Frostskade 500 Race

Frostskade 500

The Frostskade 500 (frostbite 500) is a remote Polar Expedition race in the Arctic Circle travelling through Norway, Finland, and Sweden, and covering distances of 100, 250, or the full 500 miles. Cross-country skiing or running, competitors pull pulks containing all expedition equipment and--crucially--camp each night in temperatures as low as minus 40C.

Down Sleeping Bag Selection

In a race of this nature the sleeping bag is a complete backup/survival system should conditions or energy levels deteriorate, so a bag's warmth--as well as weight--is vital. We recommend the Hispar 1000 K and the Xero 1000 down sleeping bags. The Hispar is top of its class for lightness. The Xero is a bigger bag that will accommodate you whilst you are wearing expedition down clothing. The Xero sleeping bag has a down-filled gusset behind the half-length zip, and also has water-resistant fabric at the head and feet area. A third option is to consider the Xero 1000 filled with PHD's superb 950 down which raises the Typical Operating Temperature (TOT) to –42C.

The basic figures for the standard models:

S-bag TOT (Min Temp) Weight Packed size
Hght x Diam (cm)
C F gm oz
Hispar 1000 K -46 -51 1390 49 27 x 49 960
Xero 1000 -38 -36 1860 66 25 x 44 637

Additional points:

  1. TEMPERATURE RATING: Put simply these are the temperatures at which you should be able to get a night's sleep in normal circumstances. For fuller details about the TOT rating see this Technical Briefing.
  2. LINERS: To maintain your sleeping bag's performance a Vapour Barrier Liner (VBL) should be considered.
  3. CLOTHING: Down clothing is an excellent way to improve insulation by layering up while asleep. The Yukon Jacket or the Hispar Jacket are both ideal lightweight items to sleep in.
  4. DOWN OPTIONS: The Xero 1000 sleeping bags can also be filled with 950 fill power down (European scale). The same amount of down is put in but the TOT increases significantly.
  5. ZIPS: Full-length zips extend the use of these bags at different temperatures and altitudes. The full-length zip on the Xero bag has double down-filled baffles, replacing the down-filled gusset on the half-length zipped version.
  6. PACKED SIZE: PHD stuff sacs tend to be on the loose side. All these bags can be compressed further in your sac.

Figures for Down options:

S-bag TOT (Min Temp) Weight Packed size
Hght x Diam (cm)
C F gm oz
Xero 1000 (950 down) -42 -43 1860 66 25 x 44 728

Down Clothing selection

The two down jackets of real interest for the Frostskade 500 are the Yukon Jacket and the Hispar Jacket. Both are ultra lightweight. The Yukon is specifically designed for racers moving light. The Svalbard Jacket from our Design-Your-Own clothing website is also worth considering. The Svalbard can be customised as a very light racing jacket.

Other items to consider for your kit list are our Xero Mitts and Omega Mitts. The Xero mitts are very light, the Omegas more durable and taped for waterproofing. Likewise the Xero boots and Omega boots are extremely lightweight and useful at overnight stops. Minimus down trousers and Kappa trousers will add considerably to insulation at night time.

Clothing TOT (Min Temp) Weight Packed size
Hght x Diam (cm)
C F gm oz
Hispar Jacket -25 -13 710 25 20 x 34 468
Yukon Jacket -15 5 440 16 17 x 28 287
Yukon Pullover -15 5 415 15 17 x 28 282
Svalbard Jacket -25 -13 650 23 17 x 28 from: 400
Omega Mitts     240 8 13 x 21 124
Omega Boots     240 8 13 x 21 119
Xero Mitts     180 6 10 x 18 115
Minimus Trousers -5 23 230 8 10 x 18 177
Kappa Trousers -10 14 475 17 17 x 28 190
VBL     280 10 10 x 18 61