Magazine article Geographical

Ten of the Best

Magazine article Geographical

Ten of the Best

Article excerpt

Planning to walk to the South Pole? Ben Saunders suggests a few vital pieces of equipment to help in the trek, including customised sledges, a multi-purpose pocket tool, unusual skis, balaclavas with added protection to keep out the elements, a highly-versatile tent, and a sleeping bag first used in the mid-1980s (but thoroughly updated since then)

1. Sledge

Customised Acapulka pulk 3,067 [pounds sterling] / 9 kilograms (approx.)

Our 2.7-metre-long sledges were handmade from carbon fibre, Kevlar and epoxy resins. The rear quarter of each pulk was jettisoned at a depot on the outward journey when the loads became light, and retrieved on our way back.

2. Footwear

Alfa Extreme North Pole GTX boots with Intuition Universal liners 635 [pounds sterling]/ 2.55 kilograms

Settling on the right footwear was something I expended a lot of time on. In the end I took Norwegian Alfa boots with Intuition liners and didn't suffer a single blister in nearly 3,000 kilometres.

3. Multitool

Leatherman Super Tool 300 EOD 120 [pounds sterling]/272 grams

We took this as we assumed we would be as likely to repair electronics as conventional gear. It repaired the low temperature cable that connected our solar panels to our lithium polymer battery packs. We would have been stuffed without it.

4. Skis

Attivo Gara Aero World Cup 720 [pounds sterling] /1.41 kilograms

Compared to the narrow backcountry skis used by most polar expeditions, the skis we used were a radical choice. They were several hundred grams lighter and a dozen centimetres shorter than any ski I'd used before. An inspired choice.

5. Balaclava

Outdoor Research WS Gorilla 35 [pounds sterling]/86 grams

We added extra material to the face panels of our superb Gorillas, along with pieces of windproof fleece to our goggles. These modifications kept our faces free from frostbite during temperatures as low as -40[degrees]C. …

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