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What to Pack for Your Churchill Polar Bear Adventure

The following packing list contains general recommendations for a Churchill polar bear adventure. If you are currently booked on a polar bear tour 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 of the 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. 


  • Winter parka and boots (if you do not wish to use the down jacket and boots provided by NHA)
  • Warm gloves or mittens  
  • Glove liners
  • Warm hat (make sure it covers your ears)   
  • Scarf or neck gaiter
  • Warm insulated pants (ski pants are good if you have them)
  • Warm socks and sock liners (several pairs) 
  • Warm socks (several pairs)
  • Water-resistant daypack (to carry equipment/gear during outings) 
  • Binoculars (Binoculars are a must for wildlife viewing on the tundra. For optimal viewing, we suggest those with specs between 10x42 and 8x42. You may even try 8x35, but only if they contain high-quality glass. Practice using your binoculars before your adventure. Couples should consider bringing two pairs of binoculars, so both people can view wildlife simultaneously.) 


  • Silk, wool or polypropylene long underwear for layering (tops & bottoms)
  • Turtleneck shirts for layering
  • Warm sweaters or fleece tops
  • Comfortable warm pants (for wearing in the evenings)
  • Underwear
  • Sleepwear
  • Swimsuit (if you wish to use the pool at the Fort Garry Hotel)


  • Hand/foot warmers—highly recommended! (These can help keep you toasty if you tend to have cold feet and hands. Per TSA regulations, you will need to pack these in your checked luggage on commercial flights.)
  • Sunglasses (with UV protection)
  • Prescription glasses/contact lenses
  • Goggles—optional (If you already own a pair of goggles, it might be useful to bring them along. However, we would not recommend buying a pair just for this adventure, as it is not a necessity. An example of when they might come in handy would be if you are participating in the sled dog excursion and conditions are windy and snowy.)
  • Yaktrax—optional (Please check the weather in Churchill just prior to your departure. If it has already snowed, or if snow is in the forecast, Yaktrax, which you strap onto your boots, can be extremely helpful to prevent slipping in snowy or icy conditions: Other popular brands of traction devices include DueNorth, Kahtoola, and Stabilicer. Make sure they are big enough to fit around bulky snow boots. There are a limited number of Yaktrax available for guests' use in Churchill.)
  • Earplugs (these can be very helpful when sleeping in a new environment)
  • Toiletries (Shampoo, conditioner and soap are provided at all accommodations.)
  • Dry skin lotion 
  • Sunscreen & lip balm—SPF 15+ (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 (great for wet or dirty clothing and to protect camera equipment) 
  • Sewing kit
  • Tissue mini packs
  • Hairdryers are provided at all accommodations, including the Tundra Lodge


  • Small flashlight or headlamp—with spare batteries (helpful for locating personal items in the bedrooms)
  • Hard-soled slippers (helpful when walking outside on the decks between cars)
  • Toiletry bag (helpful for carrying personal items, as the bathrooms are located outside of your sleeping compartment)

If you are staying at the Tundra Lodge, please remember to pack your belongings for this stay in a small, soft-sided bag. It should be separate from your partner’s luggage, as you will each have your own room at the Tundra Lodge. It is also easier to store in the limited space available at the lodge. Additional luggage can be stored at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg.

Header Credit: Brad Josephs
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