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24 April, 2003

What to bring on a month long trip to a polar region?

The time is drawing near and I have yet to fully pack my bags. I have 'stuff' spread across my basement floor trying to decide if it is worth bringing along. From my pictures you know that I have no need for many hair products so the curling iron, hair dryer and gel can be left back at home for better days to come! As more gear accumulated on the floor I would often walk down stairs and just stare thinking that some things may miraculously disappear or put themselves into the correct bag. Not the case. I decided to go about packing in a more scientific process using the ideas of the scientific method:

Problem: What do I bring to Greenland that will keep me comfortable and alive?

To accomplished this I went through a classification process. First I placed all of the things I know I would need into one pile. I then sorted that pile into layer groups. One pile of long underwear, one of socks, extra batteries, technology equipment, etc. Anything that was left over was then put into a "maybe" pile. This included tanning oils and Bermuda shorts.

Hypothesis: It may be better to take more than not enough!

Experiment and Observations:

As the process nears completion I have two bags: one large duffel bag that I will take onto the ice sheet. This has more of the layered clothing that I will need to keep warm and comfortable: different types of long underwear, glacier glasses, mittens, boots, toiletry items including sunscreen, lip balm and wet wipes. I stole a few packs from my sons to use to wash my body with. I may be the only person in Greenland who smells 'baby fresh'! The second bag is a backpack that will be left in Kangerlussuaq. In this I will keep more comfortable clothing to use when we are back at the base. I also have items that I can use if we have an extra day to do some hiking in the region.

The experiment will continue as I spend my days on the ice of Greenland's ice sheet.


We will find out if I come home with ten toes and fingers and the research collection was a success.

Anyone who says that packing is not a part of science has not gone through what I have just done.

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