The first thing to always remember when packing for Antarctica is “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Having said that, let’s continue with reminding you that Antarctica is a cold place, standing out the single uninhabitable continent. However, you’re not going to freeze unless you go prepared.
It’s wise that you plan a trip during the warmest season of the year, with the proximity of the ocean (you’re going to be cruising a lot) only improving the experience.
Why should you travel to Antarctica?
If you’re not the no.1 fan of the cold season, you should stop reading and move to something else. Those of you who find it interesting, though, keep reading for finding out some of the many great things related to Antarctica.
When it comes to an Antarctica trip, the word adventure should be used a lot. You don’t go to the South Pole for sunbathing. Regardless of what you may think, Antarctica is an excellent place for hiking and kayaking, offering you some of the most unbelievable and “virgin” places on Earth. Traveling to Antarctica is going to bring you some of the best memories in your life.
- The cold as it is
It may sound surprising, but many people traveling to Antarctica don’t consider the cold a “positive thing.” It’s something both exciting and unusual about the ability of the cold to wake up your brain, though.
As long as you’re wearing the appropriate clothing (keep reading to find out the tricks), you shouldn’t freeze at all. The cold air may surprise you with a pleasant feeling against your skin at times. We adjust to the cold a lot faster than you’d think, rending you to end up enjoying the fresh air from Antarctica.
- The remote per se
The overwhelming emptiness of Antarctica is one thing to remember. When you travel to Antarctica, it’s only going to be you, your companions, and maybe some scientists. It’s not a place where people used to live either. There have never been indigenous people living in Antarctica, which may be appealing to some.
- The uniqueness
Many described Antarctica as an almost alien place. It’s nothing like you ever seen before, with ice and rocks everywhere. No plants, no trees, and nothing but ice.
If you ever liked the thought of traveling through space to a deserted world, Antarctica is the best choice. You don’t even need a space ship for getting there, as Antarctica is like the alien landscape of planet Earth.
- The fauna
Even if there are no trees or plants, there are plenty of animals in Antarctica. On the contrary, Antarctica is the home for penguins, who don’t fear humans at all. With no predators living on land, penguins are insanely curious and confident. Did you ever want to pet a penguin? Now it’s the perfect time to do it!
Penguins aren’t the only animals living in Antarctica, as many seals and whales are living there too. Getting a glimpse of their life right in their natural habitat is one of the most amazing things to see in a lifetime.
You may have seen icebergs before, but you never saw Antarctica icebergs. The closer you get to the south pole, the more icebergs you’re going to see. The floating structures have all sorts of sizes and shapes, with no ice identical to another. Just enjoy the show!
You don’t need to be a professional photographer for getting the best images. While in Antarctica, you have the opportunity to get some of the best landscapes on this planet and making the most amazing pics is quite easy. Getting your photography skills to the next level is easy when you have such fantastic shots to take.
Scientists agree that Antarctica is exceptionally generous in terms of scientific perspective too. Astronomers and scientists studying the climate change love traveling to Antarctica. The constant weather, pure air, and the lack of pollution turn Antarctica in one of the best places in the world to observe the sky. Scientists can see better what’s happening out in the air. It’s why stargazers travel to Antarctica too.
- It’s history
Due to the extreme weather and distance, not many people traveled to Antarctica until now. Your trip may become a part of this continent’s history. Unlike all the other travel destinations on this planet, Antarctica doesn’t have any buildings or establishments. You’re becoming a part of Antarctica’s story when going.
How to pack for Antarctica?
If skiing is life or anything related to snow is your thing, you know that layering is fundamental when spending time in the cold. Remember the underlying principle for Antarctica trips? Well, here are the tips you should follow when getting yourself ready for a trip to the frozen continent:
- Woolen layers are a must
You should never underestimate the efficiency of long underwear, no matter how unattractive you may consider it to be. The base layer is fundamental, and you should pack more than one. Look for thin wool options as they’re not tight and allow efficient air circulation around your body. Lightweight wool is high insulating, and you should always pack several woolen long-sleeved tops and thin woolen socks. Not only the wool is warm and reliable, but it also comfortable to feel.
- Get thick socks
You want your feet to be warm and dry at all times. You may use several layers of thin wool socks, but make sure you don’t overdo it. When your feet feel too snug in the boots, they sweat and eventually can get you cold.
- Pack fleece garments too
Once you bought the thin woolen underwear, you should also look into some fleece pieces of clothing. You can wear fleece as it is on a warmer day, or rely on it on windy weather. Bring some fleece shirts and hoodies to put on when it’s freezing.
- Always buy waterproof boots
You need tall, waterproof, and rugged boots for exploring the mainland. However, they also need to provide stability and efficient traction. It’s better that you break them in before the trip, so you don’t end up with blisters when traveling.
- Pack underlayer gloves, face mask, sunglasses, hat, and lip balm
You need underlayer gloves to keep your hands warm. Underlayer gloves can trap heated air inside, without altering your ability. You don’t want to take them off when changing the camera lens.
Apart from the low temperatures, wind can also get quite powerful in Antarctica. You should always pack a face mask for keeping your face warm. Wind burns are just as dangerous as sunburns.
Just because the weather can get cold and windy, it doesn’t mean that it cannot get sunny as well. On the contrary, Antarctica can be a bright place (even in the middle of the night). Add the reflective white snow into the picture, and you get to understand why the sunglasses are essential in Antarctica. Look for the polarized models and pack two, for safety issues.
When you’re in a sunny place, some sunglasses aren’t going to be enough. You also need to wear a hat, some moisturizer and lip balm. The air is quite dry, and you want to protect your lips and skin from drying.
Side note: Even if Antarctica is a cold place, it’s also the highest continent on Earth. It’s under a thin layer of ozone, so you’re closer to sun UV’s rays. You should always apply a generous layer of sunscreen for reducing the risk of sunburns.
- A camera in a waterproof bag
It’s a shame to travel to Antarctica and not take great pictures. Get several lenses and a reliable camera for the job. Even if point-and-shoot cameras are ok, the glaring exposure and white balance are challenging. Don’t forget to pack a waterproof bag as well since there’s plenty of water splashing around you.
One last thing before you go shopping
You need a lot more than our recommendations for your Antarctica expedition. We’ve only listed the essential items to pack.
You should also do diligence about it and gather all the info you need. There are several types of trips that you can take to Antarctica. Some focus on wildlife, whereas others give travelers the possibility to explore the continent. There are also the travel packs for the tight budget, so make sure you check them all before buying.
There are many things to address when traveling, and a trip to Antarctica doesn’t make an exception. Here are some other aspects to check before leaving:
- Fundamentally, you have enough water around you when traveling to Antarctica. Don’t go with regular bottles of water since they’re not very easy to handle in the cold. Besides, your water can turn into ice pretty fast too. It’s better that you look for insulated winter water bottles so that you have water within reach.
- Antarctica is a unique place, and any trip is going to be the same. You should have a journal to write down as much as you can from your daily experiences. It’s worth to note everything is happening to you since you may forget so many of them.
- You do need your passport at every stop you take, so don’t forget to pack it.