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What to Wear in Antarctica | 6 Must Pack & 6 Never Used

What to Wear in Antarctica | 6 Must Pack & 6 Never Used

Are you not sure what to wear in Antarctica? Keep it simple with lots of layers. Some travelers think they need to buy special clothes for Antarctica. WRONG!

Trust me, you probably own half of the items in my below Antarctica clothing packing list. If you live somewhere with a cold climate, you most likely own cold weather clothing & gear already.

We are from Wisconsin, and 75% of the clothes for Antarctica were already in our wardrobe. We bought several new items, as we wanted a few updated items, and we wanted to look good in photos.

We just returned from a 9-night Antarctica cruise with Atlas Ocean Voyages that left Usuahia on November 28th and ended on December 7th. We packed WAY too much…

It’s important to remember that layers, durability, and practicality are key.

Woman in Antarctica with a seat and Atlas Ocean Voyages World Voyage cruise ship behind her.

Before our trip, we researched the best clothes for Antarctica and thought we had it perfected. We honestly could have traveled with one checked bag for both of us.

The below Antarctica clothing packing list is based on a 9-11 night Antarctica trip. Add on additional clothing items based on how many nights in Buenos Aires you have or if you are adding on a pre/post cruise destination.

If you are short on time, here are some of my must-have items to pack for Antarctica that you can buy on Amazon. I bought 95% of my items from Amazon so I could order multiple sizes, and if I didn’t end up needing them, I was able to do free returns.

Where most Antarctica cruises go, temperatures will range between 28 °F and 46 °F (-2 °C and 8 °C). Most Antarctica landings and zodiac scenic cruising rides are 1.5 hours long, so you will never be outside super long unless you go camping in Antarctica (which we did, and it was awesome).

My #1 Antarctica Accessory To Prevent Dropping My Phone in the Ocean

woman on zodiac in Antarctica wearing hat, gloves, jacket, and all the best clothes for Antarctica

My Top 6 Antarctica Packing List Items

1. Thermajane Thermal Layer

We each brought two pairs of these Thermajane fleece-lined base layer sets; however, we only used one set each. We brought two pairs just in case one got wet and didn’t dry in time. For men, buy these Thermajohn as your insulation layer.

They were super comfortable and kept us warm all day. We bought these ones on Amazon. They were super warm and super soft, and the price was right.

women standing in Antarctica wearing a coat for Antarctica and rain pants

2. Rain Pants

Rain pants or waterproof pants are a must. If you are wet, you will be cold. There may be landings that require you to step off into the water. You can get wet on Zodiac rides as well.

Thankfully, on our Antarctic cruise, it never rained or snowed. Make sure to get pants like this that have a zipper on the side so you can easily put them over waterproof boots.

woman with pengiuns in Antarctica wearing neck gator, sunglasses, and earmuffs

3. Neck Warmer

A neck warmer is great for the zodiac rides, as that is the coldest part of your day. I like this fleece-lined neck warmer that I could pull over my nose when I was super cold. My husband just wore a buff like this to help cut the chill of the wind on his face.

camping in Antarctica what to wear - man setting up sleeping bags.

4. Polar Extreme Socks

Keeping your feet warm is essential. In the cold weather gear we had at home were these thermal socks. They keep your feet nice and warm all day long.

We each wore a regular pair of cotton socks and then these. We like the Polar Extreme and Heatholders brands. We each brought two pairs, but we could have gotten away with one pair each.

We did the overnight camping in Antarctica, and the thermal socks kept our feet warm. We brought foot and toe warmers but never needed to use them.

woman taking a picture in Antarctica wearing flip gloves a must pack for Antarctica

5. Heat Holders Gloves

I loved these gloves! Being able to keep the gloves on and flip up the mitten part when I wanted to use my phone was perfect. They kept my hands nice and warm.

However, they are not waterproof, which didn’t affect me because it never rained on our trip. My husband used these thin touchscreen gloves and was happy with them.

