Helping Plus-Size Adventurers Explore Antarctica: Packing Tips, Size Inclusivity, and the Joy of the Journey
Excitement turns to fear for plus size travellers
As a company specialising in plus-size outdoor clothing, we understand the dreams and desires of adventurers looking to explore the remote and enchanting landscapes and wildlife of Antarctica. Our team works with many customers embarking on plans for such an exotic and awe-inspiring place.
Antarctica is such a popular bucket list destination, which should spark excitement and joy. This instead often turns to fear and significant concern when planning for the specialised clothing required to keep you safe in such an extreme environment. We aim to provide valuable insights and solutions to common concerns shared by other Australian plus-size travellers to Antarctica for your trip of a lifetime. We want to help you embark on your Antarctic journey with confidence!
Part 1: Packing for Antarctica while plus size
At Plus Snow & Plus Outdoor, we've assisted countless plus-size adventurers in preparing for their Antarctic expeditions with solutions instead of problems. Here's a guide to ensure both comfort and safety.
1. Layering is Key
As plus-size travellers, you know that layering is essential for comfort, especially in Antarctica's extreme conditions. Also important for the wide range of temperatures from indoors to outdoors: getting dressed for the day, being in a warm windless environment, and then moving outdoors to the deck or into zodiacs, you’ll need technical layers.
Avoid cotton base layers at all costs, as once you sweat in (say) your t-shirt, it stays wet next to your body essentially making you cold even when layering correctly on top of them.
Start with moisture-wicking base layers, designed with stretch to fit comfortably without constriction. We recommend materials like merino wool or synthetic fabrics known for their technicality with warmth and moisture control. Think merino or technical t-shirt base layers as your first layer next to your skin. Some of our favourites include the Siberia Merino range, Outdoor Research’s layering, and Wilderness wear Merino t-shirts.
For warmer environments, activewear can be used in this way however since they are often worn tight and quite close to the body, they don’t allow for air to get trapped in the fabric or between layers next to your skin, so they aren’t great for keeping you warm in cold environments. We do not recommend activewear for a layering option in Antarctica under your layers.
2. Insulating Layers - big, tall, and plus size
Mid layers are the second and third layers on top of your base layer that provide effective insulation and moisture wicking while offering the flexibility needed for a comfortable experience in the cold.
Enjoy warmth and freedom of movement by using stretch materials which layer comfortably together. Many people have useful thin (avoid big bulky ones causing you to overheat) woollen jumpers or fleece layers which are ideal 2nd/3rd layers, but we also have a small range in stock. We also recommend the OR super strand thin puffer jacket as an ideal mid-layer for high comfort and warmth without the bulk.
3. Outer Shell
Many Antarctic companies offer jackets and pants for their smaller-sized clients however we have found that it is common for companies to neglect to cater to bigger and plus-size clients. We have heard stories of how even their ‘so-called plus sizes’ are not big or comfortable enough once the measurements are confirmed with the tour company!
Without these important pieces of safety equipment, you’re possibly unable to board the zodiac to land on the ice, leaving you behind on the boat, for the very reason you made the trek to Antarctica. Shattering, or at the least an uncomfortable situation which should be completely avoided at all costs.
Shielding against harsh elements is crucial. Our warm, waterproof, and windproof jackets and pants are designed to accommodate layering while keeping you snug and dry. We have lots of options available depending on your needs, and we can do specialist fittings for you with our Shop Your Shape forms or by booking a phone appointment to chat with one of our team members.
4. Women’s Plus Size Pants for Antarctica
What pants do we recommend for your Antarctica cruise?
Great Question! This is a common one, and most often we have recommended one or two styles:
- 1. Softshell Pants - Our most popular style is one of our softshell pants which are tighter-fitting stretch black pants like leggings that are comfortable on and around the boat as well as outdoors. These pants are waterproof and breathable but not insulated, so you can also wear thermals underneath for extra warmth. Read the reviews on our site for other’s feedback on these popular pants.
- 2. Snow Pants - You may wish to entrust your warmth to some traditional snow pants. These are warmer than softshell pants overall if the conditions are extremely cold, or you are particularly sensitive to the cold, as they have an insulating layer as well as the outer layer and inner lining. However, they are bulkier than regular pants and feel like you’re wearing a coat on your bottom half which is something that not everyone feels like they need.
- 3. Try Both Pairs - Some people like to try or at least purchase one of each of these styles, and then choose which they prefer from the comfort of their own home, as both options have been popular. Some people even purchase two pairs for the varied conditions they might encounter. We highly recommend you try both and also confirm your measurements with us against the style you have chosen to ensure you have picked the best size and style for your shape.
While we don’t sell boots for plus-size calves, we understand the importance of comfortable, insulated boots for shore landings. This is your all-important contact with the ice and you need them to fit comfortably so you can have a firm grip. Inquire about size boot height and calf width and availability in advance. Avoiding travel with these heavy boots is ideal, but it’s best to be prepared in advance if that’s what you need, so it’s worth thinking about.
Moisture-wicking, woolen thermal socks offer warmth without compression. Pack extra pairs for peace of mind during your journey and ensure they’re not too firm around your calf. Longer socks are definitely better under long boots. We have heard that diabetes socks exist for plus-size calves so it might be worth tracking some down if this might be a problem for your comfort level.
Part 3: Celebrating the Joy of Antarctica
There are so many awe-inspiring and joyful aspects of an Antarctic expedition—a journey that tops countless bucket lists. We’re so excited for you to be considering this experience in your life, we can’t wait to help you get there with confidence!
One of the most anticipated moments in Antarctica is the chance to see penguins in their natural habitat. Witnessing these remarkable creatures is a true highlight of these trips.
The Ultimate Isolation - Antarctica is Earth's last true wilderness, fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty and isolation of this unique continent.
Unforgettable Moments - From capturing mesmerising photos of ice formations to experiencing the wonder of Antarctica's landscapes, your journey will be filled with unforgettable moments - don’t forget to share them with us - we can’t wait to see them afterward and also if possible, to share them with others also considering this unforgettable experience in their lives.
We’ll help you get there safely and in comfort
Antarctica's allure is undeniable, offering a unique opportunity to experience the frozen continent's wonders. Plus-size travellers should not be deterred by packing challenges or concerns about size inclusivity among Antarctic tour companies.
At Plus Snow & Plus Outdoor, we're here to provide solutions, empower you with the right clothing for women and men alike, and celebrate the joy of exploring Antarctica's beauty and wildlife. Your size should never hinder your ability to explore the world, even in the harshest environments, and Antarctica awaits with open arms to offer you the adventure of a lifetime.
Popular Antarctic Tour Companies
If you’re still in the discovery stage of booking your trip, we found a great and relevant article regarding some tour company options for travel to Antarctica for Australians. It’s possible to depart from both New Zealand and South America:
These companies include: