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Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

Miles, Australia
posts: 23
Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

I am going on an Antarctic Cruise with Heritage Expeditions From Bluff, NZ in Jan 2014. I was wondering what clothing and other items to pack as we are visiting a lot of subantarctic islands such as Macquarie along the way as well as the Ross Ice Shelf. These islands will have vegetation on them, not just ice, so there will be quite a variation in temperature over the duration of the 29 day cruise. Has anyone been on a similar cruise? How many of each item of clothing did you need to pack? Any hints ofr suggestions please.

37 replies to this topic
Melbourne, Australia
posts: 534
reviews: 20
1. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

Have a look at the What to Pack sections listed in the Top Questions on the right hand side of this page. You'll see that the number of layers of clothing that you wear depends on the temperature.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,401
reviews: 28
2. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

Yep check the top questions on the top right - all your questions re clothing have been asked and answered.

The basics - I have done 2 30 day trips including sub antarctica islands and for both trips I took 3 of each base layer, 2 of each mid layer and a single parka and outerpants.

Miles, Australia
posts: 23
3. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

Thanks for the info. I had read the posts top right but wasn't sure if there was anything different I needed leaving from NZ for a longer cruise and with quite a variation in temperature and terrain. Which company did you go with what were your experiences like? I'm going with Heritage Expeditions.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,401
reviews: 28
4. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

The length of the trip really doesn't dictate amount of clothing. Most people take 3 base layers - one on, one drying from a wash, and one spare. Mid layers can be worn multiple times between washes.

Check whether your ship has a laundry service. Mine did and I used it every 3 to 4 days.

Regardless of temperate on the islands you will still wear your full outer gear for the zodiac trips between ship and island and that can be cold and wet. You can remove layers once on shore.

I went with Quark in 2010 and 2011 on their now retired ice breaker.

Bendigo, Australia
posts: 6
5. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

I went on this trip earlier this year and agree with the 3 sets of base layers. The ship was warm enough inside to dry clothes quickly and each cabin had its own heater so worst case crank the heat up and don't come back to the room for a few hours! I found the lightweigh merino and polyprop thermals dried in a few hours while thick sock took a couple of days.

For the Sub Antarctic Islands you will need a good waterproof jacket as the one they supply is not waterproof and they don't issue it until you are past the SubAntarctics anyway. Also good waterproof pants are a must and walking boots/shoes. If possible go for gortex lined shoes or you will get wet feet in the long wet grass.

Enjoy the adventure, it really is fabulous!

Miles, Australia
posts: 23
6. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

More information - great!

Now I have another question. Heritage expeditions have gum boots on board ( garden variety) or you can bring your own for the zodiac landings. I have read of people mentioning purchasing muck boots. What is your suggestion?

Was the waterproof jacket you purchased like a ski jacket to keep you warm ( but still with layers underneath as necessary) or only a thin waterproof jacket?

Any other hints and tips greatly recieved.

Bendigo, Australia
posts: 6
7. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

I just used the gumboots provided - one of the guides during the first couple of days took a list of sizes and disappeared down into one of the holds and came back with them. I was fine with what they provided, but I also wear them for work all the time and the ones they gave me were the same brand as work supplies. You will spend a fair bit of time in them, so if you have a very big or small foot or don't have luggage restrictions byo, but otherwise they will be fine. You can always wear an extra pair of socks or take the insoles out of your other shoes to make them a bit more comfy.

The jacket I took was a good (and expensive some years ago!) Goretex style coat that is wind and waterproof. I got it from one of the good outdoor stores years ago for bushwalking. I wouldn't bother with a warm ski jacket, but instead pack another layer of jumper like a thick fleece or down jacket that you wear under the coat and then can wear under the provided jacket in Antarctica.

You will be much better off with lots of layer - although it will take an age to get ready each time! I always left the boat with

- bottom half - polyprop thermals, heavy cotton pants, waterproof pants, 2 pairs of socks

- top half - polyprop long sleeve thermal, merino thermal, merino thin jacket, down jacket, provided jacket

- extremities- 2 pairs of gloves (one thin for using camera etc, a waterproof pair over top for zodiac rides), neck gaiter (tube fleece scarf thingy) and beanie.

- day pack with camera in waterproof bag and splash cover overtop

Then once walking around be prepared to take off layers and put back on if sitting around watching penguins. Always had extra jumper and spare socks in daypack for accidential gumboot flooding, but never needed them. I had lots of the gear needed in my wardrobe from years of hiking and travelling and then added little bits and pieces everytime the outdoor shops had sales, but don't go out and buy alot of gear - borrow, ebay etc if you think you wont use it again, it's sure not a fashion show.

P.S. Top tip if you want to be seen in videos and slideshows at the end wear a distinctive beanie - cos everyone is wearing matching blue jackets and covered in scarves and sunglasses!

Sorry that got a little long winded!

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,401
reviews: 28
8. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

What I would add to the great info above is that muckboots don't suffer the dreaded gumboot flooding that was described !

That's their big positive.

Quark supplied both parkas and muckboots but for my second trip I had bought my own muckboots when it became clear this was going to be a regular destination for me - easier to always have my own at hand. Mucks are well designed with a removable inner sole so if you are like me and need orthotics you can swap them in. They are really well insulated so a single pair of socks is fine. (I am forever reading of people needing 3 pair splits woolen inner soles and boot lines with the normal gumboots - seems a lot of work to me !!).

Also bought my own parka by the second trip and I just give the quark parkas away to the hardworking crew on the boat.

Miles, Australia
posts: 23
9. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

Thankyou both for the great detailed information - I love details!( Must be the teacher in me). This will be my only trip and all my previous hiking and camping is from hot climates, often with up to 60 kids in tow. Hence I will need to buy some stuff though I will search op shops etc. I like the idea of 2 layers of thermals. I was thinking otherwise I might look like the michelin man with bulky layers and not be able to walk!

I gather waterproof hiking boots are required. Are the above ankle ones needed to keep you dry or are the below ankle ones fine?

I like the tip about the distinctive beanie for the photos. I actually found carnival striped thermals which would stand out except no one would see them.

Thanks for the info.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,401
reviews: 28
10. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

Try the Aussie disposal stores website to see if there is one near you. They sell ski gear and outer wet gear for a fraction of the price of the big adventure stores.

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