The question is: What to bring to Antarctica? My first instinct, and probably the first instinct of everyone, was bring ALL winter clothes! Go to REI and get it all (now that I am very American and know what REI is – for the Australians it is like Kathmandu on a larger scale)!
After that first panic/excitement, I actually realized that I don't need much – living in Pullman has got me ready! Apart from living in a very cold place during winter now, the NSF program will provide us with the outdoors gear, so we only need to bring clothes to wear inside and long underwear (thermals).
What is funny is that the only things that I bought to bring to Antarctica were: Smart Wool top, wool thermal pants, down vest, and a beanie. I was obsessing over the vest and the beanie. It was a relief when I finally found a vest that was on special on REI, and I am quite happy about it! However, after I got the vest, it got me thinking why of all things I decided I NEEDED a down vest for Antarctica? Not a jacket, a vest! Surely that’s not the item that will be the warmest, doesn’t matter how many geese died to make it (just kidding it’s made of traceable down: third-party-verified, non-live-plucked, non-force-fed!). So it left me only obsessing over one thing: a beanie! I know, I do have a lot more important things to do and occupy my mind, but somehow, I really wanted my beanie that I cannot find, because it is lined with fluffy fleece. I got a new one, also lined, but I don’t like it!
Some of the packing up and the items that I got for this trip, including the beanie that I don't like.
Another unusual thing that they requested was to bring more than one pair of sunglasses! It makes sense, it’s sunny all day long (24h) and snow and ice reflect the light really well, hence the sunburn you get when you’re skiing! You don’t want to risk losing the only pair you have and having to deal with the glare for the rest of the trip! I got a cheap pair of sunglasses on my way to Heron Island when I was in Australia a few weeks ago. I think I am all set (clothing-wise)!
I really hope I won’t get out of the airplane in Antarctica and realize I forgot something important (like that time when I left my wedding dress in Australia when flying to Brazil for my wedding!).