Clothing And Gear

Atypical Antarctic ensemble can weigh anywhere between 10 and 20 pounds. The parka is the most widely used single style of garment, typically of reindeer skin if you can afford it.

Parkas are fur-lined coats that fit snugly about the hips and have a flap under the crotch that buttons in front. The hood is deep and can protect the face somewhat from cold air, but additional protection is required if there is more than minimal wind. The armpits are cut very large so that it is easy to draw the arms inside the coat without unbuttoning it.

Pants are also fur lined, but are generally softer and not as thick as the parka coats, since the legs are less sensitive to cold.

Byrd states that reindeer hide is the best available material for the making of cold weather clothing. His 1929 expedition brought along the skins of fifty young reindeer for the purpose of making and repairing clothing and sleeping bags.

The ice of one's breath is the greatest source of frostbite aside from stiff wind. Masks and other protective gear can be devised to keep the rime of breath from the face . One popular mask has a funnel-like tube over the mouth which is used to expel the breath. Ice which forms on the tube can be brushed away with gloved hands and stays away from the face.

The feet are the most endangered part of the body. Moisture is the greatest source of danger. A recommended boot is the finnesko, entirely covered with fur. Several layers of felt are padded on the bottom, and over them is laid a matting of saennegrass (or siennagrass). This grass absorbs the perspiration and helps to keep the feet dry. When the shoe is removed the saennegrass can be lifted out, the rime brushed off, and the boot itself kept free of damp.

The problem of boots continues with sizing. Cold boots should be big enough to include three to five pairs of thick stockings, plus felt and saennegrass. Thus the boot must be taller and also have an extra-wide throat to admit the muffled foot. Byrd recommends men's boots be of U.S. size 14 at a minimum.

Arctic boots have thick rubber soles at least 0.5 inches thick and a reinforced heel. Pucker thongs at the back of the heel and up the rear can be used to adjust the boot to different thicknesses of socks.

Windproof garments (shirts, parkas, pants, mittens, socks, and sleeve protectors) are a necessary complement to the furs. Good ones can be made from aircraft silk and worn over the fur clothes to provide extra protection.

Sleeping bags are fur-lined, possibly of reindeer, and are covered with aircraft silk. They come in many styles. Reindeer again seems to be lightest and warmest, but apparently tends to shed and get up the nose. Roughly I in 20 people have an adverse reaction to reindeer fur, though this will rarely be more than an itchy nose and a need to sneeze when exposed to the shedding fur.

Each member of the Starkweather-Moore Expedition is provided the following items of cold-weather clothing. Final fittings and alterations of these items, where needed, will take place in New York prior to departure or on the voyage south. Each expedition member is expected to care for his or her own clothing, including the repair and/or replacement of items damaged over the summer. Materials and tools used for repairing damaged clothing items are carried in expedition stores.

The clothing listed below is primarily for work outside in the deep cold. When indoors, on a ship, or in huts and aircraft, any warm clothing will suffice. Expedition members are encouraged to bring along a good supply of their own clothing for this purpose. These garments are warmest when new. Clothing loses some of its warmth after it is washed, so wherever possible new garments should be used for extended sled journeys or outside excursions.

2 Parkas, fur-lined
2 Pants, fur-lined
4 Singlets, heavy cotton
4 Shirts, cotton or flannel
2 Underpants
6 Sweaters, woolen
4 Combination undersuits, flannel
3 Cardigans, woolen
6 Pr. mountaineer's stockings
18 Pr. heavy woolen socks
4 Pr. sleeping socks, felt
1 Pr. mukluks (slippers)
1 Pr. mountaineer's boots, leather
2 Pr. ski boots, leather
1 Pr. ski boots, felt

2 Pr. finnesko boots
1 Pr. crampons, for finnesko
2 Pr. boot soles, felt
2 Pr. gloves, woolen
1 Pr. gloves, kidskin
2 Pr. mittens, fur-lined leather
2 Pr. mitts, wolfskin
1 Waist belt, heavy leather
1 Harness belt, leather
1 Muffler, mohair or silk
2 Pr. trousers, windproof silk
1 Jumper, hooded, windproof silk
1 Hood, windproof silk
2 Pr. mitts, windproof silk
1 Jumper, hoodless, windproof silk

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License