I remember that I was struggling to find really precise information about what to take to the Antarctic when I went on a Seabourn cruise in March 2019. There is lots of information but I struggled for specifics - what did someone actually put on to go ashore? What was too little/too much to take. Now I have been once, I am a little smarter for next time - and there will be a next time as Antarctica is just amazing. I went with Seabourn on the Quest late February from San Antonio in Chile. At Ushuaia we welcomed 25 Expedition staff who were just amazing and the experience was everything I hoped it would be and it pushed me to do things I may not have done before - like sitting in a Zodiac watching whales a few meters away. Please come back and read my Seabourn Quest - Antarctic Cruise 2019 article soon to be posted up here.
I will include links to Seabourn and other interesting information websites with polar type products pages that I found on my research. It helps to read all and get a feel of what is required and make your decisions from then.
What did I take on my trip? Male only sorry at this stage but suggest ladies will be much the same unless you feel the cold more.
OUTER LAYER: Seabourn Parka - inner puffer jacket and outer orange coat - this was supplied on ship as most cruise line or expedition companies do. Seabourn do a Parka swap session so you can change your size if it doesn't fit as expected.
MID LAYER BOTTOM: Decathlon Quechua mid layer pants x 2 - great mid weight stretchy pants - great for wandering around the ship in also
MID LAYER TOP : Macpac (NZ) mid weight tops x2 - actually were not that thick but nice and warm
BOTTOM LAYER: UniQlo XXX long sleeved top and long john bottoms x 2 - I actually wore normal underpants underneath and re-used these as we discovered we only wore them for short times onshore and then we were back on ship in a few hours max.
WATERPROOF LAYER: 1 pair of waterproof North Face brand outer with ability at bottom to go over the top of the boot and then tighten up bottom around boot with a velcro attachment(or similar) Brand is not important as long as they are waterproof
SOCKS: 2 pairs of socks -I bought MacPac merino wool long socks x2 plus I took some HoleProof Explorer sock I had already. I ended up wearing the longer MacPac as inner layer and then a pair of Explorer socks as outer layer.
HAT/BEANIE: Used Seabourn supplied beanie as well as a North Face one I brought also
SCARF/GAITER: I used a gaiter to keep neck area warm and had been recommended a gaiter was much better than a scarf. But I carried a woollen scarf in my backpack as a backup in case I got cold on the chest in the Zodiac and could stuff the scarf down inside my jacket to give me another layer
BACKPACK: Used the Seabourn lightweight backpack when I went ashore. Perfect size.
RENTALS: I rented 1 pair size 13 boots and 1 pair of walking poles from Seabourn website delivered to ship in Ushuaia. Boots were perfect size for my 44/45 typical shoe plus socks x2 and left a little free room with boot on. Never got cold or felt any cold from walking on the snow/ice/water. Was a perfect solution for me. Carting heavy boots around wasn't an option for me. Think about baggage weight before you bring things with you too. With rentals, Seabourn delivers everything to you and arranges a 'bootswap' day if you need to change sizes too.
CAMERA: I took my Nikon D500 with a 55/300 zoom lens and a 15/55 for closeups - in hindsight, I should have just brought the all in one zoom as I never took the smaller lens and just used my iPhone X - which takes a great photo for close ups. I wrapped the Nikon in a small waterproof bag at first but then ended up using a spare beanie instead - but you decide what is best. I found nothing got wet so I wanted easy access to the camera. You choose best for you. A shower cap is not such a bad thing to bring along as a waterproof bag when using camera in light rain if nothing else is available. Shooting animals in 'portrait' mode on the iPhone X is fun too. But my advice is - you need a camera with a zoom!!!
WEATHER: We had a good run of weather with little wind onshore. Climbing hills made me feel warm and I often unzipped my outer and sometimes my inner jackets to cool off. Temps were a few degrees below 0C on a cool day and the coldest I ever felt was travelling at speed on a zodiac so that is where I took a light layer.
WASHING: When I did hand wash my long johns etc, I found they would dry hanging overnight in the Seabourn Quest bathroom.
GENERAL: Coldest point was sitting in a Zodiac boat at speed going some distance. We had very little wind so onshore was quite warm with zero to -4 the coldest outside air temp. Dressed as I was, I had to open my jacket(s) to allow cool down especially walking up high hills etc for a period of time. And I am so happy I booked the kayak adventures - a great experience.
SUNGLASSES: I brought my good Maui Jims - Polaroid sun glasses with a safety strap on them to stop them falling off.
BINOCULARS: I took a great little pair of Nikon Monarch 8x30. About $200. Used them on kayaks.
MISC: Foot and hand warmers are not a bad idea. I didn't use them but a friend used foot warmers some days. I took lip gel and sunscreen also.