Being in Florida, I thought for sure I would freeze my a** off in Antarctica. However, I wanted to share with you all of the amazing layers I wore that kept me from getting cold! I have to admit, I was impressed with myself for doing so well. I hope you learn something from this post, and I hope you find this information helpful in your planning for Antarctica.
First of all, I travelled with Quark Expeditions so I didn’t need to bring a coat because they provided you with a complimentary parka (to keep!). It had a down liner (removable but I kept it in) in it and was very warm.
For my base layers, I wore merino wool long johns that I ordered from Amazon. You can find them here. They were super comfortable especially underneath other layers. And I didn’t get too hot. I also got a free neck gaiter with them which I wore daily on the ship! Here is a set that comes with free socks.
For my middle layer, I wore a merino wool long sleeve shirt from Amazon, which you can find here. This one comes with a free pair of wool socks, which I wore over my other wool socks. I also wore these fleece lined sweat pants. They were SO warm! I ended up wearing them on the ship in between excursions because they were so warm and comfortable. So pack a couple pairs of those.
For my outer layer, I wore a thin fleece pull over from Columbia, which you can find here. These are the wool socks I wore. They kept my feet so warm and even dried quickly the one time I got them wet. They were also quick to dry when I washed them in the sink – because you know that’s what you have to do when you’re limited on packing. And I wore this pair of waterproof snow pants on top of all my leggings. I LOVED these snow pants. They easily went over my base layers and were not too tight. It’s like they were made for layering.
On top of all of this, I put on my Quark parka. Yes, I felt like Ralph from A Christmas Story! IYKYK! Here’s a picture of me all dressed up and ready to go ashore. Quark also provided us with PFDs – personal flotation devices – which were mandatory.
I wore a balaclava on my head and over my ears and then a knit cap like this. My cap matched well with my yellow parka from Quark. I looked super cute! I wore ski goggles on my head, too, for the sea spray from the zodiacs. I got lots of compliments on my ski goggles. People that I was a “skier”, which I’m not! These were comfortable to wear and stayed on my head no problem. I think you can wear them over glasses, too, but I wore contacts during vacation so I didn’t try glasses.
I did not have good luck with water proof gloves on this trip, so I have none to recommend to you. I didn’t wear gloves for many of my excursions because they were so hard to get on and then I couldn’t use my camera with them on.
Quark also provided us with waterproof muck boots that we wore on all our outings. They were big and bulky but they kept my feet dry. They fit true to size, so I got a size 8 and with 2 pairs of socks they were fine.
And here’s a picture of me with the Antarctica flag on the continent of Antarctica staying warm and NOT freezing!!!
I also carried a dry bag with me that held my camera, chapstick (a must), and Kleenex (a must for that runny nose you get from the Antarctic air).