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-Flying into Fairbanks on the 23rd, staying 7 nights, most are outside of town, Riverbend cabins. Am little nervous about driving too far out of town at night, not too much driving on ice for last few years. Hoping rental comes with chains.
-In terms of cold weather gear, we usually work in layers. Read somewhere that in truly cold weather that loft is more important than layers. True?
Yes, I know where Riverbend is. Don't worry about the drive, it's paved highway/road all the way. No, the rental won't come with chains. It may not even come with studded tires unless you specifically ask. In fact, I would suggest getting a small 4wd SUV to give you more travel options. Riverbend is still in the "city", and there are some better Aurora viewing spots near Fairbanks, but a 4wd helps.
I feel that the whole "layers" thing is overrated. Personally, at those temps I just wear my good arctic boots, a good set of insulated down overalls, and a heavy down parka.
There are some good places to eat in North Pole (and in Fbks too) if you are interested.