Kite SkiCustomised

Extreme Polar: ♦ IntroductionOutline

Clothing & Equipment List

Developing Your Arctic Clothing System:

If you are heading off on a polar expedition within the next two years, we strongly recommend that put together and test your own clothing, ski and sleeping system.

Your Arctic clothing must work as a system that wicks away perspiration, insulates you from the cold and protects you from the wind. The most versatile system is made up of layers. This allows you to easily adjust to changes in the weather and changes in your heat output.

-The first layer is worn next to your skin. This layer must wick perspiration away from your skin to keep you dry and warm: capilene polyester is excellent, untreated polyester, wick-able polyesters (polypropylene) and the new smart wool are also good. Do not bring cotton, as it has poor wicking properties.
-The second layer (or layers) provides insulation. This layer retains your body heat, and must also wick perspiration away from your body. Pile, polar fleece and synchilla are all great. (From now on they will be called "fleece") as they dry quickly. Wool is not recommended, it is heavy and difficult to dry.
-The third layer offers protection from the wind. The more wind proof a garment is, the less breathable it will be. A mountain parka or anorak made of a suplex, ventile or micro fiber is excellent. Most Gortex and waterproof-breathable materials do not breathe in temperature below -20 C.
-The fourth layer offers extra insulation and is worn when you are taking a break, repairing a broken binding on the trail or setting up camp. A down or synthetic filled expedition parka and pants are ideal. Pants need full side zips to allow putting them on over boots. These insulating layers are also used if you go for an unplanned swim in the polar ice and must continue to ski in wet clothes.


Head Gear
- 2 hats; must offer insulation, wind protection and cover ears. A fleece with a wind-shell cover is great. Lowe makes a good one.
- 2 pair of eye protection: 2 goggles or 1 goggle & 1 pr. glasses. Goggle need to be double lenses, and offer good visibility in flat lighting (violet lenses are very good). Sun glasses need to block side light such as glacier glasses or wrap around glasses. All eye protection must block 90% of UV rays to protect from snow blindness
- 1- 2 neck gaiters (fleece neck tube to protect lower face)
- Optional: balaclava or cowl (knit or fleece that covers head & neck)

For Your Hands
- Optional: 1 – 2 pr. polypropylene or lightweight polar fleece glove liners. These are good for finger dexterity, like operating cameras.
- 2 pr. insulated ski gloves with leather palm that are wind proof & breathable, large enough to wear over glove liners. A thinner and a thicker pr. is ideal.
- 1 pr. Expedition Mitts, large enough to easily pull over insulated gloves. NorthWinds makes an Expedition Mitt; see Expedition Support for more information.
Foot wear:
- Optional: 2 pr. polypro sock liners
- 1 pr. VBL inners (Vapor Barrier Liners) or 6 – 8 foot size plastic bags
- 2 pr. med. weight socks
- 2 pr. thick expedition socks
- Optional: camp booties, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) sells good one called Hut Booties 2
- Ski boots see notes below

Body wear:
- 2 pr. top and bottom or one-piece (with threw the crotch zip) long under-wear (see First Layer above)
- 1 pr. thick fleece pants - 1 pr. medium fleece pants
- 1 fleece shirt (fleece 100) to wear as second layer over long under-wear
- 1 light weight fiber fill jacket or pull over (check out: Patagonia’s puffball pullover, MEC ‘s Northn Lite Ullover, Integral Designs Rundle Jacket or PLQ Jacket)
- Wind-proof jacket or Anorak (see notes on Third Layer)
- Wind pants, (see notes on Third Layer) or Soft Shell pants or bib pants (with crotch zip)
- Expedition parka, (see notes on Forth Layer)
- Expedition over-pants: fiberfill with full side zippers (see notes on Forth Layer)

Ski System

Boots & Bindings
Many ski boot & binding systems have been tried, many have failed, none are fail proof. Here are some of your best options that have been tested on Polar Expeditions.

Option #1
We recommend the custom made Afta Expedition boot with a Meindl inner boot liner (this is a climbing boot liner). The boots come with a felted liner, but it does not wear well, felts to your socks and is hard to dry if you get them wet. The Meindl liner (or any climbing boot liner that has a water-proof inner layer) adds ankle support and acts as a vapor barrier so that it is not necessary to dry out your boot liners every night. Use this boot with a Voile 3 pin w/ cable binding. The weakness in this system is that the binding pin holes in the toe of your boot can pull out. The solution is to add the cable to the binding. To add warmth, NorthWinds makes a custom made insulated over gator that insures warm feet. See Expedition Support for more information.
Option #2
Another system is a soft boot system that uses a Sorel, Baffin Boot, or Acton boot (these are rubber soled with nylon upper and knee high removable liners) with a Hummock binding that straps onto your boot and use a step-in Solomon binding. Check out: You may need to make straps longer for large size boots.

