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From Base Layers to Mountaineering Sunglasses, 9 Things to Pack on a Trip to Antarctica

This functional gear will come in handy even after you've returned from the adventure.

Passengers aboard the SH Minerva gaze from the “Swan’s Nest” as the ship approaches the Lemaire Channel, famed for its icebergs and sheer cliffs. Swan Hellenic

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There’s been a boom in Antarctica tourism in recent years, making it easier for humans to venture further south than ever before. (And as we recently reported, many cruise and travel companies are working to ensure that influx doesn’t harm the exceptional environment.) It’s crazy to think that just over a hundred years ago, Ernest Shackleton’s wooden ship was destroyed by sea ice, but today, technology has made it possible to take a luxury cruise, a heli-skiing trip or an overland expedition to the furthest stretches of the Earth’s poles—and have wi-fi and central heating the entire time. While Shackleton’s 27-man crew was outfitted with little more than woolen long underwear, cotton-gabardine Burberry trench coats and reindeer fur boots, the journey’s requisite gear, too, has come a long way.

If you’re heading to Antarctica, the company you’ll be traveling with will undoubtedly send detailed packing lists ahead of your departure (as well as provide sturdy boots for shore landings and often a parka) but there are a few nuances to read between the lines. The main key is to pack lightweight, highly functional layers that will shield you from the elements, not hinder your movement or cause you to overheat as you trek—and also look good for the deluge of photographs you’re bound to take on this bucket list adventure.

And while you may want to buy some new gear for your voyage, it’s not ideal to invest in a bunch of pricy performance wear that’ll wind up collecting dust in your closet once you return home. After all, any trip to Antarctica, as you’ll discover, is a humbling lesson in sustainability. If you’re planning a trip to the White Continent, here are some of the pieces that will do the job in style—and serve you for years to come.

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