Is Your Iceland Packing List Ready? [Spring 2020]

Updated -

From the powerful cascading waterfalls to the molten active volcanos, Iceland is home to some of the most unique landscapes on earth. If you’re craving a bit of outdoor adventure, we know that this is one country you must see to believe.

Since you’ll be spending a fair amount of time exploring the outdoors, you’ll need the right clothes and accessories to keep you safe and warm. Packing for Iceland is very different than packing for other Scandinavian or European countries. However, it’s relatively easy if you are prepared for the various elements and temperatures.

To help, we put together this Iceland survival guide! We broke down exactly what you’ll need for each season, so you’ll be prepared no matter what month you plan on visiting Iceland. In addition, we compiled the top 21 things you absolutely need to bring along with a complete packing list for both men and women.

We even threw in a few items that you don’t need to pack so that you can save space in your bag for all the Iceland packing essentials.

When planning your trip to Iceland, we’ve got you covered. The only thing you’ll need to remember is your passport!

Top 21 NEEDS for Iceland – Iceland Packing List

#1 – World Nomads Insurance

Travel insurance is, by far, one of the most important things you should take with you to Iceland. It offers financial protection against a variety of travel-related incidents, like flight cancellations or lost luggage. Also, travel insurance reimburses for doctors or hospital visits if you get sick or injured during your trip. World Nomads is our provider of choice. For just a few dollars a day, you’ll have comprehensive protection against these potential travel mishaps.

 

#2 – Nomatic Travel Bag

Nomadic Travel Bag

The Nomatic Travel Bag is practically made for outdoor adventure. Made from durable, waterproof materials, it’s perfect for the wet and rugged climate conditions in Iceland. It has enough space for 7-days worth of clothes, with tons of extra pockets for all your gadgets and accessories. And the innovated strap systems lets you switch between carrying it like a backpack or duffel bag.

Check on Nomatic

MUST READ! You’ve got to visit these places in Iceland when you’re there!

#3 – Active Roots Security Belt

Active Roots Security Belt

As one of the safest countries in the world, Iceland has a very low crime rate, especially against foreigners and tourists. However, you should always keep your valuable items safe and secure at all times. The Active Roots Security Belt may look like a regular black belt, but it actually has a hidden zipper compartment where you can store your cash. You can also use it to carry copies of personal items like copies of your passport or travel insurance.

Check on Amazon

Have some time? Get out of the city with these epic day trips from Reykjavik!

#4 – Active Roots Water Bottle

Active Roots Water Bottle

If you’re wondering what to pack for Iceland, then make sure to bring your Active Roots Water Bottle. Between visiting Gulfuss Falls or hiking up Mount Esja, you’ll want to stay hydrated at all times. This insulated water bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours, so you’ll have access to freshwater when you need it the most. Not to mention, the water in Iceland is some of the cleanest drinking water in the world!

Check on Amazon

Iceland is amazing! And the best hostels in Reykjavik will blow you away!

#5 – Masterlock

MasterLock

Although it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter thieves or pickpockets in Iceland, it’s better to be safe than sorry. That’s why it’s always a good idea to lock up your bag while you’re traveling. We suggest a combination lock from Masterlock. It’s also helpful to have a TSA-approved lock to protect your bag during your flight. All you have to do is set your personal code, and you’ll ward off potential prowlers from swiping your valuable items!

Check on Amazon

Want to learn more about Reykjavik? These are the most AMAZING tours in Reykjavik!

#6 – Skeletool

Skeletool

Since you’re probably spending a fair amount of time outdoors in Iceland, you’ll want to have a Skeletool in your arsenal. This all-in-one gadget has wire cutters, pliers, and a built-in knife, so you’ll be prepared for whatever nature throws at you. It even comes with a bottle opener – just in case you need to crack open an ice-cold beer after a long hike or journey around the country.

Check on Amazon

#7 – Active Roots Quick Dry Towel

Active Roots Quick Dry Towel

One of the best places to visit in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon. Instead of paying extra for a towel, just bring your handy Active Roots Quicky Dry Towel! This light and packable travel towel dries fast, so it’s perfect for a short dip in the relaxing waters. We also found that you can use it in a variety of other situations. Use it like a cleaning rag, yoga mat, or even an emergency blanket!

Check on Amazon

#8 – Will Fairy Electronic Toothbrush

Will Fairy Electronic Toothbrush

When it comes to travel, make sure to add the Will Fairy Electronic Toothbrush to your Iceland packing list. It has three different cleaning modes that will leave your pearly whites sparkling as white as the Icelandic glaciers! Since it lasts for 30 days with just one four-hour charge, you can leave the charging cable back home.

