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Aim, Focus, Shoot - The HyPyC blog
Antarctica Outer Layer clothing guide

What to Wear on an Antarctic Cruise – Part 2 – Outer Layer

As stated in my base layer guide, it's so important to be prepared for the Antarctic weather - It will be like nothing you have experienced before (unless you live in Canada or Siberia I suppose?). It's unforgiving, extreme, and ever changing. Yes there were times on my trip when I had no coat, hat or gloves on, but this was rare and I always still had my gear with me.

The outer layer of clothing is the layer that faces the elements, it's the layer protecting your body from the snow, wind and cold, it's the layer that you wear ontop of your base layer. Below are the items of clothing that I wore whilst in Antarctica - As I said before, the brands may not be available in your country, but you can use this guide to give you an idea of the type of clothing you need.

  • Windstopper Hat x1
  • Expedition Parka x1
  • Windstopper Gloves x1
  • Insulated Waterproof Trousers x1

Head - Tog 24 Windstopper Hat

Head - Tog 24 Windstopper Hat

I brought this hat back in 2013 for my trip to Iceland - It has served me well and I have now worn it in three different continents. It is a Tog 24 Windstopper hat which cost £14.99. The material is stretchy and it fits beautifully on my head, covering my ears and also has enough room to fit over the base layer hat I took with me. There were times when I took the hat off but I always had it with me during shore landings to be safe - The weather in Antarctica can change in an instant.

Torso - G Adventures Expedition Parka

Torso - G Adventures Expedition Parka

The one item of clothing I didn't have to worry about was an outer layer coat; G Adventures provided an expedition parka as part of the "Antarctica Classic in-depth" tour. On arrival after the first night in Ushuaia we were all given our Parka's in the Discovery Lounge. I was pleasantly surprised at the amazing quality of the coat - It was well made, had plenty of large pockets, good quality zips and a solid warm insulating layer. Furthermore it had velcro straps on the wrists and neck so you can really keep the cold out. Finally you get to keep the parka afterwards so I brought it home with me and will undoubtedly use it again when I go to the Arctic.

Hands - Tog 24 Gore Windstopper Gloves

Hands - Tog 24 Gore Windstopper

I will not lie, my hands suffered slightly during this trip, why? Well, my camera has a touch screen focusing system and as it happens my fingers do not register on this screen through any gloves!!!! (Mental note - check things like this beforehand). Therefore my right hand was mainly un-gloved and exposed to the biting cold! The being said, the Tog 24 Gore Windstopper gloves that I used were brilliant - They had a good grip, were quite thin and lightweight, but still kept my hands warm (when I wore them!). I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your hands warm, I didn't always and at times my right hand was numb (I did get some amazing photos however as compensation).

Legs - HiGear Typhoon Insulated Waterproof Trousers

Legs - HiGear Typhoon Insulated Waterproof Trousers

Waterproof trousers are a must! Your legs will get wet, either through walking in the snow, or on one of the Zodiac journeys - It's unavoidable unless you plan on not leaving the ship (No one ever does this). The HiGear trousers I brought were perfect; they were extremely comfortable and fitted snugly over the rubber wellingtons we were provided with for shore landings. They are not exactly lightweight, but that was a small price to pay for the relative comfort they provided. Make sure you buy a pair of trousers that are both insulated and waterproof - the insulation is to keep heat trapped in-between the layers of fabric, and the waterproof is self explanatory.

It's better to be protected than to suffer discomfort

As with my base layer guide I will give you a quick breakdown of how much the items of clothing cost me - I am quite pleased with how little I spent on clothing, I was expecting it to cost a lot more. If you are really tight for money, or don't have the capacity to carry all these items with you, then I would suggest renting the gear in Ushuaia.

  • Tog 24 Windstopper Hat - £14.95 x1
  • G Adventures Parka - £0 (Included in trip price)
  • Tog 24 Gore Windstopper Gloves - £25.00 x1
  • HiGear Typhoon Insulated Waterproof trousers - £34.99 x1

So, in total that was £74.94, and together with my base layer I spent a total of £148.77 - Considering the relative cost of the trip itself, I did well! Please bear in mind that you cannot put a price on your own comfort and well being - I would urge anyone going to Antarctica to not buy low quality gear just to save a couple of pound - The good quality items really are good quality!

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