20 Things to pack on your trip to Iceland
What you pack during your trip to Iceland will depend on what time of year you are going. If you are travelling there for winter months (October to April) then you will want to bring much more warm clothing compared to the summer months. This guide is based on if you are travelling during summer. Iceland’s weather can very unpredictable. They say if you don’t like the weather in Iceland, wait 10 minutes! I can definitely say this is true! During my time there I was dressed in a swim suit, shorts and a T, and a jacket and touque all within the same day! The weather can change so fast so make sure to be prepared for everything!
Hiking boots are the number on thing I recommend you bring on your trip to Iceland. If you don’t bring anything else, make sure you bring a good pair of hiking boots! Iceland is known for its outdoor adventures and hiking trails, so if you are planning on heading to the outdoors you want to keep your feet happy with a good pair of boots! If you’re boots are not waterproof already, you can buy waterproof spray at any shoe store. Iceland is full of melting glaciers so you are bound to be walking through water if you are on a hike.
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I think during my 3 week stay in Iceland I wore my hiking pants for at least 15 days! They are definitely a must have for your trip if you plan on doing anything outdoors. If you are looking for a pair to buy try to find ones that are at least semi-waterproof and easy to wash cause you will most likely be wearing them a lot! I personally use North Face Aphrodite pants. I highly recommend these!
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A day pack is essential for any hike, especially in Iceland. Its the best way to carry your water, snacks and any extra layers with you up the mountain and on your adventure. There are many different brands but the only one I live by is Osprey. You won’t find a better made pack! I currently use the 24L Sirrus pack for my hiking trips. No matter how heavy I make it the straps and design make it feel like I’m not even carrying a backpack!
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Having at least 1 large water bottle is essential on any hike. If you are driving around Iceland, you will want to keep a water bottle in your car as well. You can fill it up at the campgrounds along your trip.
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Iceland is literally covered in hot pots so you definitely don’t want to forget your swim suit! There are natural hot pots everywhere you look as well as more man made ones like the Blue Lagoon (which is a total tourist trap btw) and Myvatn Nature Baths.
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The weather in Iceland can change very quickly so you want to make sure you always have base layers ready in case it starts to get really cold. I always carry an extra long sleeve in my pack when I’m hiking because as you get to higher elevations the temperatures generally gets lower. My favourite base layers come from Eddie Bauer. They make the best outdoor clothing
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At the very least, you are bound to be visiting a TON of waterfalls in Iceland so you will definitely want to bring a waterproof coat. When we were at Skogafoss we came out of there soaking wet! Thank god for our raincoats! If you plan on spending time around the coast you will also want a wind breaker. Even better if your rain coat acts as a wind breaker as well! Cold arctic winds will chill you to the bone if you aren’t dressed properly. I live by Eddie Bauer for rain jackets as well. I have their Cloud Cap Rain Jacket which is completely water proof and wind proof. With a base layer on underneath I was completely warm the entire time!
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I didn’t think I would use my toque because we went in June, but I ended up wearing it to bed and I was certainly grateful I packed it. Even though it was summer time and the sun really never set, the nights in the tent did cool off a bit. We did have really good sleeping bags to keep us warm but it was really nice to have the toque as well to keep the heat in!
The sun basically never sets in the summertime in Iceland so you are definitely going to want sunglasses! They will come especially handy if you are driving lots!
I found that because Iceland was so windy and we did so many outdoor activities my skin was really starting to dry out. Having a bottle of lotion on hand was a life saver for my hands and face.
As I mentioned before, Iceland is covered in hot pots! I found my flip flops very handy, especially when walking from locker rooms to the pool area.
If you are driving around the country, there is a good chance you’r hair is going to start to get a little greasy. I find the best way to fix that until you reach the next campground with showers is to wear a baseball hat! Also of course they are great for keeping the sun out of your eyes!
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Some people call me crazy but I seriously recommend bringing a pair of shorts if you don’t get cold easily! We had a couple days where it reached above 15 degrees which to me means shorts weather! My absolute favourite shorts are the Run Speed shorts by Lululemon. They are super comfortable and great for hiking in!
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I didn’t personally wear a sleep mask but my travel buddy did and she said ti was amazing. If you are doing to be sleeping in a tent I highly recommend one of these because they sun will not completely set in the summertime, so your tent will be fairly bright all night. Having a sleep mask will solve that problem and make things completely dark for you!
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As mentioned before, there are a ton of hot pots all around Iceland. Having a travel towel that packs down small and is light is ideal if you are hiking up to hot pots. I got mine from MEC but you can buy them anywhere! Try to find one that is fast drying and can pack very small!
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European Plug Adapter
If you are coming from outside of Europe you need to bring a plug adapter with you in order to charge your devices. They are relatively cheap and last forever!
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Extra Memory Card
There is nothing worse than being out on an adventure and your camera telling you there is no more space on your memory card. You can either go through your photos and try to delete the ones you don’t want in the moment, or put the camera away and not take any more photos throughout the day. This is a decision I never want to make so I always make sure to carry at least one extra completely empty memory card on me when I travel. I’m grateful I did in Iceland too because I ended up filling both of mine up and having to buy another one from a local shop!
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Vests are the perfect addition to your outfit because they keep your body warm but still let your arms breath! Me and my travel buddy found that we used our vests almost every day we were there! My favourite vest is from Eddie Bauer.
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T-shirts are probably the most basic thing you need to being but they are absolutely essential! They work great as base layers and are perfect for those rare warm sunny days in Iceland! My favourite t-shirts are from Eddie Bauer. They contain more spandex than a regular t-shirt for more of an athletic feel and allows you to breath better in them.
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The final thing you MUST bring on your trip is your camera! There are so many breath taking views in Iceland and with your camera you can remember them forever! I personally use the Cannon 60D with variety of different lenses. I find this camera is the perfect travel size and fairly light (depending on which lens I have on it). I believe the series is on the 80D now at the time of writing this post (2020).
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Not sure where all the waterfalls are? How do you know where to find hot pots?! We changed out route and want to see more! No problem! Use the Iceland Map to easily locate all the destinations you want to explore! Also includes hiking trails, accommodations, waterfalls, and dining recommendations! Add a driving layer and easily follow the directions right to your destination!
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