Friday, October 23, 2009

Custom Made Gears

This week I emailed Eric Larsen on the training we were supposed to be doing by the end of Oct or early Nov. Unfortunately he could not spare much time as he's going to depart for his Save The Poles project on Nov 5. That leaves him virtually no time with all the preparation he has to do. Apparently he's going to lead a team to ski from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole (730 miles or 1,175km). This will be the first leg of his quest to complete the 3 poles within 365 days. Amazing guy. Too bad I don't have the chance to work with him and learn from him. But hey, who knows if our paths cross in Antarctica this time. His trip will last about 60 days, by the time I start skiing, he's about 40-45 days into his expedition.

One thing I asked him was the nose beak. I wished I had this when I was in the North Pole. The balaclava did not work so well, it was almost impossible to breathe. The ice would form outside where you want the air coming in. I found myself pulling the thing off my nose to gape for air and pulled it back up to protect my face from the cold wind. The nose beak would hopefully block some wind and leave enough gap at the bottom for me to respire.

The nose beak is not available anywhere. I have done search online and found none that serves the purpose. So it'll be custom made. I did buy some fabric for this but not sure how it would work in cold and windy condition. I asked him some tips on the material. It is nylon and fleece. So this weekend or next I will be making this nose beak for my goggles. And extra ones, just in case I need a replacement. That also means this time I have bring along repair kit (needles and threads) and be a good mother when little things break :). By the way, this is the standard kit any explorer must bring along, for fixing the tent or ripped clothes.

Another item I need to sew is the fur for my jacket hood. I bought a jacket for the trip recently but was too cheap on spending another $160 to have fur attached on the hood. Instead I am going to re-use the fur from the jacket I wore in the North Pole trip, but some customization needs to be done.

And the last big one is the VBL for my sleeping bag. My down bag is rated at -40F (also -40C). Down bag works well when it's dry. When you sleep, unless you are really cold, you will sweat and it gets into the bag. To prevent the bag from getting wet, people use a VBL, vapor barrier liner, made from nylon or plastic, to stop the sweat from vaporize from the skin and gets into the bag. As a result, sleeper may feel dammed but this problem is easier to deal with.

All of this I will have to make by myself. People who are in this kind of trip have to be able to do everything from cooking, sewing to a lot of hard work.

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