"More life, less stuff...but don't scrimp on having fun!"
1. As an Antarctic field guide, most employing companies tend to issue you with a waterproof ‘Expedition Team’ Goretex style jacket (outer shell) but, I feel the cold and I need a bit more insulation. Luckily I am a Brand Ambassador at The Shackleton Company! This is the ‘ENDURANCE’ Expedition jacket due to be launched in 2017 following further technical developments, but in essence, it is the tostiest jacket you’ll ever need to fight the cold.
2. Goretex saloppettes made by Gill are a must have for conducting Zodiac landings. Reasonably priced and hard-wearing. Without them, you’re gonna get more than just wet, you’re bones are gonna get soaked!
3. Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Shoes: They are super comfortable and support your feet perfectly when walking around ships and yachts which are “rockin n’ rollin”. You really need a comfortable pair of shoes as you will be on your feet most of the time walking from A to B, that’s what guides do.
4. JDC waterpoof bag. Excellent bag designed to keep all equipment inside bone dry. It was actually developed for motorcycle use but they are excellent in Zodiacs specially if it is raining or snowing. Brilliant bit of kit.
5. Dragon X2 ski goggles: These are a must have in the Polar Regions, 100% UV protection, polarized, and tinted. Protecting your eyes is crucial in Antarctica specially when the weather turns foul.
6. Ridiculously warm ‘Tom Crean’ style hat made from 100% British wool. You always need something to keep your head warm. The bright colours make you stand out from the crowd of other guides and zodiac drivers. You don’t want to look daft, hence the epic Tom Crean look is just perfect…plus it comes with a cool story!
7. Smartwool mountaineering socks are just amazing. I’ve worn these for years on all my expeditions and I won’t switch ever again. Only once I came across a sock which was similar but at soon as I washed them they shrank. Smartwool socks are super warm and hardwearing.
8. Sealskinz waterproof socks: Even if you wear waterpoof Muck Boots or Gum Boots (Wellingtons), you’re feet just have this tendency of getting wet because of the nature of the job. These socks can remedy that problem. Make sure you wear a thin warm sock underneath for insulation.
9. The Shackleton signature jumper made by the The Shackleton Company. This amazing piece of kit is the most underrated garment in the modern adventurers wardrobe. 100% wool made in Britain to the same pattern used by legendary explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. It beats fleece, some types of synthetic down and it looks pretty damn smart. Wool will keep you warm even when damp. I don’t travel to any wilderness without one.
10. Insulated ‘Atlas’ rubberised freezer glove. When you need a water-bomb proof glove to keep you hands warm and dry whilst driving a Zodiac, try a pair of these. And their best feature is their ridiculously low price.
11. Rab Guide gloves, you need these for when you go ashore. They have great dexterity and are perfect for working a DSLR in the cold. Make sure you wear a thin contact glove underneath for added insulation. The contact glove allows you to remove your hand from the main glove if you have do dal with any fiddly camera buttons.
12. Seaskinz Ultra Grip Gloves are the old-skool daddy of waterproof gloves. They’ve been around for years and you can buy bigger more insulated Sealskinz however, I find these perfect for boat handling in winter and sailing in summer.
13. Safety first, first aid last: This is my personal First Aid kit packed in a small Exped waterproof roll-up bag. Because of the remoteness of certain locations I like to be prepared in case of a medical emrgency…that’s the way I was trained in the Royal Navy. Inside this pack I keep a CAT torniquet, a packet of Celox granules, rubber gloves, a CPR face mask, alcohol wipes, a space blanket and an Israeli bandage. You never know what could happen out there.
14. These timeless Shackleton Crew Boots are the definition of hardwork. Designed in collaboration with Joseph Cheaney & Sons, one of England's oldest boot and shoemakers, the Crew boot combines a rich heritage, supreme craftsmanship and an epic tale of daring-do. Some men are judged by their deeds, others by their actions, a select few are judged by their shoes.
15. ESS Advancer V12 goggles: Originally made for the military they are brilliant in the polar regions thanks to the ‘advancing’ lenses which allow ventilation and filtration whilst preventing harmful UV radiation from entering the eyes.
16. Well, these are just for fun, and old pair of US civil war cinder goggles. If you want that Heroic Age of Polar Exploration photograph well, you have to wear the right attire and these goggles are perfect for portraits. Just place them on your head, don’t wear them over your eyes…just look right into the lense of the camera and make sure there are some icebergs in the background.
17. As an expedition field guide you sometimes need handy wildlife spotting guides and charts to help answer guest question. There are many types so find some that are pocket size and suitable to your lecturing subject or interests.
18. Books: good old fashioned books.As you may have already guessed, my subject of interest is Shackleton history. Remember that Antarctic touring attract people from as young as 10-12 years of age. Make sure you have some cool graphic novels available to help inspire them. Shackleton’s Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi and Shackleton: The Voyage of the James Caird by David Butler are awesome! Alternatively, you can buy e-books for your Kindle or iPad.
19. You need to know the history in order to understand the destination. There are hundreds of books about Antarctic history, I am particularly interested in Sir Ernest Shackleton, Adrien de Gerlache and whale hunting history. Find something that inspires you and share it with your guests.
