Packing for Iceland

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So as you guys know, we just recently took an amazing week long trip to Iceland. We boated, hiked, caved, wandered, and walked through a good 1/3 of the country in our 7 day long sojourn and it was amazing! (Hop over to our Instagram account to see all the pics/videos!)

Packing for such a trip was daunting to say the least. We read weather updates, other travel blogs, talked to friends who had traveled themselves all to get an idea of what to pack. In an effort to pass on the hard researched and learned from experience knowledge, we are going to break it down for you.

If you are traveling in the winter or early spring: Layers.

Pack all the layers.  Seriously.

Iceland is cold y’all. And windy. And rainy (although we had the incredible fortune to have beautiful blue skies for our entire trip). Layering was an important aspect to not freezing our butts off. (Because being miserably cold/wet is not fun when you are trying to explore!). 

We went in late March, early April and are casual travelers. Meaning that while we love to explore and challenge ourselves, we are by no means professional adventurers, and our gear will reflect that. 

For a week long trip (and assuming you have access to a washer in case something gets muddy/dirty) here is what we suggest*: 

2 pair jeans/pants

Make sure they are comfy, sturdy, and well made if you plan on doing any hiking/exploring. I brought jeans which can easily transition from outdoors exploring to a night out for happy hour drinks!

2 pair thermal pants/shirts

Look for something fleece lined to ensure maximum warmth retention! We could get away with wearing these a couple days in a row and washing mid week. We found thermal pants on Amazon and they ended up being perfect for layering, and super easy to wear under jeans (even skinny jeans!). 


Wool socks (4 pairs). 

Make sure they are WOOL and not cotton. Cotton socks will make your feet sweat and freeze while you are out and about. It’s hard (and expensive) to find 100% wool socks, so a mix of wool and polyester or other non-cotton materials will work. The higher the wool percentage, the better.  Merino Wool is the best for warmth and comfort.  We suggest something like these: MERINO WOOL SOCKS

Waterproof pants

If you are planning on any sightseeing to waterfalls, or exploring a cave, make sure to wear something waterproof because you will get wet! I found it challenging to find the perfect pair of waterproof pants that were not too bulky. After a lot of research, these WATERPROOF PANTS worked great. And looked great. Make sure to examine the size chart closely before ordering because they do tend to run small.

Wind/Waterproof jackets-

Like I said before, it can be quite windy in Iceland, make sure when selecting a good heavy coat that you get something both water AND wind proof. Can’t stress this enough.  You will thank us later. This jacket was perfect for the job: COLUMBIA WOMEN’S SIMPLY SNOWY INSULATED JACKET.


Look for something fleece lined and windproof- your head/ears will thank me.


Knit gloves are fine for walking the city, but invest in a good pair of water and wind proof gloves for any caving, wilderness exploring. We recommend these: WATERPROOF/WINDPROOF GLOVES

Waterproof boots

These Columbia boots were perfect. They had great traction for the caving and hikes we went on all while keeping my feet nice and toasty. We also recommend these The North Face Snow Boots

Face Shield OR Thick Scarf

You may look like a bandit or a ninja- but this is a must for those really windy days. We didn’t use them all the time, but they came in handy while Northern Lights hunting late into then night or hikes around a waterfall (Gullfoss was super windy!).  We recommend this FACE MASK or this FACE SCARF AND HAT. But obviously, you can basically use anything to cover your face, as long as it’s thick enough to shield the wind.

5-6 long sleeved sweaters/shirts- 

Try to find wool sweaters, but fleece lined shirts work too… there’re tons of cute and fashionable fleece line shirts out there! This one was one of my favorites:  NEARKIN Women’s soft fleece line shirt


Iceland has numerous geothermal swimming areas (we visited The Blue Lagoon!), so you can’t take a trip to Iceland and not visit one of these beauties!

Other than clothes, there may be a few other things you may not think to pack- but would be useful!

Chapstick– Most of us carry this item around anywhere we go normally, but your wind chapped lips will thank you for remembering them on your trip!

Sunscreen– It may seem counter intuitive to pack sunscreen to a country called ICEland, but hours on deck of a boat on a whale watching tour, or a glacier hike (snow/ice is reflective!) can leave you with a sunburn if you aren’t careful!

Large Zip lock bags, or plastic bags – To carry your wet swimming suit after visiting a geothermal spring like The Blue Lagoon. 

Flip Flops– Because walking around a pool in wool socks and heavy boots is just not fun.

Waterproof phone case – This will be very helpful when you want to take pictures at the Blue Lagoon, a pool, or behind a waterfall!

Sunglasses – Yes, it might be winter, but when the sun is out and there’s snow everywhere, you will need those shades.

What else do you pack, or don’t pack?  Let us know in the comments! We are always open to learning a better way of traveling light.  

Now, go book your trip!

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