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The expedition tent is one of the most crucial pieces of equipment for the polar adventurer. It provides shelter, a safe haven when the weather turns nasty and a place where routine tasks such as repairs, feeding and sleeping take place. And in places like Antarctica where the katabatic winds can reach speeds in excess of 200mph and in the Arctic where temperatures can plummet to -50C it is also important to know how to erect your tent quickly - and ensure it stays up!

The tent should be part assembled. This means the poles (double the poles in Antarctica for extra strength) are already fitted into the tent sleeves, secured at one end and collapsed at the halfway point for ease of carriage. The tent can then be folded and carried in the top of a sledge ready to be erected quickly without struggling with threading poles in bad weather.

Once the tent is up dig snow to secure the snow valances on the base of the tent for extra security. Have these fitted by the tent manufacturer if they are not already on. There is no need for tent pegs, use your skis and sledges. This saves a few grams by not taking pegs. It is a good idea to secure each end guy line with an ice screw or axe for added security.

Another useful tip if you are traveling in Antarctica is for the team to get into the habit of ensuring one team always has hold of the tent from the moment it leaves the sledge until it is secured - teams have lost tents in the high winds before!




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