Never been in the sub arctic before?
MINI not been north of the 40th parallel?
Here's a basic (real basic) primer on what to bring.

                                   Be sure to see the
Cold Weather Clothing Page, too!

First, foremost, bring you and if you can, a significant other, family member, navigator, other warm body.  Although you'll be there with many other MINIs, and you can chat on the radio, the other person would be nice because we might get tired of talking to you on the radios. So this other is just as much for us as you. Plus, you'll need someone to take over the wheel when your eyes get tired.

Bring for MINI:

If you haven't been following MINI service recommendations, it would probably be a good time to. A fresh oil change with
synthetic oil (it might get to 40 below, without the wind chill) would be good. Also, make sure the antifreeze is current, mixed in the right portions for cold weather, and topped off. A bottle or two of anti-freeze windshield juice couldn't hurt.

Snow Tires. There has been some discussion on the boards about this. Snows, chains, both?  Snows should do the trick. Personally, I'm going to use Firstone WinterFire snows.  I am also bringing a spare in the boot (I have a Cooper S. Coopers, obviously, drag the spare with them) Winslow thought cans of tire fix would be a good idea and I imagine if we had a few in the group that would work.

A very good discussion of winter driving can be found at this page. Here too, Cold Weather Driving Tips by the USA Army Corps of Engineers. The first links seems to update, so check back.

I am also getting a
second eye hook from the tool kit and driving with them in place the whole trip. If I drive off, or need to pull someone, I don't want to have to start playing with metal on metal in cold weather. I think a winch or two in the group would be in order. I believe they are called come-a-longs. About $10 bucks in auto parts stores. I'll have along a set of tools should anyone need to borrow some, but others would be good too. I find the MINI tool kit woefully weak...

Electrics: A few pair of
jumper cables in the group would be good. MINI has me trained well and I don't own a pair, but I am sure 1-800 call MINI isn't coming to jump start us.  I did own a battery powered jump starter, but it has since developed legs.  And, if anyone knows of a good method to keep the engines warm over night (especially Saturday afternoon to Monday morning in Radisson), now is the time ti speak up.

Radios. It's a long trip. Also be sure to have extra batteries, or a cigarette adapter as these probably won't have a great life in the cold. Also, the 600 someodd Km of the James Bay road is entirely without cell phone service. There are payphones at several points along the way. (The up side, as mentioned previously, is that the police radios don't work there either. They do not cruise this stretch of road. Wink, wink)

Bring for MINI Driver:

Yeah, good luck. If you can get Minni Driver to be a MINI Driver
on this trip, I'm sure we can increase attendence.

Even so, for us more pedestrian MINI drivers:

Warm clothes. Severe winter warmth is different than Chicago or NYC winter warmth. Layering is the rule of thumb. Trap air and make air pockets. So, several sweaters, fleece layers and outter layers are warmer then the same thickness of one overcoat.  Plus, as you do activity, you can remove layers. We don't want to be chiseling you out of a sweat statue because your one overcoat froze. 

Importantly though, remember to be comfortable in what you bring. Make sure you can move. And remember your

And, don't worry about style. We don't care what you look like, you shouldn't either. Shop eBay and do a search for
Extreme Cold Weather. Look at the Army surplus stuff: N3B parkas, N1B boots, mitts with liners and fur, sleeping bags (maybe the hotel will sell out...) While Bush and Cheney don't seem to care if you get shot in the Middle East, they do care if you freeze to death at McMurdo. Go figure.

For a much more in depth, detail summary of specific pieces of warm clothing, please see the
Warm Clothing Page. Click the hyperlink.

d: Yes, we'll be stopping. But a) I don't speak French and would prefer to know what I am eating and b) It's a long way. I anticipate getting hungry between stops. I guess this would necesitate a cooler (warmer?)

Emergency Stuf
f: Sleeping bag, flash light, MORE warm layers, and common sense stuff. Ah, and read Jack London's To Build a Fire. On second thought, read it when you get back from the trip.

Personal Stuf
f: I'm bringing enough still cameras that I might need a small trailer. I don't shoot video, but I'm sure there will be cameras there. Also, remember batteries STOP in the cold. Bring extras, bring rechargers and learn how to use your still camera at a 60th of a second when all the electronics have froze. I have a Nikon F3 that I just bought a remote battery pack for, so I can keep it in my pocket and shoot. My Leicas will shoot at 1/50th second with no power at all (I just have to guess the exposure, not an easy task in snow.)  And, FILM. Lots of it. I imagine a roll of Kodak should be the price of a small car up there. Better to have too much and bring it home then not enough. If you shoot digital, bring that extra card.

You might want to contact the manufacturer of your camera and ask them specifically about extreme cold useExtreme cold weather use is very different than everyday use, and different too even than skiing-cold. Most will say you are SOL, and that your camera isn't going to work. However, Leica suggested keeping mine inside a parka, Nikon suggested NiCAD batteries for an F3 winder (NiCAD has a much lower threshold to cold) and Panasonic, maker of the digital, said leave it home. (Ok, I'm paraphrasing, but they were no help at all.)

Music: It's a long trip and there are many long stretches with no radio service. and I'm really afraid that what music we do get will be Cajan style accordian tunes. So unless you're into that, break out that favorite cd collection and bring it along. Might be a good time to treat yourself to the IceLINK and hook your iPod up the your MINI.
If you have any suggestions we might have forgotten, please email them to David

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