Today I found out that the current temperature at the South Pole Station (where I'll be going) is about -40F with a windchill of about -70F. Yep, that's some bone-chilling, unbelievably freezing, what-did-I-get-myself-into cold.

    Fortunately, I will be issued Extreme Cold Weather (ECW(abbreviation) Extreme Cold Weather clothing) gear, a head-to-toe outfit from the United States Antarctic Program (USAP(abbreviation) United States Antarctic Program) to keep me warm while I'm down there.

    Full Gear Thumbs Up
    Had to take the ECW gear outside to test it out. Very toasty!

    In case you can't tell, I'm wearing boots, snow pants, a jacket, two gloves, goggles to protect my eyes, a scarf, two hats, and a hood attached to the jacket that pulls over the hats.

    Of course, putting all of this on is quite a production. Take a look at this video filmed at 2 normal speed:

    The boots are particularly interesting. They're commonly referred to as "bunny boots."

    Bunny Boots
    Bunny boots!

    But why are they called bunny boots? Poking around online, I actually found two types of cold-weather boots - Mickey Mouse boots, rated for cold weather down to -20F, and bunny boots, rated down to -65F.

    The origin of the name may have come from the fact that you really do look a bit like Bugs Bunny when wearing these boots. Or perhaps from the snowshoe hare, an Alaskan native whose body (and feet) turn from brown to white to help them blend in with their winter surroundings. Whatever the origin, I'm sure I'll be quite happy to stick my feet in some cozy bunny boots while I'm researching in Antarctica.


    Dominique Richardson

    Awesome! I learned something new about the EWC gear. Looks like you're having lots of fun at orientation. I'm looking forward to following your journals and seeing your headstand at the South Pole!

    Lucy Coleman

    I've never been sure why they are called "bunny boots" either, but I sure am glad to meet you and look forward to following your expedition!