Other medical conditions

Foot rash

Very common due to the vapor barriers. Prevent by powdering you feet every night.

Body rash

Occurs sometimes, generally on the buttocks or between thighs. Possible cause is synthetics in underwear or synthetic sleeping pads. Powder, change for a loose set of underwear and place some kind of barrier between you and the sleeping pad when out of sleeping bag.


Can enter due to muscle- and joint pain, stress, perpetual sunlight, and hard wind rattling the tent. Bring foam earplugs and eye covers similar to what the airlines give away. Weak sleeping pills and painkillers do help but could make you drowsy the next day.


Not as common as at high altitude, but still present especially at the end of a travel day. Hypothermia can enter when pushing long days in severe cold and high winds. First signs of hypothermia are shivering, weakness and depression. The symptoms persist even when moving and working hard. Another high risk of hypothermia is after falling in water.

Make camp fast, boil hot water for drinks and to toss into sleeping bags. Prevent by checking yourself on travel and add clothing in time, especially in windy conditions. Hypothermia can come on very rapidly and turn so debilitating that it becomes impossible to pitch camp. Even if you do manage to make camp, you'll be too weak to boil water. Just getting into a sleeping bag will not cure bad hypothermia. You'll fall to sleep and freeze to death right inside the bag. The bag only isolates your cold body, while you need to bring in heat to warm it up. You must drink hot liquid and get hot water bottles. Take your cooling off very seriously and act in time.

Snow blindness

Very common, especially in overcast conditions when navigation is difficult and sunglasses seem safe to remove. Red whites, a vague sensation of irritation in the eye and yellow residue from the eyes in the mornings are the initial signs. Always wear sunglasses or protective goggles. Severe snow blindness is very painful, and treated with eye drops. You should never allow it that far. Wear your sunglasses. Always.


See your dentist before the expedition, bring antibiotics and painkillers. Brush your teeth and floss – even on expedition!


Very common, especially in cold temperatures where fluid intake doesn't seem as important. Drink several liters on travel, and more in camp. Your performance will benefit strongly from hydration. Replenish lost body salt with added salt in food. We don't recommend sports drinks as they have been linked to depression.


Can enter with hard labor in clear, calm weather. Wear a hat and drink plenty.


Not deadly but your expedition is definitely over. Don't break a leg. Preventable especially by keeping an eye on your sled when it comes rushing down behind you whilst working your way through the ice ridges and rubble of the North Pole region.

Weight loss

Not necessarily as severe as the tales have it. Generally, weight is lost to what actually should be your healthy level at all times (a lean 18 year old), minus some five to ten pounds. The severe weight loss of polar explorers is often brought on by fattening up a bit too much before the expedition.

Bad weight loss however, can occur if your calorie intake is too low (below 2000 kcal your size depending). This kind of weight loss is dangerous as it can bring on severe fatigue and even fatal heart conditions similar to the final stages of Anorexia eating disorders. Make sure to bring 4000-5000 kcal daily and you'll fly.


No need to wash as the ice is a sterile area and the cold prevent bad odors. The outer layer of body fat is in addition good cold isolation. Bring one change of first layer clothing if you like but you won't need underwear. No need to shave although Amundsen swore by it.

Pee in pee bottles at night but empty them out instantly or they'll freeze. Ladies should use Freschette both on travel and at night. Very convenient as it allows standing up with the boys..:) No special rules apply to female monthly conditions, except that you can expect to be sluggish the week prior, but energized by it's arrival as your estrogen levels will drop sharply at this point.