What trip have you been on that you had the hardest time packing for?
Iceland, without a doubt, was it for me.
I literally owned not one thing I ended up packing besides my bathing suits (hello, California girl). So, I did what any good Type A person would do and I researched the heck out of it, and tried it all out personally so I could bring you the very best ICELAND PACKING GUIDE possible.
I will get to the nitty gritty details in a second to make sure you are well-prepared, but overall here are 3 good tips to keep in mind.
What to remember when packing for Iceland:
Tip 1: Buy waterproof everything. Seriously, you just never know when water is going to fall from the sky, but it definitely will and there is nothing worse than being cold AND wet. Waterproof jacket, waterproof pants, and waterproof shoes are a must. This is true for any time of year, because Iceland does not play by seasonal rules.
Tip 2: Layer your ass off. I am from California and I really didn’t understand this concept, but it so works! It keeps you warm and also, when you catch a few rays of sunshine or your hike heats you up, you can easily shed a layer or two.
Tip 3: Throw in some color. In my normal life, I love the color black. I basically have an entire closet of neutral colors. But in Iceland, I really appreciated having a pop of color. I literally would lose myself in the photo if I had on all grey and black. Think a colorful beanie, a fun jacket print, or a statement puff vest.
Your Iceland Packing Guide
(NOTE: This packing guide is ideal for spring/fall (I traveled in April). For winter trips, a few extra items specifically for extreme cold weather should be included.)
On top: Wear all things that can be layered. I liked the combo of a thermal type shirt, a long sleeve layering shirt, a thermal, and then a vest. I loved wearing vests. They kept my core warm and I had a lot more movement.
On bottom: I wore jeans exactly once — in the city. I also made sure to have on my leggings underneath. Otherwise I lived in my leggings and thermals with my waterproof/windproof pants on top. These pants were amazing. They kept me so warm, so dry, and were actually fitted enough to be stylish.
I brought two jackets and they both got plenty of wear. The main jacket was a puff jacket with a fun floral design. The fun design or color isn’t a must, but seeing as how you have a jacket on all the time, it’s nice to give yourself some pizazz. Make sure your main jacket is waterproof. You really need waterproof everything.
The other jacket I wore mainly at night and it was a warm wool coat with a big fur hood. Definitely make sure your jackets have hoods — mine was always up.
You will be walking, climbing, and doing all the adventurous things in Iceland. You need good shoes. I really loved the shoes I got because they were comfortable for the whole week, and didn’t look half bad either. Also, make sure your shoes are waterproof!
If you are going to be doing some serious hiking, make sure you have shoes that are good for serious hiking.
I did buy one pair of wedge shoes that were fur lined and waterproof and I wore them exactly once, just to say I used them.
I’m calling these accessories but they are actually necessities.
For your head: Knitted beanies — and not the cute thin ones, get the legit ones. My favorite I bought that kept me the warmest was lined with fleece. Seriously, everything lined with fleece is amazing. But — I loved wearing the colored ones most because you stand out a bit more in all of your photos. That may matter to you and it may not.
For your hands: If my hands were cold, I was freezing. Definitely invest in some good gloves, and preferably ones that allow you to still use your phone. I also used some fingerless ones — exactly once.
For your feet: Wool socks. All day, every day. Toasty feet are the only way to go and these things work!
Iceland is one of the most incredible places I've ever been to and if you are planning a trip there, I know you will love it! I help people plan customized trips to Iceland and anywhere else your heart desires, so I'd love to hear from you if you'd like some help planning your perfect trip!
Enjoy Iceland, and if you plan on visiting the Blue Lagoon, make sure you read my tips for visiting the Blue Lagoon beforehand. Also, if you will be spending time in Reykjavik, check out My Perfect Day in Reykjavik.