Check on Amazon

#9 – Power Adaptor

International Power Adaptor

 

If you’re coming from America, your flat-pronged plugs won’t work in Iceland. Their outlets use the European round-pronged plugs, with a standard voltage of 230V and 50Hz frequency. If you want to charge your phone, camera, and other electronics, you’ll need to convert the power using an international power adaptor. We love this one because it also has built-in USB chargers, so you don’t even need to pack your American plugs in order to get power.

Check on Amazon

Heading to Europe? You have to read our Europe packing list!

#10 – Packing Cubes

Eagle Creek Packing Cubes

Packing is one of the most tedious things about traveling. However, packing cubes take the pain out of packing for short or long trips, especially since you’re bringing a lot of small accessories like hats, socks, and scarves with you to Iceland. Not only do they keep your clothes separated and organized, but they also make packing and unpacking your bag super easy. Finally, you can say goodbye to hunting around your suitcase for your favorite sweater or missing sock!

Check on Amazon

Our Mexico packing list is a MUST READ

#11 – GoPro Hero8 Black

GoPro Hero8 Black

Iceland’s landscape is nothing short of stunning. In order to capture all the waterfalls, geysers, and volcanos, you’ll want to always have your GoPro Hero8 Black by your side. Ideal for the outdoors, this compact camera is perfect for exploring Iceland. Not only does it shoot high-quality videos and images, but it’s also rugged and waterproof, so you can take it anywhere you go. Don’t let those moments pass you by without snapping a few photographs so you can always remember your time in Iceland.

Not sure what to bring? Have a look at our (must read) packing list for Thailand.

Check on Amazon

#12 – Portable Charger

Portable Charger

While you’re out exploring the landscapes around Iceland, your phone might not have enough battery to last an entire day. A small, portable charger is a must-have item to add to your Iceland packing list. It has enough juice to charge your phone, camera, or other small electronics while you’re on the road.

Check on Amazon

Still debating what to pack? Here is the ultimate packing list for Costa Rica.

#13 – Insulated Gloves

Insulated Gloves

The weather in Iceland can be extremely cold, even in the middle of summer! That’s why it’s important to travel with warm, insulated gloves. Whether you’re spending the day hiking up the mountains or simply trekking around Reykjavik, you’ll be glad to have gloves to keep your hands toasty warm. Trust us – it’s not worth losing your fingers to frostbite!

Check on Amazon

Don’t pack too much stuff! Here is our must read Bali packing list.

#14 – Waterproof Hiking Boots

Waterproof Hiking Boots

Between the jagged rocks and slippery surfaces, a pair of waterproof hiking boots are a must. You’ll need a pair that have a strong grip on the sole but are also comfortable enough to wear for several days at a time (without giving you blisters!). If you’re serious about getting out in nature and exploring Iceland, then make sure to invest in a good pair of hiking boots.

Check on Amazon

#15 – Osprey Ultralight Daypack

Osprey Ultralight Daypack

When you go out for the day, you’ll want to store all your personal belongings in a water-resistant daypack. The Osprey Ultralight Daypack is one of our favorites. It’s lightweight enough to wear comfortably for hours and keeps your items safe and dry from the wet elements.  Best of all, it packs down into a compact bag so it won’t take up too much space or weight in your suitcase or bag.

Check on Amazon

#16 – Fairisle Sweater

Fairisle Sweater

When it comes to Iceland street fashion, there’s nothing as iconic as the knitted Fairisle sweater. It’s guaranteed to keep you warm, even in the harshest of cold and icy weather. Not to mention, you’ll also look super sleek and stylish. Once you slip on your cozy Fairisle sweater, everyone will think you’re a local!

Check on Amazon

#17 – Sleep Mask

Sleep Mask

If you’re traveling to Iceland in Summer, then you need to be prepared for Midnight Sun, where you’ll experience almost 24 hours of sunlight. Although it’s a stunning phenomenon to witness, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep (after all, it doesn’t get completely dark!). Make sure to bring an eye mask so you can sleep soundly through the night.

Check on Amazon

#18 – Hand Creme

Hand Creme

The harsh Iceland weather can leave your skin feeling dry. You’ll want to bring a non-greasy body lotion to keep your skin moisturized for the entire duration of your trip. It’s worth bringing lotion specifically formulated for dry skin, instead of relying on the hotel body lotion (which can be filled with other chemicals and perfumes that are even more damaging to the skin).

