Watch: Camping on an ice shelf in Antarctica

I lay wrapped up in two sleeping bags, like a caterpillar in its cocoon, and laughed.

It was sub-zero and snowing at our campsite on the Ross Ice Shelf, near Scott Base, and I was sweating like I was in a sauna.

At a survival training session a few hours earlier, we'd been shown a photo of frostbitten toes, all black and horrifically disfigured and I had dressed for bed accordingly. Wool socks, full thermals and layer on top of layer to beat the cold.

This was Antarctic Field Training - or AFT - a rite of passage run by government agency Antarctica New Zealand to keep every new scientist and support worker safe on the ice.

I'd come as a journalist, a mere bystander to events, but tonight cameraman Bob Grieve and I were getting the full experience.  

Over the last few hours, we'd joined a small group of scientists as they set up an emergency tent on sea ice, built a shelter out of the snow and cooked dehydrated meals on an ice table.

Then it was time for bed, in the same kind of tent the early explorers had used a hundred years earlier.

Bob and I were lying 20 centimetres apart, staring at the sun through the canvas. It doesn't get dark in Antarctica in summer, and at midnight the tent looked more like it should be midday.

Taking inspiration from Scott and Shackleton before him, Bob blazed into new territory of his own, watching an episode of House of Cards on his iPad.

I'd resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't sleep. It was too bright inside and too cold outside. Using an environmental pee bottle inside the tent would be too traumatising.

But as I stripped back to my underwear, wrestling with this furnace of sleeping bags, I felt my eyes starting to close.

Cosy and warm as could be, in the coldest place on earth.

Tune in to Newshub Live at 6 on Three over the next two weeks to see stories from Thomas Mead and Bob Grieve as they join New Zealand researchers on the ice.