PACKING_LIST_SUMMER_COVER
The Nordic Explorer

The Nordic Explorer

Summer packing list for Iceland

When packing for your summer trip to Iceland first note that Icelandic weather is highly unpredictable. This summer packing list for Iceland takes this into account by basically preparing you for all sorts of weather. But sunny, rainy and windy. The only thing you are unlikely to experience when visiting Iceland in the summer is snow.

Remember to always check the weather review of the specific places your are headed in the morning. … and when the forecast says rain, then it really is going to rain (and be windy) – and possibly a lot! And when it says it’s going to be sunny it doesn’t mean that it is going to be warm – just sunny. Follow these guidelines of the summer packing list for Iceland on what to bring on your trip and you will have a beautiful time!

Thinking that you’re an adult, who has packed a suitcase before I’m not going to go into too much detail on what personal items you should bring. Passport, toothbrush, underwear etc. – you probably have that covered. Instead this summer packing list for Iceland focuses on elaborating on clothes and items you’ll need for an active itinerary in the Icelandic summer weather.

Which months is the summer packing list for Iceland good for?

Summer in Iceland starts in June and lasts until mid/late August. Consider this packing list good for:

  • June
  • July
  • Early and mid August

Visiting Iceland later? Check out the Autumn packing lists for Iceland instead.

Tech stuff

Iceland is famous for its very picturesque surroundings so you will want to bring a camera or at least a proper camera phone. In general smartphones have very decent cameras, but make sure you invest in a waterproof cover for your phone. That way you can safely bring it to all waterfalls and lagoons without fearing dropping it in the water.

If you will be going on full day trips you should invest in a power bank so you’ll be able to charge your devices on the road. You will be pretty bitter when your smartphone runs out of battery just before reaching the Skógafoss (or any other major sight).

Also, bring an adaptor to make sure that your devices will be compatible with North European power sockets.

Footwear

Make sure you bring waterproof hiking boots! If you only plan on visiting Icelandic nature by bus trips you can go with a pair of Dr. Martens boots. However, surroundings around the waterfalls are muddy so don’t wear footwear that you don’t want to get dirty. If you want to go hiking for real you should invest in proper hiking boots.

Bring a pair of comfortable sneakers are for walking around Reykjavík. Walking is by far the easiest way to go sightseeing in the city – or you can rent a bike.

You can bring flip-flops/slippers for when you go for a nice geothermal dip and don’t want to get your feet cold or dirty. However, this a definitely one of those “nice-to-have” items. Your feet will be fine without slippers too.

Clothes

Icelandic weather conditions are known for changing all the time, which can make it a bit difficult to know what to pack. In general the layer-approach is recommended. Wearing multiple light layers makes it easy for you to take off/on a sweater depending on shifting weather.

Recommended items are: Merino wool leggings, light merino wool sweaters and fleece or thermo sweaters. On cold, rainy and windy days you will probably wear up to 4 layers or merino wool, fleece and thermo under your jacket to stay warm. On warm days with calm weather one layer will do. You never know with Iceland! Be prepared for both scenarios. Other obvious items are jeans, T-shirts and a comfy hoodie, which you can also wear when sightseeing in Reykjavik. Bring woolen socks, so your feet don’t get cold.

Make sure you bring a swimsuit for the geothermal water adventures. If you visit Iceland without going for a warm dip then you are missing out! Bring your own towel. The only place they give you one is a The Blue Lagoon. When you swim i geothermal waters in nature or at the local swimmingpools you need your own towel. Invest in a fast drying, light weight hiking towel that takes up minimal space in your bag and is convenient to bring with you on hiking trips.

Planning to go to The Blue Lagoon? You might also want to read ‘Packing for The Blue Lagoon’.

If you plan on having a night out in Reykjavík then you might want to bring a shirt and perhaps a different pair of shoes if you don’t want to wear your sneakers. However, in general the bars in Reykjavík are very casual so you don’t need to bring a whole outfit just to go out for a beer.

Outerwear

Make sure to bring waterproof outerwear! In summer the best way to go is a waterproof shell jacket. This allows you to adjust to the changing weather conditions using layers underneath.

Bring waterproof pants that can easily be put over your hiking pants. When it rains in Iceland it seriously rains a lot. If you get wet, you get cold. So make sure that you stay dry and you will be comfortable and have a great time exploring eventhough the weather turns out to be challenging.

Bring warm accessories such as light gloves (especially if you are going whale watching), a beanie or headband and a nice warm scarf. It can be recommended to invest in a light merino wool Buff, which functions as both scarf, headband and beanie.

What else to pack?

Bring a practical backpack for your excursions and make sure it’s waterproof.

Icelandic water is the best water in the world, so make sure to bring a re-usable water bottle. Don’t buy water – that is just silly.

If you are sensitive to light you will want to bring a sleeping mask when visiting Iceland in the summer. The midnight sun during the summer might make it hard for you to get some sleep. However, most accommodations are shades that block out the light. If you go camping though you might want to brig you sleeping mask.

Bring your sunglasses too – you might be lucky and catch some sunny days. Also, make sure to bring sunscreen for your face – especially if you go hiking in sunny weather.

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