Check on Amazon

#19 – Bathing Suit

Bathing Suit

Because of the cold weather, most people forget to add a bathing suit to their Iceland packing list. However, Iceland is home to many natural hot springs. It’s a good idea to bring a bathing suit or swim trunks with you on your trip so you can spend a few hours in the Blue Lagoon or Fontana Geothermal Baths. It would be a shame to miss out on those opportunities just because you weren’t fully prepared!

Check on Amazon

#20 – Lonely Planet Iceland

Lonely Planet Iceland

Curious about which landmarks and natural attractions to see in Iceland? Well, the Lonely Planet guidebook is your ultimate Iceland survival guide. It has a list of the best itineraries for road trips and other must-see places around the entire country. It also includes a fold-out map so you can explore Iceland on your own instead of joining a tour.

Check on Amazon

#21 – Rain Jacket

Rain Jacket

Besides packing warm clothes for your trip, you’ll also need to bring a durable rain jacket or shell with you. Even if the weather doesn’t call for rain, you still might get wet from the spray of the waterfalls and geysers. Plus, it’s perfect for layering, so you can wear it if it’s cold or warm. Besides your passport and travel insurance, a rain jacket is one of the most important items to have in Iceland!

Check on Amazon

What to Wear in Iceland

What to Wear in Iceland
What to Wear in Iceland ( Photo Credit – tripoto.com)

While packing your bag, you’re probably wondering what to take to Iceland. However, what you wear will depend on the type of activities you plan on doing while you’re there. Hiking and exploring means more athletic gear, while city visits can be a little more fashionable.

Either way, it’s important to keep in mind that the weather can be pretty unpredictable. That’s why we recommend packing layers.

For your base layer, you’ll want wool thermals. With a thermal top and bottom, you can stay warm while also wicking away any sweat and moisture. Then, you can layer a pullover or thin sweater over the thermal for extra warmth.

Finally, you’ll need a durable and waterproof or water-resistant top layer, such as a rain jacket and waterproof pants. It’s also crucial to bring the right accessories if you’re thinking about what to pack for Iceland. This means hats, scarves, gloves, and warm socks. And if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, you’ll also want to bring hiking boots.

You might consider bringing nicer clothes if you’re planning to hang out in Reykjavik or go out to dinner. Local Iceland fashion isn’t as outdoorsy or touristy as you might think. Bring a button-up shirt or blouse and pair it with jeans or pants.

Seasons in Iceland (And how to pack for them!)

Seasons in Iceland
Seasons in Iceland ( Photo Credit – icelandtravel.is)

Summer – Summer is the warmest time to visit Iceland. Temperatures hover around the mid-50s and 60s, and the weather will be a mix of sun and rain. It’s not a destination for sunbathers, so if you’re escaping to Iceland for warm weather and beaches, you will be disappointed.

Due to the warm(ish) weather, summer is also the busiest season for tourists. For this reason, you can expect large crowds and high prices for flights and accommodation. However, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to escape outside the city if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.

When it comes to what to pack for Iceland, you’ll still need to bring layers. Although you might be okay without thermals in the day, the temperatures can dip at night. If you’re planning to be out all day, then make sure to bring thermals or extra layers to keep warm.

And since rain is always on the radar, don’t leave the hotel without your rain jacket. You’ll also need it to visit the waterfalls and geysers.

Fall – September marks the start of Iceland’s shoulder season. The weather becomes colder and rainier, which means fewer tourists. This is a great season if you want to still experience Iceland without the crowds or exorbitant tourist prices. September and October are also some of the best times to see the Northern Lights!

During the day, temperatures can be anywhere in the mid-40s. As with the other seasons in Iceland, you’ll need to pack different layers for keeping warm. Make sure to bring thermals, sweaters, and other accessories like wool socks, gloves, and hats or beanies.

October is also the wettest month, so you should be prepared for several days of rain. Waterproof shoes, jackets, and pants can be beneficial, even if you’re just roaming around the city. Reykjavik does see it’s fair share of rain, but other parts of the island, like Dalatangi and Kirkjubæjarklaustur, have twice the amount.

Winter – According to the Norse calendar, winter in Iceland lasts from the end of October until the beginning of April. This is when Iceland is at it’s coldest. But don’t let the freezing temperatures deter you! Winter is one of the best times to visit the country since you’ll have the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights!

As far as tourism goes, winter is also considered low season. There are fewer crowds (except on Northern Light tours), and flights and hotels are much cheaper than they are in summer.

