During the race, mushers are required to rest their dogs for only one twenty-four hour period and two eight-hour periods.
The ITC should require many more eight-hour rest stops.order to better diagnose heart problems, the Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) should require each dog to have an electrocardiogram a week before the start of the race.
solve the Iditarod Trail Committee and mushers of blame for dog deaths by attributing deaths to mysterious causes or susceptibilities. Never intimate that the stress and exertion of running might be factors.
• Encourage people to think of sled dogs as being similar to human athletes.
• Raise no questions about how the dogs are treated in their kennels or during the Iditarod.
• Stress that the number of dogs who die in the Iditarod is the same as the number who die under less arduous condition
Facts - The first Iditarod race to Nome started March 3, 1973

. One pound for each dog in the team (must leave the start with this on the sled). This should be considered only as a bare minimum. (Bad weather and common sense will dictate when additional food should be
packed). Littering the trail is prohibited. Dumping food to lighten the load after leaving the check point is .Day 2 the dogs have radation. It is the musher's responsibility to check for traffic at road crossings.Then you have to be cautious when overtaking, encountering, or being overtaken by snow machines. Always use your headlamp to signal snow machines during night travel.

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Equipment Used On The Race

Mandatory Gear

All mushers are required to carry the following things, at all times, from Anchorage to Nome:

Sleeping Bag
- Mushers sometimes use sleeping bags when they rest at checkpoints and along the trail. However, due to the extreme sleep depravation faced by competitors, many choose to sleep in their clothes, because getting into a comfortable sleeping bag makes it more difficult to wake up! The sleeping bags that mushers carry are usually capable of keeping them warm at temperatures of -40 below or even colder. The race rules state that all sleeping bags must weigh 5 pounds or more.

- An axe is one of the most useful pieces of Alaskan survival gear that a musher carries. On the Iditarod, it can be used to remove fallen trees from the trail. If a musher has to start a fire for warmth, an axe is essential. Chopping a hole in river ice can give a musher access to water for their dog team - the most essential type of 'food' consumed by the athletes.

Vet Notebook
- A vet book is carried from Anchorage to Nome by each musher and must be presented to a race veterinarian at each checkpoint. Vets will keep track of each dog in the team, writing down any observations of interest so that vets further down the trail can have knowledge about the team at a previous checkpoint.

- Snowshoes help a person walk across deep snow by adding extra
flotation to traditional winter footware. By spreading a persons weight over a
greater area, walking over several feet of snow becomes much easier! Snowshoes
aren't used that often by mushers during the race, but could prove to be essential
in emergency situations.

Dog Food
- Weather is unpredictable along the race trail. Even the most
experienced mushers leave each checkpoint prepared with emergency dog food in
case weather forces them to stop. In addition, 'snacks,' consisting of chunks of
fish or meat, are often fed to the dogs on short breaks when traveling down the

Dog Food Cooker
- Dog food cookers are used to 'make' water while traveling
down the trail. Water is the most important thing that the dogs will consume
during the race, and with most of the water frozen in snow form, it has to be
melted when camping. A dog food cooker has the capability of melting snow to
produce several gallons of water in a short time. While many checkpoints provide
cold water to mushers, heating it up helps to melt the various meats and fish
commonly fed to the dogs. A musher must also carry enough fuel with them on
the trail to boil three gallons of water in their dog food cooker.

Promotional Material
- Each musher on the Iditarod is required to carry a
packet of envelopes that are stamped in Anchorage and 'postmarked' in Nome
when the musher arrives, commemorating the historic role that dog teams played
in delivering mail in Alaska. These envelopes are later sold to race fans as a

Extra Booties
- Booties are important to protect the dog's feet. Contrary to what
many people believe, booties aren't used to keep a dog's feet warm. Instead, they
are important to protect the dog's feet from abrasion and 'snowballing'.
Snowballing occurs when the snow is extremely cold. In certain cold conditons,
snowballs will form in between a dog's toes, making it uncomfortable for the dog
to run and potentially damaging the athlete's foot. For this reason, mushers will
bootie their dogs, preventing the snowballs from even forming. A musher must
have 8 booties per dog on the sled or in use at all times.

Additional Gear Often Carried By Mushers:

The following gear isn't required but is often carried by mushers.

- A headlamp is a special light source that a musher wears on their
head, and is an essential piece of gear on the Iditarod. Most mushers carry
several spare headlamps and bulbs, in addition to extra batteries, to ensure that
they aren't left out in the dark. While there are many different designs, nearly all
headlamps are extremely powerful, lighting up the trail several hundred yards

- Carried to light the Dog Food Cooker, as well as for
emergency use.

Vet Kit
- A trail vet kit carries only essential dog care items because vets along
the trail bring every type of medicine and equipment with them on the trail. Since
multiple vets are available at each checkpoint, mushers have no difficulty getting
access to the medications they need during the race, if they need any at all.

Included in a mushers vet kit:

Dog Massage Oil
- Used by a musher to help a dog relax and soothe
sore muscles
Wrist Wraps/Saran Wrap/Plastic Bags
- These three items are for
wrist care. If a dog has a sore wrist, mushers will ice the soreness shortly
after arriving at a rest stop. Following a brief icing, each sore wrist is
massaged and wrapped loosely with saran wrap and a wrist wrap. Wrist
wraps are commonly made out of Neoprene (wet-suit material), and keep
the area warm, helping it heal.
Foot Ointment
- used to help heal a dog's sore foot.
Nail Clippers
- used to trim a dog's toenails.

