A Smarter Iceland Packing Checklist + What to Put on in Iceland


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Placing collectively the fitting Iceland packing listing is likely one of the most necessary issues you are able to do earlier than your journey! Iceland is a vacation spot identified for its chilly and windy climate.

Not solely that, Iceland is moist, moist, moist — and should you’re not adequately lined in waterproof clothes on a wet day, you’ll be depressing.

Moreover, Iceland is a rural nation. More often than not, I like to recommend shopping for issues regionally if that you must. That’s not as simple in Iceland. Until you’re in Reykjavík or Akureyri, you gained’t be capable of simply discover respectable buying.

I do know this sounds powerful — however please, don’t fear! I’m right here to make your journey to Iceland simpler. I’ve been to Iceland a number of instances, together with a two-week street journey across the Ring Street, and I’ve discovered what to pack for Iceland, what to put on in Iceland, the gadgets that you actually need, and the gadgets you may depart at dwelling.

This information has 4 sections: Climate in Iceland, The Most Essential Objects to PackWhat to Put on in Iceland, Winter in Iceland, the Iceland Packing Checklist, and What To not Deliver to Iceland.

And as you propose your journey, don’t neglect to take a look at my different Iceland posts: the greatest issues to do in Reykjavík, issues to know earlier than you go to the Blue Lagoon, and the small print on how a lot my Iceland street journey price.

A girl in a turquoise coat walking on a rocky path in a foggy, rainy landscape.
Amanda walks to Dettifoss waterfall on a wet, foggy day in Iceland.

Climate in Iceland: What to Anticipate

Iceland has chilly climate year-round and is often wet. The forecast adjustments usually and climate circumstances can flip harmful once you don’t anticipate it. In brief, that you must be prepared for something — however particularly precipitation!

You would possibly luck out and get a string of sunny days (I definitely have on all 4 of my journeys). Chances are you’ll be right here two weeks and never see the solar as soon as. You might need dreadfully foggy or wet days once you least need them. In brief, be prepared for something.

In case you’re visiting through the summer time (Might-September), one of the best time to go to for good climate, try to be prepared for common temperatures round 40-60 F (7-15 C).

In case you’re visiting through the colder months, try to be ready for common temperatures to fall beneath freezing (usually 15-32 F, or -9-0 C). The wind chill can carry that a lot decrease.

This Iceland packing listing is primarily focused towards summer time vacationers, who comprise the overwhelming majority of Iceland guests, however I’ve added a supplemental part for winter Iceland vacationers as effectively.

Kate in a bright yellow raincoat over a bright pink coat, standing in front of a canyon of tall thin rock columns.
Soaked via at Studlagil Canyon, East Iceland!

Most Essential Objects on Your Iceland Packing Checklist

Some gadgets in your Iceland packing listing are crucial. Right here is the listing of things that I believe must be on each Iceland traveler’s listing, it doesn’t matter what the time of yr is.

Don’t skip any of those — besides probably the tripod and light-weight make-up.

Kate standing in a cave with a waterfall falling through it, wearing a yellow raincoat and holding her arms up in joy.
Having fun with getting soaked at Gljúfrabúi waterfall!

Head-to-Toe Waterproof Gear

Waterproof gear is the one most necessary factor that you must carry to Iceland. And never only a waterproof jacket — you want rain pants, waterproof mountain climbing boots, and a waterproof backpack cowl.

It WILL rain sooner or later in your journey to Iceland. It’d rain every single day, and closely. I do know individuals who had been rained out every single day of their Iceland journey.

There are additionally some waterfalls you could stroll behind or get near, like Gljúfrabúi and Seljalandsfoss, and also you’ll be drenched afterward. Going behind them is tremendous cool — so that you want outer layers that may hold you dry.

However the quickest approach to being depressing in Iceland is being soaked to the bone in a sweatshirt, like that one household I noticed at Kvernufoss waterfall.

An in-car selfie of Kate and Amanda in the front seats, and a girl in the backseat. All three are wearing brightly colored raincoats and grinning.
Three women, three colourful raincoats!

Waterproof Jacket

You’ve got two choices for a water-resistant jacket to put on in Iceland: an all-in-one insulated raincoat, or a rain jacket shell worn over an insulated jacket.

There are arguments for each. I wore a primary raincoat shell (I wore a neighborhood Czech model however this Columbia one is superb) and a Uniqlo extremely gentle down jacket. We had a whole lot of sunny days and it was good to solely put on my pink Uniqlo jacket.

Nevertheless it’s undoubtedly extra handy to have one jacket you could put on in all climate, like this one.

