"Things break a lot more frequently in the cold," explorer Eric Larsen says. So be prepared to improvise, and pack a winter-specific triage kit to handle any gear mishaps. Larsen's polar-approved kit includes:
>> A sturdy needle and a spool of dental floss (waxed threads easily). This tough material is great for sewing patches.
>> Pipe clamp (for fixing poles)
>> Duct tape. Wrap a few feet's worth around fuel bottles, ski poles, or water bottles. Black-colored tape helps you melt water passively.
>> Thin bailing wire (for lashing things together and fixing stoves and sleds)
>> Several nuts, bolts, and screws for big repairs, such as with sleds and harnesses
>> A good multitool with pliers
>> One-square-foot each of thin fleece and nylon for repairs. "I'm always fixing mittens, tent, clothes," says Larsen, "either from general wear or burn holes. On my North Pole trip, I made a special pocket in my baselayer to hold Clif Bars next to my body."