Antarctic Packing List

I cannot believe the BIG DAY is finally here! Holy crap. It still hasn’t hit me yet that in a few days I will be in a wild place so different from everything I have ever seen that it may as well be a different world. Right now I am feeling anxious, nervous, excited, and desperately hoping that I am ready for the biggest adventure of my life!

Having had to pack for both Australia (for 5 months) AND Antarctica has been exhausting, and I have to admit, up to the last minute I have been getting things together. And I should be leaving in about 3 hours! I still have to say goodbye to Ethan (I told him he couldn’t come to say goodbye to me at the airport with my family because I wouldn’t be able to bear it), kiss all my pets goodbye, and leave things in order. Its crazy! Anyways, I meant to do this earlier, but here it is: My Antarctic packing list for the Summer season of 2010.

beautifully arranged and organized with lots of help from Ethan 🙂

Gear List for Antarctica January – February 2010

  1. North Face Greta Triclimate jacket
  2. Water/Windproof pants
    1. North Face ski pants – perfect with lots of great pockets and insulation << UPDATE: performed excellently for long days of fieldwork.
    2. Patagonia Rainshadow pants – plain waterproof pants
  3. Mountain Hardwear windstopper fleece – super warm!
  4. REI heavy insulated base layer << UPDATE: this shirt was amazing. Seriously amazing. Super soft, form fitted warmth that could be worn multiple days. On warmer days it was enough on its own (plus lightweight base layer).
  5. REI heavy insulated pants << UPDATE: also amazing – thick, soft fleece that was so comfortable to wear around base. 
  6. Base layers:
    1. Patagonia Capilene 3 crew neck
    2. Patigonia Capilene 3 zip neck
    3. SmartWool midweight zip neck
  7. Long underwear (x2)
  8. Scarves (x2)
  9. Capilene 3 T-shirt (Ethan insisted on this but I’m not too crazy about it!)
  10. Ex-Officio underwear (they claim you only need two pairs for 6 weeks!!)
  11. Underwear (x5)
  12. Neck garter
  13. Hats (x3)
  14. Glove liners
  15. Manzella Gore-Tex windstopper gloves (more dexterous for field work)
  16. Gore-Tex ski gloves
  17. Manzella Adventure-100 gloves
  18. wool sock liner
  19. SmartWool thin socks
  20. SmartWool heavy socks
  21. SmartWool Mountaineering socks << UPDATE: these (worn alone) kept my feet perfectly warm and cushioned for days of hiking on volcanic scree. 
  22. Asolo Stynger boots – waterproof, insulated, and badass! << UPDATE: these boots were sturdy, comfortable, and durable throughout daily heavy use. I got a size up from my normal to leave enough room for thicker/layered socks, and foot swelling from extended hiking and it was a good idea to do so. 
  23. SuperFeet insoles
  24. snow goggles
  25. Polar sunglasses 
  26. lots of handwarmers
  27. energy bars
  28. Camelback daypack
  29. hygiene kits
  30. camp towel
  31. duffel bag
  32. journals and field notebook
  33. waterproof camcorder – my Xmas present from Ethan!!!!!
  34. battery re-charger for iPod
  35. portable headphones
  36. books + booklight
  37. portable external hard drive – Western Digital My Passport 500 GB for all those pictures and videos!!!!
  38. laptop

I think that this is a pretty complete gear list for my Antarctic trip, and it should cover all the bases. I will receive Extreme Cold Weather gear (coat, gloves, pants, long underwear as well as camping gear) from the USAP station in Christchurch, New Zealand (where we will be spending 2 nights before leaving for Antarctica, getting everything in order).

I will write again, as soon as I have net access!





12 responses to “Antarctic Packing List

  1. Yeaaa! This is so cool how u numbered everything. Nice Boots. I love the iguana (Kermit?) in the picture like ur packing him 2 lol

  2. Don’t forget the last minute addition of the waterproof/freeze-proof/drop-proof camera 🙂 pocket sized and should come in handy on the edge of the earth!

  3. impressive! i can’t wait to read about all your adventures and see lots of pics! 🙂 good luck on that lax to sydney flight…man that’s a long one. talk to you soon i hope!

