The Ice Warrior team are preparing for a winter training trip to Svalbard, the archipelago of islands off Norway’s northern coast that lie approximately 600 miles from the North Pole.

This will be my third trip to the fridge that is Svalbard. After saving hard and re-mortgaging my house I now own the essential kit required to survive upon the barren and snow covered land. Possession of the essential knowledge is a different matter, but more of that in a separate post.

If you are thinking of a cold weather trip then I hope this packing list proves useful to you. Remember what Ice Warrior patron and uber-explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes said:

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

  1. Down sleeping bag-thick and good down to -40°C
  2. Ortleib 140ltr Big Zip travel bag to carry all everything in
  3. Sorel Glacier Boots*-heavy moon boots for trekking across the ice
  4. Mountain Equipment Bivi*-keeps the frost off our sleeping bags
  5. Reflective ground mat
  6. Smartwool extra heavy crew socks
  7. Mountain Equipment Kangur MRT jacket-to keep the wind out
  8. Bergans Antarctic Salopette-windproof outers
  9. Goggles
  10. Sunglasses
  11. Plastic mug
  12. Thermos Hercules*-carrying water for a brew
  13. Dry bags-keeping kit dry is essential in the freezing cold
  14. Beanies-A range of hats we walk in the Mountian Hardware Dome Perignon
  15. Platypus bladder-holds 2 litres of hot water
  16. Bits n bobs-Panasonic Lumix TZ40, headtorch and spare batteries, fire steel for lighting the stove, a plastic spork, knife and my thin gloves for dexterous work
  17. Mountain Equipment Fitzroy modular mit-Insulated outer with a separate fleece inner to keep frostbite at bay
  18. Black Diamond WindWeight gloves*-a lighter windproof glove
  19. Smartwool base layers
  20. Neck gator and buffs
  21. Ninja mask-in case shit gets real

Not shown due to space restrictions are:

  1. Down jacket and trousers which I will quickly slip on when we stop for a brew or in the tent.
  2. Musto Evolution Pro fleece*
  3. Carabiners, ropes and straps-to attach me to my pulk
  4. Snowsled harness-to wear for dragging my pulk
  5. Skis and walking poles-we use cross-country skis with a flexible plastic binding which fit our enormous Sorel boots
  6. Fur-the animals that live in the Arctic are best adapted to it’s conditions, so we’ll be using what aeons of evolution endowed them with to help us on the ice
  7. Toiletries-toothbrush, oil-based sun cream and moisturiser and wet wipes.
  8. First-aid kit-I’ll write a separate post about first-aid in the Arctic and will include details of the contents there.

Group kit that we all use will include:

  1. Food-for this trip we need to take 4 days worth of dehydrated rations totalling approximately 24’000 calories for the duration.
  2. Stove-the MSR XGK-EX* stove sounds like a rocket launching
  3. GPS beacon and navigation kit
  4. Sat phones and batteries
  5. Tent-we will use the Marmot Lair 8-person tent for this training expedition
  6. Anti-polar bear kit-as a precaution we will carry 2 guns, a rifle and a shotgun, as well as bear bangers and flares. I hope we don’t need them

I’m almost certain I’ve missed something off the list but the kit I’ve listed would allow anyone to travel in the Arctic, training aside. If you spot something that is missing then please do let me know in the comments below or pop me an email. Likewise, if you require any gear then get in touch and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Finally, this symbol * denotes that the link is one of my few affiliate links and I’d benefit from a purchase you might make via them. Thanks!