Packing for Antarctica

A few people have asked me how I prepare and pack for a trip to Antarctica.

Firstly, I have been extremely lucky as I have worked on the frozen continent many times in the past seven years, the forthcoming trip will be my 12th visit. I know, bonkers isn’t it and a real privilege!

I have learnt some tricks of the trade when travelling to such a harsh climate – for extremely cold conditions, layering clothing is the real key to working in comfort. There’s one piece of advice I was told on my first trip: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” I think it’s a phrase those hardy souls in Scandinavia came up with, but it’s just as relevant in Antarctica.

My clothing consist of the following: base layers, mid/insulated layer (lightweight down jacket), full-faced balaclava’s x 2, goggles, gloves x 2 and mittens, arctic boots, a buff and finally an outer or shell layer (the weather proof natural down parka is the best you can get) Also a must are the sun glasses, lip balm and sun cream.

I also pack several zip-up sandwich bags and some foil roll, useful for keeping the batteries warm whilst out filming, also pretty handy for any hot nibbles I might find in the camps mess tent before heading out.

This year my camera equipment will include: the Sony FS5, Sony A7S II, Mavic Air drone, tripod, top light, an assortment of Sony microphones and the Mac laptop – looking at all the gear, I should really have got Sony to sponsor me! All that equipment, clothing and other essentials go into two large waterproof bags along with a wheelie peli case for my hand luggage.

This year there are 55 competitors who will be taking part in the Antarctic Ice Marathon, so I look for interesting characters; there are always people with an intriguing back-story.

But perhaps strangest of all, I also prepare mentally for this trip; the days before heading off I turn the shower to cold for the last minute before stepping out. I know it’s masochistic but it seems to help me adjust, although my son doesn’t half give me funny looks as I leave the bathroom wrapped in a warm bathrobe still with my teeth chattering and my knees knocking!