    • haha thanks Hannah! Glad you found my blog 🙂
      Yeah that 15 hours scared me – but it actually wasn’t too bad – Qantas was pretty nice. And I got to catch up on some movies 🙂

  4. eva! holy shit! that mustve been a fortune to buy all of that…i just read your blog i am so excited for you ksdjfalkdfjalkdsfjk im freaking out. i cant wait to r ead more about your time there!

    • haha yeah it was pretty expensive but I also had some of it, AND I could justify it because some of the stuff I will be using in Australia as well (but not the clothes, of course)

  5. Hey great packing layout photos! I am headed to Antarctica in a couple months and was wondering if the gear that you brought with you was sufficient or not, looking back on your trip. Is there any extra gear you would bring or gear that you found you really didn’t need. Any little items on the boat that you thought would of made for a more pleasant time.

    Any insight would be appreciated, one world travel to another.

    • Hi Michael…thanks for checking out my blog! I would love to be able to dish out some advice – I was looking for the same before I left and unfortunately couldn’t find much, so I am glad to be able to help.

      Where will you be working? McMurdo or the South Pole or somewhere else? Also, what kind of work will you be doing – will you be going out into the field or remaining on base, indoors mostly, or outdoors? These are factors to consider in buying your own gear to take. The USAP provided my Extreme Cold Weather gear, but since I was there in the summer, sometimes the days were so warm that I didn’t need the huge red puffy down jacket. I was really glad that I had brought my own jacket because the non-down red jacket they provided was not fitted very well and was a little old and ratty.

      They pretty much provide you with everything you need, from socks to long underwear to a hat, even sun-goggles – but the condition of these items is not guaranteed to be new or nice or particularly well-fitting so its up to you (and what you’re doing) if you want to spend money on supplying your own stuff. I was glad I brought my own long underwears (a must!) and ski pants and hat. I would recommend bringing your own nice polarized, side-shielded pair of sunglasses for eye protection against the sun and snow glare. Lets see….I was also glad I brought my own gloves because for the work I was doing I needed them to be fitted to my hands.

      I wish I had brought some nicer clothes just to wear around the base because people pretty much wear normal clothes and all I had was field clothes. Like a pair of jeans and even a normal pair of shoes (non-boots). Maybe even flops if you want to be a little avant-garde! I also wish I had brought some jerky – there is a nice little convenience store there with some snacks but you should totally bring your own favorites, stuff you’ll be fiending for after a few weeks.

      So what will YOU be doing down there? 🙂

  6. Hi Eva, I will be leaving in February for McMurdo (from NZ) and then getting on the Palmer for a 55 day cruise… thanks for this blog- I have had a hard time finding any advice- and some of my stuff has to be packed NOW to ship down there… don’t want to take too much but sure do not want to forget anything. Guess mine is a little different than yours… but I will be there in the “summer”/fall… and the weight restriction has me nervous.. any other advice? I did not even think about the condition of the gear and that I might want some of my own- so true- it is a long time once you are down there and want to be comfortable!

    • Hey Amanda,
      Sorry for taking so long to get back to you! I didn’t receive an email notification like I usually do. I hope my response can still be of some use to you.
      I don’t know anything about the conditions of “fall” (post-February) weather down at McMurdo, but that’s the end of the summer season and everyone will be clearing out for the last flight out of McMurdo sometime around mid-February…
      As for what I would prefer for personal gear – I’m glad I brought my own long underwear (Icebreaker 100% Merino wool – excellent product, I still wear these and they still seem like new) because it fit better and I think was a better quality than the fleece ones that they provided. Also…SOCKS. If you can buy a few pairs of SmartWool’s mountaineering socks, those babies will keep your feet warm without a problem. And you can wear them over and over again and the wool just doesn’t smell foul. The socks that I received as ECW gear were all wool, but I think of very low quality (would have had to layer) and I didn’t even use them. Also, glad I brought my own set of gloves. A couple of liners, a pair I could get dirty grubbing around in penguin colonies, and a alpine pair to wear walking around outside. And your own head gear – a warm hat with a wind liner would be great, especially one that might be a little stylish or different than the plain ones they offer.
      Also…one thing that I wish I had brought more of to McMurdo was: more “civilian” stuff – a normal set of clothes or two, a normal pair of comfy shoes, just to wear around the station when I wasn’t going out in the field that day.
      I can’t really give you much advice for the cruise because those will be completely different conditions. I am sure you would want some wind-breaking/water-resistant/proof jacket.

      Again, hope this helps and that it isn’t too late!


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