If you are planning to visit the Arctic, the name of the game is preparation. Polar expeditions test not only your body, but also your mind. Make no mistake, the Arctic will challenge you. However, with the right kind of preparation, you’ll be able to rise to the occasion and triumph.
In this article, we will tell you a few things you can do to prepare yourself for what is coming your way. So, without further delay, here are the top four things you can do to get ready for the frozen frontier!
Top four tips for Arctic travel
While there are many tips we could share, let’s focus on the essentials.
Prepare for the Sun
It might seem weird, packing sunscreen on a trip which is the realm of frost, but trust us, it is a necessity precisely because there are snow and ice everywhere. The white carpet that surrounds you is spectacular, for sure, but it also reflects the sun in all its glory right back at you.
If you plan on travelling in spring or summer, between May and August, you should pack all the sunscreen and lip protection you can because that is when the Arctic experiences Midnight Sun – 24 hours of straight sunlight. Make sure it’s all over SPF 30. Just to be on the safe side, bring an eye mask for sleeping as well.
Get good travel insurance
This is a necessity, wherever you go. Even if you take all possible precautions, accidents can happen at any time. And in the case of emergencies, there is no other recourse than helicoptering you out of the Arctic, which can be very, very expensive. So you need to have both trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance – to be totally safe.
Trip cancellation insurance covers you from the date you purchase it till the date you leave for your trip. If, during this pre-departure time, you need to cancel for extenuating circumstances, it will cover the non-refundable costs. Trip interruption insurance covers things that happen on your trip, such as bad weather, injuries, outright cancellation and so on.
Layers are essential
We are sure you have been told this many times, but layers are the best protection against the inclement weather you are likely to face. You are sure to have done your research about what’s best and here are the essentials to give you an idea of what you will need at a minimum:
- Your base layer needs to be long underwear, and you should either get merino wool or synthetic material. You need to keep moisture away from your skin as well as keep yourself insulated.
- The middle layer’s main job is also to keep you insulated. Woolen, down, or fleece jackets, tops, and pants are the best for this.
- The outer layer should protect you from the elements, and this depends on the conditions. Your best bet is to keep both weatherproofed and unproofed materials on hand. Proofed material won’t let moisture in or out, so can get a bit sweaty! Unproofed material will let your body breathe but will allow the elements in. Wear what’s right for the day outside.
- For footwear, you want two types. Firstly, comfortable booties for when you’re in camp. Then you need well insulated and ice-proofed boots for enjoying the natural environment. Try to get boots with a removable felt liner, which makes them easy to take out, clean and also adds in insulation.
The key is keeping dry, and this ensemble should help you achieve that comfortably.
Get into the right mindset
Every battle is fought and won in the mind, they say, so have your head in the right space before your trip. You are embarking on an adventure, following in the footsteps of Peary, Amundsen and the explorers of old. This thought alone should be enough to give you great excitement and is truly thrilling, but you should also prepare yourself for some hardships.
An adventure is not a walk in the park. You’ll have the trip of your lifetime, with all the opportunities and challenges that may bring. The Arctic can be unpredictable, so there may be hold-ups and re-routings. Meals may be delayed and the WiFi is not reliable. However, the rewards of such an adventure far outweigh the inconveniences.
It’s worth reading accounts of the explorers who went before you to get an insight into the realities of Arctic expeditions. Their tales will fill you with anticipation and help you prepare for the journey ahead.
A trip to the North Pole is a wonderful experience. It opens your mind to totally new horizons, and the memories you make here will not only last your lifetime but those of everyone you tell about them too. You will create your own legend on the snow and ice, however you do need to be prepared! The tips listed here will help you out more than you can imagine. Follow them, and exercise caution. The Frozen Frontier awaits you!