Option #3
A back-country boot such as: Alpina, Rossinal…that works with a NNN BC binding. This is a lighter weight system good for the Greenland Ice Cap and the South Pole where temperatures are not as extreme as the North Pole. You will need to add an insulated over-boot. MEC sells an insulated over-boot. NorthWinds makes a custom made insulated over gator that insures warm feet. See Expedition Support for more information.

Note on over-boots: they will need to be glued and screwed on. I’ve had the best luck with Shoe Goo. Use a washer under the screws to keep them from pulling out.

Skis, Skins & Poles
- Skis: You need a back-country (BC) cross country ski with full metal edges. We recommend: Fischer Europa 99 or 109, Asnes BC, or Black Diamond Aurora (indestructible but heavy).

- Skins: To pull a heavy pulk you will need ½ ski skins, screwed into the mid section of the base of your ski. No matter what they tell you in the store, skins do not stick in extreme cold.

- Poles: Ski poles must be strong but not too heavy, handle straps should be adjustable to fit your large expedition mitts (you may need to modify the straps to make them large enough.) Some folks prefer adjustable poles like the Black Diamond “Traverse” or “Expedition.” If poles are not adjustable we recommend they be shorter than your standard length as you will be leaning forward when pulling your pulk. NorthWinds used the Swix Expedition ski pole.

Winter sleeping system: (needs to be good to -40° C)

- Winter down sleeping bag (-30° C)
- Fiberfill over bag (adds -10° C) NorthWinds uses the Integral Designs Andromeda Strain
- Vapor barrier liner (keeps moisture from getting into sleeping bag) NorthWinds uses Integral Designs Hooded Vapor Barrier Liner. Rab also makes a good VBL
- Sleeping pad system: 1 closed celled foam (ridge-rest, Z-lite) 1 Therm-a-rest (ProLite or Base Camp) or the new down filled air mattresses (heavier but oh so comfy) Exped Dowmat 7

Personal Items:

- head lamp with extra batteries
- personal toilet kit: tooth brush, small tube of tooth paste, comb, hair elastics for long hair, nail file or nail clippers….etc.
- chap stick recommend Dermetone
- skin cream, the dry polar conditions cause skin to crack on hands
- 1 small sun screen (face is covered most of the time)
- women - tampons
- small personal repair kit for your Therm-a rest, skis…etc.
- small personal first aid kit for blisters, minor aches and pains
- vitamins (optional)
- small quick dry trail wash cloth

- Note book to keep hand-outs and take notes

If you are already planning a Polar Expeditions we recommend that you bring the following to test in the cold:
- Iridium phone
- Mini disc player (music) & spare batteries, you need to learn how to use these in the cold and how long the batteries will last
- Camera, film & spare batteries (lithium batteries last longer in the cold).
Note: if you are going to purchase a point and shoot, look for a waterproof camera that takes AA batteries.
- Solar Re-charging system

NorthWinds has a limited quantity following clothing items to loan:
For those who are not sure if they wish to Polar Expediton or are not ready to invest in expedition gear, you are welcome to borrow any of the following, on a first come first serve.
- Double lens goggles with customized nose guard
- Neck gaiters (fleece neck tube to protect lower face)
- Expedition Mitts
- Anoraks (Wintergreen pull-over wind breaker w/ fur trim on hood)
- Wind pants (Sierra Design quick dry hiking pants)
- Down expedition parka (MEC)
- Fiberfill over-pants with full side zippers
- winter sleeping system: (good to -40° C)
winter down sleeping bag (-30° C)
insulated bivi bag or primaloft over bag (adds -10° C)
vapor barrier liner (keeps moisture from getting into sleeping bag)
winter sleeping pad system: 1 ridge-rest & therm-a-rest

NorthWinds supplies Group Equipment:

- Hilleberg Tents: 3 and 4 person Keron with snow flaps
- Pulk (sled) with trace & harness; Acapulka, Fjelpulken, Snowsled, Pairs
- MSR stoves mounted on stove board, pots, & cooking items, and stove fuel
- First Aid kit
- Repair kits
- Navigation: GPS, compass,
- Communication system: 2 Iridium phones

If you have a tent that you wish to test, do bring it. NorthWinds is a distributor of Hilleberg Tents and can order them for you, at a good price, and have them shipped either to you or here. Make sure to get snow flaps sewn on, 12 to 15 inches wide (30 to 40 cm)

If you bring your own stoves, make sure that the fuel bottles are new or well aired out. Include a repair kit.

If you are planning to head to the south pole, purchase a global compass. I prefer a compass that the magnetic declination can be set. Makers of good compasses include: Silva and Sunnto

GPS: (global positioning system)
For just marking your position you can purchase a small simple GPS…as you will not need maps of Paris on a journey to the North Pole.

Note: NorthWinds is a distributor for: Hilleberg Tents, Harvest Foodworks, Fischer skis (and Swix poles), and Integral Designs.