- Psyllium Powder
- added to the food eaten by dogs that have upset
stomachs, to help them digest their food.

- All mushers carry knives along the trail and use them in
multiple situations. They are often used to cut open supply bags and repair
equipment. In addition, on the rare occasion that a dog gets badly tangled up in
the lines, a knife can cut a line to protect the dog from injury. A 'Multi-tool' has a
knife blade and many other useful tools, such as a screwdriver, saw, awl, and
pliers, all built into one compact unit. Multi-tools can be used for all sorts of tasks
on the trail.

Thermos or Water Bottle
- Mushers have to stay hydrated throughout the
race. Many mushers carry thermoses, not only to keep warm drinks warm, but
also to keep cold drinks from freezing! At -40 below zero, liquids can freeze fast.

Extra Lines
- Lines can break while a musher is out on the trail, either the result
of dogs chewing on them or wear and tear. Mushers generally carry at least one
extra of each type of line: A gangline, a tugline and a neckline. Some mushers also
carry an extra harness and collar.

- Coolers are used to soak and feed dog food along the trail. Instead of
premixing each dog's food in an individual dish, mushers use a cooler like a big
serving bowl. After passing out the dog dishes, they scoop each dogs helping of
food out to them using a ladle. Coolers are also used to soak food prior to feeding,
keeping the water from freezing while melting frozen meats.

Dog Dishes
- There are many different types of dog dishes used along the race
trail. Some mushers carry traditional metal pans, like the ones that people use to
feed their house pets. Most, however, elect to carry something lighter, like small

Sled Repair Kit
- When a sled breaks a musher can be stuck until they repair it,
whether they are out on the trail or in a checkpoint. As a result, the following
equipment is carried by many mushers along the trail:

Commonly included in the sled repair kit:
- Wrenches/Pliers
- Used to replace broken bolts

- Spare Bolts
- Bolts can break on the trail, and when they do, spare ones
are needed to replace them.

- Hose Clamps
- These round, metal clamps are used to repair wooden
or metal supports on the sled. Often a musher will cut a limb off a tree,
place it next to the broken part, and use multiple hose clamps to secure the
limb in place. This creates a 'splint', much like a doctor can use to fix a
person's broken arm.

- Duct Tape
- Often used to repair clothing.

- Electrical Tape
- Used to repair headlamps or plastic parts of the sled,
such as the handlebar.

- Sewing Kit
- Used to repair ripped clothing or harnesses.

Drop Cables
- Drop cables are used when a musher chooses to send a dog home
with the Iditarod Airforce. When a dog gets sore or tired along the trail, a musher
can elect to send the dog home. These cables are used as temporary tethers to
secure a dog before and after their airplane ride home!

People Food
- Mushers carry whatever food sounds good to them for
consumption between each checkpoint. Cheesecake, bagels, jerky, nuts and
smoked salmon are common trail favorites.

Garbage Bags
- Garbage bags can be used for lots of things along the trail. They
can be used to keep gear dry when crossing open creeks and used as emergency
rain gear on the rare occasions when temperatures rise above freezing.

Dog Coats
- Dog coats keep the dogs warm in extreme wind and cold weather.
While sled dogs are specially bred to easily survive the coldest of weather, it is
important to the mushers that their dogs are also as comfortable as possible when
running and resting. Dog coats help the dogs perform better and keeps them

Watch/Alarm Clocks
- All mushers wear a watch to keep track of their running
and rest times. Alarm clocks are also essential, and many mushers carry more
than one... It isn't easy to wake up when sleep deprivation kicks in! Top
competitive mushers will only get two to four hours of sleep a day - waking up
from such a brief nap requires a loud alarm!

Human Gear
- Mushers also carry some things in their sled to take of
themselves - everything isn't for the dogs!

Commonly carried human gear:
- Hand Warmers
- Charcoal, chemically activated hand warmers are
essential in cold weather.

- Emergency Body Warmer
- Works just like a hand warmer, but the
emergency body warmer is larger than a sheet of paper, and is only used in

- Extra Gloves
- Carried to replace gloves if they get wet or lost

- Extra Socks
- Carried to replace wet socks

- Extra Boot Liners
- Having cold feet can be extremely dangerous on
the Iditarod, because toes can freeze easily. Carrying dry boot liners allow
a musher to essentially replace their wet boots with dry ones, if they
encounter open water that soaks their boots.

- Extra Clothes
- Mushers carry a variety of extra clothing (e.g., jackets,
pants, etc), depending on the type of clothing system they choose to wear.

Human Clothes -
Mushers wear a variety of clothing systems on the trail.
Northern Outfitters and Cabela’s make the two most common ‘outfits’:

Northern Outfitters
has created a special one-layer system that uses foam to
insulate people from extreme cold weather. An advantage to this system is that a
musher wears the exact same thing whether it is warm or cold out, minimizing
the need to carry extra clothing in the sled. This helps to keep the weight of the
sled down while also assisting the musher in keeping things simple while out on
the trail... When sleep deprivation takes over, it is difficult to keep track of
multiple layers of clothing!

has designed very popular boots and one piece suits that mushers often
use on the Iditarod. This equipment takes advantage of the more traditional
'layering' system, where multiple layers are added or taken off depending on
weather conditions.
For more information about the clothing that many mushers choose to wear, visit
the Cabela's or Northern Outfitters websites:
Cabela's Outfitters - What Jeff King Wears: on www.cabelas.com
Northern Outfitters: www.northernoutfitters.com