Clothing & Equipment Checklist

Clothing for Antarctica

  • waterproof jacket (supplied by Mountain Travel-Sobek)
  • rubber boots (see additional notes enclosed)
  • waterproof pants (good quality)
  • pile jacket and/or down sweater and/or wool sweater
  • socks - heavy wool or synthetic blend (2 pairs minimum)
  • gloves or mittens (ski type)
  • comfortable walking shoes or running shoes
  • thermal, wool, or synthetic underwear, medium or heavy weight (2 sets)
  • hat (warm) - wool, pile or synthetic blend and/or balaclava
  • sweat pants
  • sweat shirt
  • sun hat or visor
  • short-sleeved shirts
  • lightweight pants, for men & women
  • underwear, regular everyday type
  • pile pants (optional)
  • swimsuit (optional - for sauna on ship or swimming in Antarctica)
  • shorts (optional some people find the ship warm and wear shorts)


  • first aid kit, including prescription medications
  • toiletries
  • wash cloth (optional)
  • address book
  • quality sunglasses or high-altitude sunglasses or Solar Shields
  • spare eyeglasses or contacts (if you use corrective lenses)
  • sun-blocking lotion (SP15 or higher)
  • sun-blocking lip care (SP15 or higher)
  • Woolite to hand wash underwear and socks
  • camera & lenses
  • film
  • extra batteries
  • film shield bag
  • voltage converter & plug adaptor kit (ship is 220v and takes 2 round prong plugs)
  • binoculars (with good strong distance viewing, not opera glasses)
  • reading material
  • writing material
  • Mountain Travel-Sobek baggage tags, with cabin number
  • soft-sided suitcase or duffle bag
  • daypack

A Note About Rubber Boots

You are requested to bring a pair of knee-high rubber boots. (These boots are to be used in virtually all of our shore landings with Zodiacs.) Stepping out of the Zodiacs to shore almost always involves stepping into water, it is important to have waterproof boots that are high enough to avoid water going over the top and into the boots. For this reason boots such as Sorrels, snow boots, hiking boots, or low rubber boots are not satisfactory (you'll get your feet wet!).

L.L. Bean sells a boot called "Wellies" that are ideal. Other brands of rubber boots can be purchased from work clothing stores, surplus stores, farm co-op stores, garden supply centers, major sporting good stores, as well as marine supply houses. Sailing boots that are sold at marine stores have good non-skid soles that are good for slick ship decks and wet rocks; however they lack traction on snow, ice or mud. Boots such as Wellies have all-around traction soles, but they are not as slip resistant on slick decks or rocks. As you can see there is a trade-off; both are okay.

Remember, you will be wearing these boots a lot; so they must be comfortable for extended wear and walking. The boots should not be too tight or too sloppy. If they are too tight you will get cold feet and if they are too loose fitting you can add an insole or extra socks to take up the space within reason. Rubber boots generally come in whole sizes and many brands are uni-sex sizes. Be sure to get the best fit no matter what size they are, one should err to the larger size for fitting.

Hip boots, or similar, are not suitable or necessary. Many passengers will donate their boots to the ship at the end of their cruise to avoid lugging them back home. These go into our supply to assist when the occasional person arrives but their luggage doesn't. We cannot guarantee what sizes we have on the ship at any given time; so we do not advise people to show up intentionally without, and hope to borrow!

Cost for rubber boots will vary depending on brand and style. They range from $20 - $50 (or more).

Your boots are probably the most important items you need to bring; so if you have questions or just need some further advise please don't hesitate to phone our Antarctica department for help.

Layering for Comfort

It's important to understand the principle of layering. Layered clothing is the appropriate way to dress for your days outside while in Antarctica.

Layering is a concept of wearing multiple layers of clothing when it's cold and removing items when you're warm. There are three essential layers; underwear, insulative, and shell. These can be combined to achieve maximum warmth when needed, or used separately or in different combinations, depending on the temperature and weather conditions.

Layer #1: Underwear

The first part of a good layering system is your underwear. Underwear provides you with basic insulation and pulls the moisture away from your skin. Moisture against your skin can cause chills.

The type of underwear you will need as your first layer in Antarctica is medium or heavy weight thermal top and bottoms made of synthetic fabrics. Wool and wool blend is also suitable. Cotton is not an acceptable fabric as it keeps the moisture next to your skin, instead of wicking it away. Polypropylene and Capilene are great fabrics for underwear and can be purchased in any outdoor products or backpacking store.

Layer #2: Insulation

Insulating clothing provide additional warmth. There are two categories of fibers available ... natural fibers such as wool and down, and synthetic fibers such as pile. Down is a great insulator, lightweight and extremely warm. The only problem is if it gets wet it loses its efficiency. Wool is also good and has the added advantage of remaining efficient when wet. Synthetics are widely used because they work well when wet, keep you warm and dry quickly. Pile is probably the most commonly used synthetic and easy to find in any outdoor or backpacking store.

Layer #3: Shell

This layer is your outer shell and good news ... we will be sending you a waterproof jacket before leaving home. You will need waterproof pants. These can be either Gore-Tex or waterproof rain pants. This layer is the final step in insulating you against the cold and wind.

Just add rubber boots and you're ready to go Antarctic adventuring!

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