The gear for the polar expedition have to be choosen with the greatest care. There is no small details. Many choices what you have done, can become crucial. Although you do try prepare yourself for every kind of situation, the unpredictability still remains. Best you can do, is reduce it to the minimum and hope that things go smoothly.
There are some things to keep in mind for ensuring comfort and success:
Keep things simple! When you need to take technical items, then make sure you are absolutely familiar with their use;
Take a comprehensive repair kit and make sure everything is repairable;
Try to keep clothing and equipment dry;
Make small things big, but keep them light. This applys to windy and cold conditions, when you should be able work, wearing gloves or mittens.
The techniques of polar camping have not altered dramatically since the days of Nansen, Scott and Shackleton, but the advances in the technology of fabrics and equipment design over recent years mean, that modern clothing and equipment allow considerably more comfort than the early pioneers were able to enjoy.
When trying to point out something, we should start with the things what play role in our movement and advancing. Speed is not the first thing here to concern about. Choosing kayaks is a task balancing between weight and strength, stability and speed, volume and maneuvering. Plastic ones would be the choice here. As crossing small leads and pressure ridges, skies and ski poles need to have right ratio of stiffness, strength and flexibility.
Clothing gives your comfort as working hard during these months. This can turn out as a real pleasure or biggest source of your frustration. The quote below explains importance of this aspect.
“The trouble is sweat and breath. I never knew how much of the body’s waste comes out through the pores of the skin. On the most bitter days, when we had to camp before we had done a four hour march in order to nurse back our frozen feet, it seemed that we must be sweating. And all this sweat, instead of passing away through the porous wool of our clothing and gradually drying off us, froze and accumulated. It passed just away from our flesh and then became ice, we shook plenty of snow and ice down from inside our trousers every time we changed our foot-gear, and we could have shaken it from our vests and shirts, but of course we could not strip to this extent. But when we got into our sleeping bags, if we were fortunate, we became warm enough during the night to thaw this ice; part remained in our clothes, part passed into the skins of our sleeping bags, and soon both were sheets of armour plate.”
The Worst Journey in the World
Tent is your home and only shelter, there is not much more to say about this choice. Cooking system has to be light and energy consuming to keep amount of the fuel what you have to bring, as low as possible. Even nowadays there is no as effective cooking system as Nansen built. Hopefully we won’t have to use only ice and snow to cook meals, but meltpools will help us to keep cooking faster. In addition to stainless steel thermos we use lightweight plastic thermoses and nalgene bottles.
Also you cannot underestimate the importance of the electronics you take with you. Whether this be for navigation, communication or stills and motion photography. It has to be simple and work well in these harsh conditions. Photography is a main part of feedback you bring back to home for yourself and for all of them, who have been supported you.
And finally the most important is do not forget the fact that you are traveling on the ocean! Therefore everything has to be packed in dry bags.
Choosing the gear for these conditions is something what we must take very carefully. Therefore, the brands of suppliers what we are going to use, are probably one of the best ones in the world, what we could find on these certain markets.