By: randosteve|Posted on: October 28, 2009|Posted in: Antartica, Gear, South America, Trip Planning | 12 comments

I’m headed to the east coast for Gore-Tex camp today and I figure this will be the last gear list update before I head back to Jackson and then jump on a plane (or five) on Sunday to head southward to Antarctica and then on to Aconcagua. My mind has been racing and no matter how hard I try, there always seems to be way too many things to do at the last minute. Sheez!


brunton-solo-75-and-solaris-12-are-smallAnyway, I just received a Brunton Solaris 12 Solar Panel and Solo 7.5 Power Storage device that I’m trying to get dialed in. If I have it figured out right, it seems like it’s really nice to have car chargers or car charger adaptors for all your devices to allow things to work best. Unfortunately, I fried my iPod not really getting the connections right, so cha-ching…a few more bucks down the drain, including expedited shipping to get a new one here on time. I’m not sure if I will use all these gadgets on this trip, but the plan is to at least use them for charging a satellite phone and mp3 players.

Without the vestibule, the HiLight is only 2lbs 10oz…adds 1lb the vestibule.

hilight-and-vestible-pack-up-smallOur tent situation seems to be still up in the air, but one things for sure is that we will need two or three tents for up high on Aconcagua. And since the air is thin and windy, strong and lightweight options are best. Black Diamond makes some nice superlight mountaineering tents and I was torn between the Firstlight and the HiLight, two person tents. In the end I opted for black-diamond-hilight-tentthe HiLight, since the 1oz difference seems negligible and the third pole helps it hold up better in wind and heavy snow loading. I went with the optional vestibule also, which offers more useable space than many others. Since the tent is made with siliconized nylon, which can’t be seam taped, I had to seam seal the HiLight, which took about 2 hours. Packs up wicked small!

The MSR Dragonfly packs up small, burns like a jet engine an simmers with ease.

coffee-press-for-jetboil-pcsFor stoves, we are bringing a combination of MSR XGKs, DragonFlys and Jetboil PCS kits. One Jetboil will mainly be used for making coffee, since the coffee-press accessory works killer and melting snow 2 cups at a time isn’t my idea of fun…at least for a group of five. The XGK no doubt will be the work horse and is known as THE stove to have on expeditions. It claims to boil a liter of water in 3.5 minutes using white gas (2.8 with kerosene) and is compatible with multiple different fuels…including diesel fuel. Although expect to have more clogging issues with all stoves when using less refined fuels. The DragonFly also burns multiple types of fuels and rounds out the arsenal. I own one of these puppies and with the shaker jet, big pot supports, total flame control, pack-ability, it is my favorite liquid fuel stove and burns nearly as hot as the XGK.

I’d say Santiago is pretty close to Aconcagua for the sunrise/sunset
feature, and I’m not sure if the sun will ever set in Antarctica while we’re there.

I’ve got a few altimeter watches to choose from, but by far, the CORE is the mother of all altimeter watches if you are going to be in the mountains. It tracks altitude and barometer, and has a compass, much like other ABC watches, but also has a storm alarm that give you a heads suunto-core-storm-alarm-onup of quickly approaching bad weather. The CORE also tracks total vertical, in addition to having a start from zero function that helps you get back to camp with having to remember at what altitude you started from. And since I’ll be in places that I have no idea what time the sun rises and sets, the sunrise/sunset feature with pre-programmed locations will help me keep my bearings. What’s the declination for the Antarctic Peninsula and Aconcagua again?

New Fruition Probars some in five flavors and are taaAAasty!

Last but not least, and I hope I have room enough to bring plenty of these, ProBar has recently released a new product called Fruition…and just in time since I’m starting to have Probars growing out of my ears. Kind of like Lara Bars, Fruition Bars are smaller and a bit “wetter” than traditional ProBars, which makes them easier to eat…as well as finish. I was involved with a test run of Fruition bars and know they will be a hit. They come in four flavors strawberry, blueberry, peach and cran-raspberry…which is probably my favorite since I always used to like raspberry fig newtons when I as a kid.