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Written by Savi, 6 Comments

Packing for a polar expeditions to Antarctica or any extreme winter holiday can be extremely daunting. However we are here to make your life easy and tell you exactly what you need to pack if you’re going on a cruise in Antarctica or any extreme winter holiday. Let’s start

I. Winter Wear

Most polar expeditions and cruises provide complimentary polar parkas and boots for all outings. Do check this before you start packing for your cruise in Antarctica

In addition to those 2 things, you will need to pack the following things yourself

  1. Full-body thermals- you can buy any high-quality thermals (top & bottom). We use Uniqlo Heat-tech Thermals or Merino Wool Thermals
    2. 2-3 woollen sweaters or fleece sweatshirts that will work as an ideal second layer
    3. Down Jackets are light, protective, and act as the perfect outer layer. Uniqlo, North Face, and many local Scandinavian brands make some great down jackets. You can pick one that’s easily available to you
    4. A selection of beanies and protective caps
    5. Insulated and waterproof gloves. We would suggest carrying two pairs at least
    6. A few pairs of warm woollen socks to wear
    7. A balaclava to cover your face if it gets extremely cold
    8. Metallic sunglasses or ski glasses – do not forget these. You will need them as large expanses of snow can be really blinding during the day
Indian couple Antarctica
Dress in layers and you are sorted 🙂
Snow boots and a warm Parka is provided onboard

II. Indoor clothes – casual and formal

Since most ships are heated, you will also need a selection of summer clothes & light woollens for all the time you spend indoors. Here are some pointers for what to pack for your trip to Antarctica

  1. 2 sets of gym clothes if you intend to work out on your holiday
  2. 2-3 sets of formal clothes since most luxury polar expeditions have black-tie and gala nights. Men can pack suits/tuxedos and bow ties while women can pack formal gowns or pantsuits. Don’t forget to pack any jewellery you might need
  3. 3-4 sets of smart casual clothes for lunches and dinners. Men can pack long-sleeve shirts and chinos. Women can pack dresses or elegant tops and trousers
  4. Loungewear and casual clothes for walking around indoors such as jeans, t-shirts, and sweatshirts
  5.  A selection of underwear and lingerie for the length of your trip
  6. This clothes steamer –  if you haven’t bought a travel steamer till now do it. It’s game changing and we carry it on all our trips, no matter where we are going
Gala evenings – our favourites 🙂

III. Tech and camera gear

A trip to Antarctica is the trip of a lifetime. Of course you want to carry the right gear the wonders you will see. Here’s a suggested list of tech equipment that you will need for your trip

  1. Mobile phone and charger – essentials for any trip not just this one!
  2. You must get a good stabiliser (gimbal) if you take any videos with your phone. It’s so helpful for daily use. This is the one we use right now – would definitely recommend it
  3. A good power-bank as cold temperatures really play with the battery life of phones
  4. A universal adapter plug – so handy and essential for all your trips!
  5. Good quality earbuds or headphones for those long flights. I use these headphones from Sony and would highly recommend them- the sound quality is fantastic!
  6. A good camera. I personally use a full-frame camera (Sony A7C)
  7. A zoom lens. I love mobile phone cameras but they are unable to capture details on icebergs, penguins etc – I would highly recommend carrying a zoom lens (200-600 mm) if you’re into photography
  8. Your personal laptop and charger
  9. Hard drive or memory cards to store all the photos you will be taking
Emperor penguin in Antarctica
A good zoom lens will help you capture such shots

IV. Beauty Products & toiletries

Antarctica is the coldest desert in the world, so the air is super dry and well cold! However the sun is super strong and can really burn you too. This means you will need lots of moisturisers and sunscreens on your trip. Here’s a suggested list. You can personalise it to your taste of course

  1. Your favourite sunscreen, which leaves zero white cast. Here is the one both of us used on this trip
  2. Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  3. A sunscreen that works well as a primer under make up too. Most restaurants on ships have large windows, so make sure your skin is well protected under makeup. I love this suncreen as a primer
  4. Your favourite face serum – carry an extra bottle as you will definitely run through it quickly. Lancome Genefique and this one have been my holy grail serums for years
  5. Your favourite hydrating face moisturiser- carry an extra bottle if your trip is longer than 15 days. You will need it. I love this one as it sits so well under makeup
  6. A hydrating and protective lip balm such as this one which is so affordable. Or you’ll end up with burnt lips
  7. A good heavy duty body moisturiser. I love this one for sensitive skin
  8. Most good ships have great quality shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel on board. But if you are particular about your hair products like Vid, then carry those too
  9. Makeup of your choice but definitely carry a hydrating foundation as skin tends to get very dry in Antarctica
  10. If you, like me, enjoy packing light and have to carry just two lipsticks I suggest my favourite pinky mauve shade for everyday use – Huda Beauty Trophy Wife and a deep red for formal nights
  11. If you’re looking for a good brow pencil, try this one in shade Espresso
  12. Makeup remover, ideal for sensitive skin. I’ve been using Bioderma for years
  13. A gentle hydrating face wash that does not strip your skin, even in extreme weather
  14. Your favourite perfume. I carried too many but wore this one the most


V. Medicines

Since you will be travelling to remote corners of the world, you must carry essential medication and also some extras. Of course this list will vary from individual to individual but here are some recommendations from our end:

  1. Any medication you take regularly. Always carry more than you need
  2. Blister plasters & crepe bandage
  3. Sea-sickness tablets like Avomine (essential for Drake’s Passage and any other turbulent days). Most ships also provide these onboard but it’s best to go prepared
  4. An anti-inflammatory balm like Volini in case you fall down during a glacier hike or hurt some part of your body
  5. Essentials such as Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, and an anti-septic cream
  6. Lozenges as the cold can really play a number on your throat sometimes
  7. Anti-allergic tablets/anti histamines
  8. Acid reflux tablets, be it Digene or the more natural Pudin Hara


There you have it – everything you need to pack for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica. I hope this packing list gave you lots of tips for essentials for other cold winter holidays too. If you have any questions about packing, leave them below and we’ll answer them asap.

Booking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica? You’ll find the best prices and offers here  🙂

6 thoughts on “The Ultimate Packing Guide For Antarctica – EVERYTHING you need to pack for extreme winter holidays

  1. Thanks for these great tips! For the thermals, which level(s) of warmth did you bring? (Uniqlo Heattech has ultra warm, extra warm, and regular.) I’ve also seen walking poles as a recommended items. Did you need them?

    1. Hey Carrie- so glad these helped! We carried both regular & ultra warm thermals but ended up using regular ones only! Walking Poles can help with some more extreme polar hikes but you can get them on a complimentary basis on most cruises. Hope that helps 🙂

  2. Hello
    This article is very amazing and information base the stylish jackets they have also unlimited knowledge by fashionable and stylish form. Thank you sharing your information.
    Well done!

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