How to pack for a cold weather trip to the Arctic

May 11, 2017 , In: Travel , With: No Comments

Packing for your High Arctic Expedition can be a stressful experience, especially if you have never ventured into the polar region before. What clothes do you need? Do you need regular clothing or special garments made specifically for colder conditions. And most importantly, will it cost an arm and a leg? Luckily, we are here to help you out. With a little bit of planning and some expert tips, packing for your trip to the most remote places on Earth will be a breeze.

There’s what to pack for your trip to the tundra:

Base layers

A good set of base layers is imperative when dressing for warmth in the cold polar climates. Thermal underwear made from synthetic fibres or wool is best as they draw moisture away from the body, while cotton should be avoided. It is important that base layers have a slim fit without being too restrictive and can be worn over your regular underwear as an extra layer.


Insulating layers

Fleece tops and bottoms should be worn over your base layers for added warmth and comfort. In addition, it provides protection against the cold weather during relaxation times or when you are doing non-strenuous activities like bird watching or zodiac cruising. The fleece material is soft, cosy, comfortable, provides maximum heat and does not restrict you in any way. Wear them with waterproof pants for the most durable and comfortable fit. A good idea would be to include a warm sweater or vest as these can be easily removed or added. A full zip-down vest made from down or wool will keep the body core warm while the zip feature will allow you to easily remove it if you get too warm.

Protective Outerwear

A durable jacket and waterproof pants are essential to keep you warm and dry during your High Arctic expedition. A multi-functional jacket or parka should feature a protective hood and pockets for convenience, while waterproof pants should have insulating layers and wide enough legroom to fit over the top of a pair of boots.


Footwear is as important as clothing during your Arctic cruise as you will spend plenty of time on your feet. Heavy-duty boots will be ideal for walking on the icy Arctic shore, although these will likely be provided by the trip operators. You should bring along your own pair of shoes with non-slip soles for walking around the ship, while a few pairs of thick socks will do wonders to feet your tootsies warm, dry and toasty. Again, wool and synthetic fibres are preferred, and cotton fabrics should be avoided.


Gloves are as essential as any clothing item during your trip. It is important to keep your hands warm and dry at all times, and sometimes you may even be required to wear two pairs at a time. It is a good idea to consider a pair of gloves with removable liners for flexibility as well as an extra pair should your gloves become wet or lost during the trip.


Accessories that should be high on your priority list include:

Hats – A warm hat or beanie will help you survive that nip in the air. Again, wool or fleece is best, as they are warm and lightweight.

Neck warmer – These are more practical than a scarf and the easiest way to protect your neck from the cold. Neck warmers or gaiters can also be pulled over your mouth and nose for added protection.

Sunglasses – Sunglasses with polarised lenses will keep the wind out of your eyes and block the glare of the ice and snow on those sunny days.

Heat packs and sunscreen – Heat packs are great for adding targeted warmth on the areas you need it the most, while sunscreen protects you from the dangerous UV rays of the sun. Despite the cool temperatures, you will spend plenty of time outdoors, so it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Additional accessories – A backpack is essential during your outings. Ensure that your backpack is easy to put on and remove and has enough space for things like your camera, extra socks, gloves and more. Waterproof bags are also a great addition as they come in a variety of sizes and keep all your clothes and gear dry.

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