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Arctic Glacier Landing (Ellesmere Island, Canada)

What To Pack For Your Arctic Expedition

Arctic weather is extremely variable and can change frequently. The extended daylight during the polar summer sends temperatures during the day to generally well above freezing, with sheltered areas warming up to the extent you may even sometimes think it warm enough for t-shirts. However, temperatures can and will drop any time, especially with strong winds accentuating the chill, to hover around or below the freezing mark, especially during the night and more often on the fringes of the season. 

During an expedition (day) you may encounter the full spectrum of Arctic weather: sun, wind, rain &/or snow and fog in changing order; so be ready for any conditions.  be ready for any conditions.

Packing for the Arctic doesn’t have to be daunting, below list will help you to optimally prepare for your polar adventure of a lifetime. And to make it easier for you, all Quark Expeditions voyages include a complimentary Quark 3-in-1 Parka (with a waterproof outer shell and a removable inner liner to adjust to activity at hand and to your personal thermo-regulation needs, as required), a collapsible reusable water bottle, and a loan of insulated waterproof boots.

By Sea & Air: 

All transfers ship to shore, helicopter flights & Zodiac/ship cruising 

1. ▢ Waterproof Pants (Mandatory for every Zodiac and helicopter ride. For Ultramarine guests who are participating in Helicopter flights, we recommend packing loose fitting rain pant style waterproof pants, rather than fitted ski pants. You will also be required to wear a drysuit, which our team will help you prepare for on the ship.)
2. ▢ Base-layer wool or synthetic top* 
3. ▢ Base-layer wool or synthetic bottom* 
4. ▢ Mid-layer warm or fleece top* 
5. ▢ Mid-layer warm or fleece bottom* 
6. ▢ Warm hat that covers ears (bring an extra)  
7. ▢ Scarf, buff, or other face protection 
8. ▢ Warm wool or synthetic socks (keep a dry pair in your bag, and bring extras for layering) 
9. ▢ Waterproof gloves or mitts (bring an extra, lighter pair for hiking)  
10. ▢ Glove liners*  
11. ▢ Hand and feet warmers* 
12. ▢ Binoculars 
13. ▢ Polarized sunglasses with UV protection (consider bringing an eyewear retainer: string/clip etc.) 
14. ▢ Ski goggles (for Zodiac cruising on snowy or windy days) 
15. ▢ Waterproof, lightweight backpack or dry sack &/or rain sleeve for camera or a waterproof phone case (to keep camera & gear dry)

*recommended layering depending on the conditions of the day and reflecting your personal thermo-regulation comfort levels

Shore Excursions & Hiking

In addition to the gear requirements (as above) mandatory for the transit from ship to shore, it is recommended to bring:

1. ▢ Hat, buff or scarf (for wind and weather protection) 
2. ▢ UV protection (sun hat, polarized sun glasses, sun block, lip balm etc.) 
3. ▢ Collapsible Walking stick for hikes (if required). Quantities are available on every vessel to borrow.
4. ▢ Additional reusable (thermos-regulating) water bottle (in addition to the reusable collapsible water bottle provided)

To Wear on Board   

5. ▢ The complimentary Quark 3-in-1 Parka provided on board is designed with a waterproof shell that can be worn out on deck, and a removable liner that you can wear to stay comfortable indoors) 
6. ▢ Comfortable casual clothing like lighter shirts, pants or jeans, etc. (in case the ship gets warm) 
7. ▢ Comfortable non-slip closed-toed, heelless shoes (flip flops, sandals or slip-on shoes should not be worn on board due to safety concerns) 
8. ▢ Workout attire (for the fitness center and other indoor activities) 
9. ▢ Swimsuit (for the Polar Plunge! Some vessels may also have a pool, hot tub, sauna and/or steam room. See your ship book for details.)

Just a reminder: no formal evening wear required on our voyages but if you would like to bring something a little more dressy for the Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktails you may certainly do so!

Additional Items: 

1. ▢ Light warm jacket to wear during travel to the ship 
2. ▢ Passport, visas, immunization records, travel documents, etc. as required 
3. ▢ Camera gear  
complete with charger, storage medium, transport & cleaning kit (lens cloth etc.) and extra batteries 
4. ▢ Reusable waterproof bags or plastic bags with zippers (to keep small items organized and cameras dry) 
5. ▢ Voltage converters and plug adapters (see ship book for details) 
6. ▢ Seasickness, indigestion, headache, or other medications 
7. ▢ Earplugs and eye masks for sleeping 
8. ▢ Moisturizer for face and hands (skin dryness due to wind and temperature changes) 
9. ▢ Credit Card & Small amount of local currency (see pre-departure book for more details)
10. ▢ Extra memory or laptop with spare storage (for saving photos) 
11. ▢ Lens cloth for camera 
12. ▢ Personal alarm such as mobile phone, watch, or alarm clock  
13. ▢ Extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses 
14. ▢ Hand sanitizer


Related topics are covered on our Frequently Asked Questions page.