Packing for winter travel to Harbin to see the world-famous Ice Lantern Festival can be difficult. All the gear it seems you'll need to keep yourself protected from bitter winter can weigh you down, but if you leave anything behind you can sorely regret it, especially if your finances or location don't allow you to purchase suitable replacements. Follow these tips for packing for winter travel in Harbin and keep yourself from freezing.
Pack a Warm Coat
Harbiners who are used to brutal winters wear coats made of fur, wool, or other insulating materials. Unfortunately, these coats can be bulky, heavy, and expensive. You may be better off purchasing a good quality down coat that can be flattened to fit into your luggage. Any coat you do buy should be longer than waist length and windproof.
To pack a down jacket (or other coat), find a large sealable bag. After placing the coat in the bag, press all of the air out and seal the bag. This will save you space in your suitcase.
Don't Forget a Hat
The traditional Chinese Northeastern-style fur hat complete with ear flaps doesn't only represent a funny stereotype. These hats are designed to protect the wearer's head and ears from the bitter cold weather. Some sort of head covering will be essential for winter travel to Harbin. Choose a hat for its practical qualities. You may find that the traditional style hat, or a version of it, offers both protection and style... once you get used to how you look in the mirror.
Wear Snow Boots or Waterproof Shoes
A pair of warm, comfortable boots or shoes may be the most important accessory you take with you when you travel to Harbin during the winter months. The coldest months in Harbin can see heavy snowfall. Whether wet or dry, the snow can be deep and may not melt off until spring. Make sure the boots you take cover the ankle so that you don't get wet feet while trudging around in the snow.
Boots or shoes are best purchased well before traveling to Harbin during the winter so that they can be broken in. They should be comfortable enough to walk long distances in and able to accommodate your feet and heavy, warm socks both.
Winter socks aren't just for outdoor use, either. If you suffer from cold feet while just sitting indoor, as many people do, take a look at the socks that you will take to Harbin.
Those one-size-fits all gloves that cost a few dollars won't keep your fingers from freezing as you visit the parks (most are the venue of the Harbin ice and snow festival) or enjoy skiing in the ski resorts in Harbin. Purchase well-insulated gloves made of quality materials that fit well and cover the wrists.
A woolen scarf tucked into your coat can protect your neck and throat and block chilly winds. It is better to have a coat with a high collar than to depend upon a scarf to protect your neck from the cold, but if you don't have a coat with a high collar, bring along a scarf that is long and warm enough to be useful against the weather.
Harbin use a centralized heating system to heat residential buildings, so despite bitter winters, the temperature can be quite hot indoors. While you'll need to wear warm clothing when going outside, you'll want to be comfortable inside. The best way to insure that you don't freeze while outside and don't boil inside is to wear sweaters that can be removed if opening the windows doesn't cool off the room enough for comfort's sake.