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Safety tips

FolkehjelpaHead of security, Bjørn Breivik, speaking on safety with focus on a couple of things that might help you prepare for the fantastic and hard journey VAKE is - read it! And be safe on the Varanger Peninsula in March/april 2020. 


 Photo: Ingerid Jordal/VAKE

Varanger Arctic Kite Enduro, is a fantastic adventure, held in one of Europe’s last wilderness’. From the small fishing village Berlevåg, up to the mountains of Kongsfjord over the plateau back to the town of Vadsø before the teams once again head back up in the mountain towards the finish line of Europe’s most eastern point on mainland, Vardø.

The various conditions and terrain over huge distances without settlements, means that all teams must be self-sufficient and must rely on their own experience, physical condition and equipment. The weather changes abruptly from sunny days to full storm and back again to days without wind. The weather forecast in our area are guidelines; the actual weather might be something completely different.

Here we focus on a couple of tips that might help you prepare for the fantastic and hard journey VAKE is!

Fire Hazard and tents

When using mulifuel/omnifuel or gas stove burners in a tent, it is important to consider the risk of fire. Tents, sleeping bags and fuel are all a fire hazards in themselves, and when you are tired and cold after long days in the field, a small mistake could be disastrous. Therefore, it is important to train and be careful when using of burners in and around the tent.

Any use of burners in a tent will evolve carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless, and can, in a worst-case scenario, lead to unconsciousness or death. When melting snow and heating the tent, monoxide will occur because of incomplete combustion of fuel. It is therefore extremely important to ventilate well when using a saucepan or a frying pan, which prevents clean burning.

Mobile phones

We recommended that you use a "low tech" phone during the competition, as they often have longer battery life than smartphones. There will be power units at the manned checkpoints available to contestants to charge mobile phones (bring a charger). For foreign teams, we can offer Norwegian SIM cards (and phone numbers) for use during the competition – one for each team with a limited number of prepaid calls and texts.

However, we encourage you to also bring your smartphone if you have one, as we would be very happy to receive updates and pictures from you during the race. Note: There are areas on the Varanger Peninsula that has no cellular coverage. To gain coverage, we recommend you to seek higher points in the terrain.

Extra battery

During the competition, it is important to carry extra battery for GPS and battery packs / fast chargers for mobile phones. In cold weather, a modern GPS can last only 4 hours on normal batteries. To conserve battery power, it is important to turn the compass features off and keep the batteries warm. Lithium batteries last longer than alkaline, but are more expensive.

Signal pen (flares)

All teams must have a signal pen (flare). The flares should only be used in case of emergency. Teams observing flares fired, must abort the competition and help. Race staff should be contacted immediately with actual GPS position. You can bring your own or rent from us (some airlines will not allow flares onboard). Be sure to memorize the instruction how to operate the flares!

Crossing roads and power lines

All roadcrossings should be done with care. The teams decide if they want to kite or take down the kite when crossing the road. Be aware that there may be traffic while crossing. When crossing powerlines, be extremely careful. You are not allowed to kite under the power lines! To pass power lines, take down the kite at a safe distance. Carry the kite under the power line and relaunch at a good distance from the lines on the opposite side. Violation of the rule means disqualification. More on this in the Race Manual


During the competition, you will have to cross lakes, rivers and streams. In March/April, the ice is safe, and there are rarely water on the ice. Some rivers and streams may have areas of open water and must therefore be crossed with caution. Furthermore, we can mention that you can safely drink water from any streams and rivers, and melting snow.

First aid

All teams must be equipped with a proper first aid kit for the trip. We recommend that this include wound care equipment, painkillers, dressing aids and ointments for burns. All teams are encouraged to attend first aid courses to refresh their skills. During the competition, we have support by personnel from the Norwegian People's Aid and the Red Cross. Volunteer crew will also be equipped with first aid equipment.

Risk of avalanches

There is one area in the course that theoretically might have a risk of avalanche; Langdalen valley (right after the checkpoint Ragguvidda). We will have trained personnel to monitor the risk there every day up to the start of VAKE. Our avalanche expert will brief us of the condition. If needed, will also station trained personnel from the Norwegian People's Aid in the valley that monitor all teams passing. There will always be a risk for smaller avalanches on the rinks of rivers, streams etc., but these will hopefully be of a smaller scale.

Night kiting

As you might know, the midnight sun will not be up until mid-May, so you will be doing some night kiting (if you still have the strength after a long day) until sailing window closes. While performing night kiting you should be extremely cautious! After a long day it is easy to make mistakes, and when it becomes dark things happen fast. Bring good headlamps. 

Mandatory equipment

Pay close attention to the packing list. We will check mandatory equipment before start. Teams failing to present items on the list, will not be allowed to start. 



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