A year ago (almost exactly, actually) I wrote a packing list on this website. I wrote it mostly as a note to myself at the time based on information from Kaleigh and Jeff’s blogs. Now that I’ve been on ice for 81 days, here’s an updated list. If you’re using this as a reference for making your own list please keep in mind I’m just one source and your list may vary completely. Also know that I’m super prone to overpacking (but I’m getting better at that!)
Anyone who has a non-sedentary lifestyle can attest that taking care of your feet is #1. We’re all issued some gawd-awful “Bunny Boots” in Christchurch. If you are a Steward like me or any other job that’s mostly indoors, you will probably wear these twice: getting off the plane and getting back on the plane months later. If you’ve got a job that requires you to be outside a lot, there are a couple alternate styles besides the white monstrosities that you can request at the CDC (Clothing Distribution Center, Christchurch). I hear these are MUCH more comfortable and practical – but you have to ask for them.
- Sorel Joan of Arctic Premium Snow Boots with a second set of furry inserts – These are absolutely perfect when I want a little higher protection/warmth than my hiking boots allow. I see many people wearing Sorel boots, and for good reason. They are expensive, but worth it.
- Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots in stone – perfect for wearing around town, to the galley, and wearing while actually hiking. These are my go-to casual shoe.
- Nike Studio Wraps in black for lounging – I’ve only worn these a couple times while here but they’re perfect for when I want to run to the lounge and real shoes don’t have any appeal
- Sperry Tennis Shoes – I haven’t worn these yet, but I’m happy I have them. They’re a nice casual option that I can toss on with a dress and not look TOO out of place. They’re also a nice option if I’m just walking over a building or so.
- Klogs Slip Resistant Shoes (not pictured) – I need these for my job as a stewie. I am actually thinking of ordering a second pair of no-slip shoes just in case something happens to these since I have to have them to work in the kitchens.
- Plain Black Flip Flops – These were perfect for living in the lowercase dorms. Communal showers in these buildings meant a need for flip flips. Now, however, I’ve moved into a building where I only share my shower with 3 people so I don’t wear them.
Additional Notes on Shoes:
- I brought a pair of Faded Glory Women’s Shandle Sandals in brown, for dorm as they were my FAVORITE shoes back home – I haven’t worn them once. I’m not sending them home, because I can wear them in Christchurch on the way home, but still. You can’t wear sandals in the galley without socks and I can’t wear socks with these so I basically never wear them… I should have brought a pair of slides I could wear socks with OR a pair of slip-on sneakers. My original packing list included my Chaco ZX/2 Classic Sandals which I’m glad I didn’t bring for the same reasons.
- I brought a set of ice treads (a present from Erica) – Definitely could have lived without simply because the ones the station provides for use are much better. I’ll be mailing these home.
- I didn’t bring a pair of gym shoes. To me, this is not a huge deal. I was able to find a pair in SKUA that fit me well enough. I’ll re-SKUA them at the end of the year and bring my own with me next year. Note: you’re not supposed to wear your “outdoor” shoes in the gym – it gets the equipment dirty faster – so changing your shoes upon arrival is compulsory. Thus, you might want to bring a pair yourself.
Socks and Liners
I’m a sock-nut so my choices are a little bit more expensive than you probably NEED to bring….but socks are the best. I could have brought more but this works out perfectly for a week or so between laundry days.
- Smartwool Hiking Socks in Dark Cassis
- Field and Stream Women’s Boot Socks 3 Pack and these I super recommend. They are perfect for hiking around and for lazy days staying in.
- SmartWool Saturnsphere Socks, thinner wool socks in Charcoal Heather (x2)
- SmartWool Jovian Stripe Socks, medium cushioning in Aubergine Heather (x2)
- SmarWool Merino Wool Liner Socks in black (x3)
- REI Silk Liner Socks in white (x3)
- Thigh High socks (2 pairs) simply because I love them, for lounging
- Super fuzzy lounge socks (1 pair)
- Few pairs of “regular” socks for work/chilling
- Farm to Feet brand socks (1 pair) – wish I had more! They hug my feet perfectly
Packing for Antarctica means packing like an ogre.. or an onion… in layers.
- Uniqlo Heattech Tank Tops in black has been my favorite base layer. I wish I had brought more of these and less of:
- Handful of camis from GAP that are non-cotton (cotton base layers while outside for a long time are a big no-no
- Uniqlo Heattech Crewneck Long Sleeve T-Shirt in brown
- Uniqlo Heattech Turtleneck Long Sleeve in wine
- Uniqlo Heatteck Extra Warm Turtleneck T-Shirt in “brown” which is more like taupe
- SmartWool Midweight Pattern Crew Top – Wool in wine/rhubarb stripes
- Victoria’s Secret Sports Bra, Everyday Perfect Bras (2?), and a “fun” bra or two
- UnderArmour Cold Gear (x3) in both black and grey
This was way too many. I could have cut out all three UnderArmour tops and still had 1-2 too many. I don’t wear base layers every day. My job, however, is indoors. If you’re a job where you’re in cold warehouses and running around outside all day, you might want the extras.
Mid Layers and Shell Layer
- SmartWool Midweight Pattern Zip-T Shirt, wool in wine/rhubarb …which I rarely wear because I usually just wear the:
- REI Midweight Space Dye Zip-T Shirt in bright pink — a favorite layering piece
- SmartWool Ethno Graphics Sweater in Taupe with wine accents – haven’t worn yet but I bet I will in the summer
- Kuhl Flight Fleece Jacket in breen which is BEST THING EVER. The collar is super thick and fluffy and outside of a scarf it’s the only thing that really rocks at keeping my neck warm. Well, it and my Kuhl Flight Vest in stone which has the same collar.
- Kuhl Kozet Full-Zip Sweater in wine – I ended up leaving this in Christchurch for when I’m exploring after the Ice and I’m not too sad about it. I bought another thin zip from the store here.
- Columbia Alpine Alliance 3-in-1 Insulated Parka in deep plum/wine – SO happy to have brought this. Sometimes the Big Red is just TOO much. This is a perfect balance between the Big Red and just wearing a thin jacket
- Kari Traa Svala Long Underwear Bottoms in hot pink
- Helly Hansen Warm Tights in purple
- Icebreaker Rush 3/4 Watercolor Tights for warmer days
- REI Teton Fleece Pants in black – we’re issued fleece pants, but they are thicker and I prefer the closer fit of these on “warmer” days
- Mammut Traleika Soft-Shell Pants – Graphite – Great for casual wear, not as windproof as they say, but still decent and perfect for shorter hikes outside
- Obermeyer Wildhair Bib Snow Pants – I have only worn these once but I feel like in the summer when my issued pants are just “too much” these will come in handy
- Victoria’s Secret Everyday Perfect Bikini (x10 pairs), non-cotton plus 2-3 “prettier” pairs
No regrets here.
- CALIA Sports Bra (for working out)
- Super-soft sports bra I’ve had for too long to read the brand name (for lounging/sleeping)
- Maroon/plum workout capris with pockets!
- Black capri sweatpants/”joggers”
- Two pairs gym shorts
- Express Mid Rise Extreme Stretch Jean Legging
- Black gym stretchy shirt
- Two soft tees for sleeping or gym
- Casual tank tops for gym/bar x 2
- “Nice” t-shirt for bar nights
- Nice fuschia sweater
- Full Damsel in this Dress outfit with a few accessories to mix things up
- Belts x2
- Roxy Women’s Tram Bobble Hat in Rhododendron (pure acrylic with a polar fleece band)
- Roxy Women’s Winter Biotherme Neck Collar
- Windproof Buff – this is my #1 most favorite purchase I made to come down here. If you buy nothing else, I highly recommend it. I slide it under my Roxy Neck collar when I hike. It’s the perfect thickness to protect your face while still letting you breathe fine through it.
- Northface outer shell mittens
- Polarfleece hat liner
- Sunglasses, wraparound, 2 pair, plastic frames w/UVA
- Coral scarf with cats on it
- Assortment of rings, necklaces, and earrings
- Dark green beanie
- 2-3 hair bandannas
- Dorm Gear
- Sketch book and drawing supplies
- Kickstarter notebook and pens (erasable)
- Energizer Green Headlamps
- Voice Recorder
- All important paperwork and cards including prescriptions and copies of IDs
- Towels – 2 bath, 1 hand, 1 washcloth
- Tupperware selection
- Nalgene water bottle
- Thermos/Coffee cup(s)
- Zip-lock bags
- Rechargeable calling card
- Pocket knife
- Yellow throw blanket, pillow from home, and XL Twin Bed Sheets
- Cork flag and Cincinnati flag
- ENO string lights
- Hiking backpack
- Passport Wallet Fanny Pack
- Toiletry organizers
- Luggage locks, luggage tags, and in-bag ID cards
- Rechargeable AAA and AA batteries and charger
- Surge protector and New Zealand Plug Adapters (x2)
- External Speakers and a few sets of headphones
- Google Pixel phone (to use as MP3 player, point ‘n shoot, and alarm clock)
- Selfie stick with mount, mini tripod, and bendable tripod
- DSLR camera and accessories
- Waterproof digital camera and accessories
- Optoma ML750ST Movie Projector (pocket-sized)
- ANKER battery charger
- 64GB Thumbdrives (x2) – these have been super useful to pass around
- External 4T harddrive full of movies, TV shows, and music – this is a MUST if you like media. In fact, I’m having Saga mail me a second one.
- Kindle Reader – Meh, I’ve been using my phone and thus could do without this.
- Ethernet Adapters for devices – I brought this but I wasted my money. It still doesn’t allow my phone to connect.
- Laptop, mouse, and external DVD drive
- I made a list HERE about all the LUSH Cosmetics brand products I’ll be buying for the trip. It’s silly to repeat them again. I’m buying LUSH because they’re mostly solids!
- Lip scrub that my sister made me, sunscreen, make up, setting spray
- Prescriptions and a few OTC Medications, copies of labels/prescriptions
- Alive! Max Potency Multivitamins
- Travel first-aid kit
- Tampons, pantyliners, cleansing wipes, Two toothbrushes, holders, floss, tooth stabby floss things, Dollar Shave Club razors and handle, Sally Hansen Zero Bumps spray, eyebrow scissors, tweezers, nail clippers, Q-tips
- Hairties, bobbi pins, two bandannas, hairbrush, thing I put in the microwave that curls my hair
The store will sell most of the things above but you won’t get a large selection of brands and you risk them being sold out of something you want.
USAP issues each person their own extreme cold weather gear (see header photo). I’ve read the most on base avoid wearing their USAP-issued ECW gear in public and during the summer the heavier stuff is mostly not needed. All together you’re issued six pairs of hand coverings!
- Balaclava wind stopper – I did not take, I liked mine own better
- Gaiter, neck, pile – also did not take
- Gloves, leather
- Goggles, Snow, Smith – I took these but I REALLY wish I’d brought my snowboarding goggles as these don’t fit tight on my face and thus fog up
- Hat, fleece – very meh
- Liner, glove, polypro
- Mitten, Kodalite – I wasn’t issued these, I think it was mittens OR gloves
- Pants, Polar Fleece
- Pants, Wind
- Boot, rubber, thermal
- Jacket, Polar Fleece
- Bag, Orange x2
The CDC allows you to store a small bag or box there for your retrieval on the way home. I left a bag there with:
- Pair of hiking shorts
- Thin jacket
- Bug-resistant pull-over
- Camelbak and red day pack
and a few other small odds and ends I decided I did not need anymore.
If you’d like a generic copy of this list, see this post.