All of my travel - for work and holidays is to somewhere tropical and warm. I can't remember the last time I packed my suitcase and not my mask/snorkel or any diving gear. Packing for Antarctica is so different, and it has taken multiple to-do lists and checks to ensure I don't forget anything crucial...! But I am still packing my diving mask... I'm planning on diving in the Beagle Channel when we return from the expedition...
Turns out it was harder then I expected.
I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading packing lists for this kind of trip and climate, and knowing I really feel the cold, I basically doubled everything they said - probably not the best approach.
I was really lucky to be sponsored by Icebreaker and I had some incredible thermal bottoms and tops to use on the trip. To all to that, I already had Icebreaker thermals, hoodies, trackies, socks, jackets, and lots of other items to use, so I felt prepared with my Merino base layers. Merino was recommended because it is quick to dry and keeps you warm while wicking moisture away - all perfect qualities for Antarctica.
A few of the women I spoke to who had been on previous Homeward Bound trips to Antarctica gave us some really good advice on what they wore while down there. They suggested to wear 3 pairs of socks, and use sheepskin liners in the gumboots they gave us (like Wellington rubber boots), a pair of thermal bottoms under fleece pants, under gortex shell outer layer. Some people took ski pants, but because I don't own any I packed an outer shell bib style pants (with braces), which I think should be pretty good. On the top, most suggested a thermal layer (or two), a hoodie or jumper layer, then the Kathmandu jackets we were sponsored with a buff, beanie, and 2 pairs of gloves (a warm inner and a waterproof outside).
Everything fitted into my suitcase and came in at 23kg - just at the limit I had for my flights! Will update on how all my packing and layering went after the trip...!
- Steph OX