Temperatures can be as high as 10 degrees or as low as – 10 degrees. Besides the unpredictable wind and rain, you can also expect lots of sun at this time. Although most hiking trails are closed, you should still bring heavy layers and rain gear if you plan on spending any time outdoors. Don’t forget those winter accessories too. Warm hats, gloves, socks, and scarves are must-have items on your Iceland packing list.

You will also need extra clothing if you’re wondering what to wear in Iceland at night. If you have space in your luggage, you can bring a heavier parka or snow boots

Spring – As Iceland crawls out of its winter darkness, its greeted by the temperate weather of spring. It’s a relatively short season that only goes from April to May. But since the snow is melting and the flowers are blooming, it’s a great time to see the natural beauty of Iceland at its fullest!

Tourism is a little higher than it is in winter, but you can still score some great deals if you book your flight and hotel in advance. And with more hours of sunlight, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for exploring the outdoors.

Daytime temperatures around the island will be anywhere from 30 to 40 degrees. This will get much colder at night, so make sure to pack your thermals and layers.

As with any month in Iceland, rain is always possible. Therefore, you should always carry your rain jacket, even if the skies look bright and sunny. It’s also possible to have a few snow showers, especially in the northern part of the country. If you plan to make that trek, warmer clothing and snow boots might also come in handy.

What shoes to pack for Iceland

What shoes to pack for Iceland
What shoes to pack for Iceland ( Photo Credit – katlatrack.is)

Picking out the best shoes for Iceland should be too difficult. Although your exact itinerary will dictate the type of shoes you bring, you will need to make sure that you have at least one pair of waterproof shoes. You’re likely to see at least some days of rain (and snow if you go in winter), so waterproof or water-resistant shoes are a must.

For adventurous travelers, a durable pair of hiking boots is essential for Iceland. Not only will they keep your feet dry and warm, but they’re also safer than normal running shoes or sneakers. The terrain can be very rocky and slippery, and you’ll need hiking boots if you want to see everything Iceland has to offer.

Keep in mind you should also bring warm socks for your boots. We usually wear wool socks, which are both moisture-wicking and comfortable to wear all day.

If you’re just planning to spend most of your time in the city or car, then you should still have waterproof shoes as a back-up. However, wearing something comfortable and warm is also an important factor when deciding what to wear in Iceland.

For the hot springs and pools, sandals or flip flops can be helpful. While you might not wear them other parts of your trip, they’re usually small and light enough to pack in your bag without taking up too much space.

Finally, we recommend bringing one other nicer pair of shoes for going out. There are a lot of nice bars and restaurants, especially in Reykjavik, and you’ll need something dresser than hiking boots if you’re trying to keep up with Iceland fashion. Think clean sneakers or leather boots. However, this isn’t a necessity if you’re short on space in your suitcase or bag.

Females – What to Pack for Iceland

Females - What to Pack for Iceland
Females – What to Pack for Iceland ( Photo Credit – guidetoiceland.is)

Ladies, if you’re wondering what to take to Iceland, don’t worry! We’re here to tell you that packing for Iceland is a breeze.

As we’ve mentioned before, you’ll want to pack layers. Make sure you pack thermal underwear, thin sweaters or cardigans, and several short and long sleeve t-shirts. If you don’t want to spend money on thermals, you can also wear yoga pants or tights instead! Layers not only keep you warm, but they also provide different variations for outfits.

For your top layer, you’ll definitely need to bring a rain jacket. If you’re hiking or trekking during your trip, you’ll also need a few pieces of athletic wear, such as waterproof shell pants.

For a night out on the town, you can bring a few nicer pieces with you. A pair of black pants paired with a nice blouse or shirt is a great option. If you have space, you can also bring leather or fur-lined boots for that extra chic look. Leave anything with heels (yes – even boots with block heels) at home!

Clothes

  • Thermal tops and bottoms (thermal underwear)
  • Thin sweaters and cardigans
  • Fleece jacket
  • Waterproof shell or rain jacket
  • Long sleeve and short sleeve shirts
  • Blouse (for going out)
  • Waterproof shell pants
  • Tights or yoga pants
  • Underwear
  • Socks (preferably wool)
  • Bra and bralette

Shoes

  • Waterproof or water-resistant hiking boots
  • Flip Flops (for hot spring and pools)
  • Nice sneakers or boots (for going out)

Accessories

  • Warm hat, fleece-lined headband or beanie
  • Neck muff
  • Sunglasses
  • Belt
  • Daypack or small backpack
  • Purse

Toiletries

  • Shampoo, conditioner, other hair products
  • Hairbrush
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Body soap and lotion
  • Tampons and pads
  • Face wash and moisturizer
  • Razor
  • Contacts or glasses
  • Medication (birth control, vitamins, allergies meds, etc.)
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tweezers
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
  • Makeup (eye shadow, lipstick, foundation, mascara, eyeliner, etc.)

