antarctica camping


Spend a memorable night on shore of Antarctic Continent.

Camping Frequently Asked Questions

What is Antarctica Camping?

Antarctica Camping is an optional activity offered by Poseidon Expeditions on selected Sea Spirit voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula region. This is your chance to spend a memorable night camping on the snow and ice of Antarctica!

Why would I want to go camping in Antarctica?

Spending a night camping is a great way to immerse yourself in Antarctica. You can spend an hour—or all night—simply watching the drama of endlessly changing light or listening to the clamor of scurrying penguins (all depending on the weather and location, of course). Or perhaps you would like to capture that perfect photo or simply fall asleep beneath the austral firmament. Whatever joy Antarctica holds for you, you can take the time to appreciate it fully on your Antarctica Camping night. For some, the idea of spending a night away from their comfortable beds on the warm ship—and away from the fully-stocked bar—is laughable. For others, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Antarctica on its own terms. You will gain lasting memories, undeniable bragging rights, and a new appreciation for your warm bed back on the ship.

How many people can join?

Antarctica Camping is limited to 40 participants per voyage.

Is Antarctica Camping right for me?

Antarctica Camping is ideal for those who are willing to brave the elements and to sacrifice some comfort for the sake of an unforgettable experience. Previous camping experience is not required, though you should be reasonably ambulatory and in good health to avoid exposing yourself to an undue level of risk. Please note that you will be expected to prepare your own campsite by digging a pit in the snow up to one meter deep for your bivy sack. Perhaps even more crucially, adopting a spirit of adventure will enable you to get the most out of an experience that is not known for a high level of comfort.

Is camping in Antarctica safe?

Safety is our top priority. We have many safety measures and emergency procedures in place. However, you should understand that Antarctica Camping will take place away from the safety of the ship for an extended period of time in one of the most remote and inhospitable environments on Earth, so there will necessarily be some risk. Please see our Antarctica Camping Liability Waiver for more details.

Do I need previous camping experience?

Previous camping experience is not required. You will be given instructions on how to use the camping gear. Please understand, however, that those who have never camped before may find the experience of sleeping on the ground to be a quite a departure from what they are used to. Even seasoned campers may find that camping on snow and ice takes an adjustment.

What about health and fitness?

Antarctica Camping requires a considerable amount of physical stamina in the presence of many risks to your health. Assistance from a doctor will not be near at hand and assistance from the ship may be significantly delayed in the event of an emergency. Antarctica Camping is designed for most people but it may not be for you if you are not in good health and reasonably ambulatory. If you have camped in the past, then you can use your experience as a benchmark with the expectation that Antarctica Camping will have the added challenge of camping on ice and snow in sub-freezing temperatures. If you have not been camping in some time and you do not normally engage in physical outdoor activities, then we encourage you to consult with your doctor to make sure you have a sufficient level of health and fitness to have a safe and enjoyable time camping with us.

Can my children go camping too?

Children who are between 12 and 18 years of age at the time of their voyage are allowed to participate in Antarctica Camping only if they are accompanied and supervised at all times during camping activities by their parents or a representative.

In what language is Antarctica Camping conducted?

If your language is accommodated on board for your particular voyage, then we will be sure to accommodate your language during camping.

When should I sign up?

Space in the program is limited, so to secure your spot we recommended that you book Antarctica Camping at the same time you book your voyage. You are welcome to request a spot after booking your voyage, but this will be subject to the availability at the time of your request.

Where does camping take place?

There are various locations on and around the Antarctic Peninsula that are known to have good possibilities for camping. Your expedition leader and camping guides will determine the night and location of camping based on weather, site suitability, and other factors. A suitable location is one that, among other things, has a sufficiently large, level, and snow-covered area for camping.

How often will we go camping?

We will endeavor to offer one overnight camping experience per voyage. The possibility of camping is largely dependent on highly changeable and unpredictable weather and ice conditions. We will do our best to provide a camping opportunity on your voyage but please keep in mind we may be unable to do so. If we are unable to offer camping on your voyage, then you will receive a full refund of any camping fee paid.

How long should I expect to be out camping?

Camping night starts after having dinner on board and lasts until you get picked up before breakfast the next morning. Normally the time spent ashore is not more than ten hours. There will be the possibility to go back to the ship during the night in case of an emergency. Otherwise, you will be expected to be out with your camping group the whole time. Please also keep in mind that your time ashore can be prolonged beyond the anticipated pick-up time due to sudden and unforeseen changes in weather and/or ice conditions.

What kind of camping gear will we use?

You will receive a warm and comfortable sleeping bag (rated to -18°C / 0°F) with a freshly laundered liner and full-length foam sleeping pad. You will stay dry inside a single-person bivy sack that slips over your sleeping bag. Please see our Antarctica Camping Preparation Notes for more information.

Will there be toilet facilities ashore?

Your camping guides will assemble camp toilets in areas of relative privacy, clearly marked and within easy walking distance of the camping area. You will be required to use the toilets provided when nature calls. Environmental guidelines prescribe that the staff carry all waste products back to the ship, so it will be a good idea to take advantage of the ship’s facilities before heading ashore for your camping experience.

What kind of weather conditions might we face?

Temperatures normally hover around freezing (0°C / 32°F) and will often go a few degrees below freezing overnight. Snow that is of a wet consistency in the evening will usually be frozen solid by morning. Fresh snowfall is always a possibility. Camping will not be initiated on nights when adverse weather conditions exist or are expected. However, inclement weather can arise suddenly and without warning anytime. In case of severe weather developing overnight, an evacuation back to the ship will be attempted. It is possible, though unlikely, that your group may be required to stay on shore for an extended period of time in severe weather conditions. Be assured, your camping guides will be well prepared with emergency equipment for this contingency.

What are some of the IAATO guidelines by which I will have to abide?

Prior to camping night your guides will give a comprehensive orientation briefing, which will include the IAATO guidelines by which you must abide. For example, you will not be allowed to bring any stoves, fuel, or food ashore. Generally all rules that apply to shore landings apply to camping.

What is the best time of the season to go camping in Antarctica?

The main difference between the early season (November through January) and the late season (February and March) is the amount of ambient light at night. In the early season, though the sun does set, twilight lingers throughout the night. In the late season it is quite dark most of the night.

Do I need to get special evacuation insurance to participate in Antarctica Camping?

All passengers on Sea Spirit voyages to Antarctica must purchase travel medical insurance which should include emergency evacuation and repatriation. We recommend coverage of at least USD 200,000. Passengers participating in Antarctica Camping must ensure that their policy does not exclude camping.

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