High Tip: Get a brightly coloured coat; it seems to be wonderful in images in opposition to the gray-green Icelandic panorama. Reds, oranges, yellows, and scorching pinks particularly stand out.

Kate standing facing a waterfall in a yellow rain jacket, holding her hand up in a peace sign.
Take a look at my rain pants, child!

Rain Pants

I by no means wore rain pants in my LIFE till my most up-to-date Iceland journey — they usually ended up being lifesavers. What are rain pants? They’re waterproof pants you put on on prime of your common pants. Such a good suggestion!

You don’t must put on your rain pants all day. Simply throw them in your backpack, and if it begins to rain, throw them on prime. You don’t even must take off your boots!

Since that journey, I’ve been extolling the advantages of rain pants to anybody who will hear, and considered one of my readers advised me she purchased them for her Iceland journey with skepticism however couldn’t consider how a lot she liked them!

A person's feet in hiking boots walking through a wet path.
Put together to rock out in waterproof sneakers. Through Shutterstock.

Waterproof Climbing Boots

You might be doubtless going to be mountain climbing via mud or rain sooner or later. That’s simply an inevitability in Iceland. Common mountain climbing boots or path runners are usually not sufficient: you want good high quality waterproof mountain climbing boots.

Moreover, there are some locations the place you may be strolling via ankle-deep water, like Gljúfrabúi waterfall or Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Some folks carry one pair of waterproof mountain climbing boots to Iceland, and a few carry one pair of normal boots and one pair of waterproof boots. Take my recommendation: carry one pair of waterproof boots (ideally product of Gore-Tex).

You by no means know when a sunny Icelandic sky will all of a sudden cloud over and start raining.

A hiker looking over a canyon, wearing a big backpack with a bright yellow waterproof cover over it.
A rain cowl on your backpack makes life a lot simpler. Through Shutterstock.

Waterproof Backpack Cowl

Think about being half-hour right into a two-hour hike and it begins to rain. And also you’ve received an costly digicam simply sitting in your material backpack.

That was me at Studlagil Canyon this previous August. Whoops.

You completely want a waterproof backpack cowl. It prices lower than $10 and retains all of your digicam gear dry, even should you’re mountain climbing for hours!

I often suggest a dry bag for vacationers, particularly should you’re taking rides on small boats, however most individuals don’t take small boats in Iceland, so I believe a water-resistant backpack cowl will cowl you.

A woman sleeping with a face mask on.
Go to sleep simply with a sleep masks! Through Shutterstock.

Sleep Masks

Most individuals who journey to Iceland go through the summer time months, when you may have a little bit little bit of daylight as late as 2:00 AM. Ever slept via that? It’s not simple!

Absolutely, each Iceland guesthouse should have high-quality blackout curtains, you’d suppose. You’d be fallacious. (And don’t name me Shirley.) I used to be shocked how usually the midnight solar peeked in from Icelandic curtains.

You’ll need to carry a sleep masks if you wish to sleep peacefully. Ear plugs are additionally useful, particularly should you’re staying in dorms or different shared room lodging.

I like my Trina Turk swimsuits!

A number of Swimsuits

One of the enjoyable issues about visiting Iceland is visiting all of the completely different scorching springs! From the basic Blue Lagoon to the horny Sky Lagoon in Reykjavík and my private favourite, the Vök Baths in Egilsstaðir, East Iceland, they’re in every single place!

Even should you skip the dear thermal resorts, there are many scorching tubs and pure scorching springs all through Iceland. And almost each city in Iceland has its personal heated out of doors swimming pool. These swimming pools are an affordable, enjoyable, and really native exercise.

Translation? You’ll be in your bathing go well with a LOT.

One mistake I see folks making often is just bringing one swimsuit to Iceland. The explanation? A showering go well with takes a very long time to dry and also you may be continually placing on one which’s chilly and damp.

For that cause, it’s a good suggestion to carry a minimal of two bathing fits to put on in Iceland. I introduced three. We might grasp our bathing fits within the automobile, on the again of the entrance seats, however usually 24 hours wasn’t sufficient to dry them.

All of my bathing fits are by Trina Turk — she’s all I purchase. They’re beautiful, colourful, and final for years. Some are available in plus sizes.

Fast-Drying Journey Towel

Virtually each scorching spring or swimming pool in Iceland expenses you for a towel should you don’t have already got one. And charges are sometimes round 900 ISK ($6 USD). These actually add up!

So what do you want? A journey towel! A fast-drying microfiber journey towel will prevent a lot of cash.

High Tip: Bathe at night time in Iceland. Your towel will dry in a single day, you’ll be capable of get a quick begin the following morning, and should you’re staying in a spot with shared bogs, you gained’t have to attend for everybody else to complete.

