Expedition Types

Four expedition types

Individual expeditionsExpeditions and mountains

Individual or solo expeditions are done by only one person that goes to explore. The person may need help in the process of preparation like setting up equipment, but the actual expedition has to be done only by one person for expedition to fall in this category.

There is a famous British explorer Ben Saunders that went on polar expeditions and covered more than 3000 miles skiing. He is a third in a history to reach North Pole alone and on foot.

In April 2003 Ben Saunders successfully completed a 240 kilometre solo trip to the North Pole from the temporary Russian ice station – Barneo.

Ben Sanders is self-funded explorer. He chose Polar Regions, because there are not so many people that explored it or done expeditions there, so his aims was to explore and achieve world record for the longest human-powered polar journey in history (2,888 km).

Educational Expeditions

Educational expeditions are mostly run by schools, colleges, universities, army cadets and clubs. This type of expedition is mostly done in groups, but can also be solo (individual). The main purpose of educational expeditions is to gain knowledge and experience. Can also be an experimental or practical activities involving expedition.

In May 2014 Barking and Dagenham College Uniformed Public Service students went to educational trip to Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales. The main purpose of the expedition was to gain experience, knowledge, overcome fears and to get to know their group and themselves better. The expedition was educational, because students had a chance to try and experience everything by themselves. They had opportunity to display their land navigation skills and lead the hiking group to the camping area. Students got wet, dirty and cold. They were put under pressure at some activities and had experienced a bit of what is it like to work in Uniformed Public Service.

The particular location was chosen, because it included variety of related activities that can challenge student abilities and also the place with outstanding natural environment.

Corporate Expeditions

Corporate types of expeditions are often sponsored by organisations or companies. This type of expeditions happens with group of people. Main purpose for it is team building and team cohesion. Companies wants their workers to spend time outside work environment to create better relationship between the team by that being more productive and displaying more teamwork when they get back to work. This type of expeditions can also be run for charity and raise money for organisations like Help for Heroes. It can be one day or multi-day corporate expedition. The locations can vary dependant on the company and the goals they want to achieve.

60 Virgin Atlantic staff set off from London Heathrow to fly to Nairobi in March 2010 to complete the challenge of climbing Mount Kenya. The expedition involved a climb up to the 5000 metre summit. The purpose of expedition was to raise money for Virgin Atlantic’s charity village appeal and to develop cohesion between staff members. They raised nearly £200,000 to fund the building of classrooms and provision of textbooks, school kits, desks, chairs and blackboards. It was multi-day expedition and the location was chosen, because the mountain is famous and there is a near village that needs charity support.

 Military Expeditions

Military type of expeditions can include campaigns in different countries to achieve specific objectives. It can be one day or multi day expedition – it is dependent on the operation that soldiers are executing. The purpose of military expeditions can be training, humanitarian aid, rescue, exploration, setting up a military base or any other reasons related with geopolitical movements, country security and United Nations. These expeditions’ are run in groups of soldiers and gives soldiers needed experience to become more professional and more used to the difficult environment they have to work in. Military expeditions can include special equipment that soldiers don’t have opportunity to use every day, so these expeditions for them are very important. So they become better, stronger and more effective in the actual conflicts.

The British Services Antarctic Expedition 2012 is the first joint expedition mounted to the ‘mainland’ of the Antarctic Peninsula by the British Armed Forces. The team consisted of 24 members of British Armed Forces. The purpose of this expedition was to explore and maintain the long tradition of Armed Forces involvement in polar region exploration. Amongst that they also had a goal to raise money for Help for Heroes charity. Peninsula Arm of Antarctica is an area that suffers from global warming more than other polar regions. It was a multi-day expedition that duration was about three weeks.


Okay, okay I get it, so what expedition should I take?

Because there are many different expeditions that you could take and many different locations that you could visit it can be quite hard to choose your expedition. But there are some factors that can make your decision easier and we will help you to point some of the main ones by comparing different expeditions that were done by other people.

Ben Saunders polar expedition in 2003 and The British Services Antarctic Expedition in 2012

These both expeditions were done in similar locations (which was international) or what you can call similar environment (which is cold polar weather and snow) including the potential dangers like being attacked by polar bear or freeze to death. And both expeditions have been more than one day of duration – which means that they had to carry equipment needed to survive for that period of time. Food, water, shelter and energy source to cook food like gas tank. They are the major pieces of equipment that you cannot live long without in polar conditions. As all of the expeditions can be dangerous – these both expeditions share a similar level of danger.

Both expeditions used different forms of travelling. The Army men did hiking and Ben Saunders was using skis in their expeditions, by that making the equipment and skill set slightly different. Ben needed skies and special skiing clothing that would also protect his face and eyes. Different form of travelling also made the speed and the distance travelled different. Ben Saunders made way longer distance than the Army med did on foot, because he could reach more speed. Army men were funded by the military – the travel, equipment, food etc. and Ben Saunders expedition was mostly funded by himself. The aims were also different, because Army men had team building and raising money for charity organization aim while Ben’s main aim was to explore and achieve the record.

To do military expedition with the Army men you would need to join the service, but if you don’t want to serve in army then only choice would be to go alone or gather a group of people that would want to go to polar region. Also you should consider the funding, because travel to polar region and the equipment needed costs a lot. You could also find a club like http://www.arcticclub.org.uk/ that goes to polar expeditions from time to time.

BDC UPS Expedition in Wales and Virgin Atlantic staff to Nairobi Mountain Kenya

Both expeditions were group/team based and they were-multi day. Some of the aims were also the same like building team cohesion and challenging their abilities, but the rest of them are different. The Public Services students had lots of different activities, but one of them was similar which was hiking. This was the form of which Virgin Atlantic staff did their expedition in Nairobi.

Public service students had their expedition located in regionally as Virgin Atlantic staff had to fly long distance and their location for expedition was international. Aims was quite different, because students were doing the expedition to gain experience, knowledge and have a technical learning outcome of the expedition as Virgin Atlantic staff done it also for learning, but it was not such as technical learning that was related to their job but an experience of the wild. They also did it to raise money for charity. Virgin’s expedition was funded by the company and student expedition was self-funded. Student expedition was also quite different, because it involved more than one activity as Virgin’s team did only hike.

Both expeditions sounds very tempting, but the major difference is the location that you need to consider, because it will determine the majority of overall price for travel if you are not funded by major corporation. Wales are way easier to reach than Kenya, take less time and can offer even more fun.

Sources of information that supports claims been used from: