Arctic Packing List 

During an Arctic summer conditions can be very changeable. Enjoyable sunny days can swiftly change to cold, windy storms with snow flurries and rolling seas.

Pack to dress in layers so you are prepared for these rapid weather changes. Average daily temperatures in mid-season are between 25 and 35 Fahrenheit or -4 and +2 Celsius; however wind conditions can make it seem colder. It is common that you will experience daytime temperatures below freezing.

We're super excited to be partnering with Helly Hansen Newport for our crew and trainee Arctic gear.  Whether you're out for a stroll in town or sailing offshore, Helly Hansen has the gear for you to stay comfortable in any challenging elements. 

For advice on Arctic gear please contact Meghan Norton at Helly Hansen Newport by phone at 1-877-helly-98 or stop by their store at 154 Thames St, Newport, RI 02840

Packing tips for your time aboard an OHPRI voyage to the Arctic

  • Space aboard is limited both on the ship and on the charter planes (baggage allowance 50lb per person). EVERYTHING you bring will live with you in your bunk space. Think hard about what you really need.  Pack in crushable luggage (e.g. duffel bag). Please do not bring a hard suitcase.

  • The key to clothing on a ship is layering. Clothes that can be worn over or under other layers are recommended as the temperature range will be dramatic

  • Bring quick drying clothes. As a rule synthetic fibers like polar fleece and various polyesters and nylons do a better job of drying quickly than cotton. Wool is also a great fiber. Avoid denim, thick towels, and heavy cotton sweatshirts.
  • Clothes should be comfortable and easy to move in.  The clothes you bring to sea will be put to hard use and are subject to the same rugged life aboard a working vessel that you are. Pack accordingly, as things might get torn, stretched, or stained and may not come home with you.
  • You will be provided with a pillow, mattress, and linens. Please bring a blanket/sleeping bag.
  • If you wear prescription glasses, bring a second pair. If you wear contact lenses, bring extras and your glasses as well (and lots of solution).
  • Do not bring electronic equipment, scuba gear, tobacco products, or liquor.  There is no smoking aboard the vessel at any time.
  • Prescription and Non-prescription medications must be in the original container from the pharmacy, have a complete manufacturer’s label/prescription label attached to the container identifying the contents, and directions for use, and the container will only contain the medication it is labeled for

What to bring (suggestions for Northbound 2, Eastbound 1 & 2 and Southbound 1)


□   3 Thermal base layers (tops and bottoms) - A good set of base layers are the foundation of warmth when dressing for the polar climates.  Wools and synthetic fibers are best as they will draw moisture away from the body.  Cotton should be avoided.  Baselayers should sit next to the skin and have a slim fit.  Put these on over top of your regular underwear and continue to layer.  

□   Polar fleece jacket, or mid-weight layer - For added warmth, a layer of fleece (synthetic or wool) worn over your base layers will provide additional protection from the cold during times where you may not be active.  Be sure to try them on with your base layers and waterproof pants before packing to ensure a comfortable fit.

□   Vests and Sweaters - A warm sweater or vest that can easily be removed is the final layer for added warmth.  A full zip vest (down or wool) will keep your body core warm while allowing you to zip open or remove if you get too warm. If wearing a full sweater you may want to consider a quarter zip which allows heat to escape from the chest and neck if you overheat.

□   Waterproof outer layer: We suggest a hooded marine waterproof jacket with an insulating later as well as durable waterproof pants. 

□   Deck Shoes (nonskid/rubber-soled tennis shoes or sneakers) Slip-on sandals, slippers or flip flops are neither safe nor suitable for wearing on board.

□   Waterproof tall rain boots (for shore excisions with beach landing) 

□   Socks (wool is a good option, as they keep your feet warm even if wet) -  Pack extra thick warm socks made of wool or synthetic fibers.  Cotton fabrics should be avoided here.  Bring several pairs and you can layer on the coldest days.  Bring an extra pair ashore in your day pack in the event you get wet.

□   Gloves - To keep your hands warm and dry at all times, consider packing two pairs of layered gloves.  You’ll need a durable waterproof and insulated pair for times on deck or ashore.  Consider a pair with removable liners that allow for flexibility.   An extra pair is always recommended should your gloves become wet or lost during your trip. A pair of glove liners is also recommended.

□   Hat - Fleece or thick wool is best as they are lightweight and warm.  Bring a hat that’s comfortable and can cover your ears for added warmth.

□   Neck Gaiter / Neck warmer - More practical and lightweight that a scarf; a gaiter is the easiest way to protect your neck from the cold.  Make sure it’s tall enough to pull over your mouth and nose and wide enough that it can be removed easily.  A good neck can be used in multiple ways; they can be turned into a headband or a hat in a pinch!

□   Heat Packs - Hand and Foot Warmer packs are great to add targeted warmth where you need it most.  Open a pack of hand warmers and stash them in your gloves before coming on deck for watch or going ashore and you'll be warm for hours.  Foot warmers will also be great for watch standing on a steel deck for several hours.

□   Sunglasses - A comfortable pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses will keep the wind out of your eyes and help block the glare of the ice and snow on sunny days.  Straps such as Croakies will ensure your sunglasses remain around your neck when you need to remove them. You might also want to consider some ski googles that will provide more protection and remain attached even aloft. 

□   Sunscreen: Don't let the cool temperatures fool you; the suns UV rays are strong and a few hours ashore can result in bad burn.  

□  1 pair of shorts (quick-drying)

□   2 long sleeved t-shirts

□   2 short sleeved t-shirts

□    2 pairs of pants (quick drying and/or canvas pants)

□    Underwear

□    Wrist watch (with digital or second hand)

□    Towel (light, quick drying, chamois type)

□    Bathroom kit (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, soap, deodorant, comb, etc.)

□    Prescription eye wear (glasses/contact lenses)

□    Feminine hygiene items

□    Flashlight or headlamp (small, with a red lens, or covered in red cellophane)

□    Medication (prescription and non-prescription)

□    Blanket/sleeping bag and PJs

□    Water bottle (helpful if easily distinguishable as yours), carabineer is useful

□    A small day pack for on shore excursions

□    Waterproof Dry-Bags - These wonderful little packs come in a variety of sizes and keep all your gear dry.  Use one for camera gear and electronics or one for extra socks.  


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