What Our Mushers Wear
From Head to Toe
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
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
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 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
- Kinco Pig Leather
- Another decent option. It is more difficult to do snaps,
but much warmer. When wet, they get slippery, soft and can
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
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
- 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
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
- 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