Antarctica Marathon 2014: Trip Clothing and Gear

Antarctica Marathon 2014: Trip Clothing and Gear

This is a post about clothing and electronic gear (camera, video cameras, etc) recommendations for the Antarctica Marathon.


Trip Clothing and gear recommendations


  • Two pairs of running shoes (expect that any pair you wear to run will get ruined with mud. If you are lucky you may be able to reuse the shoe as a light training shoe if it doesn’t get too wet and managed to get the mud out without getting the shoe soaked.) If you plan on wearing a pair for walking around, bring a third worn out pair of running shoes for walking (and not running).
  • Thin waterproof pants and jacket – I have a thin summit jacket for waterproof and windproof. Amazing top layer for running as it was breathable as well.
  • Ski Jacket/Ski Pants – These are very useful for journeys on the Zodiacs for land excursions and race day. Anytime you get off/on the ship, you are on the Zodiac. These are very heavy so if you don’t want to bring it, the ship will have a pair you can rent for $15 for each jacket/pants. It may be better to rent so your expensive clothing doesn’t get ruined by salt water. Just thin waterproof pants would not be enough for Zodiac crossings unless you have really good (or new) thin waterproof pants. If you own a pair of ski pants, you’ll know the difference between ski pants (thicker) and thin waterproof pants. I wore a thin waterproof pair of pants underneath the waterproof pants I rented aboard the ship
  • Long sleeve tech shirts – I brought four of them here and they vary in thickness. When wore together, they can rival the thermal properties of wool thermal shirts with it being almost windproof due to the number of layers.
  • Long thin tech pants or running tights: This will serve as your base layer for an expedition. Very important if you want to kayak.
  • Waterproof gloves – I will highly recommend ski gloves as they should be waterproof, insulating and many have an extra feature to completely seal the glove to the jacket on the forearms.
  • Thinner insulating gloves – good for race day, being outside on the deck, and very useful. I would recommend bringing two different pairs as one can get wet and now you need a second pair. They’re cheap enough and small enough to pack.
  • Thermal pants: This can be your insulating layer for excursion and also very important for kayak.
  • Wool socks: If you always have cold feet, bring some wool socks. The boots you wear are only partially insulated so you will need a pair of warm socks to keep your feet warm.
  • Wool sweater: If you often get cold, bring some wool clothing. They do not absorb moisture and very warm. Make sure to layer it as it is not windproof.
  • Ski Goggles, very under-rated but hugely useful. Useful for race day and all the excursions, especially when winds kick up above 20mph, which is often. The winds usually come from the south and usually passes over a glacier.
  • Face protection – I have a under armour face mask that covers the head and face.


  • Dry bag: you can rent one for $15 and it theirs work very well. It’s a bit large but worth to rent rather than take with you. I would recommend maybe bringing a small to mid size dry bag for days when you don’t have much gear with you. For race day, you will need a large bag in case you want to bring an extra pair of sneakers, warm jacket for post race, bottles of water, extra gloves and layers, etc. I couldn’t fit my hydration pack in the dry bag so I wore it under my wetskin jacket to make sure it wasn’t wet when I got on land.
  • Waterproof boots – if you are to bring one, bring calf high boots (like hunter boots). However, they are going to be stepping into penguin poo, mud, and other nasty stuff, so use the ship’s boots. They are complimentary so it’s a no-brainer to leave those at home. The complimentary boots are decent for hiking and I had no issues with them in terms of mobility. Chances are, the ones you are bringing will be similar.

Camera recommendations:

  • Go Pro: helmet mount or chest mount, long stick, waterproof case, usb cables (forgot mines). Helmet mount was better than the chest mount.
  • Waterproof camera: good for pictures in case you are near water or high risk of water on your camera. There are situations where its raining or snowing and you need a fix lens camera to prevent the inside of your lens from fogging up.
  • Point and shoot: If you have a DSLR, its not really necessary but can be a good backup in case your DSLR gets fogged up. The point and shoots often have retractable lenses so they will also run the risk of getting humidity inside the lens assembly.
  • Camera: any DSLR would be good. The lens will be the most important:
  • Telephoto – highly recommended. Many things are not that close so telephoto would be very useful. If you want to spend the money, make sure to get one that is completely weather proof. That means that the lens has a fixed length and the lens will not retract/extend. Many of these lenses are very expensive (~2500 for the Canon 70-200mm F4 lens).
  • A cheap alternative to telephoto is a 200mm (or 150mm, 250mm, 300mm, etc) prime lens. Cheaper and often better quality but often lose the zoom capabilities. I would value weather sealing and zoom capability about the same. In the weather conditions we were in (just above freezing with close to 100% humidity due to fog, rain, snow, sleet) the non-weather sealed lenses dried out just fine. Even with a pancake, the outside of the lens will fog up.
  • Regular zoom lens (18-135mm cropped frame, 24-105mm full frame, for example): is very useful for portraits, regular pictures and all around. I managed to use the 105mm zoom just fine on my Canon 6D, but a telephoto would have been amazing in many situations.
  • Wide Angle lens – <24mm focal length on full frame. Not particularly useful. I did use it once in Paradise bay as it was a bit narrow and I wanted to get more of the landscape mountains with the sunshine. It actually could have been used on the penguin colony as many penguins came right close to us. I would skip bringing it as you will rarely get close enough to the subject to make any real use of it.

As a note about cameras, never ever change your lens when there is high humidity outside. You will run the risk of getting water vapor onto the sensor, which is what you never want. Even though the zoom lens gets moisture inside the zoom lens assembly, it never gets into the sensor itself.

Computer Gear:

  • USB drives: get a few 16-32gb drives for other people’s photos. USB hard drive will be best.
  • Tablet – good for reviewing pictures and keeping you entertained at the bar/lounge. If you have an iPad, make sure to have usb drives as its almost impossible to transfer pictures onto an iPad unless you have a special SD card or USB transfer adapter.
  • Laptop – not really necessary as there are a few computers onboard but if you don’t have one, make sure to bring USB storage devices, the more the better. Laptop very useful in managing photos, reviewing photos, sending email via onboard email system, etc.

For the most part, Antarctica is actually quite dry except for the Peninsula, which the cruise spends most of their time in. If you get cold conditions, expect snow but if its above freezing, expect fog, rain, sleet, and snow, all of which are bad for non-sealed camera lenses. On our cruise, everyone’s cameras and lenses dried out. When its below freezing and not precipitating, lenses and cameras are dry so theres no fear of going from inside the ship to outside. The air inside the ship is also a bit dry so they won’t fog up once you come inside from the cold. I have went outside and in numerous times and my camera never fogged when I came inside. It did fog when I went outside due to excess humidity outside.

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