Here's the gear I'm using, because, well, it matters.  Plus, I really wish I'd had a list like this when I first started, so here's one for anybody out there thinking of doing the same wild thing I'm doing this year! And, mushers, please feel free to add your own recommendations for gear!

Princeton Tec Apex

What the manufacturer says: Waterproof LED. Up to 130 lumens of output, with 4 light levels. LEDs BURN TIME 200 Hours. Takes 4 AA Alkaline, Lithium or NiHM Rechargeable. WEIGHT is 279g.

Note: Since I work fulltime, most of the of training has to happen early in the morning, before the sun rises. While it's dark outside, I need to get the lines ready for the dogs, put harnesses on them, and hook them up to the lines. I've tried to scrimp by for years with less-than-optimum headlamps that don't really give me good visibility. It was time to upgrade!

Giro Grove (for women)

What the manufacturers say:  Polycarbonate hard shell. Fit system allows wearer to dial in the exact fit. 14 vents for cooling, including 8 forward and 6 in the back. Themostat control operated by a slider that opens and controls 10 of the Grove’s 14 vents. Plus liners are removable for washing. Plush earmuffs. Snap-closed goggle retainer.

Note: I had a severe concussion a couple years ago. I was one block away from my house, walking the dogs, when I slipped on some black ice and crash-landed on the sidewalk. That put me out of commission for 2 months. I can only imagine the result of colliding with a tree or some other hard object while flying along backwoods trails behind 6 fast sled dogs. So, while it's not standard mushing gear, I'm going to be happily sporting this nifty snowboard helmet.

Spiderco Rescue 79mm

What the manufacturer says:
Lightweight, compact knife designed for emergency/rescue workers. Designed to be readily accessible and to safely cut near people in high intensity situations. The blade is a sheepfoot style blade with a flat saber-grind of VG-10 stainless steel. Blade measures 3". Measures 4" closed and weighs 2.3 oz. Includes a reversible tip-up pocket clip.

Note: You just never know what situation you'll end up in, so this is a one-handed knife (though I'm still figuring out exactly how to do that. 

Carhartt's Class 3 Waterproof Jacket

What the manufacturer says:  Made of 600 denier, 100% polyester shell with a water-repellent finish. Fully taped seams, interior stretch polyester storm cuffs, waterproof zipper closures, and storm flaps. Right chest map pocket with waterproof zipper closure, two hand pockets with zipper closures, and two interior pockets with hook and loop closures. 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective material throughout.

Note: When I'm training with team before the sun rises or running at night or in really bad weather, I shouldn't be missed with this bad boy on! And, I sure ought to stay dry.


According to Cabela's: The same parka Cabela's provides to race officials in the Iditarod sled dog race. Supplex®/WindStopper® outer. 200-gram Thermolite® Micro®. Removable fur ruff around the three-piece adjustable hood.

Note: Absolutely THE best jacket I have ever worn in Minnesota. Just ask my husband -- who ribs me nonstop for my crazy assortment of coats, which he shamed me last year into winnowing down. I got an incredible deal on this jacket during a 40% off sale and using a new customer coupon. First time I'd ever purchased anything from Cabela's. I had no idea how lucky I was!


  1. Kathleen, I will send some online links, where we found the great deals...that helps a musher afford the best gear!

  2. KKB--you need to add a photo of your neat fur mittens... :-)