I am off to Spitzbergen on the arctic adventure on June 24th. I have thermals and fleeces, but have no idea of the type of coat i would need or what type of trousers, are jeans ok?. Not sure if a ski jacket is ok for a coat or should i get something else. Does anyone know? Obvioulsy the cheaper the better but i want to be warm.
Many thanks :-)
Hi Marina,I'm also on this trip and I also sailed on the Vavilov to Antarctica last November, so here are my thoughts:As you will now know you cannot hire waterproofs on the Vav anymore, unlike my last trip. I'll ask the crew when I get there, but I have my suspicions. I actually took my own last time and the reason frequently given by people hiring in Antarctica was that they didn't want their own waterproofs getting covered in penguin poo! What I did was layer, so that on top all I needed was my normal gortex jacket. Bear in mind that I typically had a thermal vest, a Lightweight Base Layer, a light fleece pull on, a fleece jacket and then the gortex jacket. Most of the lower layers are Field and Trek's own brand. Yes down jackets are good, but I cannot regulate my temperature in them as well. I much prefer to start warm with wicking layers and strip off a layer if I get too warm. I will admit I prefer to be warm than cold!Other gear I wore: fleece beenie and headover - this is an old army issue one that I bought from Silvermans years ago, it's basically a cylindrical woollen tube ... I can't believe how much they try and charge for things like this today, so here's a link to what you can get now from them, only £10! http://www.silvermans.co.uk/AdvancedSearch/tabid/96/Default.aspx?Search=headover They are in Mile End, LondonSealskinz Waterproof thermal socks and gloves, bought from http://www.tredz.co.uk/ProductList.asp?A=resetsearch&Filter=2|SealskinzI also had a cheap pair of silk gloves as liner gloves, so if conditions were not too bad I wore those for photography.
Legs I wore thermals, track suit bottoms then salopettes, and of course then my waterproofs over the top of those. If you think that sounds a lot, I should point out I still ended up with a damp arse after one manic zodiac cruise in snow, sleet and rain ... Jacques, you have a lot to answer for!Jeans are okay for onboard ship, but I personally wouldn't go out in them, even under waterproofs. Jeans are so horrible to wear when wet especially if they start rubbing.They provide wellington boots, so unless you have a desire to take your own use them. One thing I did last time and will do this time is to take something that clearly identifies them in the boot room... I used a bull dog clip with a soft toy key fob attached ... No one could mistake a pair of wellies with a small blue bear attached to them as theirs amongst the other 100 pairs! You can take walking boots, as I did, but you still land in wellies as the landings are wet and then need to change. It all depends on how much walking you are going to do, and your view of walking in wellies. When on board the Vav just make sure you have some footwear with a decent grip. It's not so much an issue in the Arctic as compared to crossing the Drake Passage in the South, but if you slip and fall over, you'll most likely bruise your pride if nothing else.If you want to see some photos of the Vav in Antarctica then use this linkhttp://www.exodus.co.uk/holidays/psg/imagesIf you want to see the shots from my compact the they are on flickr. One day I'll finish processing all my raws and upload those too; now I have a new PC powerful enough I might get it done before I go and take loads more!http://www.flickr.com/photos/wanderlustg/sets/72157611620628537/
Hope that helps.Which reminds me I should start digging out all the gear and make sure it's still okay!See you in a month!Grahamp.s. sorry about that but it kept stripping out line feeds
Thank you Graham, that was great advice. I have got lots of stuff now - so much so that i am going to have to get it all out and make sure i can fit it all in. I ended up with a down jacket in the end, mainly because i couldn't find another one that fit me as well, so i hope that and layers will be enough. We will see. I have had a nightmare finding gear as i didn't realise the outdoor stores worked in seasons and of course they have none of the winter ski snowboard gear in and look at me as if i am crazy when i ask. I just assumed they would keep stock all year round especially for mad people like us that are going to far flung places.
Anyway looking forward to it, i shall see you onboard and thanks again for the advice.
No problem. That may be why I have the gear I have. Only the salopettes I would classify as winter ski snowboard gear, the rest is year round. Teh down jacket and layers should be fine. I have layers and a gortex jacket, just a lot of layers! Are you on the group flight on the Wednesday night? If you are see you there.
Hi Everyone, I'm a late joiner on the trip, having got a cancellation. Going frantic getting hold of all the stuff, spending far too much. I've got a goretex coat with lots of layers - hope that will do. Hoping to borrow ski salopettes from a friend - otherwise it will have to be long johns and trackies underneath waterproof trousers.
