Antarctica- Arctic: Essential gear for your next Polar adventure

In June I did a blog post about packing for your Polar adventure so don’t worry this one will be different…

I consider binoculars a very essential item. The best you can afford. They should actually improve the distance and quality of viewing far off wildlife, like Polar bears and whales. You’d be surprised how many people show up on a trip to the Arctic hoping to see Polar bear but without binoculars. There is no guarantee you will see a bear close enough to use only your eyes. A good pair of binoculars will give you the chance to watch the movement and behavior of these magnificent animals, even at a distance.

Humpback tail fluke

There is some essential gear that will make your journey much more enjoyable. The clothing is simple and easy to come by, even if you live in a warm climate, thanks to the internet.

A good sturdy pair of rubber (Wellington) boots is another essential to me. Many of the ships provide boots, however I always bring my own, this way I know they will be warm and fit properly. It certainly will save weight in your luggage if you use the boots provided by the shipping company (unless you own a good pair).

Waterproof outer wear. Some of the ships provide a jacket or parka. If they don’t then you will need to bring your own. Don’t forget the waterproof pants however. You do need these to stay dry on the zodiac, and when the weather is wet.

Sunscreen is essential, even when the sky is overcast. You will hopefully be spending a lot of time outside and you don’t want to get sunburned. Also, don’t forget the lip balm.

Sunglasses, I never travel without them. Some people don’t like or wear sunglasses, like Sharon (our client services manager). Instead she wears a hat or visor with a brim to keep the sun out of her eyes. There are a lot of reflections in the Polar Regions – water, snow, and ice.

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If you are planning to take pictures or video don’t forget to bring your battery charger, an extra battery is advisable, extra media cards (or if you are still using film – plenty of it). Depending on what type of photography you are planning, be sure you have the right lens for the job. Some people prefer the point and shoot, while others bring all the gear. For the Arctic you will most likely be at a distance to the wildlife and will want a telephoto zoom lens to cover multiple situations or several lenses to cover everything you plan to shoot. I would suggest 200mm as the minimum telephoto, I use 300mm.

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If you take landscape photography it’s spectacular so bring a wide angle lens. If you’re into plants a macro lens would be good as well, in the Arctic.

Last but not least don’t forget your adventuresome attitude. Go with the flow and enjoy the Polar Adventure.

Blog post by Lynn Cross