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Know Before You Go

What to Pack for Your Churchill Northern Lights Trip

The following packing list contains general recommendations for a Churchill northern lights tour. If you are currently booked on a northern lights adventure with Nat Hab, please consult your pre-departure materials for the most up-to-date packing list specific to your trip. You will receive these pre-departure materials 60-90 days before your departure.

Simplify your packing—shop at Nat Hab’s online Gear Store for some key items recommended for your adventure. Look for this icon in the list below, then go to the Nat Hab Gear Store to start shopping.

ADVENTURE-SPECIFIC GUIDELINES

  • During the winter, the weather in Churchill will be well below freezing. Proper preparation is essential!
  • Layering is key. Loose, comfortable layers are far better than a single, bulky garment, as each layer traps warm air close to your body. You can easily shed layers if you grow too warm.
    — Core layers: we recommend wearing a thin base layer (silk, polypropylene, etc.) closest to the skin, a second layer (warm sweater or fleece), and an outer layer that is water and wind repellent.
    — Leg layers: we recommend long underwear underneath an outer pair of waterproof pants.
    — Hand layers we recommend a thin glove liner under mittens.
    — Feet layers we recommend thin sock liners made of moisture wicking fabrics, such as silk or polypropylene, underneath warm wool or synthetic (not cotton) socks.
  • Note: Wool and silk are superior to cotton, as are many synthetic fabrics—polar fleece in particular—because they trap warm air and stay dry.
  • Nat Hab-Provided Gear—If you are traveling on a northern lights adventure with Nat Hab, we will provide various cold-weather gear (denoted in the Clothing section below) for your use, most of which you will pick up and return in Winnipeg. If you require an especially large or small size, please call our office to find out if our supply can accommodate you.
    — If you have gear that's suitable for this adventure, we recommend bringing it to ensure better comfort and fit.
    — Keep in mind when packing that you will be carrying your own Nat Hab-provided gear with you from Winnipeg to Churchill. We recommend wearing the boots and parka when traveling, as these items are bulky.

    CLOTHING

    If you are not using the Nat Hab-provided gear, you will need to bring appropriate versions of the items below.

  •  Parka (waterproof outer shell with thick lining)
    — While in Churchill Nat Hab will provide a parka for your use.
    — Should you wish to bring your own, the parka should be warm and roomy enough to accommodate several layers underneath.
  • Boots (heavy-duty waterproof Baffin boots, rated to –40°F)
    — Nat Hab will provide boots for your use while in Churchill.
    — Should you wish to bring your own, your boots should be warm, water-repellent or waterproof (remember, you may be walking in cold, snowy, or rainy conditions), and have slip-resistant tread.
  • Warm shoes (In addition to the Nat Hab-provided boots for use in Churchill, you may want to bring a comfortable pair of sturdy, weather-appropriate walking shoes to wear around Winnipeg. These will also come in handy when you’re walking around the hotel in Churchill.)
  • Fleece jacket—medium-weight, zip-up polar fleece
    — Nat Hab will provide a fleece jacket for your use while in Churchill.
  • Warm coat
    — Nat Hab parkas and fleece jackets will be distributed in Winnipeg. Note: Bring a warm coat if you plan to arrive prior to Day 1.
  • Mittens (soft leather outside, insulated nylon interior)
    — Nat Hab will provide mittens for your use while in Churchill.
    — We recommend wearing two pairs of gloves for maximum warmth.: This includes thin glove liners and warm outer gloves/mittens (mittens are often warmer than gloves).
    — (Optional) A second set of gloves or mittens in case the first pair gets wet.
  • Thin gloves or glove liners (Glove liners provide an additional layer of warmth under mittens. Liners also allow you to take your heavy gloves/mittens off and still protect your hands from the cold.)
  • Warm hat (You are welcome to bring one from home, or the one you ordered from Nat Hab at the time of booking. We will also have a small supply of hats on hand in Winnipeg for those who would like one)
  • Neck gaiter
    — Nat Hab will provide a neck gaiter for your use while in Churchill.
  • Scarf (Be sure you can protect your face sufficiently against the cold wind. If you are sensitive to cold temperatures, you may find it helpful to bring a ski mask and goggles to cover your entire face.)
  • Warm socks (Bring several pairs made of wool or warm synthetic material, not cotton.)
  • Sock liners
  • Silk or polypropylene thermal underwear—tops and bottoms (We recommend silk or polypropylene long underwear to add warmth without bulk. Long underwear is available in a variety of weights, which allows you to choose the version that best suits your personal thermostat.)
  • Pants (nylon shell with waterproof coating, thin polytherm insulation)
    > Nat Hab will provide outer layer pants for your use while in Churchill.
  • Turtleneck shirts (Great for layering and keeps your neck warm.)
  • Warm sweaters or fleece tops
  • Fleece pants/leggings (You will need a warm layer to wear under the Nat Hab-provided pants.)
  • Comfortable pants and shirts (for indoor use)
  • Undergarments
  • Warm sleepwear (thermal underwear works great)
  • Swimsuit and workout clothes (if you wish to use the pool and gym at the Fort Garry Hotel)

    ADDITIONAL GEAR

  • Hand/foot warmers
    — Nat Hab will provide hand and foot warmers for your use in Churchill.
  • Water bottle
    — In our continuing effort to operate adventures with as little impact on the environment as possible, we will provide you with a reusable water bottle upon arrival. By refilling your bottle during the adventure, you will avoid using multiple disposable plastic bottles. This bottle is made of stainless steel with an epoxy resin lining, and we have been assured it meets all safety standards. Wash in warm, soapy water before using.
    — Natural Habitat is a proud supporter of Travelers Against Plastic (TAP), a campaign to spread awareness about the impacts of using disposable plastic water bottles while traveling. You can also support TAP by signing the pledge to minimize the use of plastic water bottles while traveling. To find out more about TAP (and to sign the pledge) visit their website at www.travelersagainstplastic.org.
  • Water-resistant daypack  (great for carrying equipment/gear during outings)
  • Snow/ski goggles (Adds additional warmth and wind protection for prolonged outdoor activities.)
  • Binoculars 
  • Sunglasses (with UV protection)
  • Prescription glasses/contact lenses
    — Some travelers have found it helpful to treat their glasses with anti-fog materials prior to departure. Wearing goggles can also help prevent glasses from fogging.
  • Small flashlight or headlamp (with spare batteries)
    — Can be helpful if you are sharing a room with another traveler, or for operating your camera when taking photographs at night.
  • Hairdryer (optional)
  • Earplugs (very helpful when sleeping in a new environment)
  • Toiletries
    — Shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion are provided at Fort Garry Hotel, Seaport Hotel, Polar Inn and Churchill Hotel & Guesthouse.
  • Dry skin lotion
  • Sunscreen and lip balm, at least SPF15 (Bring protection for your hands, face and lips, as the reflection off of snow and ice can be intense.)
  • Small medical kit
  • Battery-operated alarm clock or wristwatch
  • Dry bags, or reusable waterproof bags  (Several sizes, for wet or dirty clothing and to protect camera equipment.)
  • Sewing kit
  • Tissue mini packs

    Header Credit: Alexander de Vries 
Witness the Northern Lights on These Tours
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Northern Lights & Arctic Exploration

Northern Lights & Arctic Exploration

Churchill, Manitoba is one of the best places on the planet to view and photograph the aurora borealis—see it in comfort from our exclusive Aurora Pod featuring a 360-degree view of the night sky.

  Photo departures available
7 Days / Jan – Mar, From $5995 (+air)
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