Has anyone heard of a camera mitten or glove? I've been told that it is a good idea to wrap the camera in a specially construted mitten or glove to prevent the camera batteries depleting too fast because of the cold. I could only find really expensive ones on the web. So instead I am spending a fortune on getting lots of spare batteries. Someone I know quoted about 6-7 spares. Can anyone else advise?
You can charge your batteries in your cabin no problem. Have no idea what camera mitten is but do not panic, it is not that cold and you should not be getting wet as long as you have good bag for camera which is splash proof it is fine. It is summer is Spitsbergen the temperature rarely goes below -2.
Thanks Imran and Wanderlustg for that information, as well as the others who posted info on clothing.
I now feel reassured that my six batteries should be enough and I can forget about the camera mitten! (I shall be bringing a charger, but was worried that I might get through all six in one day's shooting. I have a Canon 40D with 17-85mm and 100-400mm lenses.) Does anyone know whether a tripod would be useful or more of a hindrance? After all, the boat moves! And lugging the stuff on shore seems rather a hassle.
Loads of people took tripods to Antarctica, including me. It all depends on your strength / confidence on hand holding your big lens for a long period of time. As I was using my 70-300 last time (630g) I ended up using my tripod only for videoing whilst whilst ashore. I set it up, pointed it and then I took photos. Now I have the 150-500 at 1.9kg I'm going to take it just in case!
Thanks for that. I'm still deciding... and it's quite a minefield, with all the different heads to choose from, let alone the tripod legs. I'll see.
Looking forward to the trip only a week to go. I think i am on the group flight, if that is the one leaving Heathrow at 7.30pm on the 24th. I hope so, i shall look out for for luggage with Exodus tags on them and go say hello (hopefully it will be the right trip).
See you all there
@Nicky - You have a better tripod then me!
@Marina - Yes that's the group flight at 19:30. After baggage drop off (you can check in online), a quick trip to duty free (Norway is not part of the EU so I believe we still qualify for duty free) I shall no doubt head towards O'Neills for a drink and a bite to eat since SAS will charge us on board the flight for everything. So look for me in there!
Another last minute question, and Graham you may know the answer to this?
Is it wise for me to bring a sleeping bag. I assume linen is provided in the cabins, but will they get cold at night ( i am always cold) and is it wise to bring the bag just for warmth. Graham what did you do in the Antarctic?
I am giogn to actually aly all my stuff out over the weekend and pack and also then realise i am probably missing loads of things ;-)
I am a late addition to the Vavilov next week - am really excited about going! This ship is heated and I believe is generally quite warm inside. I really wouldn't weigh yourself down with a sleeping bag. I'm told that while indoors on the ship, a t-shirt and long-sleeved top are plenty to keep you at the right temperature.
See you next week!
Don't waste the space taking a sleeping bag. The ship is generally warm. If your roomie opens the window then the temperature will drop ... it all depends if you end up sharing with people that like windows open all the time. Personally yes in the summer, no in the winter ... I have no wish to try and heat up the outside! I never had a problem in the Antarctic and there are extra blankets if you want in the cabin, and if you want more, then goe and ask the 'hotel manager' who will be happy to oblige. One thing I will admit to doing is sleeping with my fleece beenie on, and I will no doubt do it on this trip. My hair is short and I feel the cold ... well my head certainly gets cold, so I wear it in bed too to keep my head warm. I also wear it with the front pulled down over my eyes; again personal thing, I find it helps me sleep as it keeps the 24 hour daylight out of my eyes. yes the cabins have curtains, but you know, belt and braces!
Some (mad!) people wondered around ship in shorts, t-shirt and sandles ... I didn't. It's down to layers again. You may be sat in the observation lounge, quite happily warm and enjoying a hot drink but if something appears and you head on straight out. So I tend to have camera and fleeces etc on hand to pull on as and when necessary without having to return to my cabin.
Same here re layout. I started last weekend on the spare bed and this weekend it's finish and dry run pack because I need to fit the new lens into my hand luggage ... so much easier said then done. Especially as I had a frantic week with that. Picked the new lens up on Monday evening and while trying it out I found a fault with it, so I had a mad week sorting out getting it replaced ... they didn't have any more in stock. I finally managed to head to their office and swap the lens this lunchtime ...
Sad but true ... 12 years of trips like this and I have my packing list with all possible climate variations etc covered! It still doesn't stop you from finding one or two items that need to be cleaned or repaired!
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