Polar Expedition Food

Polar Expedition Food

Polar expedition food | freeze dried rations
Raft of freeze dried food

Expedition daily meal, consisting of 6,000 calories of fat-rich food:

  • Granola
  • Stick of butter (whole)
  • Whole fat powdered milk
  • 3 servings of cane sugar
  • 1 stick of butter eaten with the below, in addition to the stick of butter in the granola
  • Lara bar, various flavors
  • 1 full bar dark chocolate, 72%
  • Pro Bar, various flavors
  • Pecan sandy or shortbread cookies (5)
  • Shot Blocks
  • Almonds, various flavors
  • Freeze dried dinners, various types

Polar expedition food is a defining consideration for expeditions across Antarctica.  This is not a low fat diet. In fact, this is exactly the opposite of a low fat diet.

Below is a list of questions I have received about managing rations and planning cooking for skiing from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole, a distance of over 700 miles.

For your food planning, did you use Backpacker Pantry or Mountain House or some other polar expedition food for your “main” rations?

Polar expedition food | shopping cart of butter
Shopping cart full of butter

Mountain house for dinners, I don’t like backpacker pantry. I ordered them from a “survival” place in Florida I found online, as they had good a good discount. You’ll need to repackage them all once you arrive in Punta Arenas, as the packaging is very heavy. Please try eating them for 5 days straight for dinner. For polar expedition food, you really have to figure out what you like and don’t, you’ll suffer otherwise if you have meals you dislike.

Did you freight those down ahead of time?  Yes I did, I shipped it one month prior to arrival & it arrived 3 days ahead of me. I’d ship 6 weeks in advance, as many expeditions have had their food late. That was stressful.

What other calorie-dense foods did you find particularly useful?  My meaIs were: granola+Nido powdered milk+Real Sugar+ stick of butter + hot chocolate, Lara bar, Pro bar, Lindt dark chocolate bar, shortbread cookies, almonds+shot blocks, Mountain house dinner, tea. A bite of butter every break as well. I ended up disliking chocolate the most, everything else was pretty good in my polar expedition food rations.

I’m planning approximately 6,000 calories/day – did you use a similar approximation?  I took 2 sticks of butter (1 block Kerry Gold) to eat per day, giving me 1.1kg of food per day. For high-speed travel, you need to cut it down to 800-900 grams/day. It’ll make a big difference.

Polar expedition food | Expedition stove
Expedition stove

I’m using two XGK EX stoves with Primus ETA pots – what did you find most effective for fuel usage?  You’ll need a heat exchanger on your pot, you’ll want it as efficient as possible. You won’t need 2 pots. Be exceedingly careful about carbon monoxide.

Finally, did you take two Thermoses?  I brought one food thermos for food rehydration & one water for hot water in the morning. I would not take the water thermos next time, as I have always eaten cold cereal and though the warm water in the morning was nice & made making hot chocolate possible, I would not want to carry the weight again. That’s a tough one to decide, as every gram matters. As an example, I cut out every tag in my clothing for a 1/4 pound savings. It really adds up as a soloist. Getting the weight down of my polar expedition food is my next goal.