Last Updated on January 2, 2023
By Jim Ferri
Travel in Antarctica requires special clothing, which you will need to layer. For example, for a recent cruise, we brought the following for clothing for Antarctica for a November–December Antarctica expedition.
Unfortunately, we were a bit rushed and needed to purchase everything quickly and try everything on for size, so we didn’t have time to compare prices or order from Amazon.
We bought everything at a local REI for a total of $1,000 for two people. This clothing for Antarctica did not include parkas, insulating vests (worn beneath the parka), waterproof pants, and boots, all of which were supplied by Viking, the cruise line we chose.
You can certainly do it cheaper. Just ensure that you purchase quality items that will keep you warm.
It was the perfect combination of clothing for Antarctica, which always kept us warm and comfortable in the continuously changing Antarctica weather. That weather would literally change in minutes from calm and sunny to snowstorms with gale-force winds.
- Closest to your body: a long-sleeve underlayer top of wool.
- A fleece shirt/sweatshirt as the second top layer.
- A quilted/insulated under-jacket and a heavy-duty outer jacket (both were provided by Viking and were ours to keep).
- Closest to your body: a bottom layer of wool pants.
- A second layer of fleece pants.
- Outer waterproof pants (Viking lends these to its passengers for the duration of the cruise).
- 2 layers of wool socks (no cotton socks). (You may want the outer layer to be a size larger.)
Our boots were loaned to us by Viking, as yours may be by your cruise line. Always opt for a larger size if they’re not the correct fit.
- Glove liners (can be wool or thermal.) Since it was not extremely cold, I sometimes wore only the liner of the gloves). See note below.
- Waterproof outer layer.
- A wool knit cap that can also cover your ears is generally the most comfortable and warmest.
- A gaiter that will prevent cold air from coming down into your jacket
In addition to the above clothing for Antarctica, we found “Hot Hands” very useful. They are small packets that, when exposed to air, give off heat, Each pack lasts about 10 hours, and they’re incredibly cheap, less than $1 each at Walmart. Leave one in your parka pockets to keep your hands warm. If it’s frigid, you can also place them in your boots.
Since the batteries of most, if not all, cell phones will not work when exposed to very cold weather – and I use my cellphone to take photos and video – I kept my phone in the pocket to keep the battery warm. It worked incredibly well.
We also decided to buy a rolling duffel bag to hold the extra clothing. It turned out to be a good investment, which can be used over and over, and helped us avoid a lot of packing headaches.
Finally, always remember that it’s vital all your clothing for Antarctica dries out overnight.