You need your food and fuel plan spot on. This is your daily survival plan and without food and fuel and the right amount of it you wont last long.

There are lots of choices for cookers, but select one that uses liquid fuel and is easy to maintain and fairly robust. I always carry a small piece of plywood with screws attached to secure my cooker on. This 'cook board' gives you a stable platform for cooking on, prevents your cooker melting through the snow below and the screws stop it being knocked over. Other cooking equipment should include two large outdoor cooking pots (for melting snow), a pot handle, unbreakable plastic spoons to eat meals with, thermos mugs and some scrotchbrite to clean the pans after cooking - keeping everything clean and hygienic is important. A heat exchanger and windshield are useful for minimising fuel wastage when cooking.

The amount of fuel you will use depends on the temperature and altitude. I plan on 1 litre for two people per day and always carry a small emergency supply. Fuel should be carried in purpose made fuel bottles, stored at the rear of the sledge and away from food in case of spillages. I carry enough 0.7 litre bottles for one weeks useage and the remainder in5 litre containers. Every seven days you fill the small bottles up and can monitor fuel uesage. A useful is to get in the habit each morning, at each break and at the end of the day to quickly check fuel caps are secure and containers are stored upright. When refilling bottles always wear gloves as contact with the skin in extreme cold can cause frostbite - and do this away from any cookers that are on!

Food is the energy to keep your body going and a polar adventurer needs lots of energy to combat the extreme cold and heavy physical effort.

The optimum target is to have around 5,500 calories each day and to keep the weight of one days food below 1kg. This often means having a fat high content menu because there are more calories in 1gm of fat than for example protein.

Breakfast should be a quick simple affair, like a porridge and a couple of mugs of hot drink to rehydrate you for the day ahead. For during the day carry a 'snack pack' of nuts, chocolate and biscuits. And for the evening meal a full dehydrated meal with lots of fluids. As your journey extends it is handy to make up a bottle of juice for the evening when you start to wake due to dehydration.

Keeping yourself hydrated during the day is important. I drink two 1 litre flasks of fluid a day usually. Snow is melted in the evening and the flasks are filled with water and then reheated in the morning. You generally have more time in the evening for chores than the mornings. The flasks should be unbreakable ones and add a foam sleeve to extend the time that they stay warm for.

To reduce weight all your food should be pre-packaged before you start. I use zip lock bags to pack my foods .Finally, don't forget to pack some treats to celebrate your small success. On my journeys to the poles we always celebrate crossing each degree with cheese, chocolate and wobbly coffee!


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