Arctic Watch

June 18, 2018 | Arctic Watch


Key tips for preparing to visit Arctic Watch

Preparing for your polar adventure? Be sure to review this short checklist and video before heading to Arctic Watch.

An Arctic adventure should always be properly prepared. You’re heading into a region that is far from modern civilization. Far from the nearest town, city or department store, you need the right gear to keep you warm, dry and happy! At Arctic Watch, we’re 800-kilometres north of the Arctic circle on an island called Somerset. At nearly 25,000 square kilometres, Somerset Island is the 46th largest island on earth and uninhabited. Pure Arctic, unspoiled.

This simple checklist below will help you prepare for your adventure to Arctic Watch. Before we begin, any good checklist necessitates the facts - why do I need this exactly?

1) Layering is key: You’re always better to have multiple layers instead of one big layer. We use the three-layer system at Arctic Watch (Watch the video below). Getting to hot? Shed a layer. Too cold? Add a layer.

2) Expect four seasons in a day: Summer is 6-weeks long in the high Arctic. Average temperatures at Arctic Watch range from + 8C to +13C. While we can experience temperatures as high as +20C on the tundra, we can experience +3C. Pack for 0C to +20C. We’ve witnessed a significant warming trend over the last several years.

3) 24-hour sunlight: Arctic Watch is located in a 24-hour sunlight environment. If you’ve never experienced this - it is so unique (blue skies exist at 3AM!). Don’t worry about having issues sleeping; after your first day of adventure, you’ll sleep soundly in our oh-so-comfotable beds.

4) Bring sunscreen! Arctic 24-hour sunlight is strong. A sun-hat is a great idea as well.

5) Bring binoculars! We recommend Swarovski Optiks

6) A day-pack (20L pack) is great for packing your camera, an extra layer or a water bottle while out on excursion.

7) Are there mosquitoes/bugs? While we never had bugs until about 3 years ago (due to warming temperatures/climate change), we’ve begun to notice about 7 days a year where we see mosquitoes. If you feel that you need insect repellant, please do bring a small amount.


Neoprene Boots - A comfortable update to the traditional rubber boot with neoprene uppers and a neoprene/polyurethane foot. The best brand is Muck Boots - muckbootcompany.com. Forgot boots? We will loan you a pair in Yellowknife.

Hiking/Walking Boots - Sturdy, waterproof/water-resistant leather lightweight boots are nice to have, but if happy with the Muck boots, these are not needed.

Light Winter Jacket/Raincoat - In the cooler evenings, a warm jacket is a must. We recommend a waterproof goretex jacket (for a shell), and fleece or micro-down/primaloft jacket as mid layer.

Comfortable Hiking Pants - Pack a couple pairs of quick dry pants made from tightly woven, wind-resistant material. No cotton or silk content.

Long Underwear - A couple sets of long underwear made from synthetic or wool - no cotton or silk content. Top & bottom please.

Day Pack - You’ll need a day pack to carry cameras and extra clothing on your excursions (try a 30L). We recommend Osprey Backpacks. Waterproof/resistant storage compartments are a must for water sports.

Personal Items - Toiletries, cameras, sunglasses, extra glasses/contacts or any other items you might require.

Fishing - We have gear, but if you prefer your own - bring it.

Rain Pants - This item is primarily for protection against the wind while on the ATVs. Ensure your pants are waterproof and seam-sealed.

Lodge Shoes - Light, comfortable shoes to wear in the lodge are useful. We will supply guests with lodge shoes.

Fleece Jacket/lightly insulated jacket - A fleece jacket (or micro down) is another necessity as an extra layer under your raincoat, for warmer days, or just to wear around the lodge.

Hat - A wool toque or fleece hat. Any cap really that is made from a material that dries easily.

Gloves - Wind-resistant gloves/mittens for cold days or the ATV excursions (think zero degrees celsius!)

Socks - Several pairs of good wool or wool-synthetic socks are a must. No cotton or silk content. Arctic Watch has Smartwool socks available for purchase if needed.

Sunscreen - The summer sun in the Arctic is extremely strong - not to mention it shines almost 24 hours a day. So pack sunscreen.

Binoculars - We recommend bringing binoculars (great for spotting wildlife!). We suggest Swarovski Optiks.

Arctic Watch has gear available for use on specific excursions: ATV & bike helmets, fishing gear, paddling dry jackets and pants, life jackets, and more.


Lodge Phone: +1 802-375-7379

(Or place a Skype call to: ArcticWatch)

Please leave a message if there is no answer, your call will be returned as soon as possible. If you wish to reach a guest – please leave their full name in your message.

Guest E-Mail: Mail@ArcticWatch.ca

This service is not equipped to accept images or attachments. Please specify the guest’s full name in the subject line to assure prompt delivery. This email service should not be considered for private and confidential communications.

Telephone Service: Satellite telephone service for Guests is available for emergency use only. For guests who need to stay in constant contact with their work/family commitments, we recommend bringing a satellite telephone.

Internet Service:

Satellite-based internet service is available. The performance of this service is considerably slower than typical residential internet services. Guests can send and receive emails however, downloading/uploading content with heavy webpages or images do not properly function. Please do keep in mind that it often does not work in cloudy/rainy weather conditions. Guests should bring their own devices if they wish to use it. In some cases, Skype or similar services can be used to make voice calls.


The first day of your adventure: (June 28th, July 5th, 12th, 17th, 22nd, 27th, August 3rd) – Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

On arrival in Yellowknife, please collect your luggage and walk outside. The hotel airport shuttle will be waiting to take passengers to all area hotels; the Explorer is the first stop en route.

Check-in at the hotel is 15:00. An earlier check-in may not be possible; your patience is appreciated. The evening is yours to explore! Yellowknife has a great collection of authentic Arctic restaurants to try from, including the NWT Are Co, Bullock’s Bistro and more.

THE NEXT DAY – Flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Watch Lodge.

07:00 – The dining room is open for breakfast.

07: 45 – We depart the hotel for the airport.

09:00 – Our private chartered flight on Summit Air departs, subject to weather conditions. Approximate flying time is 4 1⁄2 hours. (NOTE: JULY 18TH FLIGHT: 11AM DEPARTURE)

Kindly note your luggage allowance is 40 lbs checked + 10 lbs carry-on. Excess weight will not be permitted.

Arctic Watch is located in a very remote area and we ask all passengers to wear their parka and rubber boots on the flight. On arrival at Somerset Island, a half mile walk across the tundra—and a 110 yard raft ride across the Cunnigham River—will bring you to the lodge. After a tour of the facilities, you’ll be escorted to your cabin. Upon settling in, meet your hosts for a safety briefing and overview of the exciting activities and options for the week ahead.


The second last day of your adventure (July 6th, 13th, 18th, 23rd, 28th, August 4th, August 11th) - In the late afternoon your plane returns to Yellowknife; once again, we recommend you wear your parka and boots on the flight. On arrival we transfer to the Explorer hotel for one last night. You will return your boots at this time; the rest of the day is at leisure and meals are on your own.

The final day - Breakfast at the hotel is included and the free airport shuttle transfer is available for you.

We are here to help.

We understand that booking a trip like this is a big endeavour. Please reach out to us with any questions that you might have regarding your upcoming adventure.