Modern or traditional? Or a combination of the two - the choice is yours

What to wear?

It's definitely best to wear some clothes at these temperatures. But what to go for? A fine Harris Tweed or some trusty chiffon scarfs?  The temperature can drop to ridiculous levels. In -60 conditions oil workers who have to be outside are forced to work in short shifts and wear suits that are not dissimilar to a space suit with air sealed helmets and breathing apparatus. You won't have this so you need to make sure you get something good to cover your puny human form.

We have teamed up with the chaps at Expedition Kit Hire, who kitted out the Real Arctic Monkeys for the 2013 Ice Run and several teams for the 2012 Run and come extremely highly recommended for the quality of their advice, and equipment.  You can hire a full set of tried and tested Arctic gear if you are not keen to invest thousands buying it all. 

The following is a good starting point with information from Mr Tom's riding in 2011 and the opinions of some of the riders from 2013, you will notice that they don't always agree on what works best. Different people respond to the cold in very different ways so what works for your team mate might be useless for you.

Bear in mind that sitting in the side car is colder than riding the bike.

There are two main ways to approach this element of your preparation.


Go to your local shops or online to buy some very expensive high-tech kit. Pat Coleman from the 2013 Run had this to say: 
"The most important pieces of clothing in retrospect were boots and gloves - hands and feet get cold easily - and these were the ones we left to Russia. If I was doing it again, I would buy damn good boots and mittens online before I left and would have been much more comfortable. What it comes down to is that it's really hard to buy good equipment in a country where you don't speak the language, and where you have only a few hours to get gear between events on the launch weekend."


Buy everything in Russia. They know how to keep warm in Russia and warm clothing is available everywhere in Siberia. Ekaterinburg and, if you're desperate, Irbit have enough shops to clothe yourself.

Mr Tom from Adventurists HQ has this to say: "I favour buying everything in Russia. I bought local felt boots for £15 and a full warm outerlayer (trousers and jacket) for £80. I had a couple of thermals under this but that was me sorted for £100." I had to keep chucking hand warmers around my toes but that was no great problem and I had to do that on expensive fancy boots anyway. But then I am a massive cheapskate."

Rob Northover had this to say: "To my mind due to the harshness of the conditions it’s better that people do their own research and bring gear that works for them." We couldn't have put it better ourselves Rob.

Seal yourself in

The general rule is to seal yourself up like a well vacuum packed herring. The cold has a cunning way of ferreting it's way into every tiny crack in your clothing.

Your head

You absolutely must wear a motorbike helmet on this adventure, not only for safety and insurance purposes but for the basic fact that it will protect your head from turning into a block of ice. It is also worth having a hat to slap on underneath the helmet. You need to be able to fit several layers under your helmet without it being too tight - last year's runners had at least one Buff and a balaclava on their noodle.

Mr Tom did a lot of research into the best head wear to use in this situation, and found that simplicity is best. Full face Motorbike helmets fog up in these temperatures and the fog then freezes on the visor. He found the best solution was an open faced helmet, with a pair of good skiing goggles. 

Pat rode in a full face helmet and had this to say: "You can pick up a helmet designed for snowmobiling (that won't fog up if you're careful) online for $100-200, it seals out the cold and as a bonus you get to keep your nose when you get back. If you're feeling extravagant pick up one with a heated visor so you don't have to worry about it fogging (I would totally stump up for this, doing the trip again)."

Tom hunting suit.jpg

Your face

Your face will quickly crystallise in this weather without some form of cover. You need to think about your breath as this will freeze over your goggles if it is not directed downwards. The best thing we have tried is neoprene face mask for motorcross.

Glasses are very difficult to keep from freezing over so contacts can be a good way of making sure your head coverings actually work and you can still see something.

This is the recommendation from Rico Pajarola from team Ural Crazy:"The neoprene face mask worked nicely (takes some practice to put on. I wore it as the first layer, which is inconvenient as it's also the first thing you'd want to take off, but that way it doesn't move). If wearing glasses, cut out the part that covers your mouth to prevent them from fogging up. You can use the balaclava to cover that part once the bike is moving. Can't find anything like that in Irbit."

Mike Northcott said this: "One of my biggest hassles was fogging/freezing goggles. I wasn't alone. Eric Krause bought a heated face shield and I think it's the way to go. Would be a good recommendation. Not sure if they sell them in Russia"


Feet and hands are the hardest things to keep warm in this cold, and you need to pay particular attention to them to ensure you don't get frostbite.  Layering is the key, as with everything else.

With socks, wool is king.  For layering, make sure you get one size bigger than the other so they are not really tight. Anything that's too tight will restrict your circulation and mean you get colder much faster.  Make sure you can get all the socks you will be wearing comfortably inside your boots, with plenty of wiggle room.  Cramped feet will cost you your toes- you'll be still when on the bike, not walking and pushing blood around.

Rubber soles will need to be very thick, eventually they will let the cold in, but the thicker the soles, the longer you can stave off the cold.  Felt liners seem to be the best insulator on the market, so whether you end up going local, or bringing your own, you'll likely be wearing clunky rubber soled boots with one or even several felt liners.  Sorel and Baffin make decent boots, some rated down to -90, but these ratings are wildly unreliable, everyone really is different.  The -90 rated ones are also exceedingly bulky, which could make actually riding the bike more of a challenge.  2012 veteran Olly Rowland ended up wearing ordinary winter hiking boots and upping the warmth with 3 layers of socks when his Baffins proved to be too cumbersome.

Mike Northcott from Team Zaya went for Sorel boots which he thought were good: "I didn't buy kit in Irbit, but brought my own Sorel boots (cost me $35US) worked great."

Body & Legs

The best approach seems to be one super thick warm layer with several under layers for bonus warmth.

Pat Coleman from team "Tsardines in a Can" opted for a Striker Suit he bought before he came out, this is what he said about it: "Our suits were good, I reckon, and good value, we paid all of US$370 for our suits so we weren't too upset that we had gone down that route."


A couple of people in 2012 tried using the clothes they used for skiing but they were not really good enough, skiers are moving and generating heat, you will be still and losing it. 

Knees can get pretty cold when riding, long johns will be important.  Don't bother with clean pants every day, you really won't see your bare arse for the entire trip and you'd be better off packing your luggage with food, and possibly your team-mate, than endless frilly knickers.