I highly recommend bringing heavy-duty waterproof gloves from a reputable brand. I brought these Northface waterproof gloves but never needed to use them.

woman pointing to an iceberg in Antarctica wearing a hat & sweater, holding a cup of coffee

6. Slippers

I only brought three pairs of shoes, and one of those was slippers. I wore my slippers all over the ship! I suggest getting hard-sole slippers like this; that way, if there is a whale or other Antarctica wildlife outside, you can walk outside without getting your feet wet.

TIP: Keep items in their original packaging, and if you don’t need them, you can return them. Most items have a 30+ day return window. Thankfully we kept items in the packaging with tags that we didn’t use.

woman jumping in the ocean doing the polar plunge in Antarctica

Everyday Essential Clothes for Antarctica

  • Underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Cotton/Regular Socks
  • Sweaters & Shirts
  • Cotton T-shirts (wear under sweaters)
  • Swimsuit
  • Pants/Jeans
  • Comfortable joggers/sweats
  • Winter hat
  • Down Jacket

If you plan on doing the polar plunge in Antarctica or enjoying the hot tub or pool, make sure to pack a swimsuit. If you get cold easily, I suggest packing comfortable joggers or sweatpants over your base layer for added warmth. I bought three pairs of comfortable joggers and only needed one, and these were my favorite.

what to wear in Antarctica, women sitting looking out ship window at Drakes Passage

Clothes for Antarctica on the Ship

My husband had a mix of sweaters and flannel shirts that he wore around the ship. I mainly wore a sweater and jeans with either my slippers or Sorel waterproof boots that were great for indoors and outdoors.

woman eating in the dinning room on an Antartica cruise

We each brought a shirt or sweater for every day of our cruise. So, for our 9 night Antarctica cruise, we each brought 10 warm sweaters/shirts, one for each day. We could have easily only brought 5 each and worn each item twice. This is what we will do on our next adventure in Antarctica.

Most guests wore the same clothes throughout the day. On Atlas Ocean Voyages, there was no dress code for the dining room. If you wanted to go to dinner in your pajamas, you could, or you could order the 24-hour room service.

Antartica clothes to wear on deck example

If you don’t want to bring an outer jacket, you can bring your parka from the mudroom up to your stateroom. My husband didn’t bring a jacket. He was always fine with what he was wearing.

women in mudroom getting ready for a landing in Antarctica with Atlas Ocean Voyages

What To Wear in Antarctica on Landing Days

After our first Antarctica landing day, we realized how warm it can be in Antarctica, especially if you are hiking to a viewpoint. In the above photo, I am in the mudroom getting ready for a landing day. Besides the jacket and waterproof vest, I am wearing just my Thermajane thermal set, rain pants, and thermal socks.

Most days, we were hot. I am talking about sweat literally dripping down our backs. Most days, we took off our gloves, hats, jackets, etc., and wished we didn’t wear so much.

Thankfully, there were a lot of pockets on our jackets to stuff everything we took off into. The Atlas Ocean Voyages parkas that were included on our cruise have a ton of thought-out pockets. There is a pocket on the top of your forearm for your key card to be easily scanned and stored away, a pocket on the top of your chest for a phone, and two front pockets for stashing stuff.

Always have your phone on a neck lanyard! We both used this phone neck lanyard; there is a sticker that goes on the phone and then a hook to clip the lanyard. We then both had phone cases over the sticker as another layer of protection. I love this finger loop phone case. Another good option is a pop socket.

Zodiac boats go fast, hit waves & ice, and come to a screeching halt without warning. You do NOT want to drop your phone in Antarctica in the ocean. There were at least two people on our trip who dropped their phones. Trying to take photos while holding a phone and gloves is nearly impossible.

boat full of passengers on a scenic Zodiac cruise in Antarctica

If one of your landing days gets changed to scenic cruising, I would still wear the below. Scenic cruising on the zodiacs is colder than landings because you are sitting the entire time, and the wind is hitting you.

