Superior Equipment

High quality, appropriate equipment is key to the success of any Arctic adventure. Not only do Arctic weather conditions demand the best in quality, remote air access locations necessitate tough, dependable, and well thought out equipment.

Gear You're Responsible For

You will be responsible for your own personal gear, such as clothing, backpacks and sleeping bags. To help you with this, I will supply a detailed equipment list individually written for each trip. I continuously strive to update and improve equipment lists, and of course I try out all the gear that I recommend. Just as importantly, I make myself available by phone and email to personally answer all your equipment questions prior to the trip.

Group Gear and Safety Equipment

Ice Blink Expeditions supplies all the group and safety equipment. I buy the best gear I can get my hands on, and make sure it is the most appropriate equipment for the conditions we are likely to encounter. Because I am on every trip, I ensure the group gear is cared for and kept in top condition. I am happy to answer any questions you might have on group gear and what you can expect. In specific, here are a few highlights from my group gear list:

Tents

I’ve slept in a lot of different tents over the years –and these days there is a good selection of high quality tents available on the market. For the purposes of Arctic expeditions, light weight is key. On many trips we carry all our gear on our backs, and even on paddling trips the payloads on air charters necessitate the lightest weight gear possible. The realities of Arctic weather also dictate a 4 season tent, even in the summer. Though they cost twice as much as various North American brands, the best, most suitable tents I have found are Hilleberg tents – specifically the Nallo 2 and Nallo 3.

Group Shelter

Believe it or not, it’s not always t-shirt weather in the Arctic. I’ve found that using a group cooking and eating shelter (separate from our tents) adds a lot to people’s comfort at the end of the day. Such a shelter also creates a place to store food and cooking gear overnight – in a landscape distinctly missing trees for hanging our food. Currently, I use a sil-tunnel by Integral Designs. It weighs in at 4 lbs, is well ventilated, and can fit a group of 8 for a meal.

Satellite Phone

I’m still happily recovering from the days of lugging a 15lb high frequency radio all over the tundra. A satellite phone has gone from being a fancy extra to a key piece of communication equipment. In specific, I use an Iridium 9555 which is both voice and text capable. Battery restrictions mean that my satellite phone is still reserved for emergency and important logistical communications, not every day chatting or keeping up with a stock portfolio.

Satellite Texting

I have recently begun experimenting with a new satellite based texting system. I have had great success so far using a deLorme in-Reach unit. Having this system on hand allows me to send a text message to any text capable cell phone or e-mail address that I have programmed into my unit. Having an in-Reach in addition to my satellite phone creates a second layer of communication should the technology of one system fail.

Personal Locator Beacon

As a last ditch, only in extreme emergency, communication system I carry a Personal Locator Beacon. In specific, I use a McMurdo Fast Find. A P.L.B. is a one way signal, registered in my name, that can activate Canadian search and rescue and military resources.

First Aid Kit

I have yet to find a mass manufactured first aid kit that meets my needs. I have to balance the needs of first aid in a very remote environment with the realities of having to keep weight and bulk to a minimum. Over the years I have learned from experience and adapted the contents of my first aid kit. First aid products continue to evolve, and I am always on the look out for new innovations.

Coffee

Coffee is an important personal priority for me. I roast my own beans for trips. I continue to look for the best light weight, reliable, trail ready coffee brewing method. Currently, I use a Handpresso – it makes a fine shot of espresso that can easily be converted to an americano.

Cooking Gear

Like my menu, I strive to keep my cooking gear simple, light, and of the highest quality. I use all titanium pots, carefully selected cooking utensils, and MSR Dragonfly stoves for their simmering capabilities. I carry a small, custom created spice kit and a couple different heat reflectors and hoods to minimize fuel consumption.

Bear Gear

Polar bears are a reality in the Arctic. The bear gear that I carry on a specific trip varies with the unique situation of that trip. When legally possible, I carry a 12 gauge shot gun equipped with a variety of lethal and non-lethal ammunition. I pack my food in bear proof light weight Ursack bags. I use a Critter Gitter motion detector in the group shelter at night. In appropriate base camp settings, when weight restrictions allow, I use an Electro Bear Guard bear fence - and sometimes I even use a second alarm sounding trip wire bear fence.