Antarctica is the southernmost continent in the world. It is considered geographically as the South Pole. Though it accounts for 9.19 percent of the Earth’s land mass, it is the smallest continent in terms of population.
A funny thing about Antarctica is that due to the sub-zero temperatures and harsh climates, its residents are temporary and consist primarily of researchers, scientists, and tradesmen. But the only other life forms to call it home are penguins, seals, orcas, whales, squids and other microscopic organisms.
It is the greatest landmark of ice and together with the ice sheet of Greenland, it accounts for 99 percent of freshwater on earth. Life on Antarctica is not as easy as it seems. It requires endurance and months of preparation in order to survive for even a week. Below is a list of all the things you need for a camping trip at Antarctica and a few tips to help you brave the trials of the world’s largest mass of ice.
1. Limited baggage (no suitcases)
The kind of baggage that you choose for your trip to the Arctic is very important. Carry a bag with a large capacity of around 80 liters. Try limiting to fitting all your luggage into one bag. It is ‘The Worst Idea’ to bring a suitcase; pack your stuff in a duffle bag or a backpack, for the best.
Make sure that you can carry the bag on your own and pack it only for yourself. And do not forget to make sure that your bag is waterproof unless you want soggy belongings.
2. Pack all clothes for Winter
At Antarctica, it is always winter. So try not to pack in any shorts, crop tops or bikinis (unless you want frostbite or sunburns). Pack a lot of warm clothes, specifically shirts, and pants made of either polyester or nylon.
Wear a wool sweater and a really warm jacket or parka, that has fleece, a nylon base, is perfectly waterproofed and wraps around your whole body. The more insulation, the better.
3. Zero skin exposure
Cover all exposed skin, from your head to feet! Warm, waterproof wool gloves and even warmer beanies are a must; always pack a spare pair. Do not expect to survive the cold without these prerequisites. Try to get a pair of polarized sunglasses as well to protect your face from sunburn. Wear thick, sealed and comfortable waterproof boots.
4. Just because it is cold does not mean you can’t get sunburnt
Even though Antarctica is undoubtedly one of the coldest places on Earth, it is also one of the few places on Earth where one is susceptible to getting a sunburn. This is thanks to the reflective nature of the ‘Snow White’ ice. So remember to pack sunscreen and try to cover as much of your skin, preferably at all times during your trip.
5. Death by cotton, especially jeans
Cotton tends to absorb water easily and does not offer much heat. Plus it is extremely difficult to dry clothes in Antarctica, even during the daytime.
6. What to pack (and what not to)
There are lots of tourism agencies, regulated by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), which will provide for all your other basic needs like food and shelter. They will guide your arctic exploration and provide you with camping gear. Food is prohibited on land due to environmental concerns but does not forget to pack a thermos filled with water; maybe even two (just in case). Other than that, you are free to pack your camera and tripod stand.