Gear Highlight #6 - Navigation and Safety Equipment and other Electronics and Gadgets
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.
This will be the last gear highlight for our Hardangervidda crossing. Navigating the unknown terrain safely and limiting risks as far as possible is a priority for us. Much like Amundsen, we want to plan the adventure out of our expedition. Here's what we are bringing for navigation, personal safety, risk mitigation and some other tools and gadgets.
Maps and Compass
Unsurprisingly, we are bringing maps of the area and a compass each. We have the area our route goes through covered in 1:50k actual maps and have a set of 1:100k maps as a backup. We also created printouts from norgeskart.no in 1:25k.
The inReach is a GPS device and satellite tracker that enables you to call for help via the Iridium network. On our expeditions, we will operate in areas without phone network and having this as a fallback is hugely reassuring. Contrary to other trackers, the inReach allows two-way messages with the rescue operators so you can give them more info than just your location.
On top of calling for help, we can also communicate via mail or text with our loved ones at home and notify them of any changes of plan, and last but not least, we use this device for live tracking so you can see where we are on the map on our trip page every 30 minutes or so.
Unfortunately, the inReach is not the greatest device when it comes to actual GPS navigation. Although it is now a Garmin device, Garmin just bought it from Delorme a few years back, and the inReach uses a different map format, so you can’t load the detailed Garmin maps onto the inReach. Since we don’t want to miss out on a good GPS, we are also carrying the eTrex 30x.
For Hardangervidda, we have to think about avalanches, since we are moving in the mountains. We are carrying avalanche beacons, probes, and shovels, so we can hopefully react quickly should one of us get buried.
First Aid Kit
A well-planned first aid kit is essential for any expedition. See our blog post for a list of items we have in our arsenal. For Hardangervidda we will take a selection of plasters and wound strips, tape, wound cleaning pads, haemostatic and regular wound dressings, emergency pressure bandages, regular bandages, SAM splints, Tourniquet, antiseptic cream, dental repair kit, heat pads, triangle cloths, an emergency bivy bag, scissors, tweezers and nail clippers.
To make the most of the limited daylight, we plan on setting out as soon as there is enough daylight, and ski until we can’t see any more. This means we will have to set up and tear down the tent in twilight and most of our time camping will be in the dark. Obviously, we need reliable head torches to work in and around the tent. Thorsten is bringing the Nitecore HC70 and HC65, both with batteries specially designed for use in cold temperatures. The HC70 has a separate battery pack that can be placed under your clothes to prevent freezing and can be used as a regular USB-A power bank as well. Lauren is bringing the Petzl ACTIK CORE, with a USB battery.
Okay, we mostly use these for social media. But smartphones are useful for multiple reasons, not just for Twitter. In a pinch, we can use them to look at digital maps of the area, use them as a replacement torch, or to call for help. Obviously, you should not rely on any of that since phones break easily and run out of power quickly, but they're a nice addition to cover all bases in case of an emergency.
Powerbanks and chargers
Electronic devices need charging. Our head torches, inReach, and phones can be charged via USB power banks. We are bringing one 26k mAh and one 20 mAh power bank, which should see us through the duration of the trip.
Not an essential gadget, but nice to take all those cool pictures we need for social media after our trip.
A multitool is useful for tons of reasons, from repairing things, to improvising a spoon and clipping your nails. I would not want to be out in the field for multiple days without it.