Males – What to Pack for Iceland

Males - What to Pack for Iceland
Males – What to Pack for Iceland ( Photo Credit – heyiceland.is)

Guys, wondering what to pack for Iceland? Depending on what you’re planning to do for your trip, we have the ideal packing list, so you know what to wear in Iceland.

As we said, layers are key! Bring thermal underwear for your base layer and long sleeve shirts and sweaters for mid-layers. Since it will probably rain at least once during your trip, a rainjacket or shell is also a must-have.

Accessory wise – you’ll also want a warm beanie, scarf, and possibly a neck buff. You’ll also need insulated gloves to keep your fingers warm and toasty outside!

And although you may be tempted to only wear hiking clothes the entire trip, you might consider bringing a few dressier Iceland outfit ideas. If you’re going to dinner or hitting the bars, think about a button-up shirt with a sweater and nice jeans. You should also wear leather boots or sneakers instead of your hiking boots.

Clothes

  • Thermal tops and bottoms (thermal underwear)
  • T-shirts and long sleeve shirts
  • Button up shirts (flannel or casual)
  • Thin sweaters or pullovers
  • Fleece Jacket
  • Waterproof shell or rain jacket
  • Waterproof shell pants
  • Jeans, black chinos or khaki pants
  • Underwear
  • Socks

Shoes

  • Sneakers or walking shoes that you can wear all day
  • Flip flops
  • Waterproof or water-resistant hiking boots

Accessories

  • Warm hat or beanie
  • Neck muff
  • Sunglasses
  • Belt
  • Daypack or small backpack

Toiletries

  • Shampoo, conditioner
  • Hair gel or mousse
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Body soap and lotion
  • Moisturizer
  • Disposable razor and shaving cream
  • Contacts or glasses
  • Medication (vitamins, allergies meds, etc.)
  • Deodorant
  • Tweezers
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss

What NOT to Pack for Iceland

Packing for Iceland doesn’t have to be challenging. While there are specific items you’ll need to bring with you, there are also a few things you should remember to leave at home.

  • Expensive jewelry – Iceland is not the place to wear your diamond earrings or gold necklace. Not only will you probably not see them under your winter layers, but you don’t want to risk losing something valuable while you’re out and about.
  • Umbrella – You may think that an umbrella is a good way to stay dry from the rain. But the weather can be very windy, which makes having an umbrella practically useless when you’re outside.
  • Heels or high-end shoes – If you spend any time outdoors, your shoes will probably get wet or dirty. Don’t bring anything you wouldn’t want getting scuffed. And most importantly, don’t bring anything uncomfortable to walk in!

The Best Backpack to Pack for Iceland

The Best Backpack to Pack for Europe

The Nomatic Travel Bag was one of our top 21 items any traveler must-have when going to Iceland. But we love this bag so much that we wanted to explain a bit more about its features in more detail.

Iceland is a country known for it’s diverse and unpredictable climates. We believe the Nomatic Travel Bag is the ideal bag to handle even the most rugged terrain you might encounter during your trip. It’s made with durable and waterproof materials so you won’t have to worry about your clothes getting wet!

And because you’re hauling around small items and accessories like hats, scarves, and cameras, the built-in pockets make finding and organizing your things easier than ever. There is even a space for your laptop and hiking boots!

Although you’ll have more than enough room for your belongings, the 40L bag is still carry-on size. And if you’re tired of wearing it like a backpack, you can quickly adjust to straps and transform it into a duffel bag.

As one of the most innovative bags on the market today, you won’t want to explore Iceland without the awesome Nomatic Travel Bag!

Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Iceland

As you can see, packing for Iceland doesn’t have to be painful or stressful! While you’re preparing for your trip, you can simply run through our packing list to see what you may have missed. Don’t forget the key essentials like a durable bag, a rain jacket, and waterproof hiking boots.

It’s also important to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy with World Nomads. While it’s unlikely that anything bad will happen on your trip, it’s always better to be prepared for the worst.

Remember, wearing layers is key to a comfortable and warm trip to Iceland. This includes thermal base layers, sweaters, and a waterproof top layer and shell. As long as you are prepared for wind, rain, and possibly snow, you should be fine.

Now go out there and have one unforgettable trip to Iceland!

 

Leave a Reply

Close Menu