Expedition Planning Checklist


IPGA considers the following items to be mandatory when planning a polar expedition. Use this resource during your planning and prior to departure. Contact IPGA if you have any questions or concerns about your expedition or its planning.


  • Is every person in your team capable of undertaking the physical, mental and emotional aspects of your proposed expedition?
  • If you are being guided on your expedition, does your guide have relevant experience ie. planning and guiding skills, knowledge of the area and ice/weather conditions?


  • Has the route been attempted before?
  • If so, have you consulted with people who have relevant and current experience and data?
  • If not, do you have current information on conditions in your proposed area?
  • Is the route feasible within the available window of travel?
  • Does your equation of distance : time window : food : stove fuel, add up?


  • Are you carrying appropriate and polar-proven equipment for the route and conditions?
  • Have you consulted with others on the appropriateness of your equipment?
  • Are you carrying equipment to deal with hazards specific to your route ie. thin ice, crevasses, polar bears, extreme cold?
  • Is someone in your team skilled in the use of this equipment and has the equipment been tested prior to departure?
  • Are you carrying adequate spare and repair items?


  • Do you know the energy required (in calories or kilojoules) per person for your proposed conditions, duration, workload, gender?
  • Have you considered the daily stove fuel burn rate per person/tent?


  • Are you carrying reliable communications in the event of an emergency ie. satellite telephone with active SIM, registered tracking and/or emergency beacon?
  • Do you have a reliable power source for the duration of the expedition ie spare batteries, solar or wind power?
  • Do you have a list of emergency numbers readily available if required?
  • Do you have redundancy in your communications ie. backup phone?
  • Do you have a reliable GPS and backup to communicate your position?
  • Do you have an emergency plan ie. under what circumstances will you call for help, who will you call first, support team liaison, insurer contacts?
  • Do you have an adequate medical kit and are you familiar with all contents?
  • Are you or someone in your team wilderness first-aid trained?

Environmental Impact

  • Have you considered the detrimental environmental impacts of your expedition? 
  • If going to Antarctica, have you completed an Advanced Notification and Environmental Impact Assessment and been issued a permit?
  • How will you manage your rubbish and human waste?
  • Have you considered the impact of your expedition on towns, bases or other communities that you will pass through?
  • Are you required to contact people in these towns, bases or communities?