Gearing up for Antarctica

By David Lubbers · October 29, 2010 

Much of our preparations for Antarctica surround a single problem: there is a pronounced lack of grocery and hardware stores in Antarctica. As such, we need to take everything with us that we might possibly need. As a backpacker I am used to being out of touch with supplies, but it is a new experience to anticipate our needs in such a remote place, amid severe weather, and for such a long stretch.

To make sure we are prepared, we have been brainstorming anything we might possibly need so we can have it on hand. As such we have generated a very long list, and have purchased a lot of gear.  This has posed a unique problem for us, as it is not trivial to ship hundreds of pounds of gear to Antarctica.  In fact, when all was said and done we had three full crates of equipment.  We packed very carefully to fit everything in, and shipped the crates off last week.  I have attached a picture of the crates being packed. All in all it felt like we were playing the most chaotic and important game of Tetris we had ever played.  Just following this picture, we said goodbye to our shipping crates, and with them the possibility of adding anything major to our supplies list.

Packing Shipping CratesPacking shipping crates in preparation for our Antarctica excursion

A funny thing happened on the evening our crates left.  As I was going through my backpack I came across a pack of resistors and capacitors that should have gone into the crate.  They were still wrapped in the store bag they came in, and unfortunately I distinctly remember giving a store bag to Dr. Golden to pack.  I wonder what I accidentally shipped to Antarctica in place of these resistors and capacitors?  I am certain I had no food in my bag, so I am actually really excited to unpack our crate and discover the mystery bag that made such a long, and unnecessary trip.

Even now that our crates have left, we still are thinking of things we may need, and trying to figure out what is important enough to go into our carry-on luggage.  Our shipping company did not allow us to ship batteries in our crates, so all of the batteries we will be taking have to go into our carry on luggage.  We also have several hand-held meters that we chose to take with us so we could have additional testing time in the freezer.  With batteries, meters, and clothing, we are quickly running out of space in our luggage for additional necessities.  Even so, for the short term I will spend a little time each day asking myself what I have forgotten, whether I can live without it, and if not how it will possibly fit in my luggage.

About the author

David Lubbers
I am an undergraduate student in the Electrical Engineering department. I am currently working on my senior project, which will take me to Antarctica. I am very excited for this trip, and thankful for the University of Utah for helping make it happen!
This blog was originally posted at http://www.redthread.utah.edu
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