Men What to Wear in Antarctica on Landing Days

  • thermal base layer pants & shirt
  • hat (worn only on the boat)
  • thin touchscreen gloves
  • waterproof pants
  • thermal socks
  • buff
  • waterproof jacket provided by the boat
  • waterproof boots provided by the boat
  • polarized sunglasses

Women What to Wear in Antarctica on Landing Days

  • thermal base layer pants & shirt
  • hat/earmuffs (worn only on the boat)
  • fliptop gloves
  • waterproof pants
  • comfortable joggers
  • thermal socks
  • neck warmer
  • waterproof jacket provided by the boat
  • waterproof boots provided by the boat
  • polarized sunglasses

What to wear in Antarctica packing list - woman sitting  looking out the window

Antarctica Clothes I Packed Too Much Of

  • Warm Socks
  • Hats
  • Jeans/Pants
  • Thermal Layer
  • Sweaters
  • Gloves

I brought way too many warm socks and wool socks. I could have gotten away with one pair of these socks, as I only needed them for landings and zodiac cruising days.

I brought three hats, three sets of gloves, and two thermal sets when I only needed one of each. I brought five pairs of jeans/pants and only needed maybe three, but I could have gotten away with two. I packed a sweater for every day of our trip, and I didn’t wear half of them.

woman wearing googles for Antartica in her stateroom

Things I Packed for Antarctica That I Never Used

Next time we take an Antarctica cruise, and yes, we plan on returning because it was that awesome. We think we could get by with one checked bag, one carry-on bag, and a camera bag. Traveling with less stuff is so much easier.

I did keep these snow pants because I liked how they fit, and the price was amazing. I also kept the rechargeable hand warmer for other trips in cold climates.

Couple standing on Antarctica - example of what to wear in Antarctica landing day

Antarctica Jacket & Boots

You don’t have to worry about getting the best jacket for Antarctica or boots for Antarctica. Most Antarctica cruises include a jacket and boots.

This is great for several reasons. A jacket and boots would take up so much room in your luggage, and you know the gear provided is well-tested and really warm.

Most cruise companies, the parka jackets you get to keep and bring home with you. The Atlas Ocean Voyages parka was super warm, had lots of pockets, and had a removable vest that many passengers wore around the cruise ship.

waterproof Antarctica boots provided by cruise ship

Waterproof boots for Antarctica are provided for you to use during your cruise but not keep. Our cruise’s knee-high thermal rubber waterproof boots kept our feet dry and warm in Antarctica.

zodiac boot landing at Deception Island passengers with waterproof boots for Antarctica on

You can choose to wear your own jacket if you want, but for environmental reasons, you’ll have to wear the Antarctica boots provided. I suggest bringing a packable down jacket like this to put on to go outside as your core jacket when on the ship. It is easy to pack and warm.

mudroom on cruise ship with boots for Antarctica and Antarctica coats

Usually on one of the first sea days you will go to the mudroom and get fitted for your boots & jacket. When you go for your fitting, we suggest wearing all the layers you plan on wearing for outings. That way, your jacket, and boots will fit accordingly. Adam and I both sized up one size in our boots to accommodate our socks.

Laundry on Antarctica Cruises

Most cruise ships have laundry options. Some companies charge by piece, some by weight, and some have a flat fee for their laundry bag.

On our cruise with Atlas Ocean Voyages, they charged per piece, and near the end of our cruise, they had a laundry bag special. We never did our laundry in Antarctica as we packed too much.

We spent over $10,000 on new camera equipment for Antarctica. We bought the latest camera, lenses, and fastest memory cards so we didn’t miss a shot.

The main camera lens Adam used in Antarctica was 100-400mm (full frame) and then 24-70mm (full frame). We brought two camera bodies, the Sony a7RV and Sony a7R III. We brought two camera bodies in case something happened to one camera we had a backup. Thankfully, we never had an issue.

If you are not a photographer but want amazing Antarctica photos. This camera provides a lot of bang for your buck.

