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Equipment

To prepare for Challenge Antarctica and to have the best chance of success, the logistical planning must be perfectly executed and planned many months in advance. This planning can be placed into various groups:

Financing (the training, preparations and the final journey across Antarctica)

Equipment (to include items that may not have even been invented yet as well as new products coming through)

Travel (as well as to Antarctica itself, there will need to be travel to many miles covered talking to sponsors, doing presentations, media interviews and training trips abroad, including Greenland)

Testing (a huge part of logistical planning, including testing equipment, and taking advice from previous explorers )

Sled

The sled (or pulk as it sometimes known) is an absolutely essential and right up there as one of the most important pieces of equipment I will have. It is responsible for carrying all of my essentials. I will have a very small pack on my back whilst hauling bit almost everything will be on the sled. The sled for...
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Skis

The Journey on foot across Antarctica will be spent predominantly with ski’s attached to my feet. The terrain will be varied throughout from soft snow to hard pack ice and everything in between. The ski’s must be extremely strong, as light as possible and designed for long marches.  I like my ski’s when working on Glaciers to be reasonably wide...
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Ski Skins

Ski Skins are designed to help with ascending and descending steep terrain. A good ski wax applied correctly will assist well on gradual up and downhill journeys but as the slopes get steeper and steeper it becomes increasingly difficult. Every slip under foot is energy wasted, over a long journey this can result in the wearing down of the body...
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Ski Poles

Using ski poles with Skis for long sledge journey’s is a must. They will allow me to bring my arms into the equation to add extra pull over the many long days. They are also there to give me balance and a bit more stability. As the body becomes extremely fatigued then so the ski pole becomes so much more useful....
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Boots

I have not yet gone firm on my boots as I will be trialing a few pairs. Initially, I have gone with the Alpha Polar A/P/S GTX, an extremely comfortable and warm BC-boot with an integrated gaiter that is reinforced with Kevlar on exposed areas. The boot features a winter lining with Gore-Tex® and has been developed specifically for expeditions...
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Crampons

There will be certain parts of my route that will be steep ice sections. Having ski’s and skins will help to a degree but will only go so far. Crampons will give me the best stability to haul my sled safely up and down steeper Ice sections.
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Sled Harness

The sledging harness will be attached to my body for long periods of time and will have huge forces put through it. It needs to be not just robust and strong but comfortable and as light as possible. Harnesses can go around the waist, have straps over the shoulders or a combination of both. I will be trialling various harness’s...
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Satellite Phone

This an essential piece of equipment to allow me contact with the outside world and to keep people up to date with my progress. I will have the ability to talk to the base camp at Union Glacier 24 hours a day if the worst ever happens and I need to call an end to the expedition. It is also...
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62w Xpedition portable folding Solar Panel kit

Once again weight is a huge issue, I would not want to overload my sled with an abundance of battery’s when I can take one set which I will recharge on the go. The P3 Xpedition military-style folding solar chargers are small enough to fit in a rucksack, but open up into a powerful, portable solar panel of 30W or...
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Compass

I will use my compass to keep me going in the right direction and it will work in conjunction with my GPS. It is important to ensure the compass in balanced correctly for the Southern Hemisphere or the needle will not react or behave properly resulting in false readings. Every step taken in the wrong direction equals extra steps to...
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GPS (Global Positioning System)

My simple Etrex Garmin GPS is all I require to give me a Latitude and Longitudinal fix on the planet. I will only switch it on 3 – 4 times a day as confirmation and when I want to report my exact position. They are light weight and the batteries last for many hours when not in constant use. Before...
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Tent

Another especially important piece of equipment and my life saver in particularly difficult weather conditions. Without decent shelter, I might as well not set off. The technological advances in tentage over the last decade has been superb. Tents are now lighter, stronger and easier to assemble than ever before. I have not yet chosen my tent and will be testing...
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Sleeping Bag

My sleeping bag is what will give me the ability to rest and sleep properly. The only way the body can recover from an extremely hard day of sledging is if it is fed and rested properly. If the sleeping bag is insufficient for the job, then I will spend most of my rest periods potentially awake and shivering instead...
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Sleeping Mat

Insulation from the freezing Antarctic floor is also very important, even the best sleeping bag in the world will not prevent the cold getting through if it is placed directly on to the tent floor. A good insulating mat will prevent this and in turn allow the sleeping bag to function as it should do.
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Cooker

My cooker choice is one I am familiar with and have huge confidence in. The cooker must be light, reliable but most importantly efficient. Food and fuel will be the two things that bulk out my sled. The more efficient the cooker the less fuel I need to cook my meals therefore less fuel needs to be carried in the...
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Fuel

The fuel is another key element to my journey, the more I need the heavier my sled will be. Although I have chosen a multi-fuel cooker, some fuels burn more efficiently than others and some work better in the cold and altitude than others. I will be using a white gas or Naptha fuel which is bar far the most...
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Cooking Pot

Sounds simple but you need to put some thought into this too. Not all pots and types of metal cook or boil water at the same speed and this is due generally to the thickness of the pot. I will go to the lengths of timing how long it takes to boil 1 litre of water. The pot also needs...
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Flask

This is a personal choice item and not all explorers will use one, I always have one ready to go with me. What I put in my flask depends on the situation, normally coffee but on this expedition, it will be hot sweet juice or tea that I can sip on throughout the day. A little tip to increase the...
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Food

