Are you getting ready for an Antarctica Cruise, but not sure what to bring? No problem! I was lucky enough to do a 9-day Polar Circle Air-Cruise in February of 2015 and lucky for you I know what to pack and what to leave at home. Read on for my complete and comprehensive Antarctica Packing List.
NOTE: Before packing, check if your cruise provides any equipment! Some cruise companies will provide parkas and rubber boots. You should also check if the cruise offers laundry service. For those of you that have planned an extensive South America trip and don’t want to lug jackets and boots along with you, there are some companies in Ushuaia that will rent equipment!
Antarctica Packing List: Clothes & Accessories
One thing is for sure, you need to layer! When you dress in layers, you create pockets of air in each layer of clothing which provides more heat than just wearing 1 heavy layer. With that said, don’t overdo it! If you are too warm and begin to perspire, you will lose body heat quickly, especially while in cold weather conditions. Synthetic fibers like polar fleece and polyester can provide the best insulation, even when wet.
- Waterproof parka
- Waterproof pants that will fit over multiple layers
- Bathing suit: used for the polar plunge!
- 1 nice outfit: depending on the cruise, you may want to have one fancier outfit. My cruise, it was extremely casual and I didn’t feel out of place with a sweatshirt and jeans.
- Pocket or hand warmers
- Warm wool hat that covers your ears
- A few pairs of wool socks: your socks may not dry overnight so always have an extra pair
- Thermal pants and long sleeve shirt
- Waterproof rubber boots
- Comfortable clothing to wear on the ship: slip on shoes are a must
- Waterproof gloves and thin, under layer (polypropylene) gloves
Travel Tip: When we went watching on the zodiac we sat still for over an hour. I had to take off my outer gloves in order to take pictures and my hands were freezing!
Read more >> Antarctica Weather Info & Travel Tips
- Extra memory cards
- Extra camera batteries
- Laptop and pen drive
Travel Tip: Most cruises will not have Wi-Fi, and if they do, it will be expensive and extremely slow. I suggest you bring a laptop and pen drive so that you can share photos with your friends onboard. Don’t expect to surf the net!
- Multiple lenses with great zoom capability for all the wildlife
- Waterproof case or bag for your camera
- Electrical converter and/or adaptor
- Travel alarm clock
- Multiple Cameras!!
Travel Tip: My biggest regret on my 9 day trip to Antarctica was that my camera broke on the 2nd day. This had nothing to do with the cold, it was an older camera and decided to pick the best time to retire. I had to rely on the goodwill of my shipmates to let me use their extra cameras and share photos with me. Always prepare for the worst and pack an extra camera. This way, you won’t miss capturing any of the moments that pass by!
Antarctica Packing List: Free Time
If you cross the Drake passage, you will have a few days of downtime. If you are doing an air- cruise you will have downtime at night before you go to bed. Below is a couple of ideas for things to use during your free time.
- Playing cards
- Kindle, tablet or book
Antarctica Packing List: Toiletries & Medications
Here is where I suggest over packing. While many ships will have a small store they may not have what you want. If you think you may need something, take it with you!
- Lip balm with SPF
- Sanitizing gel
- Any other medications that you may need
- Seasickness medication.
Travel Tip: It’s never a bad idea to have seasickness medication while traveling on a ship, especially if you cross the fierce Drake Passage. I highly recommend bringing motion sickness medication on any Antarctica Cruise.
Antarctica Packing List: Bags & Bottles
- Dry bag or waterproof backpack: great for the excursions and on the zodiacs
- Water bottle
- Plastic bags
Travel Tip: Penguin poop is one of the foulest smelling things you’ll come across. If you have the misfortune of getting this on something, you’ll want a plastic bag (I happened to sit in it and they had to hose me down at the bottom of the ship!). Plastic bags are also handy if your cruise doesn’t offer a laundry service.