Before heading to Iceland I read a lot of blog posts (and did a lot of asking on Twitter) what to pack for a trip to Iceland. We were heading to Reykjavik for a long weekend to do a few of the touristy tours including chasing the Northen Lights. Iceland is known for having an extreme climate with unpredictable and fast-changing weather. One minute it can be blinding sunshine and the next, you’re caught it a huge snow storm.
What to pack for a trip to Iceland
We visited Iceland at the beginning of March and it wasn’t as cold as we expected during the day, but when out hunting for the Northern Lights at 1am, well let’s just say it was a tad cold – below freezing in fact!
So here is a list of what to pack for a trip to Iceland – or what to consider at least.
A Warm, Waterproof Coat
The first thing on your list should be a warm coat. Even in summer, Iceland barely
Shoes Suitable for Walking
If you’re heading out to the Golden Circle Tour (we booked our excursion here – affiliate link) there’s a fair bit of walking to do so you need to make sure you’ve got comfy, warm shoes that will support your feet for a day or walking. Some people recommended snow boots but I ended up taking my Timberlands and my Uggs for walking around Reykjavik.
Hat, Gloves and Scarves
If if you think you’re not going to need them, pack them in your backpack in the morning. I didn’t think I needed m gloves when we first joined our Golden Circle tour but by mid afternoon when we were exploring the Gulfoss waterfall and the wind on top of the hill became quite fierce, I was so glad I had them.
I highly recommend taking thermals with you if you’re visiting during the cold season. I used the Primark velvet tights under my jeans which did the job perfectly. You can also pick up cheap ones from M&S and Mountain Warehouse.
A Waterproof backpack
I think a Backpack is essential when visiting Iceland. If you’re heading on on the tours you may need to take a few bits with you incluing, but not limited to:
- Hat, scarf, gloves
- Water bottle
- Phone power pack and charging leads
Again, make sure it is waterproof so if you do get caught in a rain or snow sotrm, your belongings are protected.
A thermal flask
Whether for hot drinks or cold, I think a flask is something you need when you’re thinking about packing for Iceland. We used it to keep our water nice and cool – Iceland has the most refreshing cold water that you can drink from any tap in Iceland. No need to buy bottled water at all! It is honestly the most refreshing water I’ve ever drunk in my life!
If you’re visiting Blur Lagoon or any of the geothermal pools in Iceland, don’t forget your swimwear. You may also want to bring your own towel as the towels you’re given are quite small.
Finally, if you’re like me and a constant grazer, make sure you pack snacks! I bought snacks over from the UK to avoid crazy Iceland prices that I could pack in our bag when we were out on the tours. There aren’t many food stops so it’s best to have that emergency snack ready! Most Golden Circle tours do make a stop at a supermarket before you head out onto the road so I’d make sure you have something with you just in case.
One more thing…
One of the biggest questions I had before I travelled to Iceland was – will my jeans be fine to wear? The answer is a resounding yes – both Adam and I wore our jeans all weekend. HOWEVER…
We didn’t go in the coldest and most extreme time of year, we were lucky with the weather and weren’t doing any activities that required waterproof trousers. If you are going glacier hiking or whale watching you may want to consider them. Or if you think you’re going at a time of year where there could be a chance of lots of rain or snow.
So that is my opinion on what to pack for a trip to Iceland. I’ve also written a guide for a long weekend in Reykjavik if you’re looking for some inspiration on what to do and where to eat.