Antarctica packing list: everything you need for your first trip south

We know a thing or two about keeping warm in Antarctica. If you’re heading south for the first time, here’s our tried and tested packing list.

Antarctica packing list: everything you need for your first trip south

We know a thing or two about keeping warm in Antarctica. If you’re heading south for the first time, here’s our tried and tested packing list.

Antarctica packing list: everything you need for your first trip south

24/10/2023

We know a thing or two about keeping warm in Antarctica. If you’re heading south for the first time, here’s our tried and tested packing list.

Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, driest continent on Earth. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration at the end of the 19th century. These days, you’ll be much more comfortable than the likes of Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton. That said, it’s worth getting the basics right. As such, we’ve put together our detailed Antarctica packing list drawing on 30 years of experience on the great white continent.

We’ve linked through to items we sell in our online shop where possible. By purchasing directly from us, you help us care for and conserve all six historic buildings and artefacts. You also directly enable us to create experiences and tell stories to inspire people with the wonder of this unique place. 

As ever, thank you for all the support and have a wonderful time in Antarctica. We’ll see you down there!

Expedition clothing

The key to staying toastie in Antarctica is to follow the layering system so you can adapt your clothing to suit the conditions. Make sure you pack a mix of layers including base, mid and outer layers. Avoid using cotton layers as it holds moisture and is never waterproof. Stick to Polyester, Polypropylene or Merino wool.

  • Base layer tops – long-sleeved tops worn next to your skin
  • Mid-layer tops – our Berghaus microfleece is ideal
  • Outer layers – could be thicker down or sailing jacket*
  • Base layer bottoms – long pants or leggings worn next to your skin
  • Mid-layer trousers – could be hiking trousers
  • Waterproof trousers or snow pants
  • Walking boots*

*Cruise ships should supply a waterproof expedition parka and insulated waterproof boots.

Clare Ballantyne selfie with Port Lockroy in the background

Clare Ballantyne in her Port Lockroy beanie (Credit: Clare Ballantyne/UKAHT)

Accessories

Essentially, this section is about keeping your head, hands and feet warm whether you’re on a Zodiac cruise or a continental landing.

Our Arctic Edge Neck Gaiter (Credit: UKAHT)

Onboard

Evening dress code on polar expeditions is generally casual. There’s no need for top and tails although if you do don a shirt, our Antarctic Tartan Bow Tie or Silk Scarf would complete any outfit. Instead, we suggest dressing for comfort on board – think fleeces, jumpers, gilets and hoodies. Trainers and walking boots are also acceptable.

Our unique Watercolour Sketch Pad (Credit: UKAHT)

Toiletries

Don’t forget sunscreen! Antarctica may be cold and windy but the sun can be still be intense. Use biodegradable toiletries where possible.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturiser
  • Lip balm
  • Seasickness medication
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Eyemask
  • Ear plugs

We love these pop art-inspired t-shirts (Credit: UKAHT)

Miscellaneous

  • Camera and accessories (spare SD card and battery)
  • Phone and charger
  • Power bank
  • Power adapter
  • Water bottle
  • Suitcase
  • Day pack
  • Dry bag
  • Insurance
  • Passport

Follow a unique colony at the end of the world

The gentoos of Port Lockroy are perhaps some of the most famous penguins in the world! The colony made their home with us on Goudier Island over 30 years ago and we have been studying and contributing to their protection ever since. Inquisitive, fluffy and funny, we love sharing their activity with everyone around the world.

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