Iceland is the magical world of your dreams, but if you don't pack the right things for your trip to Iceland, you're going to be cold, have hurt feet, and unhappy. Here's the list of everything you need to pack for your trip to Iceland.
What to Pack for Iceland
Packable down coat
These coats are your best friend on an Icelandic trip. Since winter gear can take up so much space in your suitcase, a coat that can pack down small (but with a downy interior that keeps you warm) is the answer. Choose a lighter option for the summer and something heavier (for subzero temps) in the winter.
A fully waterproof jacket makes all the difference. Even if the weatherman predicts clear skies during your trip, bring a waterproof jacket to shield you from the spray of all those huge Icelandic waterfalls.
Insulated waterproof boots
Anything from hiking boots to snow boots should get the job done, but if you’re planning to do anything outside (oh wait, it’s Iceland, that’s all you’re planning to do), it’s worth it to have shoes that keep your feet dry and warm.
A bag full of food
Not much grows in the icy Icelandic and imports are costly. This means a meal at McDonalds costs 13-18 USD — yikes. Iceland isn’t known for its exceptional cuisine, so save your money and bring some non-perishable food like granola bars and ramen.
Don’t let the chilly air fool you, the sun will find your skin, so make sure to protect it. It’s especially important to guard your skin if you’re exploring glaciers or other snowy areas. The sun reflects off these surfaces meaning UV rays can be pretty harsh.
Cold weather accessories
Bring a hat, gloves, scarf or gaiter, and wool or fleece socks. Limiting your exposure to the low temperatures and wind will keep you happy your whole trip.
Bring clothes that are comfortable and easy to move in — leggings, sweats, etc. Because you’ll be covering your outfits with jackets, it doesn’t matter much what they look like. In fact, many travelers admit to just wearing the same shirts repeatedly.
It’s not a true Icelandic trip without a dip in at least one hot spring — so bring that bathing suit.
You’ll be doing a lot of hiking, so make sure to bring a bag to carry essentials like your water bottle.
Dual voltage converter or adapter
For small electronics (phones, laptops, tablets, etc.) Type F adapter with 2 prongs and 2 groundling clips will get you your charge. For any larger appliances, you’ll need a converter.
The weather can get pretty rough and the last thing you want is a bag full of sopping wet clothes. Make sure you bring a bag that will keep your belongings dry when the Icelandic weather hits. We recommend this travel bag.
Things to pack for Iceland in Winter
The warmth of your parka depends on where you’re going. It’s coldest in the northern part of the island (from about -25 to -30 °C or -13 to -22°F) but most people travel in the south of Iceland where the average temperature is about 0 °C (32 °F). Bring a parka with the appropriate temperature rating. Also, if you can’t fit your waterproof coat over your parka, make sure you get one that’s waterproof itself. If you don’t have a parka already, rent or borrow one for your trip.
Things to pack for Iceland in the Summer
If you need darkness to sleep, you’d better bring something to shield your eyes. One of the beauties of an Icelandic summer is the midnight sun, but this means the sun is shining literally all the time — even at 2 am. We recommend a sleeping mask if you want to get some shut-eye.
A hair dryer
If you’re coming from the U.S., leave the hair dryer at home. Because they use so much power, it’s hard to match them with an acceptable power converter. If you need to use one, check with your accommodations or buy one when you get there.
Here's what people really packed for Iceland
What kind of bag do you need for Iceland?
Whether you're walking under a waterfall or setting your bag down on a glacier, it's important that the bag you bring to Iceland keeps your everything from your tech to your socks dry.
In Iceland, you'll spend your days hopping from geothermal pools to waterfall hikes. To keep your clothes and swimsuits from getting that mildew scent, use a bag with a breathable or waterproof compartment.
Since you'll be walking though snow and mud, you'll want to keep your dirty shoes away from everything else in your luggage. An ideal bag for Iceland would have a separate compartment to hold shoes.
The diversity of Iceland means you'll probably be switching from your heavy parka to a thin rain jacket within hours. Keep everything accessible with exterior pockets large enough to fit a jacket make a big difference when you're trying to keep everything organized on the go.
Recommended bag for 3-5 days in Iceland: NOMATIC 30L Travel Bag
Recommended bag for 7+ days in Iceland: NOMATIC 40L Travel Bag
How to Pack Your Travel Bag for Iceland