What Clothing Did You Really Need?

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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What Clothing Did You Really Need?

Postby tbj_tbs » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:40 pm

Hello All,

I am going to Antarctica in March 2014, and am trying to figure out from all of the posts what clothing items you really needed. Since gear is expensive, I am considering either buying or renting (although I don't know about the quality of rental gear).

What clothing items did you need that were the most useful/you couldn't live without? I am just trying to get a feel as to what to bring/purchase and anticipate buying.

Thanks.
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Re: What Clothing Did You Really Need?

Postby tletter » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:14 pm

tbj_tbs wrote:What clothing items did you need that were the most useful/you couldn't live without?

This is not a particularly active trip. In fact most people are fairly stationary in a marine environment for extended periods of time whether seated in a Zodiac or ashore observing the interactions of penguins, etc.

Since there is a good chance of encountering spray on the ship and Zodiac, and rain. A neoprene jacket with layers underneath (if you're hot then remove a layer) works well in this marine environment. Some decent gloves, a toque and waterproof pants should complete your ensemble.

You do not need to purchase or rent expensive equipment.
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Re: What Clothing Did You Really Need?

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:13 am

I went in November but found I overpacked. I advise clothing you can layer, especially with an underlayer that will wick moisture away. Windproof, waterproof fabrics as your outer layers work best but make sure they breathe. I will differ from tletter on this one point: I absolutely do NOT recommend neoprene. Neoprene doesn't breathe and doesn't give you many options if you don't have exactly the right thickness. When you get too warm, you sweat and that sweat can chill you down.

I usually wore a microfiber t-shirt with a supplex nylon long sleeve shirt over it, cargo pants and then had a ski jacket (usually with fleece liner, sometimes without) and ski pants although I did wear double wool socks in my Wellingtons. Cargo pants went over the socks and inside the boots while the ski pants went over the Wellingtons to prevent any water from getting inside.

One potential difference in our experiences: we had deep snow to trudge through in November so even though we didn't move a lot, we could work up some sweat when we did so. I frequently had my Goretex jacket half unzipped to help let the heat out.

I have numerous pictures of the Zodiac and landfall crews at http://gadget-travels.net/photos/index.php?cat=2 and you will be hard pressed to find any of them in neoprene.

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John's dressed a little more lightly here because we were hiking around on Deception Island and the weather was quite lovely once the fog burned off:
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Now, in THIS one case, I think John and Scobie would have appreciated some neoprene:
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Either way, I don't recommend you follow Julio's apparel on this one instance:
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Re: What Clothing Did You Really Need?

Postby wattsed » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:08 am

I agree more so with Exployer---I went the last week of Feb and first week of March last year and, fortunately, I did not overpack as some did...It was much warmer than I expected although I had looked up weather forcasts for most of the weather stations---it ranged between 30-34F most of the days...sometimes the wind is more of a problem than cold...GAP provided us the parka on our trip and after the first day, most times I only wore the shell over my layers rather than have the insert...I had some goretex rain pants over my under layers and it was very adequate(here I also agree with Exployer that you must have breathable material as you will tend to sweat if you do a lot of movement...Many times I had to unzip my jacket and one time even took it off while on shore...One of our Aussie fellow travelers actually stripped down to a t-shirt and shorts almost every time we were on shore---looked a little funny with his boots on though! :lol:
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Re: What Clothing Did You Really Need?

Postby tletter » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:21 pm

ExplorerWannaBe wrote:I have numerous pictures of the Zodiac and landfall crews ... and you will be hard pressed to find any of them in neoprene.

Perhaps because you did not take any photos of the insides of their Anti-Exposure Coveralls & Work Suits. These generally use closed-cell foam insulation.
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Re: What Clothing Did You Really Need?

Postby wattsed » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:29 am

I hate to disagree with you; however, with today's materials it does not make sense for them to have their parkas lined with anything other than breathable material...also, why have a waterproof outer layer and another waterproof layer underneath? A couple of the crew took their jackets off at Deception Island on our crusise and when I looked at them laying on the wooden shed next to where we went in swimming, the inner layer was no different than the parkas GAP had given us...Maybe in the past they were lined that way but I seriously doubt it today... :mrgreen:
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Re: What Clothing Did You Really Need?

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:45 pm

tletter wrote:
ExplorerWannaBe wrote:I have numerous pictures of the Zodiac and landfall crews ... and you will be hard pressed to find any of them in neoprene.

Perhaps because you did not take any photos of the insides of their Anti-Exposure Coveralls & Work Suits. These generally use closed-cell foam insulation.


Believe what you want. The crew didn't wear the Anti-Exposure Coveralls (aka "Gumby suits") for landfalls or Zodiac cruises on my trip and I saw John and Scobie come aboard after their Zodiac overturned -- again, no sign they even used 0.5 mm neoprene.

Neoprene is great stuff if you're working a fishing boat in cold seas or diving or riding a motorcycle in cold wet conditions but I highly recommend against it for things like the Expedition cruises. You are FAR better off wearing a good quality soft-shell made of something like Goretex Wind-Stopper and layers including a fleece liner if needed. I have been on one trip there so am far from expert but remember that the cruise is not going deep into the interior of Antarctica and will be surrounded by the heat sink of the sea.
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Re: What Clothing Did You Really Need?

Postby tletter » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:10 am

wattsed wrote:why have a waterproof outer layer and another waterproof layer underneath?

No idea what you are talking about but clearly you have very strong views on what works. My experience over 18 days was different and that's all.
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Re: What Clothing Did You Really Need?

Postby tletter » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:13 am

ExplorerWannaBe wrote:The crew didn't wear the Anti-Exposure Coveralls

In most of your photos and on our trip, the crew were wearing Mustang Survival flotation suits (aka Anti-Exposure Coveralls) or Mustang floater jackets. However, clearly you have a very firm conviction on what works despite others' experience and your own photos. My experience over 18 days was different than yours and so readers of this thread can take whatever advice they choose to.
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Re: What Clothing Did You Really Need?

Postby PaulTeolis » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:29 pm

I have been twice to antarctica and both experiences were different weather wise, but my clothing was pretty much the same.

I always layered based on the amount of walking we might do on land and the weather for the day as well. Warm socks always and I doubled up to stay dry. I had warm gloves and a neck gator to keep the wind out as well.

I borrowed a waterproof sailing suit both times, which kept me bone dry and then layered accordingly underneath, it was light and not bulky. I can't speak for everyone but I found with two shore landings per day things were active on land, and I kept warm by moving.

Some days weather was windy and sleeting so I sometimes wore more layers underneath. Average temp was -1 to +1, but it can get cold on the zodiaks.

enjoy.
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Re: What Clothing Did You Really Need?

Postby TravelFun » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:09 pm

I feel the cold quite easily so must have are my thermals as my base layer. I went to Antarctica in the month of February and although a milder season it still gets cold and the wind's chilly. This is what I wore everyday:

For the legs: Thermal bottoms, then fleece leggings, then cotton trousers and the outer layer was waterproof bottoms.
For the feet: close knit socks, then thicker socks (similar to ski-socks).
For the upper body: Long-sleeve thermal top, fleece, downs-jacket and the outer layer was a waterproof/windproof jacket
Plus, a pair of thermal gloves plus outer gloves, scarf/balaclava and warm hat.

Layering is the best way to go...

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