What to Pack – How to Choose an Antarctic Jacket?

One of the key pieces of clothing you will need for your Antarctic expedition is the outer shell – a good jacket.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

5 Things to Consider when Choosing an Antarctic Jacket

An Antarctic jacket appropriate for travel to the Last Continent can come in several different styles and materials available at outdoor clothing stores. Shopping for extreme weather conditions can be overwhelming since there are so many options to choose from.

In the summer, the Antarctic peninsula weather can range from freezing to  5/14ºF (-10/15ºC) in the shoulder season. To ensure a comfortable and safe experience, the jacket you select must have five key features, at a minimum:

1. Your Antarctic Jacket Must be Completely Waterproof

A waterproof jacket is essential as it needs to keep you dry in case of rain or in case you get splashed during Zodiac excursions. Getting wet in cold temperatures is very uncomfortable, and it can quickly become unsafe in an emergency.

2. Your Coat Must be Windproof

The wind in Antarctica is penetrating, right down to the bones!Download our Antarctica brochure

3. Choose a Comfortable Jacket

Make sure you are comfortable in the jacket you will pack for Antarctic travel. It should not impede your movement while you embark and disembark the Zodiacs and participating in our adventure activities like kayaking or hiking.

4. Remember to Layer Under your Jacket

One of the essential things about clothing in Antarctica is knowing how to layer your clothing. You should have an outer layer that is large enough to wear layers below your outer-layer jacket. Here is what we suggest to wear under your coat.

  • A lightweight base layer
  • A lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying shirt and pants
  • An insulation fleece layer top and outer insulated pants

Review our complete suggested packing list and essential travel tips.

5. Keep Warmth and Weight In Mind

Jackets can range from lightweight down coats to over 2lbs (1kg). Although lightweight, a down jacket is ideal for wight and warmth for average winter weather. However, in Antarctica, it is colder than most places on the planet, and a warmer, sturdier coat is needed; this means a weightier jacket is best.

Our Antarctic Jacket Recommendation

We have set off searching for the best expedition jacket we could find, a jacket that we would feel confident recommending and putting our name on it. After an extensive review of the options available, we have settled on the Musto BR2 Offshore Jacket.

The BR2 Offshore Jacket is used primarily by sailors who take their yachts onto the open sea, designed to be part of a layering system. The jacket has supremely breathable, waterproof, and windproof fabric that is proprietary to Musto.

Main Features:

  • Super-engineered double cuffs
  • Adjustable hem
  • Double storm flap with a drainage channel over the zip
  • Roll-away fluorescent hood for a superior level of dryness
  • A technical fleece-lined collar and hand-warmer pockets enhance warmth
  • Advanced prismatic reflectors provide visibility for safety in low light

Musto determines the waterproofness of its fabric using a hydrostatic waterhead, which is measured by pulling the fabric tightly over a tube. The tube is then filled with water until water leaks through the material after 24 hours. The height of the water column, in millimeters, is the hydrostatic waterhead measurement.

Even after the fabric has been washed five times, BR2 has a minimum hydrostatic waterhead of 10,000mm and up to 15,000mm. This is a significantly higher waterproof rating than the industry minimum of 1,500mm. As for breathability, BR2 fabrics allow 7,000g of moisture to pass through it, giving it a breathability rating of 7,000g/24hrs.

The Four Layer System

Made to exacting technical standards, the BR2 Offshore Jacket is best as the top layer in a four-layer system. Under the shell, you can use a base layer made of merino wool or similar breathable and wicking fabric; a mid-layer such as a warm zipped fleece or zipped wool sweater; and finally, an insulating layer, such as a zipped light puffy jacket.

Antarctica21’s Gear Shop

The BR2 Offshore Jacket is available in a surf blue/dark grey combination in men’s sizes and a Platinum/Dark Grey combination in women’s sizes. Typically priced at $349, you can purchase the jacket from our Gear Shop with a $70 price reduction and free delivery in Punta Arenas or Ushuaia for a limited time.

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