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Anglers need to plan carefully to stay warm outdoors in sub-zero conditions. Insulated ice suits and portable shelters help, but other factors are also important to consider. (Jason Durham / Enterprise)

Staying warm requires planning

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outdoors Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Staying warm during the cold snaps of winter is always a challenge.

Most people have to make accommodations for themselves to ensure hands, feet, ears, and everything else in between is warm enough to prevent shivering.

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Some anglers have medical conditions that exacerbate the effects of arctic air.

Either way, staying warm while standing on a sheet of ice is always a challenge.

Warm clothing is imperative on the ice. But a couple flannel shirts and a pair of Levi's aren't going to suffice when the mercury dips below zero.

The first tip to staying warm is to first get your blood flowing. A hot shower before getting dressed minimizes the oil on your skin and hair which cools quickly when exposed to the elements and the hot water invigorates circulation. Additionally, your fishing buddies will appreciate your cleanliness and spring fresh scent!

Next, dress in layers. For your information, it's not illegal to wear two pairs of long johns. Put your socks on first and pull your thermals on over the socks. That way, the long-johns help keep your socks up so you don't have to fish them out of your boots.

A hooded sweatshirt is a flexible garment since the hood keeps wind and snow off your neck while simultaneously retaining heat that could escape from your head. Thick wool socks are a staple, so long as the added bulk doesn't constrict your feet inside of your boots. If they get too tight, blood-flow slows, circulation is lost and your feet will ultimately get cold. When purchasing winter boots, one size larger is a smart plan. A boot dryer is a good place to leave your boots, since they will be both moisture free and warm when you lace them up for use.

Moisture resistance is definitely a factor to consider when purchasing boots, bibs, jacket and gloves. Once your body gets wet, it will eventually get cold.

Now you're ready for your insulated jacket and bibs. Many brands are suitable, but pay attention to features such as padded knees and thermal lining,

A neck gaiter is also a good idea during arctic outings since the material can be pulled up over your nose to protect your face. This also creates a heat source, since the exhale of your breath will warm up the gaiter and travel toward your torso.

After "suiting up" for an outdoors excursion, grab your portable shelter. Even warm days can become frigid once the wind kicks up. The shelter will protect you from the effects of wind, rain, snow and cold temperatures. With technological advances in materials and the incorporation of insulated coverings, even a small heater will keep you toasty.

Yet to ensure you stay warm for your return trip, keep your gloves inside your jacket or in an accessory pocket, even if it's warm inside the shelter. Gloves left sitting on the ice will be wet and cold, making your digits the same on the walk back to your vehicle.

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