Posted August 6th, 2017, 04:44 PM
We brought a bunch of good layering clothes but nothing special or out of the ordinary. I think we bought the gloves and the long underwear specifically for the trip but it was 8 years ago, so forgive me if my memory is off.
A few mock turtlenecks from LL Bean, synthetic with some cotton, for base layers. They wicked well and kept your skin fairly dry which is pretty important in this cold. I would put a sweater or sweatshirt or fleece over this depending on the temperature and how active we planned to be. Then the SS parka went over that. Many days, that got unzipped because with all of those layers we could get quite warm.
I did not bother with a neck gaiter and never felt as if I needed one (I don't own one, yet). I don't think I brought a scarf. We had heavy ski-type gloves and if it was cold or windy we put glove liners under them. I had a hat which I needed some of the time.
Bottom layers - silk long underwear, fairly lightweight. We wore jeans over them, and then the waterproof rain pants. Come to think of it, we bought the rain pants for the trip too.
Feet - two pairs of socks. One plain sock, and over that, a heavy wool hiking sock. The wool sock goes over the long underwear to keep it in place.
Footwear - we borrowed the boots from the boat. Their lightweight "gum boots" were just fine. Even though they were not insulated, with my heavy wool socks I don't remember being cold. One of the days was windy and a snowstorm; I can't believe we landed but we were still fine.
Assembly notes (like IKEA) - the jeans tuck into the boots, but the rain pants zip up over (i.e., outside of) the gum boots. That way, even if you get drenched, the water cannot get into your boots. Obviously that won't protect you if you are submerged but short of that, it is fine, and we never got wet feet.
As an aside, we found the Svalbard trip much colder than the Antarctica trip. May be a fluke, or may be a trend. I don't know. Or maybe we got old and wimpy in between the two trips...
So in summary, nothing more than you'd need to be outdoors in a New York winter.
Edited to add: the LL Bean boots are probably like what we wore. Thin rubber boots with a decent tread and a hard sole. You do NOT need hiking boots; the walks are slow and not far. We were fine with the boots that were provided. IMO, dry feet were more important than hiking boots.