Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park

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Dog Sled Ride Staff, 2013-2014

What Our Mushers Wear

From Head to Toe

Head
I'm somewhat of a hat collector, so I have a lot of choices on any given day. Important aspects of a good hat are:
  • Can cover your ears when you want to.
  • Wind resistant (a common theme to follow).

Possible hat solutions

Eyes
Goggles or glasses are required for every trip. It is nearly impossible to drive a sled safely with impaired vision, so make sure they are on at all times. I prefer wearing goggles since they greatly reduce the airflow over your eyes. When it gets warm enough wear my face sweats inside the goggles, then I switch to glasses.

Possible eye protection solutions

Neck
I don't wear a neck gaiter everyday, but on the really cold or cold and windy days it is a must. The kind with the built in nose vent are good for keeping your goggles free of fog.

Possible neck gaiter solutions

Torso, Layer 1
Layering is the way to go when you get down to the torso. It depends on your comfort level, but I always choose a mid-weight base layer.

Possible Layer 1 solutions

Torso, Layer 2
Long sleeved T-shirt is my goto here.
Torso, Layer 3
Fleece vest. This can be windstopper if you want, and then used as your last layer on a warmer day.

Possible Layer 3 solutions

Torso, Layer 4
Jacket. Windstopper fleece works well, or some other ski worthy jacket. Don't go too fancy, since it will likely get ripped a bit.

Possible Layer 4 solutions

Gloves
Gloves are difficult to get right. I have not found one glove that works all the time. I have a variety of gloves and pick the best for the situation. Sometimes I will even wear two different gloves at the same time (a more nimble glove on my right hand).
Atlas Therma Fit
The most versatile of the gloves that I use. It is good for handling the dogs, doing snaps, chores and driving. It fails at keeping your hands warm when really cold, or wet snowy conditions.
Kinco Pig Leather
Another decent option. It is more difficult to do snaps, but much warmer. When wet, they get slippery, soft and can tear easily.
Mitten
I use mittens on only the coldest days, and only when driving.

Possible Glove solutions

Lower Body, Layer 1
This depends on your comfort level, but I choose a mid-weight thermal as layer 1.

Possible Layer 1 solution

Lower Body, Layer 2
This layer takes a beating. Carhartts work pretty well, as do other heavy-weight denim pants. 12oz denim should be a minimum. My favorites are the Double Front, 15 oz, logger pants. They make an insulated version which is kind of soft, and you can skip the thermals. I don't wear fancy snow pants for this layer, because they get destroyed.

Possible Layer 2 solution

Socks
This choice is quite personal. My sock drawer has probably 30 pairs of socks. Some are good, some not so good. Here is what I have found works best:
  • At least as tall as your boot.
  • Tight enough that it doesn't slip down during the day.
  • Thick socks have a tendency to fall down.
  • SmartWool socks wear out too quickly. Almost everyone of mine develops a hole before any other brand.

Possible sock solutions

Boots
Another category like gloves where I don't think one boot is perfect. I've been using the Muck brand of boots recently. A drawback to the Muck boots is that sizing is whole sizes only. Right now I wear three different boots depending on the temperature.
Fall and Spring when the snow is not too deep
The Muck Camp boot is a nice easy on/off low cut boot. All of my socks are taller than the boot, so I don't have to worry about matching sock height. The tread on the bottom wears off quickly especially when driving, so the become quite slippery after a season. Not good for deeper snow.
Most winter days
The Muck Chore boot is good for colder weather, but not too cold. I use the tall version, and depending on the pant I have on, my pants can go inside or outside the boot. With pants on the outside, I can only wear the tallest of my socks. Muck boots are not very breathable, so for this type of boot, it is important to match the temperature to the boot, so that you don't get too much wetness from sweat.
The coldest winter days
For the coldest days I have an old pair of Cabelas Pack boots. I only wear these when it is really cold, because they have gaps where the material comes together (they wore out too soon) and any wetness makes my foot cold. They are also heavier, and when you walk as far as we do, the extra weight on your foot is noticeable. When these finally give up, I will switch to the Muck Arctic.

Possible boot solutions