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Postcard from Antarctica: How do you stay warm in Antarctic conditions? 

XTRATUF | JANUARY 24, 2024

IG: @ukantarcticheritagetrust

Well, the key of course is good kit and layering. And not just one layer on top of another for the sake of it but ensuring gaps for air between each layer too. If talking about your feet for example, it is useful to have different-sized socks – one normal size to go next to your feet and then a larger size which is thicker over the top. This also means larger shoes or boots are a necessity – this took a bit of getting used to at first, almost waddling around, but now it’s quite normal. Someone did comment on my extra-large feet the other day though!

2023/4 team before Zodiac cruise
Caption: 2023/4 team before Zodiac cruise

Moving up from our feet, merino base layers are essential. They keep you warm and don’t smell, so double bonus when we don’t have regular access to showers at Port Lockroy! We have all been wearing at least one bottom and top layer every day. On top of this, I can add three or four more layers if I’m standing still a lot or sitting inside with no heating, then stripping them back when working and moving around more.

If you do get cold feet then changing your socks can help to warm them up much faster. The same with gloves and other layers too. If you work hard and start sweating, change your inner layers otherwise you can cool down quickly.

So, what we wear on our feet during the day:

  • Two thick pairs of socks – one larger size than the other so they are not too tight when on.
  • Large boots – XtraTuf insulated neoprene work boots with a steel toe have been found to be the warmest we’ve got so far.

Top tips: lots of layers and bigger sizes so you add them on top and keep moving. 

Good luck staying warm in cold weather!

Follow the UKAHT team:

Instagram - @ukantarcticheritagetrust

Facebook - UK Antarctic Heritage Trust

Website - ukaht.org


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