The camera gear for Antarctica you bring will depend on your budget, your interest or knowledge in photography, and whether you want to carry a camera body or just a phone.

men antarctica clothes what to wear on sea days

We highly suggest bringing an external hard drive so you can back up or clear your memory cards. We swear by this portable hard drive; it is drop resistant & waterproof. What if something happened to your camera or memory card, and you lost all your photos? Every night, back up your photos, charge your camera batteries, and clear your memory cards.

Do not bring a big bulky camera bag. We stressed so much about what camera bag to bring. Adam used a Lowepro over-the-shoulder camera bag shown above to hold extra lenses, filters, memory cards, batteries, etc., and it fits underneath his jacket. We also did have a packable dry bag if we ended up getting rained on.

Can you bring a drone to Antarctica? No, the recreational use of drones in Antarctica is not allowed. If you travel with a drone like we do, do not try bringing it. We brought this 360 camera, which is the next best thing to a drone.

However, if your trip includes the Falkland Islands, the drone laws in the Falkland Islands allow you to fly under certain situations. Click here for current Falkland Island drone rules. Adam spent two weeks in the Falklands Islands and flew his drone daily. If you go to the Falklands, a trip to the Volunteer Point King Penguin colony is a must.

Couple in Antarctica on warm day

Non Clothing Essential Items to Pack

  • Seasickness Patch or Pills
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Polarized Sunglasses
  • Face moisturizer

The cabins come with all the necessary bathroom items: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, soap, and hairdryer. There is a doctor on the ship should you need care or medicine.

man wearing Scopolamine patch seasickness patch behind ear

Seasickness Medicine & Anti-Nausea Remedies

We used the Scopolamine seasickness patch in Antarctica as opposed to seasickness pills like Dramamine. You do need a prescription for the Scopolamine seasickness patch.

They do sell over-the-counter seasickness patches. Many passengers had these MQ motion sickness patches on our ship. Both types of motion sickness patches go behind your ear and last for 72 hours. It is crucial to put the patch on before you start to feel sick; I suggest putting it on before your cruise sets sail.

If you get the Drake shake, you’ll be glad you have the patch. The Drake Passage waves can be intense.

We had the Drake Lake going, but crossing the Drake Passage on the way back was a different voyage… We had the Drake Shake for 60+ hours. On our trip, the captain said we had a few waves that broke over the bridge, estimated at 30 meters (100 feet).

If you get seasick easily, I would tell your doctor about your trip and ask for the Scopolamine seasickness patch and Zofran anti-nausea medication. I would also bring this seasickness band. My friend who gets seasick on cruises swears by it.

Atlas Ocean Voyages Gift shop on World Voyager Ship

Atlas Ocean Voyages Gift Shop

If you lose a glove or you realize you forgot to pack something, check out the gift shop. Besides snacks and gifts, they had waterproof gloves, jackets for Antarctica, hats, waterproof trousers, and more.

if your luggage gets lost, it will leave you without all the clothes you packed for Antarctica. The prices for warm-weather clothing are high, but if you have travel insurance, they may reimburse you.

Rainbow in Antarctica with a couple on the deck of Atlas Ocean Voyages cruise ship

What Clothes to Wear in Antarctica Conclusion

I stressed way too much about this. I learned early on our trip to Antarctica that it isn’t a fashion show; most guests wear the same clothing items several times during the trip, and it is super casual.

Wear what you want to wear! Make sure to bring comfortable clothes. There are 4 sea days for crossing the Drake Passage and a large amount of time on the ship when in Antarctica.

We hope our ultimate Antarctica packing list guide helps ease your mind and reduces some stress! What to wear in Antarctica is totally up to you.

couple on the deck of Antarctica cruise ship without coats

There are no right or wrong clothes to wear in Antarctica. When packing for Antarctica, wear comfortable, warm clothes that you can layer over stylishly.

Most cruise companies are casual; even if they have a Gala Night, you don’t need to wear a dress or blazer. Often, there is no dress code in Antarctica.

By following our carefully curated packing list, you’ll not only stay warm and comfortable but also be able to fully embrace the wonder and beauty of this majestic continent.