Hiking in Antarctica: Safety Tips for Solo Travelers

Traveling Alone
August, 20, 2018
Read time
2 minutes
Stay safe out there!

Craving something extra adventurous? Take a solo trip and go hiking in Antarctica, where you can get up close and personal with its polar shorelines and icy peaks. That said, whether you choose one of its simpler treks or attempt something much more rigorous, in a place this remote, it’s important to take extra safety precautions to make sure it all goes off without a hitch.

Here are some things to consider as you plan: 

Make sure you’re physically capable of doing it.

The cold alone is tough to handle! You won’t have access to a major hospital when you’re hiking in Antarctica, so don’t risk certain journeys if you don’t think you’re strong enough. Fortunately, there are different hikes you can take—so you don’t have to feel pressured to take one that’s far too rigorous for your body.

Bring the right clothing.

It’s cold. (Obviously.) So you’ll need layers to protect yourself! Pack rubber boots that will get you through any wet areas, as well as real hiking boots with sturdy soles suitable for a trek. You’ll need socks to protect your feet from blisters—remember, you’ll be doing a LOT of walking—and sunglasses to protect your eyes in the sun. As far as everyday clothes, bring thermal underwear, a fleece jacket or a vest, a down jacket, durable trousers, a warm fleece hat and turtlenecks. Don’t bring cotton clothing or jeans for the sole reason that, if they get wet, they won’t dry quickly.

You’ll have to pee in a bottle.

...we aren’t joking about this. In Antarctica, it’s illegal to leave human waste behind. We don’t want you to get arrested.

Go with a guide.

Even if this is a solo trip, let a guide show you the way! This icy continent is filled with rugged landscapes you won’t find anywhere else, and coupled with the freezing cold, you want to take extra precautions as you explore it. In addition to that, a professional guide may be certified to bring a rifle along with him or her, which will come in handy should you have any run-ins with polar bears while you’re hiking in Antarctica.

Bring all the right gear!

When hiking in Antarctica, you don’t just need the right clothes and a good guide—you need the right gear, too. Take hiking poles, a backpack, a waterproof bag to hold all your belongings, straps to tie things to your back if you’re backpacking or camping, water or thermos bottles to stay hydrated, and binoculars, to keep an eye on what’s coming.

Need help working out all the details? Ask the experts at Surtrek, the leader in custom South American travel, for help creating a fun, safe adventure.

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