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It is possible to be comfortable in even the most extreme conditions. What follows is a list of clothing based on the layering system that has worked well for us. Layering allows adjustment to different temperatures and activity levels.

Clothing for Minnesota Mushing Adventures:

If you're coming to take a ride, dress warmly as you do for any northern, outdoor, winter activity.  Be sure to include boots, a hat and mittens; a scarf and sunglasses are nice additions.

If you're coming for a half or full day 'Mush Your Own' adventure, we suggest the following.  It's what we wear every day...

  • Wool Socks - 1 or 2 pair
  • Pac Boots rated for -40F or more.  We wear LaCrosse "Iceman", rated for -80F, all winter long and our feet are never cold.
  • Long Underwear (tops and bottoms) - 1, 2 or even 3 pair, layered one atop the other.  First, a lighter weight layer next to the skin to wick away moisture.  Then, either one or two layers of midweight insulation or one heavyweight layer.  All should be polypropylene, wool or a blend, not cotton which holds moisture.
  • Shirts and Sweaters - 2 or 3 layers. I like wool sweaters, wool shirts and fleece jackets.
  • Neck gaiter or scarf
  • Pants - wool, fleece or ski pants; wind shell pants to wear over wool or fleece pants
  • Parka or wind jacket
  • Hat - extra warm, to cover ears. Much body heat can be lost through an inadequately covered head
  • Gloves - one pair of inexpensive work gloves to use while harnessing and hooking up the dogs.  Pile/wool liners or lightweight ski gloves are other options
  • Mittens - well insulated - pile or wool with Gore-tex, nylon or leather shell
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
If you're coming for a multi-day trip in Minnesota, bring the above and add:
    • Wool Socks - one or two pair per day
    • An extra pair of liners for your boots
    • In-camp Footwear - something to get you out of your boots (mukluks with insulation, lightweight insulated boots, even tennis shoes)
    • Headlamp or flashlight
    • Washcloth and towel

Clothing for NWT Mushing Expeditions:

If you're joining us on a Northwest Territories expedition, we recommend bringing the following:
  • Wool Socks - 6 pair, to be worn 1-2 pair at a time
  • Pac Boots rated for -80F or more (LaCrosse "Iceman" or "Iceking" or Sorel "Glacier" are good). An extra pair of liners is necessary. 
  • In-camp Footwear - something to get you out of your boots (mukluks with insulation, lightweight insulated boots, even tennis shoes)
  • Long Underwear (tops and bottoms) - 3 pair. First, a lighter weight layer next to the skin to wick away moisture.   Then, either two layers of midweight insulation or one heavyweight layer.  All should be polypropylene, wool or a blend; avoid cotton as it holds moisture.
  • Shirts and Sweaters - 3 layers. I like wool sweaters, wool shirts and fleece pile jackets.
  • Wind Shell - Gore-tex or nylon jacket and pants
  • Pants - 2 pair heavy wool or expedition-weight fleece pile pants or insulated bibs
  • Parka - expedition weight, insulated with Thinsulate, goose down or comparable material. Length should be to mid-thigh so that you can sit in a snow bank. The hood should close up tightly underneath your chin and should provide a tunnel out in front of your face to warm the air before it gets to your skin. Without this tunnel, a face mask is imperative to protect from frostbite. An anorak (large roomy shell to go over several layers of insulation) can be used instead of a parka. Whatever outside shell you choose, roominess allowing for extra layers of insulation underneath will provide the flexibility needed for extreme conditions.
  • Hat - extra warm, insulated with ear flaps that tie under the chin. Much body heat can be lost through an inadequately covered head. 
  • Spare hats - a wool stocking cap makes a good spare; a lightweight hat or headband is often useful 
  • Gloves - 2 or 3 pair of inexpensive work gloves will be your favorites when you are feeding, watering or bedding down the dogs. Pile/wool liners or lightweight ski gloves are other options.
  • Mittens - 2 pair of well insulated mittens - pile or wool with Gore-tex, nylon or leather shell. The best mittens tighten at the wrist or above to seal out cold air and snow.
  • Sunglasses offering maximum protection; sunscreen
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Towel and washcloth 


Clothing and personal items should be packed in duffel bags, gym bags or backpacks.

This list is meant to serve as a guide. What is listed here has worked well for us in a variety of conditions - wind, wet and extreme cold. We are attempting to offer practical guidance so that you might incorporate clothing you already have as well as learn what you might purchase to give you the protection you will need. With much of our recommendations we offer two choices of materials - wool or synthetics such as polypropylene. Both have their advantages. Synthetics are lightweight, wick moisture away from the skin efficiently and dry out fast. But when wet we feel that synthetics lose much of their insulating ability. Wool is heavier and will hold moisture longer but maintains most of its insulating ability even when wet. Maybe we are old-fashioned but we like at least one layer of wool over every part of our bodies.

Please call if you have questions. We do carry emergency gear and can provide some items for you.

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© 1998, Arleigh Jorgenson Sled Dog Adventures
Updated 10/27/02