Chief Science Correspondent
Any person who ventures onto one of the U.S. Antarctic research stations - marine technicians, cooks, and scientists alike - will be issued a large duffel bag full of clothing and gear designed to protect the wearer against the extreme temperatures of the most remote continent on Earth.
The Extreme Cold Weather gear issue is mandatory; participants are provided with boots, insulated pants, fleeces, a hat, gloves, a neck gaiter, goggles, and the famous “Big Red” parka. These items can vary based on both job description as well as the research station itself, as the weather conditions vary greatly between the three U.S. stations: Palmer, McMurdo and South Pole.
When I deployed to Palmer Station last April I was issued the standard set of gear along with a few extra items designed for fishing. While few people will use every item, many of the items I was issued were critical during this experience. My steel toe Xtratuf boots, for example, served as my most prized footwear for nearly three months.