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 packing list for Iceland focuses on elaborating on clothes and items you’ll need for an active itinerary in the Icelandic summer weather.
First note that Icelandic weather is very unpredictable. 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.
In general I prefer packing light and normally when I go off on a 2-4 day trip I don’t have checked luggage. However, seeing how my Iceland itinerary of full day excursions grew exponentially during my planning process, I decided to buy checked luggage for my flight anyway. Might as well face it: If you’re going on an explorer’s trip then you’re going to need to pack the right attire for it.
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 I recommend investing 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. However, a water proof phone cover does fog up, so next time I visit Iceland I’ll invest in a GoPro for my waterfall pictures.
If you will be going on any full day excursions – and you will – I recommend investing in a power bank so you’ll be able to charge your devices on the road. Most busses have power outlets, so you’ll just have to bring your charger cable. … But it really sucks when your smartphone runs out of battery just before reaching the Skogafoss (or any other major sight), so I like to bring a powerbank just to be sure.
Waterproof boots/hiking boots are recommended by all travel bloggers. I have neither so I brought my Dr. Martens boots. It worked out fine and my feet stayed dry and warm – however, I wasn’t going on any glacier hikes.
Sneakers are recommended for walking around Reykjavik. In my case I brought my running shoes, which are basically the same. I just chose these to be able to go for my morning run and not just for sight seeing.
Flip-flops/slippers are for when you hit the lagoons – and yes, you will be happy that you brought a pair.
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.
Items that I like to bring are: Merino wool leggings, light merino wool sweaters (I wore 3 of these to stay warm) and fleece sweaters. Other obvious items are jeans and a hoodie, which you can also wear when sightseeing in Reykjavik. Bring woolen socks, so your feet don’t get cold.
You’ll also want to bring a swimsuit for the lagoons and I recommend bringing your own towel. Some recommend the fast drying kind if you’re on the road.
If you plan on having a night out in Reykjavik then remember to bring an outfit for this. You don’t want to be standing around in a bar looking like someone who just got of the Golden Circle-tourist bus. The streets are not coppled, so you can wear heels, but I recommend closed ones or boots.
Make sure to bring waterproof outerwear!
Going on excursions to see waterfalls etc. a waterproof jacket is a must (I brought my skiing jacket from Burton). Also, you’ll really learn to appreciate those (really sexy) waterproof pants that you put on over your regular clothes. Trust me: You will get wet.
Bring warm accessories such as light gloves (I prefer the knitted kind with no fingers), a beanie and a nice warm scarf (or preferably a merino wool Buff).
I also recommend bringing a packable rain poncho as an extra waterproof layer. I didn’t need mine, but better safe than sorry.
Bring a practical backpack for your excursions and make sure it’s waterproof. Icelandic water is very pure, so bring a re-usable water bottle instead of buying water – that’s just silly. Some recommend bringing a sleeping mask when visiting Iceland in the summer. And bring your sunglasses too – you never know with Icelandic weather.
Visual packing list for Iceland
Like it? Pin it!