Packing for the Arctic

I leave soon (Saturday) for a six week expedition to the Arctic – Cumberland Sound to be exact. I’ll be living and working on a small research vessel. My work has taken me to the Arctic before, so I’m trying to figure out what to pack based on what I wished I brought in the past. The summer-time weather in Cumberland Sounds is like winter where I live. Generally, I have all I need for winter with a few exceptions.

With ample time to pack, I might be obsessing about what to bring. In my army days, I often got such short notice that I was going somewhere, I’d end up packing my dirty laundry – fortunately, those days are well past. Now, there is time to ponder exactly how many pairs of socks I’ll need.

No landmasses block Cumberland Sound from the North Atlantic, which could result in windy conditions. Long johns are a must. I’m going to look for a wool pair as I was recently told they are toasty warm and don’t smell like the polypropylene variety.

Water-proof gloves are critical. My work involves dunking fancy electronics into salt water. The water will be close to freezing (some of it may actually be frozen). When the instrument comes back on deck, I’ll have to handle it, hence the need for good gloves.

Vitamins are already in my duffel bag – food has to suck on a ship in the Arctic right? Actually, food on ships tends to be fantastic but, it’s possible I could be facing six weeks of TV dinners. So, the vitamins will be my insurance policy (I don’t want to risk scurvy). I’ll pack a small first aid kit as I’m that kind of paranoid but, generally I’m not accident prone and I’m sure the ship will have first aid supplies. For entertainment, a friend is loaning me an e-reader to try out – if I get enough spare time to use it.

If there is access to an internet connection (and I’ve been told there will be) I’ll post updates on what we are doing here.

I took the polar bear picture a few years ago in the Hudson’s Bay. He was annoyed with me as he looks.