Take an unforgettable trip with cool gear in cool places

If you have the opportunity to travel in December and beyond, why not make your vacation a little cooler and more adventure-filled with winter destinations that are still off the mainstream tourist route? We did our research and found these awesome winter attractions that are worth a trip:

Iceland

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This small volcanic island nation near the Arctic is on almost everyone’s bucket list these days, and for several excellent reasons; from northern lights viewing, extreme outdoor activities like glacier hiking, ice climbing, and whale watching, to its unique and extreme landscapes filled with volcanoes, geysers, and lava fields. This Nordic country nearing the Arctic has maintained its raw beauty while still allowing travelers to experience it up close and personal.

Insider tip: Iceland is beautiful, isolated and quite expensive. Rent a car to save money and reach several destinations in one day.

Hokkaido, Japan

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If you want a picturesque destination other than the bamboo forests of Kyoto or cherry blossoms of Osaka, do visit Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. Every February, the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival lights up the small fishing city with snow lanterns and snow sculptures that are truly a sight to behold. Top attractions here also include traditional hot springs and state of the art ski resorts. Don’t forget to enjoy fresh local food as you’ll be in the home of succulent Hokkaido scallops and the infamous Hokkaido milk!

Insider tip: Try the Lavender or Rose flavored soft serve ice cream.

Gear up: Always dress in layers to keep warm. Start with thermals and wool socks, followed by a long-sleeved shirt, and a fleece jacket like this Polartec fleece jacket for men.

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Harbin, China

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Harbin is well known for its month-long Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival—the largest ice and snow event in the world. Here, you can gawk at the main attractions, the huge and beautifully-made ice sculptures. Try out other popular winter activities such as skiing, ice skating, ice sailing or even winter swimming if you dare.

Insider tip: Keep warm in the biting cold by eating hotpot (“huoguo”)

Gear up: Wear shoes with superior traction, specifically those made to keep you surefooted on slick and icy ground like Merrell’s Moab FST Ice+ Thermo

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