Preparing for Antarctica – What to Wear

Posted by iWanderWhy | January 19, 2015 | Antarctica

We used the following guidance from Quark Expeditions for our packing:


  • Long and short-sleeved shirts
  • Pants
  • Fleece or wool sweater
  • Light, water resistant/proof jacket
  • Underwear
  • Shorts and swimwear


  • Sturdy shoes or hiking boots, comfortable for walking
  • Socks – synthetic “wicking socks” and thicker hiking socks

Additional Items

  • Daypack
  • Sun/rain hat
  • Rain poncho
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Sunblock and lip protection
  • Camera with extra batteries and memory cards/film
  • Waterproof camera case, dry bag, or plastic bags with zippers for carrying camera gear
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Water bottles
  • Packet of disposable wet wipes/toilettes
  • Small medical kit and prescription medicines
  • Insect repellant and anti-itch cream for bites
  • Ear plugs
  • Small padlock to lock your bag
  • Electrical converter
  • Money belt or pouch – Leave your wallet at home

Polar Gear

Outer Layers – We suggest packing wind and waterproof outer layers. Dress onboard the ship is casual.

  • Parkas. Waterproof and insulated. Many ships provide parkas. Please see below for details.
  • Waterproof pants, roomy enough for insulation layer underneath.
  • Warm pants to wear under your waterproof pants
  • Gloves. Recommend two pairs, one waterproof and one fleece or wool
  • Scarf or other face protection. Neck gaiters and balaclavas work well.
  • Comfortable pants for aboard the ship


  • Rubber, waterproof boots that are mid-calf or higher, with a strong, ridged non-skid sole (essential for wet landings via zodiac). Avoid heavy, cumbersome boots that are difficult to walk in. For maximum warmth, wear loose-fitting boots with two pairs of sock. Many ships provide boots for you to borrow, so please check the specific information for your ship. Boot rental is also available in Ushuaia.
  • Comfortable walking shoes or boots for days in towns prior to embarkation and aboard ship. Good traction is important on a slippery boat deck!

Additional Items

  • Daypack. Preferably waterproof
  • Camera with extra batteries and memory cards/film. Recommend waterproof case, dry bag, or plastic bags with zippers for carrying camera gear.
  • Contact lenses (attention contact lens wearers: the salt and wind can irritate your eyes – plan to wear glasses some of the time.)
  • Heavyweight plastic garbage bag to use as a waterproofing liner inside your daypack, if it is not already waterproof
  • Instant heat packs are great for putting in your pockets or boots to warm up hands and feet.

See this video for great information on how to gear up:


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