What to pack for Antarctica, South Georgia, & the Falklands

When traveling with a travel company they always provide a “What to Pack” list.  In my case, it can be accessed here in PDF format.  Because I had so much time (a year and half from booking to boarding) I had a lot of time to research things.  I could be wrong in some of my choices, and I’ll report on that after the trip.  I found a great site in my Googling, called Cool Antarctica – lots of resrouces.  That site, and forum, really helped in finding some other options than just sticking to the regular recommended retail sites.

The big items

  • Parka
  • Rain Jacket
  • Water-proof boots with high-traction soles
  • Water-proof pants
  • Thermal underwear
  • 2 pairs of sunglasses
  • 2 pairs of gloves/mittens
  • Sweaters
  • Warm cap
  • Casual trousers to wear under water-proof pants

I’m a big fan of The North Face gear because it fits me better than other stuff.  I also love Oakley sunglasses because they don’t require a “nerd-cord” to keep them on your head in rough conditions, and their polarization is top notch.  The hardest decision was on which boots to buy.  I turned to the helpful folks at Zappos Outdoor for that decision and I’ll tell you later if their advice kept my feet dry…but I bought two different pairs of boots just to be sure.  For work-out stuff, I’m just taking some Nikes and a pair of shorts.  I am taking absolutely nothing for formal-wear.  I’ve been wearing a tie since high school, and refuse to put one on while on vacation!

What I’m packing:

  • Parka – Lindblad is supplying this
  • Rain Jacket – Gore-tex North Face jacket with the ability to zip-in linings
  • Boots – Kamik Marquettes (buy a size smaller than usual) & North Face McMurdo Boots (buy a half-size larger)….I think I’m just going to take the McMurdos now that I’ve got the Liberation pants (next)
  • Water proof pants – North Face Liberation Gore-tex snow pants.  These are incredible!  They’re double layered and bound at the bottoms so water cannot get in, but I also plan to duct tape where my pants meet my boots just in case.  However, with these pants I can wear the more comfortable arctic hiking boots and not have to bother with knee-high’s.
  • Casual Trousers – Some North Face casual pants and jeans
  • Thermal Underwear – I actually went with some Patagonia bottoms and North Face tops that can be worn as work out shirts
  • Sunglasses – I’m actually taking 3 pairs of Oakleys just because I’ve already got them and everything I’m reading is saying the sun can be extremely strong due to the hole in the ozone layer
  • Gloves/Mittens – On Rikki Swenson’s advice, I picked up some kayaking gloves with rubber on the fingers for manipulating camera settings, then I’ll pick up some water-proof mittens I can slip those into.  I also found some Gore-tex Burton mittons with pull-out interiors.  Just for fun, I tested the interiors by playing a few minutes on the XBox with them and didn’t have any problems working the controls.
  • Sweaters – This is a very important part because it is all about layering.  Again, the North Face is getting my money here.  I’ve done a few different combinations of their synthetic sweaters for wind and water protection
  • Cap – I will be taking a beanie and a gaiter (something that will cover from neck to nose)

Of course, you’re going to want to take some extra-circular activities such as books, magazines, games for a laptop, iPod, journal, etc….I imagine there will be quite a bit of down-time with 8 hour plane rides and days at sea.  Some cash for booze isn’t a bad idea either :)

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