Normally I’m a minimalist packer. But I had some concerns that I’d be cold and wet during or after the excursions. So I doubled my normal activity outfits.
I was thrilled to read that Silversea Expedition Cruises did not have dress up or formal attire requirements. (Side note: I’m not sure why other cruises do. Shouldn’t we encourage people to wear what’s comfortable? Discounting pajamas at dinner, unless in your suite.)
I love, Love, LOVE my merino wool shirts. (My favs are from Woolx.) They go from adventure expedition to dinner. Presto change-o from ski pants to trousers, add a necklace and/or scarf and I’m all set. Or simply take off the ski pants and wear the leggings underneath.
All this means I packed way more clothes than I needed. Additionally, the ship had free self service laundry facilities or paid cleaning services.
My edited clothes packing recommendations:
- 1 vest (fleece or merino or down)
- 1 pair ski pants
- 1-2 pairs of leggings (or base layer bottoms merino recommended)
- 2 pairs of wool socks
- 2 pairs of silk or merino sock liners
- 1 pair pajamas (or alternate sleeping apparel – I wear merino boxers and a merino t-shirt)
- 1-2 pairs of pants
- 4-5 long sleeve merino shirts
- 6-7 days of underwear
- 1-2 scarves
- 2 neck gaiters
- 1-2 hats
- 2-3 pairs of gloves (waterproof ski gloves/mittens, tech compatible gloves, glove liners)
- 1-2 pairs of shoes (rent or borrow waterproof boots on the ship)
- 1 swimsuit
- Ski jacket, mid layer (the cruise will provide these, but you may prefer your own – I did. My Helly Hanson ski jacket has pit zips which can be VERY useful when hiking up the mountains. And the cruise jackets are male sizes only.)
- Casual sweater or button down shirt
- Workout clothes/shoes (If sneakers/trainers weren’t already on your shoe list think about how much space they will take up. Consider how much time you may actually have to work out. And think about the sea conditions, the gym may be closed due to rough seas.)
Now that you’ve selected your attire, it’s time to work on your gear. Don’t buy just in case stuff. Don’t bring just in case stuff.
I did both. I bought a monopod for my camera, never took it out of the bag. I could have used it a couple of times, but got some great photos without. There were only two people on the ship using a tri/monopods and one was the official photog and one gifted amateur.
- Canon EOS T7i
- GoPro 9
- Samsung Galaxy S10
- Extra memory cards (numbered so you know which are full)
- Extra charging cables
- Extra SD card readers/adapters
- 2+ batteries per GoPro and camera (numbered so you always know which are charged)
- 1+ external drive to download video, if you want to make things extra protected
- 1-2 SD card sleeves (spares take up no space and are easy to share with new friends)
- Laptop to review/edit your photos/videos
- An assortment of sea sickness remedies. I used acupressure wrist bands and the patch. I didn’t get sick. Either the remedies worked or I wasn’t going to get sick, but not getting sick was the important thing.
- Hiking poles can be helpful, but are not required. I did use mine, but could have done without them. Even on the snowy hikes.
- Hand/foot warmers (I never used mine, but left them for the crew.)
- Extra face masks
- Packable down blanket (great for staying warm on deck)
- Laundry sheets (they pack much better than liquid or dry detergent!)
- Luggage scale
- Power strip
- Gorilla pod
- Sunglasses x2 (I only had one) or sunnies (with safety strap!) and snow goggles
- Lingerie bag and/or laundry bag
Do NOT feel camera/lens envy. Trust me there will be people who pack more expensive equipment, it’s not a competition. Take the device you know how to use. Do not spend lots of money on a new toy that you do not know how to use. Some of my best photos are from my Galaxy S10 phone. Some are stills from my GoPro 9. Some are from my Canon Eos T7i. Don’t feel you need multiple devices, unless you have very specific uses for them.
I upgraded my telephoto lens to a Tamron 18-400mm zoom 6 months before the trip to give myself time to practice. It allowed me to leave my 18-35mm, 35-70mm, and my 70-300mm lenses at home and save space and weight! I took my 10-18mm wide angle and never used it. My Galaxy S10 takes fabulous wide angle shots. Using one lens also prevents condensation accumulating in the camera when changing lenses.
I swapped the standard camera neck strap years ago for this shoulder strap and have no regrets. I actually wrap it around my whole torso, not just arm for added security. It allows quick access to the camera, but secure, handsfree, almost bumpless walking/hiking.
Do be cautious of your tech gear. Conditions are variable and it can snow, rain, sleet, and more all in the same day. Often multiple times in the same day. Simple reusable waterproof bags are very helpful. I had a dry bag already and used it on the daily excursions. (The expedition day pack they provide is water resistant not water proof. And it’s yours to keep.)
Not listed are toiletries, identification, documents.
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Tips are included but bringing local candy or treats for the ship’s crew will be greatly appreciated! I also left my hot hands handwarmers (never used any of the box), ginger chews, and other sealed seasickness treatments.
More Antarctica posts coming soon!