Along with the fuel for my cooker this will be the biggest space taker on my journey. Food is vitally important to get right. It is so important to understand the calorie usage your body is expending and then replacing it in a timely manner with the right types of food. We have learnt so much about food since the...
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Balaclava

The face is a very tough part of the body, it spends most of its time exposed to the fresh air. I will not use this all the time but I must have the ability to protect every inch of my skin in the harshest weather and freezing winds that will be hitting me on a regular basis. It is...
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Ski Goggles

The eyes are very fragile in the cold and are susceptible to many things they are not in a normal environment. I must protect my eyes so a good set of googles is a must. I like to have interchangeable lenses. On gloomy days, tinted lenses are not of much use but a clear lens is great.
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Beanie Hat

This is the first line of defence for my head and will be pretty much fixed to me throughout. The brain is arguably the most important organ in the body, if it gets too cold it stops performing as it should which leads to issues with the rest of your body. In a hyperthermia situations, it is the first place...
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Medium Hat

A slightly thicker and heavy hat for when the beanie hat is not enough. It can be worn on its own or in conjunction with the beanie hat.
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Heavy Weight Hat

For the very worst conditions I will have a thick substantial windproof hat to protect my head. The head like the rest of my body will be protected in layers, my head system has five layer options. Very rarely will I use them all together but more a combination of them all depending on the conditions at the time.  The...
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Neck Gaiter

When it comes to clothing the body for the extreme cold we must think about the areas of weakness, by this I mean the areas where one part of the clothing system meets another i.e. Jacket to Trouser or leg to the foot. At each of these points we are prone to body heat loss. These areas are Ankles, Wrists,...
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Contact Gloves

An extremely useful and versatile glove that needs to be strong but thin and with a good grip on the palm. The contact glove is pretty much always attached to my hands. I always take great care of my hands unless inside a warmed tent or sleeping bag. Exposure to the elements unnecessarily can mean the end of the expedition...
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Medium Weight Glove

This is probably the glove I will wear the most so it needs to be strong robust, windproof and offer a good degree of dexterity. The body will get cold very quickly when static but when moving and working hard in this very dry environment it will warm very quickly. Quite often in temperatures below -20 there is no requirement...
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Heavy Weight Glove

For the most extreme weather conditions, I will always use a mitten type glove. By not separating the fingers it is so much easier to keep the hands warm. If however I need to do things that require some degree of dexterity then I use them in conjunction with my thin layer contact glove. The disadvantage of thick mittens is...
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Thermals

A good quality set of Thermal underwear is a must and will be attached to my body throughout. They are the key ingredient to make the rest of the layering process work. Thermal must be fairly tight to the skin, light in weight and have the ability to dry quickly. They also make things a little more hygienic and will...
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Light Weight Top

The best way by far to keep the body warm and regulated is to use a layering system that gradually thickens as the weather deteriorates. You do not always have to put on your big thick duvet style jacket just because you are in Antarctica. Quite often when working hard a light weight top and a thin windproof outer shell...
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Medium Weight Top

It is important that the clothing builds up in layers, how much is worn depends on the weather conditions and how hard you are working. Your clothing needs to be flexible enough to adapt to this. Your medium weight top needs to be comfortable and large enough to be unrestrictive without being too baggy. It needs to allow a small...
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Heavy Weight Jacket

Another fantastic piece of kit and a life saver. Just because you are in Antarctica does not mean this jacket needs to be worn all the time but it always needs to be at hand. When working hard on certain days it will not be used but when you stop to break you will become very cold very quickly especially...
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Socks

Socks are again very important and the choice on the market is vast and varied. Finding good quality socks is not difficult but it's understanding how they work and maintaining them as best you can that is important. Warm air is trapped between the many fibres of the socks which then aids to keep the feet warm. As socks are...
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Tent Booties

These are an amazing piece of kit for chilling in the tent, ensuring you always have the ability to keep your feet very warm. Because it is so dry in Antarctica the tent booties can be worn for short excursions outside the tent like toilet visits or to grab extra fuel etc. They just need to be brushed free of...
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Shovel

A very useful item to always have with you in cold extreme environments. The market has some very strong and lightweight shovels available. I will use it when required to place snow on the snow skirts of my tent, for digging my sled or other equipment if buried by the weather in storm conditions. When in the tent my shovel...
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Vaseline

Chaffing of the and drying of the skin can be a real problematic issue. I tend to suffer between my legs and my nipples. Vaseline is not the answer but it’s part of a combination of things you can apply or use to minimise chaffing and drying. Little issues over time if not treated can become huge issue’s and excruciatingly...
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Sunblock

Absolutely essential to protect the face from harmful ultraviolet rays. Antarctica is at altitude and completely covered in snow and ice. The harmful rays from the sun are too absorbed by the ground but reflected off it into your face enhancing the risk of sun damage. It is worth investing it the best and strongest stuff on the market (50+).
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Small Medical Pack

I will be foolish not to take a small medical pack which will be used to aide with minor injuries and ailments. It will contain things to maintain by feet (Blisters), strong pain killers, diarrhoea treatment, plasters, small dressings etc. I will be foolish not to take a small medical pack which will be used to aide with minor injuries...
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Knife

I never leave home without one and it is always to hand. You never know when you might want one until you have not got one. knives are great for so many reasons I can’t list them all here. If you are going to invest then make sure it’s a good one that can cut through things like rope, tough...
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