I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about packing. I haven't actually done much packing, but I have really been thinking about it. I believe it is best to work through the mental lists of what to bring and how much of each thing I will need before I undertake the process of putting those things into my brand new extra large duffle bag. I could fit both of my dogs in there but I feel like neither one would particularly appreciate being on a boat in Antarctica for two months. So one thing I am not packing is Ted and Ellsie. Other than that, I am kind of lost. While people who fly into Antarctica have to worry about weight (each person is allowed 85 pounds on the flight), I have no such limitations. However, once I board the boat, I will have a limited amount of space to store my clothing and gear. I also don't want to be the rookie who seriously overpacks. I will have access to a washer and dryer but I suspect I'll feel guilty about the resources necessary to do a load of laundry while on a boat in the middle of the Amundsen Sea. Here are the things on my list so far. I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions!

Packing List

  • Eight-ten tops and four-five pairs of pants
  • 180 Trader Joe's peanut butter cups
  • An external hard drive loaded with every episode of Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and the Wire, plus what someone on Buzzfeed believed to be the top ten Seinfelds of all time
  • My sister Julie's Kindle Paperwhite with every digital book she has ever owned (including a lot of Nate the Great because the kids used to use the Kindle but who knows? Maybe Nate will be exactly what I need some days)
  • Microscope slides, cover slips, and hairspray both to keep my locks looking on point and to capture snowflakes
  • A toy stuffed penguin to feature in cute Antarctica photos
  • My Canon DSLR
  • Now that I think about it, maybe three Trader Joe's peanut butter cups per day is not enough. 240 Trader Joe's peanut butter cups
  • A Garmin InReach, loaned to me by my neighbor Jack- it will allow me to track my latitude and longitude and send texts when the satellites are aligned. I think there is a chance it will also allow me to accidentally broadcast an emergency signal that will have the Royal Navy rushing to save me, so I have to be very careful with this one
  • A PocketLab Weather Sensor gifted to me by my cousins David and Lucy. I bought a second one to hang outside my school. Capable of collecting up to 30,000 measurements before data has to be downloaded, it will allow both me and my students to monitor air temperature, light intensity, and other stats and compare the data when I return.
  • I guess if there is room, I should probably bring 300 peanut butter cups
  • The travel version of Settlers of Catan- here's hoping there will be people on the boat who want to play
  • Three pairs of shoes.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Absolutely no- and I mean this, everyone- no Diet Coke.



Hi Sarah,
Thanks for posting a journal. I can't believe you are headed out soon! I'll post something on FB and maybe your virtual fan club can also help you pack. More likely they will want to try to find a way into your bags so they can go to Antarctica with you! :-) Keep up the good work.


Lucy Coleman

Hi Sarah! I'm excited for your upcoming trip to Thwaites! I wonder if anyone onboard will be working with the Icefin team?

I suggest you bring wool layers- wool is warm, and it doesn't get as funky so you can wear it multiple times without offending anyone with smell.

Best to you in the countdown days!



Either bring more peanut butter cup or a way to hide them just in case others see you eating them and than ask for one.

Good luck with packing!