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Dressing for Success

Hula hooping in Antarctica - "hoo" knew!?
Hula hooping in Antarctica - "hoo" knew!? (Franny Friesz)
If there’s one thing that could spoil your entire trip in Antarctica, it’s not being prepared in the clothing department. Now, I’m a notorious over-packer, but I feel like I did a fairly good job bringing what I needed. I better have, right? I help people travel to Antarctica all of the time. One thing I wish I had more of were wool hats. I had one that I used often, but we had some days that were snowy and wet. It’s always good to have 2-3 pairs of everything so you have a dry option.  I ended up purchasing a wool hat onboard, which worked out well for a souvenir.  The best items of clothing I brought ended up being my wool buffs. Even when the buffs were wet, they kept my neck and face so warm.  I think I finally nailed down the perfect layers on the last day, but it is a fine art! Starting at the feet, I typically wore 2-3 layers of socks.

Playful humpback whale in Paradise Bay
Playful humpback whale in Paradise Bay (Franny Friesz)

I have meaty legs, so I wore one layer of leggings, then I typically had a base layer of wool, my down vest, and a fleece. The ship company provided our outer layers when going onshore or kayaking. Another item of clothing that surprised me was the neoprene gloves on our kayaking paddles. I could put my bare hands in those gloves and they would keep warm. Even so, I brought one or two pairs of gloves with me to keep my hands from freezing on the zodiac ride to the ship.  Another item I was glad to have was my dry sac. With this, I was able to bring an extra hat, gloves, and my camera while kayaking.  Make sure any clothes you wear as your layers are not cotton. Save those for evenings or mornings before you head out on the excursions.
Kayaking on top of whales...not really, but so close!
Kayaking on top of whales...not really, but so close! (Franny Friesz)

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