I spent my Christmas holiday in Wales getting in some ‘cold’ weather training and buying some gear for the Antarctica trip. Reading through many different websites for tips about what to wear in Antarctica the main theme that kept coming through was layers…layers…and layers! Layers are a good thing because they trap air in between them, which acts as an insulator for heat. They can be put on and taken off depending on the varying situations – I have been told – that you can expect to go from cold, driving rain to a warm room (and back again) several times a day (oh good!)
The consensus for the ideal number of layers to have for the top half of your body is about four: a thermal base layer, a mid-layer fleece, a jacket and then a waterproof shell or down-filled parka (for when it gets really, really cold). I am pleased to say that the Quark Expedition team will be providing us with our down-filled parka so that means we should be fine..!
The advice I read reminded me not to forget hands. These need a thermal base layer too (so I bought a couple of pairs of silk liner gloves), and then, for the Antarctic mainland, I have big heavy-duty gloves that make my hands look double the size than they actually are. Explorer Ranulph Fiennes said that his fingers became frostbitten within seconds after he let his hands, by accident, get exposed to extreme cold. I have resolved to never actually take mine off the whole time I am on the expedition, just to be on the safe side!
As my mum has always taught me if you want to stay warm look after your head and wear a hat. This is where I might have gone overboard but sticking with the layer theme…I went for the 3-hat approach – I will keep you posted how this strategy goes.
Just when you think you have it all covered, my latest research suggests to get foot spikes – seriously, I am learning about clothes items and equipment that I did not even know existed. But as Ranulph Fiennes says: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” I am therefore taking all my research tips seriously and trying to get fully prepared so I can fully enjoy the adventure ahead.