Gear Highlight #4 - Skiing and Pulk Gear
Gear Highlight is a series of posts counting down to our Hardangervidda ski crossing in January 2019. Each post we will present a different category of gear we will be bringing on our trip. See all Gear Highlight posts.
We’re done with our clothing now, and we are moving on to our primary means of transportation: skiing and man-hauling. It's much easier to use a sled to carry our gear than putting it in a rucksack, as we'll likely have around 35kg of equipment. This gear highlight will tell you what skiing and pulk equipment we have.
Åsnes are a premium Norwegian ski manufacturer, and one of the few, who have specialised in making skis for expeditions. The Amundsen Fram BC is the model specially designed for long traverses. This ski is quite narrow and long, so it won’t do you any good going downhill, but for our purposes it is perfect. As a bonus, it has a cool picture of Roald Amundsen on it, so if you need that bit of extra motivation, you just need to look down and see the master himself.
The naked skis would never generate enough grip to get the pulk going. That’s why we are using climbing skins on our skis. This model by Åsnes is easy to put on and take off again, though we usually leave them on during the whole expedition.
We are both novice skiers, and for our Hardangervidda trip, we are concerned about not being good enough to climb all the steep slopes. That’s why we are bringing snowshoes as a backup solution. MSR offers a wide range of lightweight models and now and then you can find one of them on sale in various online shops. Thorsten got the Revo Trail shoes, and Lauren got the Revo Explore.
Ski poles. Not much to explain, but an essential piece of equipment. Our poles are from Åsnes again. We have the Polar Expedition poles, which are 2-segment poles, and the single-segment Spidsbergen Expedition poles. Since losing a ski pole would make us a lot slower, we are bringing a pair of spares.
Keeping your feet warm and dry is one of the most important things on a prolonged trip. Amongst a number of manufacturers producing specialised expedition ski boots, we chose to go with the Norwegian company Alfa. They are designed to go with a NNN XC ski binding. We got both out boots second-hand online and saved quite a bit of money that way. Skiing boots are actually among the most expensive individual pieces of equipment we are bringing. Thorsten got the North Pole Extreme model, and Lauren got the Gaiter BC A/P/S boots.
Inside the boots, we are wearing multiple layers of socks. The first one are thin merino liners, which are followed by plastic bin liners acting as a moisture barrier. We don't want the thick outer socks or boots to get sweaty, because we wouldn't manage to dry them in just a night in the tent. The thin socks are drenched in the evening, but they dry quickly if you put them on your body in your sleeping bag.
Paris Expedition Pulk
The Paris expedition pulk is probably the pulk model you see the most when looking at pictures of guided tours online. It’s just a plastic bowl, so it’s cheap, lightweight, and there’s not a lot that can break. For Hardangervidda, that’s good enough for us, but we are already thinking about upgrading to more professional pulks for future adventures.
We fitted the pulk with our own rigging made out of 8mm bungee cords, and a rope system to drag them behind us.
The harness we use to drag the pulk. Simple as that.
Rab 1/2 Size Pulk Bag / Piteraq 1/2 Size Pulk Bag
Since the Paris pulk does not have a cover like some more premium pulk models, we put all our gear in separate bags. The bags have to be large and ideally not add too much load. We have bags from 2 companies, Rab and Piteraq. Both make full-size bags, which are more or less tailored to the size of the Paris pulks, and 1/2 size bags, which are, you guessed it, half the size. We are using the smaller bags since we do not have that much stuff to carry on our Hardangervidda crossing.
Piteraq Arctic Bedding
Arctic bedding is an ingenious invention. It is a large bag for your sleeping gear, designed to go on top of your pulk. In the evening, once the tent is up, you simply throw the bedding bag into the tent and have a prepared bed. There’s no need to put your sleeping bag in and out of the compression sack or inflate your sleeping mat.
A large bag for the tent. Similar to our sleeping gear, we do not put the tent away neatly every day, but store it rolled up in a large bag, so it is ready to pitch fast.
That's it for our skiing and pulk equipment. The next post is going to cover our sleeping, cooking, and tent gear.