Two mooring arrays carrying sediment traps were deployed from September 2011 to August 2012 at ~83°N on each side of the Gakkel Ridge in the Nansen and Amundsen Basins to measure downward particle flux below the euphotic zone (approx. 250?m) and approximately 150?m above seafloor at approximately 3500 and 4000?m depth, respectively. In a region that still experiences nearly complete ice cover throughout the year, export fluxes of total particulate matter (TPM), particulate organic carbon (POC), particulate nitrogen (PN), biogenic matter, lithogenic matter, biogenic particulate silica (bPSi), calcium carbonate (CaCO3), protists and biomarkers only slightly decreased with depth. Seasonal variations of particulate matter fluxes were similar on both sides of the Gakkel Ridge. Somewhat higher export rates in the Amundsen Basin and differences in the composition of the sinking TPM and bPSi on each side of the Gakkel Ridge probably reflected the influence of the Lena River/Transpolar Drift in the Amundsen Basin and the influence of Atlantic water in the Nansen Basin. Low variations in particle export with depth revealed a limited influence of lateral advection in the deep barren Eurasian Basin. This article is part of the theme issue 'The changing Arctic Ocean: consequences for biological communities, biogeochemical processes and ecosystem functioning'.