The New Spirit of Femininity: My Custom Expedition Jacket

In November 2022, I set out to become the youngest woman in history to ski solo to the South Pole. As I prepared for this daunting challenge, I knew that my clothing would be my first line of defense against the harsh Antarctic climate.

Words by Ambassador and world’s youngest woman to ski solo to the South Pole, Hedvig Hjertaker.

Antarctica is infamous for being the coldest, driest, and windiest place on Earth, so I needed clothing that was not only tough and durable but also tailored to my body. With a sled weighing over 100kg, I had to pack only the essentials.

A few months earlier, while crossing Greenland, I had fallen in love with the Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro jacket. I knew its wind-resistant qualities would make it perfect for Antarctica. Originally designed for climbing, this jacket had articulated elbows, reinforced shoulders, two large chest pockets, and high breathability. And let’s not forget the pink color!

But I also knew that Antarctica would demand even more from my clothing than Greenland. So I reached out to the designers and seamstresses at Norrona HQ for their expertise. Together, we custom-made the jacket to fit me perfectly. We added an extra piece of fabric to cover my hips and thighs, providing extra protection from the harsh cold. Storm flaps were also sewn over the zippers, preventing unwanted wind from entering and providing a backup solution in case the zipper froze or broke. Finally, we added a fur collar to the hood to provide extra protection to my head and collar.

What struck me the most about this jacket, however, was that it was designed specifically for my needs as a woman. In the world of expedition clothing, this is a rare occurrence. Most expedition clothing is unisex or designed for men, with little thought given to the unique needs of women’s bodies. This sends the wrong message to women who want to explore the outdoors and push their limits.

Why do women need their own specific adaptations in expedition clothing? Women tend to have narrower shoulders, wider hips, and longer torsos than men. Clothing designed for men can often be too loose in the shoulders, too tight in the hips, and too short in the torso for women. Additionally, women tend to have different temperature regulation needs than men and may require different insulation and ventilation features in their clothing.

That’s why I’m calling for a new spirit of femininity in expedition clothing. We need clothing that is tough, durable, and wind-resistant, yet also tailored to our bodies and our needs. My custom-made Norrona jacket proved that it was possible to have both. It was tough enough to withstand the harsh conditions of the Antarctic continent, yet still had the features that I needed to make it functional and comfortable. I believe it’s time for more companies to follow in Norrøna’s footsteps and create expedition gear that is designed for women’s bodies. As we continue to explore the world and push ourselves to new limits, we need gear that is up to the challenge. The new spirit of femininity is about embracing our strength, resilience, and determination and having gear that supports us in our pursuits. Whether we’re climbing a mountain, crossing a frozen tundra, or sailing across the ocean, we deserve clothing that is as tough and resilient as we are.

So let’s raise our voices and demand more from the outdoor industry. Let’s demand gear that is not only tough and durable but also tailored to our bodies and our needs. Let’s embrace the new spirit of femininity and show the world that we are just as capable of pushing ourselves to new limits as anyone else. Together, we can create a future where expedition gear is designed for all adventurers, regardless of their gender.

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