Iceland is the land of unpredictable weather so your packing list has to include lots of layers. In addition, the heated indoors are really warm and outside is really cold and windy, so you will be putting on and removing your layers a lot. To be honest, we didn’t pack efficiently for this trip. We both ended up with huge check-in suitcases and never wore half of the stuff we brought. So, we have lots of lessons learned. Here are some of them:
Waterproof shoes – because we went in April, we brought light snow boots and I wore them pretty much the entire time – they were very warm, waterproof, comfortable and great for walking. Teri wore waterproof hiking tennis shoes most of the trip and they worked great too. We would recommend taking a pair of each, just in case. Include some wool socks, especially if your feet get cold easily.
Waterproof jacket/coat – make sure your jacket is waterproof, has a hood and is well insulated. It does get cold and very windy, especially in coastal areas.
Pant layers – we brought ski pants and only wore them at the Ski Resort, it was too warm for them everywhere else. Most of the trip we wore a base layer and jeans or waterproof hiking pants. Focus on bringing more base layers and re-use your outer layers.
Top layers – layering is key here, t-shirts or base layers and sweatshirts work well. Same as with pants, bring more base layers and reuse your sweatshirts. Don’t bring a lot of sweatshirts and sweaters, focus on having at least one base layer for each day, but re-wear your sweatshirts.
Gloves, scarf and hat – I recommend having a couple pairs of waterproof gloves that have a touchscreen finger. A hat is a good idea – even though I personally just use my sweatshirt and jacket hoods rather than a hat. The wind can be fierce, so make sure your scarf or gator can protect your face.
Photography items – bring a waterproof backpack/bag, travel tripod (if you’re looking to photograph northern lights) and wipes to clean off water and mist from your lenses.
Other items – you will need flip flops and swimsuit if you’re visiting hot springs. It’s also helpful to have chapstick, tissues and lotion, as the air is really dry. If you’re taking tours having a compact daypack or backpack will be very helpful, anti-theft purse (this is a standard for me when I travel), and a reusable water bottle (cold tap water is great to drink so having a water bottle is helpful). Don’t forget to bring correct power plugs as well.
Our quick packing infographic is below.
Check out our trip itinerary for Iceland – 6 Days in the Land of Fire and Ice.