1. FUNCTION OVER FASHION:
I always wear fleece mittens under a bigger set of mittens. For feet, I go with Bunny Boots ($79; bunnyboots.com). They're ugly as sin and they're heavy, but they can handle minus 60. You can go through water and your feet stay dry.
2. PROTECT YOUR BASE:
A good base layer is extremely important. My favorite is the Merino 4 Classic Crew, by Patagonia ($125; patagonia.com). But when I started out I had very little money, so I wore Duofold's Women's Mid-Weight Long Sleeve Crew ($25; duofold.com).
3. CHOOSE BACON:
When your body switches over into survival mode, you need a lot of fat and you need it quick. You'll see Iditarod racers out there eating sticks of butter. I like bacon, because it's quick and easy and you can make it at home beforehand. We send it to the checkpoints ahead of time in little baggies.
4. HOTTER DOGS:
My dogs wear locally made Kipmik coats, which have a waterproof shell and thick fleece on the inside. They hang down low enough to completely protect them from frostbite. If it's minus 20 outside, they'll wear them when they're running.
5. NO TENT REQUIRED:
I sleep much better outside, under the stars. Spruce branchesor any branchesunder your sleeping bag keep you off the snow. I snuggle with my dogs, but a good sleeping bag is important. I have Mountain Hardwear's minus-40-degree Ghost SL ($680; mountainhardwear.com).