A repurposed Altoid tin. Jungyeon Roh
The packing list of an ecologist in Antarctica. Elizabeth Raflowitz via Unsplash

During Antarctica’s warm(er) season, the sun shines constantly. Without darkness to divide night from day, researchers find ways to cope. After 21 field seasons, here are ecologist Ross Virginia’s must-haves.

Protect your peepers. Jungyeon Roh

1. Sunglasses

I’m not trying to make a fashion statement. It’s constantly bright and it’s wicked dry, so I protect my eyes with dark glasses that have side coverage and 100 percent UV protection.

A repurposed Altoid tin. Jungyeon Roh

2. Music

When you finally stop working after a long day in the field, it can be hard to sleep. Music helps me make that transition. I’ve rigged an Altoids box to hold a small speaker that connects to an iPod.

Sleep Mask
Block out the sun. Jungyeon Roh

3. Night Shade

To block out the midnight sun, I use a neck warmer as an eye mask. During the day, I can use it as a scarf, or wear it as an open-top hat. But when I’m in my tent, I just pull it over my eyes so I can sleep.

Single Malt Scotch
Pack a punch. Jungyeon Roh

4. Single Malt Scotch

When music doesn’t work, there’s scotch. I don’t really drink it at home, but carrying a summer’s worth of beer isn’t an option—in the field, you have to consider the space and weight factors.

This article was originally published in the September/October 2017 Mysteries of Time and Space issue of Popular Science.