Out with the old clothes, the velcro and open weave fabrics! That was the message of Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) clothing and equipment coordinator Damian Flynn, to the 2003–04 Heard Island expeditioners. Instead, expeditioners were equipped with a range of new, lightweight, purpose-designed clothing that provided warmth and comfort while minimising the risk of introducing seeds, soil and insects to the island.
Two of the new design features were light-weight Gore-Tex jackets with waterproof zippers, draw-string cuffs and rounded, capacious pockets for easy vacuuming; and gaiters made of cordura and canvas and fastened with buckles (zips and press studs are hard to manipulate in muddy, icy conditions).
A new tent, designed by One Planet in consultation with AAD staff, was also trialled by expeditioners. Based on the pyramid tents used since the earliest days of Antarctic exploration, the new tents were constructed of strong aluminium poles and waterproof, reinforced fabric that could withstand Heard Island’s strong winds (of up to 250 km/hr) and driving rain. The aerodynamic design minimised the noise of flapping fabric and the apex of the tents were constructed of radiator hose to increase flexibility and strength.