A bright pink plastic water bottle

Reusable Water Bottle

The faucet water in Iceland is protected to drink. Don’t add to the plastic downside by shopping for bottled water in Iceland. Simply carry your reusable water bottle and fill it up at any time when you will have a faucet.

I take advantage of a BPA-free Blender Bottle. It’s large, it’s sturdy, and it is available in a lot of colours (I’ve it in scorching pink). Mine is sitting subsequent to me as I write this.

Eye drops, lip balm, and hand cream

Iceland can dry you out — particularly should you’re visiting a number of scorching springs throughout your go to. I ended up with vibrant purple eyes midway via my most up-to-date journey and wanted drops badly. It wasn’t enjoyable making an attempt to trace down an open pharmacy in the course of nowhere!

You would possibly need to carry eye drops, lip balm, and hand cream.


Nevertheless it isn’t that sunny in Iceland, you say. Hey — should you’re spending a lot of time exterior, even when it’s a cloudy day, even should you’re not fair-skinned, you want sunscreen. You possibly can simply burn once you’re not anticipating it.

I at all times put on moisturizer or BB cream that incorporates sunscreen. If not, carry sunscreen with an SPF of a minimum of 45. I like Neutrogena SPF 55 sunscreen.

Further SD Playing cards, Digicam Battery, and Exterior Exhausting Drive

You’ll take far extra images than you often tackle journeys. Iceland is likely one of the most visually spectacular locations I’ve ever visited.

It’s at all times smarter to have a number of SD playing cards slightly than one large card, simply in case it fails. A couple of SanDisk 64 GB playing cards ought to maintain you over.

It’s good to have some backup batteries, and should you’re packing for Iceland within the winter, know that batteries drain faster when it’s beneath freezing.

Again up your images in a number of locations should you can. A tiny thumb drive most likely gained’t be sufficient — as a substitute, carry an exterior onerous drive.

A camera on a tripod in front of an Iceland waterfall with a rainbow.
Generally it looks like everybody in Iceland has a tripod! Through Shutterstock.


A tripod is an non-obligatory merchandise, however one which extra severe photographers ought to pack. In case you’re trying to do long-exposure images on Iceland waterfalls, or reap the benefits of low-light conditions, you’ll want to have a tripod.

Nevertheless — should you’re not a photographer, you don’t essentially want this. (Plus, lugging your tripod and setting it up in every single place generally is a big ache should you’re not captivated with images.)

High Tip: When you’ve got an iPhone, set your digicam as much as take Dwell Pictures. Maintain your digicam as nonetheless as you may when photographing a waterfall. In your photograph, contact the “LIVE” placing within the prime left nook and alter it to “Lengthy Publicity.” Hiya, clean waterfall!

It takes a little bit of follow, and I like to recommend capturing on a wide-angle as a result of this will chop off a whole lot of the sides.

Kate in a pink jacket taking a selfie in front of a black beach studded with grass and jagged black mountains of Stokksnes.
Taking a selfie at Stokksnes in gentle make-up — and feeling good!

Sufficient Make-up to Look Further Good in Pictures

Clearly that is non-obligatory as effectively, however should you put on make-up in your day-to-day life, you’ll most likely recognize carrying a bit in Iceland. Not a full face — simply sufficient to look a little bit bit nicer than you’d be bare-faced.

Every day in Iceland, I wore BB cream, mascara, forehead shadow, and lip balm. Not a lot, however sufficient to make a distinction.

For a similar cause, I wore earrings — little stud earrings that I saved in the entire journey. I like having a little bit of shimmer in my images.

Kate standing in front of a craggy green mountain in Iceland. She wears a pink jacket and has her hands in her pockets, grinning.

What to Put on in Iceland

My outfits in Iceland had been just about the identical factor, again and again. Choose a system and keep it up!

Within the photograph above, taken at Hvalnes Lighthouse in southeast Iceland, I wore a medium-weight sweater, Uniqlo Extremely Mild Down Jacket, leggings, merino wool socks, boots (these ones are a discontinued model of Hunter boots however I might get waterproof mountain climbing boots subsequent time), and sun shades.

That’s a really perfect outfit for a sunny day in Iceland in the summertime.

For the day I hiked into Múlagljúfur Canyon, considered one of my absolute favourite locations in Iceland, I wore my typical mountain climbing outfit: an Icebreaker merino wool pullover, mountain climbing pants, rain pants on prime simply in case, merino wool socks, and path runners (once more, ought to have worn waterproof mountain climbing boots).

For the hike I wore my two jackets — the Uniqlo Extremely Mild Down jacket and my rain jacket shell — and tied them each round my waist once I received scorching.

