Make no mistake about it, going on any sort of expedition to the Arctic is an incredibly dangerous feat. In the past, many people lost their lives edging toward that fabled pole and most of them were experienced adventurers too. As such, it is absolutely imperative that you go on any tundra-style trek well prepared. Here T3 presents some of the top tech currently on the market to keep you moving forward, warm and - crucially - alive on any frozen expedition.
- Not going to the Arctic but are going to the Sahara? Then check out our awsome desert gadgets feature
Suunto Traverse GPS watch
Should you choose to undertake one of the most challenging treks on Earth, then there’s one vital element you need to add to your pre-adventure list: a GPS device. Out there in the wild you’re going to be traversing a white wonderland void of any real landmark so you’re going to need GPS to navigate the great white void. So what better way to keep on track than a funky yet sturdy wearable?
Along with GPS and Bluetooth connectivity, the Suunto Traverse offers a heart rate monitor to ensure your body is holding up to the strain and the ability to track pace, distance and calories burned. It also comes in orange. Because fashion.
Polaris 2016 AXYS Pro-RMK snowmobile
For at least part of your journey towards the North Pole, you’re going to need a powerful and reliable motorised beast to get you there - so how about one of the best and most popular snowmobiles on the market today? The 2016 AXYS Pro-RMK snowmobile has already bagged plenty of awards, and with 800 Cleanfire® H.O. engine growling under the hood you’re not going to get stuck in the deep powder anytime soon.
It’s also a 6 Series paddle track and Polaris-specific paddle track with 2.6-inch lugs meaning expert control and serious power whatever the conditions. If you want no nonsense performance with the best parts on the market, this is the snowmobile for you.
Price: £9,245.79 ($13,399)
Just because you’re heading north of the wall (yes, we’re throwing in an obligatory Game of Thrones reference, that’s just how we roll here at T3), you’re still going to need to connect to the web (be it for work or more social media-based purposes). Thing is, you’re going to need a laptop that’s sturdy enough to take those ultra-cold conditions: enter the Panasonic Toughbook 19.
As well as an extremely bright 10.1" LCD and a long-life battery pack, the Toughbook 19 is built for the rough and tumble of the adventurer lifestyle. It’s vibration and shock resistant (in case you take a tumble while out on a trek) and can withstand a six-foot drop (it’s also IP65 certified). The screen also comes with Panasonic CircuLumin technology for easy viewing even in that bright arctic sunlight.
Eqnx Tracker hand-tow boggan
Whether you’re pulling it on the back of a snowmobile or pulling it behind by sheer will alone, having a hand-tow sled or boggan is a must if you want to lug all that important equipment around (because a huge backpack is just going to weigh you down even further as you push out into the deep powder of the arctic).
Eqnx is known for creating some of the best hand-tow sleds in the business, so selecting their biggest and deepest sled will mean you can carry around even the biggest tent and equipment without fear of running out of space. Add a decent winch to connect it to your back and you’re set.
Canada Goose Expedition Parka
Bit of a no-brainer this one, but if you’re going to be wading through powder and snowdrifts in arctic conditions you’re going to need a seriously competent jacket to keep you warm. For us, the Expedition Parka from Canada Goose is an ideal choice because not only does it offer an insulated windguard and under central zip fastening, it also has a high-pile fleece inside to keep the warm in and a mid-length design to keep the cold out.
Add to that a coyote fur hood, chin guard, velcro storm flaps and four large, fleece-lined zip pockets to keep you valuables safe and you’re looking at one high-end bit of winter wear. It’s also available in blue, navy and red if colour coordination is still a factor.
Baffin Shackleton Men's Extreme Winter Boots
For conditions as extreme as those found at the very northernmost tip of the world, you’re going to need more than your average footwear. For T3, you need something that’s waterproof, insulated and multilayered to ensure your feet are protected and reinforced. That’s why we like the Extreme Winter Boots from Baffin Shackleton.
These 13-inch-high boots have eight layers of insulation, a thermoplush lining and an innermost Hydroplex II layer that soaks up moisture to avoid trenchfoot and frostbite. Each boot also has a ‘vaporized double aluminum membrane metallic surface’ which reflects energy back to the whole foot. Designed for seriously cold conditions, these boots are an arctic explorer’s must buy.
Price: £137.96 ($199.95)
Zeal Z3 GPS Live Snowboard/Ski Goggles
Considering the nature of the Arctic’s day/night cycles (where the winter has long nights and the summer has long days), you’re going to need some eyewear designed to deal with a lot of bright sunlight. And with all that sunlight shining off the pure white permafrost, there’s even more glare than your standard ski slope or mountain face.
For a start you’ve got the most advanced polarized automatic lens on the market. So if the sunlight shifts in intensity and luminosity, you’re goggles will compensate in seconds. It stops 100% of UV lights hitting your peepers and will reduce 99% of all glare, too. Better yet, these smart goggles use a Recon Mod Live GPS System that projects speed, altitude and temperature stats on a 16:9 widescreen display inside the goggle.
Flexi Polar Plateau ski bindings and Asnes Eggi touring skis
Much of the Arctic is in actual fact a giant frozen lake of ice sheets, so once you’ve braved the powder you’re going to be trekking across hard sheets of permafrost. It’s here you’ll need to break out the skis and trundle your way to your destination.
To do that, you’re going to need a pair of robust yet lightweight ski bindings (for us, the Plateau design from Flexi are a fantastic choice, offering easily adjustable straps and a lightweight frame that will fit most skis) and a high-end pair of skis designed for ‘touring’ the frozen plateaus of the Arctic. The Asnes Eggi skis are perfect for tackling this kind of environment, offering a carbon-reinforced body and a tapered tail and tip to avoid each ski getting stuck in the ice as you trek towards that all important Pole.
Price: £165 (bindings) / £549 (skis)
Pioneer Trekker Portable Space Heater
Alongside that all important tent (and a decent sleeping bag, too), you’re going to need a heater specifically designed for use within a tent. With that in mind, we’re drawn to the Trekker Portable Space Heater - manufactured in Canada for those braving extreme colds, the Trekker requires no electricity to warm you and your crew once you’ve established a base camp.
Pioneer has incorporated a vaporising burner into the Trekker’s design to ensure it doesn’t burn your tent down as well as a fuel regulator and a shutoff valve. With fuel and the right safety valves you’re looking at a weight of around 14.8 kg (it uses fuels such as kerosene) so it won’t break your trusty sled either. An ideal choice for trips into the heart of the Arctic.
Mountain Hardware Stronghold tent
If you’re going to brave one of the coldest climes on Planet Earth, you’re going to need somewhere to sleep that a) enables you to regain every vital ounce of energy and b) keep you and your fellow explorers safe from the bitter temperatures that haunt those darker hours. And, since you’re most likely to be doing all this tundra-based trekking as a group we’ve opted for one of the best multi-person tents on the market, the sturdy Stronghold from Mountain Hardware.
It offers space for up to ten people and has a double dual canopy with a set of mesh doors, perimeter snow flaps and a very easy setup system so you don’t have to burn those all important calories after a full day’s travelling.