While the Scott Expedition is pretty bare-bones in comparison to other modern Polar expeditions, that doesn't mean that Saunders and L'Herpiniere skimped on the gear. Between their sleds, skis, and clothing, each item on their packing list was carefully chosen for the expedition, and much of it is custom made.
"[The sleds] are made by a guy in Norway – there's very little commercial demand for a sled that can pull 440 pounds, ya know?," says Saunders. "The outer clothing is also custom made. It doesn't need to be waterproof – it's never going to rain down there – so we just need it to be windproof and breathable."
Their skis, arguably the most important piece of gear on the packing list, are one of the few items that can be off-the-rack. Made by Italy-based Ski Trab, they're designed with the newly popular sport of ski mountaineering in mind. "Ski-mountaineer racers need ultralight skis that are also ultra strong, so they're just perfect for us. In the past, we'd use quite traditional Norwegian skis – kind of long, thin, cross-country, backcountry touring skis. These are shorter, a little bit wider, and way lighter."
Once all the gear was in hand, the two explorers got to work making it game ready. And while they spent months trying to pack on fat, they needed to shave off every ounce possible from their gear. "We get really obsessed about saving weight," Saunders says. "The sleds and ski poles are carbon fiber, and the skis have carbon fiber in them. We have titanium spoons. We cut the labels out of our clothes. We cut the corners off the bag of food," Saunders says. "We even cut the handles off of our toothbrushes!"