They’re out of the body on this photograph, together with my backpack.

A woman in a winter coat and hat stands on a snowy Icelandic road.
Bundle up for winter in Iceland! Through Shutterstock.

Packing Checklist for Iceland in Winter

Touring to Iceland in winter requires further gadgets. It’s all about staying heat and dry in a chilly, moist setting! Let’s check out a very powerful gadgets on your winter Iceland packing listing:

Base layers (thermal underwear). Base layers are important — these are what hold you truly feeling heat when it’s chilly out! I’m an enormous fan of Uniqlo HeatTech Base Layers (prime and backside). They’re so comfy, so heat, and surprisingly reasonably priced!

I like to recommend two pairs of every on your journey to Iceland. Good base layers could be worn a number of days in a row.

Mid-weight layers. This further layer is what you put on between your base layers and outerwear. I want a heat sweater on prime and heat leggings on the underside.

Heat parka. You’ll desire a heavyweight winter coat with a hood. I like to recommend one which goes to mid-thigh or decrease; coats that cease at your waist let in a whole lot of chilly air. (Individuals from Texas and Florida: speak to your cold-weather-living associates. They know higher.)

Waterproof, windproof snow pants. Like rain pants, besides constructed for low temperatures.

Heat hat. I’m a fan of North Face beanies, however something cozy and wooly will do effectively.

Waterproof, windproof gloves or mittens. I truly want mittens, like these ones from Outside Analysis. Chances are you’ll need to put on glove liners or working gloves as effectively.

Heat scarf. I’m an enormous fan of Speakeasy Journey Provide scarves that include a hidden pocket — they usually have a set of heat heavy weight scarves which might be good for Iceland within the winter!

Base layer socks and heat socks (I like to recommend merino wool socks if potential). Base layer socks, once more, hold you hotter than simply common socks.

Sizzling Arms hand heaters. Crack these they usually’ll hold you heat for hours. These saved my life in Antarctica! They promote particular toe heaters as effectively, however I don’t suppose you want them — hand heaters work for each.

I like to recommend carrying the Sizzling Arms between your base layer socks and heavier socks, or between your glove liners and mittens. You may as well hold them in your pockets.

Northern lights images gear. The Northern Lights are considered one of Iceland’s greatest attracts through the winter months. In case you’re hoping to see them, you’ll want a tripod, as that you must take lengthy publicity photographs to make the colours actually pop.

(You would possibly need to see my Antarctica packing listing for examples of my winter outfits for being lively in a chilly setting.)

Kate making a goofy jump in the air on a rainbow striped street leading to a church.
Be sure you pack your adventurous spirit!

Iceland Packing Checklist

Right here it’s: the complete packing listing for Iceland.



Winter Vacationers



Objects to Pack

Digicam Gear and Tech Gear

Optionally available

Do you have to do laundry in Iceland?

In case you’re staying in Iceland for lower than per week, you most likely don’t must do laundry. However should you’re staying for longer than per week, you’ll most likely must.

High Tip: E-book lodging with laundry included midway via your journey. Amanda and I booked an condominium in Akureyri that had a washer and drying rack. This was good timing and we didn’t must go discover a laundromat!

You may as well do laundry within the sink should you’d like. Deliver journey laundry detergent if that’s the case.

Kate in a leather jacket standing in front of Gulfoss waterfall in Iceland.
Expensive 2015 Kate: WHY did you put on a leather-based jacket to the Golden Circle?!

What NOT to Deliver to Iceland

Listed below are some issues that you simply completely don’t must carry to Iceland:

Umbrella. In case you packed correct rain gear — hooded raincoat, rain pants, waterproof boots, and backpack cowl — it fully negates the necessity for an umbrella. You gained’t use it!

Money. Iceland accepts bank cards for nearly the whole lot (there are a number of exceptions, like metropolis buses in Reykjavík). On my most up-to-date two-week journey, neither Amanda nor I used money as soon as.

Dressy garments. You don’t want dressy garments — not even for that nice-looking restaurant in Reykjavík. Put on your nicest sweater and your black mountain climbing pants and also you’ll slot in simply high-quality.

Horseback driving gear. Icelanders don’t enable any driving gear from overseas international locations to be worn in Iceland. That is to guard the horses from exterior pathogens. Please don’t suppose they’ll make an exception for you. They gained’t.

A digicam you don’t know methods to use. Lots of people get fancy new cameras for his or her Iceland journey — however they don’t know methods to use them. Be sure to spend an excellent period of time attending to know your digicam’s settings and working towards earlier than you go to Iceland.

Extra on Iceland:

My Favourite Locations in Iceland:

Have you ever been to Iceland? What did you recognize bringing?


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