20. Samsung Galaxy Tab is a very useful tool and life support machine. You can store a vast collection of historical images, sound recordings, audio books, etc. Very useful when you are ashore at an abandoned South Georgia whaling station and you wan to show a group of photographer what it looked like 80 years ago.
21. Headphones for the Galaxy Tab, don’t forget these. Spotify is what transforms this amazing device into a life support machine when you are off-watch relaxing in your cabin.
22. This my Productivity Planner, I sue this as a kind of diary in order to plan other projects, expeditions and business. Brilliant bit of kit. You can’t beat a goof notebook and a pen sometimes.
23. Neck Buffs: you’ll need a couple of these to keep the wind off your face otherwise you can standby for some epic wind burn! Make sure you have at bottle of factor 50+ sunblock in your kit, you’re gonna need it! Those sun rays reflecting off the water, ice and snow will soon sun burn your chin, earlobes, nostrils, lips, etc. Be prepared and if necessary cover up.
24. Kodak 3A Special FPK, self-erecting bellows camera. This was a state of the art camera back in 1914 when Frank Hurley set sail aboard the Endurance as expedition photographer. I like messing around with black and film.
25. GoPro 4 fitted to a GoPole: If you want to get some amazing underwater shots of icebergs, penguins and whales, you will need one of these or similar. There are many types of action action camera these days, just make sure you select one with good battery life, a descent waterproof case and a bouyant selfie stick…you don’t want to go swimming for it.
26. Killer whale rubber mode: because it looks cool on you desk and its always conversation starter when guests come up to speak to you.
27. Kodak VPK, self-erecting compact camera. Another old camera made in 1902, this one is a favourite and despite being 115 years old, it s my best workhorse. I restore old cameras such as these then develop the film onboard my ship, I can then show my guests the actual negative…it’s just a lot of fun taking a proper photo. Fun stuff.
28. Efke 127 roll film for the Kodak VPK. You can expose 8 images approximately business card size per roll.
29. Iridum Extreme satellite phone: Because I run an expedition business I need to speak to potential clients overseas without delay, the Extreme phone allows me that flexibility. You don’t need one as a guide but if you ever get one, you’ll realise straight away how usefull it can be. Not to mention that if you get stuck somewhere and you need help, it has a handy SOS button.
30. Ilford 120 roll film for the Kodak 3A special. This camera was adapted to take panoramic images as the original 122 film format is no longer available. You can expose 5 images per roll. This is the fun stuff.
31. Spare memory cards for DSLR. I carry 4x 32Gb cards and keep them in this protective pouch so they wont get lost.
32. Canon 70D DSLR: fitted with a 10-18mm wide angle lense. I’ve been using Canon cameras all my life and this one has to be the most reliable I’ve used in polar conditions.
33. Spare Canon lenses: 18-135mm for telephoto photography. Not Pictured: Canon 100-400mm for long distance wildlife photos.
34. Small lightweight tripod. The tripod pictured is made of aluminum which still quite heavy but, there are some amazing carbon fibre tripods out there. You’ll need one if you want to take long exposures or take some sharp landscape images. Just make sure you don’t turn up at the ship with a huge tripod…be conservative and think about what images you want.
35. Spare battery for Canon DSLR: Always pack a spare so you can have one on charge all the time. You simply can’t take enough pictures in Antarctica.
36. Three-pin plug adaptors. I keep a selection of flat blade and round pin adaptors together all the time. Make sure you have what you need for your dstination including your ship/sailing yacht. There are various types of plug adaptor.
37. Power leads, don’t forget to pack your cables. I forget all the time! Make sure you lay out your kit before you travel and make sure the cables work. If necessary pack spares. Many cables are USB compatible now so it might be worth considering a portable power supply in case you go off-grid.
38. Suunto Ambit 3 Saphire digital watch: This beauty has programmable GPS navigation, heart rate monitor, exercise counter, etc, etc…it’s a superb piece of kit. Get to know its features before you travel, the manual is big as an Edwardian novel.
39. Leatherman Skeletool: Handy piece of kit when you need to repair stuff, any stuff.
40. S-biners/Krabs: These little beauties are brilliant for hanging kit in your cabin, hotel bathroom, etc. As a Zodiac driver you’ll find it handy to have your VHF radio attached to your body. I dropped mine in the sea once and my colleague went in after it! Look after your kit by keeping it attached to your person and when it gets wet, hand it to dry. Easy! Make sure you also pack a couple of regular climbing Karabiners for attaching your waterproof bag to the Zodiac.
41. Envelope full of US Dollars: You never know when you’re gonna need some cash. Dollars are the international currency of the world, it makes it easy to negotiate 42. Passport: without this essential travel document you might as well book a bus ticket to the Polar Museum in Cambridge
43. Union Flag: it’s nice to wave the flag on certain occasions.
44. Business cards: because every meeting is a networking opportunity.
45. Tenacious Tape: for repairing waterproof bags, Goretex seams, tent flysheets, etc. When a client comes to you with a problem such as this, you’ll be one cool guide if you effect a repair on their kit. Always be prepared, it doesn’t take much.
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