The best gifts for polar travelers
Polar travel has never been so accessible to ordinary people. Expedition cruises, which Silversea and Viking have sailed to Antarctica in recent years while the October launch of the luxury icebreaker Le Commandant Charcot by Ponant means even the North Pole is within reach for the traveler Recreation. But the kit, whether it’s photographic or personal gear, has to be up to the task.
Swarovski NL Pure 32 Binoculars
You really don’t want to get too close to a polar bear. Truly. Binoculars are essential. Swarovski Optik launched the NL Pure 32 this year (starting at $ 2,777). Smaller and lighter than its brother 42, it weighs 640 g and is available in two sizes (8×32 and 10×32), but has the same ergonomic design and a forehead support for more stability. Polar light can be tricky, but Swarovski has award-winning optics and a revolutionary field of view of up to 69 Â°. Available in green and a new burnt orange.
Helly Hansen Arctic Patrol Boots
While Scott of Antarctica perished in his quest to reach the South Pole, Norwegian Roald Amundsen reached it first and returned unharmed. Part of it was because he made sure his team was better equipped. Helly Hansen continues to make technical prowess a Nordic strong point. The company’s Arctic Patrol boots (â¬ 150) are insulated with Primaloft but also have a removable felt insole, as well as a protective rubber shell, water-repellent textile upper and aluminum shield blockers.
Cape Fjallraven Luhkka
The best approach to dressing for the polar regions is to layer. While jackets are essential, Swedish company Fjallraven’s Luhkka cape ($ 350) – inspired by traditional Sami clothing – works like a shell but will also have a useful life after your return. Lined for extra warmth, with an adjustable fixed hood, the outer layer is the company’s water-resistant G-1000.
StriVectin Super-B Barrier Strengthening Oil
The North Pole is a desert and all year round conditions are both cold and extremely dry. Intensive skin care is the only answer for both sexes. StriVectin Super-B Barrier Building Oil ($ 72) contains a patented form of niacin, NIA114 with prebiotics to strengthen the skin barrier and support a healthy microbiome.
Gitzo Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod
Photography in subzero temperatures brings special challenges. Award-winning wildlife photographer Sue Flood uses the Gitzo Carbon Fiber Systematic Tripod, starting at $ 987.99 for the professional version. She says, “It’s strong and sturdy to support my long lens when photographing polar bears or other arctic wildlife, and my hands don’t freeze while using it.”
Wildsmith Skin Ceramide Lipid Repair Balm
The polar regions are so pure that you don’t want to add anything polluting. A perfect stocking filler, this hero product (Â£ 25) from Wildsmith started out as a lip balm, but shea butter, rose hips, avocado, olive oil, and calendula work wonderfully on any skin that has been exposed to the arctic elements.
Getting on and off zodiacs, snowshoeing and – let’s not forget the cold – muscles will contract with polar travel. Hyperice offers a range of percussion massage equipment that is suitable for travel. For me, the Hypersphere Mini ($ 99) wins for its ruggedness and sheer portability. It is TSA approved for carry-on baggage, weighs 1 lb but has a 40W motor and a two hour run time.
Storm Jacket Camera Cover
Almost all polar expeditions take place in and around water. Protecting photo equipment is a matter of course. Photographer and Safari Leader Cindy Miller Hopkins recommends waterproof bags and Storm Jacket camera covers starting at $ 42. âThey come in different sizes depending on your camera size and your lens combination. They keep your camera dry while allowing you to continue shooting in wet or dusty conditions.
Serengeti Leandro Glacier Sunglasses
As with winter sports, good sunglasses are essential on polar trips. Serengeti’s Leandro Glacier Sunglasses ($ 290) come with magnetized, detachable side shields. Ultra-light mineralized lenses absorb between 74% to 87% of visible light and 85% to 93% of blue light. And they look great and come in black and white with nylon frames that work well in freezing temperatures.