet or some sort of computer device if you plan to write e-mails/blogs etc. On the boat I chose to buy the e-mail package for $35 US whereas others chose to buy the data and ended up spending $200+. With the e-mail package, just tell your family members that they might get an e-mail from an unknown e-mail and that it might go into their spam. Take a list of e-mails on a USB you’ll be fine.

Re-usable water bottle. There is only one drinking fountain but I would wait and line and use that one opposed to the sink water. Trust me.

Cream for your hands and/or face. The salt and air destroy your skin.

Sunscreen! As most of your body will be covered up, this is mostly for your face. Lip balm – preferably with SPF in it. Sunglasses! Even when it’s cloudy you’ll be squinting, these are a must.

Less is more. You won’t need 3 sweaters; there is no dress competition on the boat. I brought 4 pairs of pants, only needed 3. My pants doubled as waterproof pants, you will need waterproof pants or pants that are waterproof. I brought 2 sweaters, only really needed the one.

Bathing suit if you plan on swimming.

Extra camera batteries and memory cards. If you’re a kayaker, you will want to bring a waterproof camera for when you’re in the kayak. There is no room for big SLR’s and you don’t want it damaged. GoPro’s are another option.

You will need to bring your own shampoo/conditioner/body wash.

I suggest the shoes you bring/wear are a good pair of hiking boots. You wear the provided Wellington boots on landings, but if there is a hike, they will allow you to wear your own boots if they get sanitized.

I brought toe/hand warmers but did not use them.

Kleenex is provided in the rooms.

Tripod. Now this is a personal preference. If I did the trip again, I don’t think I would bring it. It added unnecessary weight to my bag. I used it all of once. Again, up to you, I might suggest bringing a smaller one.

USB stick to exchange photos with other guests.

US money for tips and gifts.

Plug adaptor. Boat uses 2 prong.

Binoculars. I didn’t use mine as much as I could have, but then again I had a fairly large zoom on my camera. If you’re not into bird watching I suggest bringing a small pair (for whales).

One last thing: If you’re coming from a cold climate, do not bring your winter jacket with you. They provide you with one once on the boat and having two to take home is annoying.

Hope that was helpful! Have a great trip!
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Re: Going to Antarctica? Trouble packing? This might help.

Postby belinda.kate » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:02 pm

That was very helpful thank you! :)
Did you do the camping option at all?
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Re: Going to Antarctica? Trouble packing? This might help.

Postby PaulTeolis » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:53 pm

hey dana...
thanks for the great overview...will pass this along to Basecamp as well
to see if anything can be added to the pre trip info.

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Re: Going to Antarctica? Trouble packing? This might help.

Postby danamcc » Sun May 11, 2014 10:16 am

Good thinking Paul!

Belinda: I did not do the camping (I'm not a camper), but I know people that did. They provide the tents and sleeping bags. Best to bring your pillow from your room. You'll have to dress in layers and one person found the hand warmers very helpful. The washroom situation was a pot. If you're used to camping, this won't be an issue. No food is allowed on land, but water bottles are fine. The campers I talked to really enjoyed the experience.
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Re: Going to Antarctica? Trouble packing? This might help.

Postby @_kezm » Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:57 am

Thank you so much for sharing this insight, it has helped me eliminate several items. The vicks tip is priceless!
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Re: Going to Antarctica? Trouble packing? This might help.

Postby schungy » Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:34 am

Thanks much for the helpful info. Going in March 2015 so will plan accordingly!!!
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Re: Going to Antarctica? Trouble packing? This might help.

Postby ebby » Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:02 am

Great info as we are just starting to think about what to pack. we have plastic wet weather pants to put over our trousers, is that sufficient? do u just use these when on the zodiac's going to shore?
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Re: Going to Antarctica? Trouble packing? This might help.

Postby nomadicgaptraveler » Wed May 20, 2015 5:50 am

Thank you for the info great thread
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