Peter Ripmaster

For about a year now, I’ve known I was doing the Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 in February.  Now it’s late January and the race is less than 30 days away. I’m content with my gear list and I want to share it with you. I will probably change a few things out between now and Feb. 23rd when 55 of us head out into the Alaskan Wilderness. Although there are folks who are travelling by bike, foot or ski 1000 miles to Nome, I think of 350 miles as a long ways. It’s certainly the longest route i’ve ever taken on. Throw in below zero temps and were ready to rock.

     I’ve read countless race reports and gear lists. I’ve done my homework about the route. Therefore, I’m content that I’ve come up with what I think will get me 350 miles. In the following gear list, I’ve left off WHO makes the product and gone with the simple title. For example, rather than saying “The Patagonia Gore Tex Ultra Loft Eiger Ridge 300 Mountaineering Pants in Organic Cotton made in Bangkok”, I will simply say snow pants. Does that mean I don’t care who makes my gear? Pretty much, YES, that’s right. I think there are at least 5 great companies who make proven outdoor gear including Arc’ Teryx, Patagonia, Marmot, Mountain Hardware and The North Face. I also believe in the REI Brand and think none the less of Columbia, Kelty, Bibler, -40 Below, etc, etc. 

     My sled will be heavy compared to many (if not all) other competitors. I will say the piece that makes me feel the safest is my -60 sleeping bag. I slept in it the other night here in NC when it was below zero and the bag was incredible. I was actually hot and needed to get rid of a layer or two as the night progressed. Taking this bag has also given me the opportunity to leave some heavy, bulky clothing at home. I figure if shit hits the fan, I can just get into the -60 bag and wait out weather or wait for help.

    So here is the gear I will be taking with me on the Iditarod Trail. I’ve left what food I’m taking off this list because it’s really just a bunch of trail junk food. I don’t want you judging me! I’m set with what I’m taking. I simply am publishing this list so it might be a help to you if you choose a similar adventure sometime. Here goes:


Head: Wool Beanie, Balaclava, Neck Gaiter, Sunglasses, Goggles and Headlamps (2)

Upper Body: L/S Base Layer (2), Midweight Base Layer, Mid Layer Hoody , Everyday Jacket, Heavy Jacket

Lower Body: Underwear (2), Long Underwear, Tights, Shell Pants and Insulated Wind Pants

Hands: Liners (2), Everyday Glove, Over Mitten, Wind Mitt, Trekking Poles

Feet: Socks (3), Trail Shoes, Gaiters, Snow Shoes, Over Boots

Bivy: -60 Sleeping Bag, Thermarest, Bivy

Misc: Vest with 70oz. Bladder, 20 oz. bottles (2), Thermos, Stove w/ HEET, Hand and Foot Warmers, Emergency Med Kit, MP3 Player, Duct Tape (duh), Bailing Wire, Carabineers, Local Maps, GPS, Compass, Playboy Magazine, Ibuprofen, Mirror (to self check for Frostbite), Cell Phone (Only to Take Pictures), Cash, ID and Extra Batteries (For GPS and Headlamps).