Nothing much has been happening for us in the past two years in terms of advancing our Polar ambitions. However, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel: it looks like we’re finally set to go to Norway for some easy camping and skiing on Hardangervidda at the beginning of April. So it’s time to dust off and inspect our kit and to revisit a project I started two years ago, but then never actually tackled: building a better cooking tray for us. ‘Better’ in that sentence can be directly translated to ‘lighter’ since the functionality of a cooking tray is quite limited, but before I dive into the details, let’s start with what a cooking tray is and why you would want one.
We’re slowly coming out of the pandemic-induced hibernation. Lauren and I still can’t meet because of Travel restrictions, but I can at least go on trekking trips again. If you’ve read a bit of the blog already, you know I’m a gram-counter, so for this year I thought about my cooking setup and how to make it lighter. I’ve written about my default setup before, which is the Alpkit Kraku, Mytimug 650ml and a 100g gas cartridge. So these are the specs to beat.
The pandemic has, unfortunately, put a dent in our Polar ambitions for this year, but the COVID situation in Austria has luckily improved enough to allow hiking and trekking trips again. As I’m gearing up for a busy hiking summer at home, I tested a new ultralight sleeping setup made for those warm summer nights to come. It is exceptionally light, weighing only 655g, but is it comfortable, too?
It’s a new winter season, and we’re gearing up for new adventures in the snow. Just in time, our partners at The Heat Company have sent us updated versions of their gloves. Time to see what they came up with in the past year! We’re looking at the brand-new all-in-one HEAT 3 SMART PRO and a prototype of the DURABLE LINER PRO.
As I’m writing this, Polar explorers Børge Ousland and Mike Horn are out on the Arctic ocean, struggling against the elements in what seems from the outside to be one of their hardest expeditions, yet. I am following the expedition with great interest. In a recent post, Børge explains how Mike broke off a chunk of a tooth on a frozen chocolate bar, which reminded me of my own experience with this issue and one of my favourite lifesavers.
Staying warm is one of the most important things to look for when you’re out in the snow and ice. Your extremities are generally most at risk of suffering cold injuries since they are farthest away from the warm core of your body. Additionally, your hands and fingers are exposed to wind and weather almost always, which is why great gloves are one of the smartest investments you can make when planning to be out in the cold for a prolonged time. Today, I am reviewing several gloves provided to us by our partner, The Heat Company. Note that they offered some of them to us for free, but I will give my honest opinion regardless. When on an expedition, your kit is your life insurance, and I would never settle for anything I consider sub-par.
Back in January, the lovely people at Intrepid Magazine selected me to be one of their gear testers and sent me a Black Diamond First Light Hoody. The idea was that I’d take it with me to Norway and put it through its paces in the airport, the city and the snow. You can read my detailed review in issue 8, but the short version is, I loved it!
The best thing after a long day of skiing is getting out of your skiing boots and into warm and dry wool socks. Unfortunately, throughout the evening and night, you will have to get out of your sleeping bag and back into the snow at times: to go to the loo, to check the tent, to get something from your pulk, or whatever reason. Enter the Expedition Down Booties.
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.
Polar exploration isn’t all about skiing for hours on end. We will spend the majority of our time inside or around our tent. Getting our camp routine and equipment right is just as important as being a capable skier. This gear highlight is going to be a big one. We are going to go over the majority of kit we need when we’re not on the move: the tent and tent equipment, sleeping gear, cooking equipment and food and drink.