The Ultimate Packing List for Iceland
One of the most asked questions about traveling to Iceland is what to pack - so here's a complete travel packing list that will have you covered any time of year!
The Ultimate Packing List For Your Trip to Iceland
Packing for an Iceland adventure tour can be a real challenge--especially if you're not used to a cold climate.
It's not difficult to feel very overwhelmed thinking about everything you might need and how everything is going to fit in your suitcase.
The first thing you need to know is that the weather in Iceland in unpredictable and changes all the time.
You need to be prepared for sun, rain, wind, and snow.
The climate of Iceland is cold oceanic but more temperate than thanks to the North Atlantic Current. The average temperature during the winter is around 32°F in South Iceland but it can be up to -22°F in the North. During the summer, temperatures range between 50-55°F in the southern part of Iceland but don’t be surprised if it goes up to 68-77°F during the warmest days…
It's VERY important that you invest in good quality gear to keep you warm and dry.
Layers on Layers
It doesn't matter what season you travel in you will need to wear layers to be warm, comfortable, and ready for any type of weather.
Make sure to put one or two fleece jackets in your suitcase along with wool sweaters, long sleeves shirts, and socks.
I always pack a top & bottom of thermal long underwear wear them under my waterproof hiking pants to keep my legs warm during outdoor activities.
In Summer, pack t-shirts as well since the weather can be warmer. This past June was pretty warm in Iceland and I was only wearing shirts for an entire week and even got sunburns!
- A Winter coat: you'd better be warm if you travel in Iceland in Winter! In the Summer, I usually wear a lightweight packable down jacket since it is warm enough for any outdoor activity.
- A Rain Jacket: I know, it's not always the most fashionable thing to wear but believe me, you'll need it no matter which season it is!!
- Pants: Pack waterproof pants to keep your legs warm and dry. I always have a lightweight pair of outdoor pants that is water resistant and another pair of snow pants for the Winter season. Leggings are also comfortable. Avoid jeans for outdoors and remember that packing for Iceland is all about comfort and readiness.
- Hat: I would recommend to have a warm knit beanie in Spring/Summer and a tropper hat for the Winter season. It is very important to protect your head and ears from the cold and also from the wind that can be very strong.
- Gloves & Scarf: Those are essentials if you're traveling to Iceland in the Fall and Winter time! If you're always using your camera, choose to wear gloves instead of mittens.
Mountain rocks, black sand, ice: these are the terrains you’ll be walking on so you’d better have resistant and waterproof hiking shoes while exploring Iceland.
I have a pair of Salomon Goretex that I highly recommend! They’re super comfortable shoes, solid and keep my feet warm and dry no matter what.
Girls can also bring with a pair of boots since they are comfortable, warm and still fashionable!
Yes, you’ll need your swimsuit!
You can’t leave Iceland without visiting one of the thermal pools! They are very popular -- especially the Blue Lagoon.
It is the perfect time to relax, enjoy a massage or a mud mask while sipping a glass of Prosecco before going back to your home country!
You can pack a quick drying towel but you also have the option to rent a towel at the Blue Lagoon.
Thermos and Reusable Water Bottle
It is always nice to drink a cup of coffee, hot tea or hot chocolate on the road to beat the cold winter temperatures.
Bring a reusable water bottle with you and you will be able to fill it all you want. The water in Iceland is pure and very drinkable. Plus, it's so much more environmental-friendly!
Better safe than sorry!
Always have a small medicine kit with you specially if you go out hiking on a volcano, a glacier or if you get motion sickeness.
My kit always includes band-aids, pain relievers, cold and flu medicine, motion sickeness tablets, pocket tissues, hand sanitizer, sterile gauze pads, allergy prevention...etc.
You can find many first aid kits with different prices on this website.
Day Bag or Backpack
Pack a small backpack or day bag you can throw all you gear into for day trips. You’ll probably need to carry a few things with you during the day like water bottles, camera, beanies, gloves, etc. and will need somewhere to put those things while you’re exploring waterfalls and volcanoes.
I personally love the backpacks from Topo Designs, they have a wide choice of bags, backpacks and other accessories for women and men and everything is USA made!
It is always useful to have a waterproof backpack rain cover in case of heavy rain while you're doing outdoor adventure activities...you don't want to have all your stuff wet!
Other Tips and Advice
- Beauty products such as lip balm, hand cream, moisturizer are essentials if you don't want to have your hands dried out or to have cracked lips!
- Want to keep your hands warm? You can use those heat packs that provide safe and natural heat. They fit inside your gloves and pockets to keep your hands super warm!
- You will need to pack a sleeping mask if you travel during the summertime as it NEVER gets dark at this time of the year. Instead of the Northern lights, you'll be enjoying the Midnight sun! Yay!
- Put a small flashlight in your bag; you might use it pretty often as it gets dark early in winter and could help you finding a good spot to take pictures.
- You won't need an umbrella; Iceland is windy and makes umbrellas useless. Better to choose extra rain clothing instead!
- Don't forget your camera gear to take amazing pictures of Iceland and make all your friends jealous!
- Have a waterproof case for your phone -specially if you use it for pictures.
- Bring a travel adapter with you to charge phone, laptops...etc. Iceland uses European plugs.
What if I forget something?
No worries, you'll be able to find everything you need in Reykjavik and in some other towns but you should know that Reykjavik -and Iceland in general- is expensive so think ahead, pack smart and be practical!
Now you have a complete travel packing list for your trip in Iceland! With the right clothing and gear, you'll have an amazing experience in the land of ice and fire!
Ready for the great adventure in Iceland? Check out our summer and winter trips to Iceland!
So Ben (French)
Last, but not least...
Check out our AMAZING VIDEO of Iceland on one of our recent trips!