Black Friday Shopping For A South Pole Expedition

Posted 11/24/2017 by Chris Powell

The biggest shopping day of the year is upon us: Black Friday.

While it’s true - I’m not known to spend hours in stores searching for just the right shirt or tie - my shopping trip this past weekend was epic. So from me to all those Black Friday athletic shoppers: #respect. I am a true amateur.

As I prepare to meet up with the South Pole Energy Challenge, for which Commvault is the official data partner, I have been doing half marathons, weight training and pulling a sled on a neighborhood trail (my wife and kids hope no one recognizes me dragging the sled). But nothing prepared me for the grueling five-hour adventure I had at REI last Sunday. You read that correctly: I shopped at REI for five hours. Who knew I had it in me?

As you can imagine, the list of supplies for the Challenge is long. Here are only five:

  • Wool-based layers. Cotton is a fashion-don’t for a polar expedition, as it traps moisture, and that moisture freezes. Just because it’s insanely cold at the South Pole, it doesn’t mean I won’t be sweating. Wool is the recommended fabric to both keep you warm and also wick perspiration away from the body. Who knew?
  • Piles of socks and gloves. Thin, mid-weight, heavy. Am I embarrassed to say that it was well over an hour of sock and glove shopping? Um, yes, yes I am.
  • One unbreakable bowl, utensils and two water bottles – yup, those are important. By the way, the food is going to be provided by Patagonia. Should be pretty awesome - really.
  • Goggles. Two pairs with different lenses for different lighting conditions. (Although we are there in the peak of summer with nearly 24 hours of sun.)
  • Inflatable mattress and pad. Needs to weigh as little as possible (remember: they go on that sled I am dragging), as well as thick as possible (this is the most important layer between the ice and me).

At the end of the five hours, it’s official. I much prefer the idea of 10 hours on skis as part of the final 10-day push to the South Pole.

Chris Powell brings more than two decades of business acumen and management experience to Commvault as Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, and as executive sponsor for the company’s worldwide sustainability initiative.