Given Iceland’s popularity, we get the question of what to pack for Iceland a lot these days. It’s a question we get a lot about destinations. It’s only natural that once you book your ticket and make travel plans you spend your time wondering what to throw in your luggage.
To be fair there is no quicker way to ruin a trip than to be uncomfortable, but packing for Iceland isn’t rocket science and you’ll be fine. We suggest that you consider the length of your trip and what time of year you’re heading to the Scandinavian country.
The key to packing for Iceland is to bring weatherproof clothing and layers. However, if you’re traveling in winter, the winter months in Iceland can be very cold and it’s worth bringing proper winter attire. Any other time of year, be sure to pack a rain jacket, a great down jacket, a warm base layer like a flannel, and a decent pair of boots.
Key Points To Packing Your Luggage For Iceland
Before you pack it’s important to determine what you’ll need to bring in your suitcase.
- What time of year are you heading to Iceland? Temperatures can vary greatly depending on when you are visiting and will alter your Iceland packing list. If you need more info read about the best time of year to visit Iceland.
- Will you hang out in Reykjavik? Or will be out in the countryside? We’re active travelers and spent most of our time outside camping while we drove around the Ring Road. Your activity will determine your choice of outfits.
- How long are you spending in the country? You can get by with a lot less by just layering! Cameron lives out of a suitcase so think twice about how much you really need to get by!
What to Pack for Iceland
1. A good jacket
Surprise! It gets cold in Iceland, even in the summer. I learned this the hard way when I went hiking there in the middle of July without a proper jacket. I love my Patagonia nano puff jacket because it’s one of the best packable down jackets on the market. This should be on any Iceland packing list no matter the season.
2. Ear muffs or hat
I love wearing ear muffs so I don’t mess up my hair. I also wear my hair in a ponytail a lot so ear muffs ensure that I can keep my pony! If you wear your hair down then consider a nice knit hat.
A good pair of wool socks is essential if you do any trekking in Iceland. I have Danish Endurance socks and they keep my feet ever so warm!
A scarf is something you will easily be able to get in Iceland, but it will come with a hefty price tag. Consider checking out Amazon first for a good deal!
A solid colored sweater goes with just about everything and you won’t regret having one for your trip to Iceland.
7. Long Sleeve Shirt
You might want to pack a few long sleeve shirts for Iceland, no matter if it’s summer or winter. We were happy to have warm clothes when we traveled to Iceland in October.
8. Thermal wear
Consider bringing a cute, but durable pair of thermal underwear.
9. Maxi Dress
The Icelanders are pretty stylish so if you are hanging out in the capital city pack a nice outfit like this to go out to dinner and to the bars in. Remember, many of the bars stay open until 4 in the morning so make sure you’re comfortable.
No matter what climate I am traveling to I bring my Patagonia flannel everywhere and it has never let me know.
Layering is going to help with temperature changes in Iceland. Consider some light polyester clothing to help.
Iceland is cool year round, but when you’re out on a hike it’s easy to overheat. This is when a vest comes in handy. I personally have three Patagonia vests and they last forever and are great for keeping your body a comfortable temperature. Plus it looks great in photos!
I decided to skip the Blue Lagoon and went to the local hot springs instead. If you plan on doing you might want to bring a few swimsuits.
14. Yoga Pants
Yoga Pants are lifesavers not just in Iceland, but all around Europe (and the world). My absolute favorite brand of activewear is Alala. Alala makes top quality yoga pants. I wear my black ones almost every day with every sort of top and they have lasted ages. They are a bit expensive, but trust me they are worth it.
Shoes to pack for Iceland
15. Waterproof boots
Waterproof boots are essential when you’re thinking about what to pack for Iceland. Even if you’re not hiking and just walking around when there is snow, your feet can easily become wet.
16. Hiking Shoes
If you plan on doing any short hikes I would bring a good pair of hiking shoes. I personally travel everywhere with my Merrell Moab Ventilators.
17. Hiking Boots
You’ll want to make sure you have some of the best hiking boots for Iceland if you plan to do any hiking in the winter. It gets very cold and there may be snow so make sure they are also waterproof. These are some of my favorite!
18. Stylish Shoes
If you’re spending any time in Reykjavik just be prepared for the Icelanders to dress up for the bars and restaurants. That’s why I like to travel around with at least one pair of stylish and comfortable sneakers. I’ve talked about my Clarks before in my favorite travel shoe post, and stand by them. They make high quality shoewear for both men and women.
A high-quality camera is an important packing item for Iceland if you want some great shots while on your vacation. I travel with my Fujifilm X-T10 and 200mm telephoto lens, but I’m not afraid to take out our tiny and discrete GoPro. If you’re looking more into picking up the best camera for travel we’ve written a post about that.
This is definitely not every traveler’s list, but if you’re big into photography you’ll need a decent travel laptop to back up and edit your photos.
Now that you know what to pack for Iceland, check out some of the best things to do in the country!
Here’s an Iceland packing checklist to print
Plan Your Trip to Iceland
We rely on a few trusted websites that help save us money and time when booking hotels, flights, and car rentals. Check out some of our preferred partners below:
- Get Around Iceland: If you want to travel with a Happy Campers van like we did (and you should!) make sure to read our full review. You can easily book using this link, but make sure to book well in advance during high season.
- Accommodation in Iceland: To feel more at home we use Airbnb you can check out some tips and read more about getting an Airbnb coupon code here. Or just take this coupon for your first stay!
- Travel Insurance: We never travel without travel insurance with World Nomads. Natasha is a bit of a worry wart and would rather stay safe than sorry. World Nomads offers incredible flexible and great plans!
- Water: We found the water in Iceland amazing to drink, if you want extra assurance then we love traveling with our Lifestraw Go reusable water bottle.
- Guide Book: Sometimes it’s nice just to have a real book in your hands when traveling. We recommend Lonely Planet to get you through those wireless nights.
- A First Timer’s Guide To Iceland Groceries & Supermarkets
- How Much Does a Europe Backpacking Trip Cost?
- 10 of the Best Hot Springs in Iceland
- The 10 Best Hiking Backpacks to Conquer Mountains in 2018
- 25 Smart Ways to Save Money for Travel
- The Best Packable Down Jackets to Travel With
- The Black Sand Beach in Iceland: All You Need to Know about Reynisfjara
- How To Drive The Golden Circle in Iceland Yourself