Sunday, January 15, 2012

10 degrees, what to wear

Yesterday I took dogs out on snow for the first time. I had to cancel all my dog sled tours as there was no good snow on my trails, but I made the long treck out the Kanc to Bear Notch Rd where 3 to 5 inches of snow lay. I met another musher who shared my sled, we took out his team together than mine.
Anyway, I thought it worth noting what I wore in these temperatures and how I felt. Also, please note that while the snow was nice there was no ability to set a snow hook and plenty of snowmachines whipping past all day.

I wore my Sorel caribou boots with one pair of wool socks from EMS. My feet were a little cold, but we did a lot of paddling to help the dogs so that kept my feet just fine. A note on socks, most socks do not work for me, my boots eat them and they end up around my toes. There are some wool socks at EMS that are a bit shorter and seem to have elastic knitted in, they fit snuggly and don't get eaten by boots.
On my legs I had expedition weight long underwear whci are essentially one sided fleace, fuzzy side in, thinner than jacket weight, super soft and stretchy. Over that I had insulated snow pants. On top I had two EMS brand zip-t shirts, which are fleece. Then a fleece jacket (mountain hardware), nothing special about this one. Collects lots of dog hair though. THEN my most useful and warm outer wear: a down jacket with a tough outer fabric. It is ugly, a strange almost digital pattern of grey and beige, almost looks like a dirty snow bank. It has a great hood and nice high neck with fleece to protect your chin.
On our way out with the first team we had the wicked wind in our faces and I was a little cold. I could feel the wind find the small gap in my armpit where I hadn't remembered to zip up the pit zip! I wished I had my neck warmer on so I could cover my chin and nose but was too lazt to get it from the bag right in front of me. That's the way it is sometimes when you are cold, it makes you not want to put any effort into getting warmer. My hands had simple fleece gloves which were not enough, my big wintergreen mitts were far away though, in the bag in front of my fellow sled driver. I need some sort of intermediate glove or mitten that is not such a big commitment. I love my wintergreen mitts but they are huge and take your hands out of play for any quick work with the dogs. They have a harness so you can throw them off and have them dangle at your side. You need a glove liner so that you are not all of a sudden bare skinned. That's why it is a big commitment to me...need to bust out glove liners. I don't know where any of mine are!

So, that's what I wore and how I felt. The day did warm up from the 10 or 11 degrees we started with, but it was back to 11 by the time we were done with the second team 6 hours later.
It was FINE, nothing froze off, and was 10 degrees and windy.
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