It is true that dog mushing in the arctic is an intrinsically cold natured sport.
The fact that snow, ice and frigid temperatures heighten the adventure, might lead one to believe, that we are miserably cold all of the time.
Allen at the CB 300 in January 2010
But.... we are not.
How is that possible?
Allen has worn Northern Outfitters gear through out his entire racing career. He really couldn't do what he does with out it. He is a "warm bodied" person but, when working on a dog sled he perspires a lot.
Most clothing fabrics will soak up this moisture and suck the heat away from his core. If this happened continually, it would be impossible for him to stay warm. So, a 1,000 mile dog sled race would be inconceivable. The Vaetrex technology used in the Northern Outfitters products actually allow him to race.
He wears a Vaetrex pant liner and top liner (in place of long underwear.) The liners have an insulating loft made of closed cell foam. This insulation layer keeps his body heat in and draws the body moisture out. There are varying degrees of thickness for these insulation layers. Allen will choose which thickness to wear according to the current temperature. The "warmest" thickness is several inches of foam.
Allen then wears a Cordura outer shell on the top and bottom. This shell allows the moisture to slowly escape, but also adds a durable exterior.
We met Jim Harrison, the owner of Northern Outfitters, several years ago. He has been to SP Kennel, as well as the Iditarod and Yukon Quest starting lines. He is an avid outdoorsman, so when he, Allen and Aliy began to talk, the stories fly.
Allen and Jim modeling there Outer Shells
Jim was just in Two Rivers last week and stopped for an evening at the kennel. Allen and Aliy had sent him a Northern Outfitters "Wish List" for the season. (And he didn't let them down.) So, now, the Vaetrex technology will not only be working to keep our mushers' bodies insulated and dry, but also their feet and their hands. Mushers will be wearing Northern Outfitters Mountain Pack Boots and Arctic Mittens.
Mountain Pack Boots use 1 inch of Vaetrex foam