Hiking in Antarctica


Cruise tours and shore landings are the standard ways to experience Antarctica. But if you want a closer view of the otherworldly panoramas of this icy world, hiking is the way to go. You will be awed by the mesmerizing landscapes and marine wildlife of the region. Whether you are an experienced adventurer or a budding one, hiking in Antarctica may just be one of the most memorable vacations you will have in your lifetime.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Hike in Antarctica

A hiker walks through ice and snow while hiking in Antarctica.
Before attempting a hike in the area, it is essential to be physically fit because the landscape in Antarctica is difficult and rugged.

An Antarctica hike is sure to be unlike anything you have experienced. So, here are a few things you should consider before embarking on an Antarctica hiking tour:

  • Maintain a reasonable fitness level: As earlier emphasized, the terrain in Antarctica is rugged and challenging, thus it is vital to be reasonably fit before attempting a hike in the region.
  • Find a hike suitable to your level of experience: Antarctica hikes have varying levels of difficulty. Consult your tour guide to know how difficult a hike is before going for one.
  • Plan for waste disposal: It is forbidden to leave any kind of human waste in Antarctica. So, you should have a special bottle for peeing in case nature calls during the hike. And remember to empty your bowels before disembarking from your ship.
  • Emergency help is not readily available: The farther you are from your cruise ship, the more difficult it will be to access emergency help. If you have serious health issues, you might have to think of other, less challenging adventures.

How to prepare for hiking in Antarctica

A tourist pouring hot water in the middle of the hike to Antarctica.
For hydration on your Antarctic hike, bring a stainless steel water bottle.

Adequate preparation is an important part of any successful Antarctica hike. Below are a few points to note:

  • Bring sunblock and sunglasses: The rays of the sun from the ice and snow can prove brutal and even an hour of hiking could leave you with sunburns. So, carry sunblock cream with an SPF factor of higher than 30 and a pair of sunglasses for your hike.
  • Carry a unique collection bottle: As mentioned earlier, you cannot leave human waste in Antarctica. The urine bottle would come in handy if you have to answer nature’s call.
  • Wear layers of thick and thin thermal gear: You may be surprised that it gets warm in Antarctica, but it sure does. So dress in layers, so that you can peel off your clothing items when the sun comes up during the hike.

Other items you may need include:

  • Stainless steel water bottle: To stay hydrated
  • Standard hiking clothing: You are likely to need all the elements in your hiking gear.
  • Solid hiking boots: Remember you will be making your own trails as there are none, thanks to ice and snow.
  • Thermal gloves and hats: The weather is already cold enough, but it gets even colder as you climb.
  • A pair of thick and thin socks: Wear both initially and switch as the weather dictates.
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