The harshest environment has little impact on this born leader!
General Manager, Adventurer and Motivator
5th Element Expeditions General Manager, Simon Goodburn has a heart and head for the wild. The harshest environment has little impact on this born leader. All who journey with him attest to his skills in even the most remote and challenging places.
Simon is an accomplished IKO-qualified, kite-boarding instructor with a crossing of the infamous Torres Strait under his belt. He’s led countless expeditions to the furthest corners of the world. His endurance skills and ability to retain a good sense of humour (even under pressure), make him an ideal expedition leader.
Simon has been part of the PURE Family for over a year now. We caught up with him to discuss the importance on equipping yourself with the correct gear. Hopefully those of you researching your options will find this article helpful. :)
There is a restlessness in humanity, a desire to explore, to push boundaries and discover new horizons. The very essence of polar travel and exploration is extreme; therefore it relies heavily on adequate preparation and equipment to ensure success without hindrance.
When it comes to simplicity and reliability, the whole of the 5th Element Expeditions Team are sticklers for quality. Therefore it was so refreshing to discover outerwear products that are made with not only quality but sustainability in mind. We could talk on all day about the importance of minimising your carbon footprint when entering pristine wilderness environments or about the frustrations of trusting gear that has only really been tested in blue-sky, resort-style conditions. We could discuss the tall order of combining maximal durability, flexibility, breathability, waterproofing and sustainability however, all we want to cover off on for now is the successful combination of comfort, durability and performance in PURE garments.
When considering the importance of comfortability, it’s not to be taken lightly. On expedition, good morale can be the difference between success, World Records and a sense of accomplishment or hardship, toil and failure. In the echoed words of some of the heroes of the Great Heroic Age, “any fool can be uncomfortable.” It is therefore of utmost importance you can use a garment, for example, that will keep you warm, flex with your body’s natural movements and provide minimal resistance to the enjoyment of day to day life. Having tried a whole bunch of high-tech, top-shelf gear, it’s still with great enthusiasm we can say that PURE is the most comfortable. The Sympatex fabrics they use are soft, flexible and breathable, leaving you feeling fresh when you need it the most. Not to mention they come in an array of colour combinations that covers just about the entire spectrum. Never underestimate the simple power of riding in your ‘lucky colours’ - if you look the part, most likely, you’ll feel it too!
Layering and Performance:
Layering and moisture management is a constant challenge when you get into super-cold conditions (-30ºC +.) The winning combination we’ve used most recently have been the ‘Everest’ shell jacket and ‘K2’ pant with primaloft fill (paired with the bib and brace system) for outer layers. For mid layers, we’ve been using the primaloft ultralight puffer jacket and merino thermals underneath. Having the option to add/remove layers quickly and easily is crucial when you go from periods of extreme heat/activity to inactivity/cold. To have a product capable of wicking moisture away from the body, inside the garment, yet remaining completely aqua phobic on the outer layer of the garment has been astounding. Particularly when trudging through wet-snow or after you’ve landed not-so-elegantly in the powder, there is nothing more uninviting than the idea of flailing around on your back, doused with flushes of snow in your jacket and or pants. Worse even, when snow sticks to your jacket, melts and seeps into your other layers, making you feel cold and miserable – all these sensations and emotions of frustration can be avoided using PURE gear. We’ve had our fair share of days fist-shaking and or yelling at the sky, after suffering gear-failure of all sorts. To be able to rely solely on your outer layers, is a basic necessity.
Flexibility is another huge perk of PURE products, producing garments that mould and move naturally with your body, whatever activity you might be involved with. More than a few times, we’ve used GoreTex garments that feel clunky and stiff, particularly when in extreme cold – to have something light and flexible has been refreshing to say the least.
We are renowned for putting gear through it’s paces, so to speak. Nothing quite like a long, unsupported journey in the polar regions to test out the wear and tear on your kit. On a long journey, you don’t tend to have the luxury of multiple sets of outer-wear – particularly when it means any additional weight you have, you need to tow behind you in a sled. PURE gear has well and truly survived the test of time, being dragged across rough ice, spending many days on hands and knees digging out tent pegs and vestibules, surviving fuel spillages, food spillages and constant UV damage. Every piece of kit has maintained it’s structural integrity, colour and flare.
Okay, talking about this couldn’t be helped! In recent research it has been discovered that the process of manufacturing and disposing of GoreTex produces nasty man-made chemicals called PFC’s that enter the atmosphere and never break down. (If you are hunting for more details, check out the Detox campaign by Greenpeace.) Thanks to the masterfully German-Engineered, Sympatex fabrics, (sounds similar to Goretex but like comparing apples and oranges, they are vastly different) PURE gear is all completely sustainably made and recyclable without the burden of nasty chemical byproducts. As eco-conscious technologies and social responsibility continues to develop, it’s exciting being able to know all the ins and outs of how your product came into existence and what effect it might be having on the environment you explore. Once you try out the gear for yourself, you know exactly what all the fuss is about.