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Enjoy Iowa's outdoors in the winter with these basic tips to stay warm

Tips for dressing for winter recreation from the Iowa DNRWith real-deal winter temperatures making themselves known in Iowa, it calls to mind the old saying “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Of course, always keep an eye on the weather and wind chills and limit your exposure to the elements when needed. But for the most part, being prepared and wearing the right clothes can help you enjoy all the best Iowa’s outdoors offers in the winter.

Some outdoor activities may require special gear or equipment, but here are the basics when it comes to dressing for the weather:

Know your layers.
Dress properly to shed layers when heating up and add layers when cooling off. Kids should wear snowpants.

Start with a wicking layer.
For the wicking layer against skin, wear synthetic long underwear to transfer moisture away from the body. Avoid cotton as it absorbs sweat and doesn’t insulate when wet.

Warm up next.
Over the wicking layer, wear fleece, wool sweaters or down jackets.

Top it off.
To protect yourself from the wind, rain or snow, top with a parka or outer shell layer to repel wind and snow.

Don’t forget the extras.
You’ll want sunglasses to reduce glare, especially off of bright snow. Wear thick, warm socks of wool or fleece and snow-proof boots. Bring warm hats and gloves, lip balm, hand and foot warmers, and water bottles insulated in a heavy sock to prevent freezing. A scarf or facemask helps cut the ever-present prairie wind. And don’t forget that sunburns are still possible on a bright winter day or through the clouds, so bring sunscreen, too.

For more outdoor tips, check out Iowa Outdoors magazine and our Take It Outside board on Pinterest.

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