14 Essential Items to Pack For Your Trip to Iceland

14 Essential Items to Pack For Your Trip to Iceland
 

If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.
— Icelandic saying

Located in the remote North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland is a travel destination where the weather is constantly changing, regardless if it's summer or winter.

There is a popular saying in this naturally beautiful Nordic country that goes something like this: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”.  As a visitor, this constant flux in temperature and conditions can make it extremely challenging to decide what to pack (especially is you have limited luggage space)!

The key is to pack layers and multi-functional items that will allow you to focus on having the best possible time exploring this fascinating island. That's why I've narrowed down this list to include 14 essential items that you can pack for your trip to Iceland.

 
 

Essential clothing to pack for Iceland

#1. Waterproof Hiking Boots / If there's one thing you bring make sure it's a good pair of waterproof hiking boots like these ones by Timberland. Iceland is a naturally diverse country where you might find yourself walking through the desert-like landscape of Námaskarð one day and hiking on a massive glacier the next day.

#2. Hiking Boots / The southern and western region of Iceland generally receives the most rainfall, especially in the off-season from October to February. Bring along a pair of rubber boots to ensure your feet stay dry and toasty.

#3. Bathing Suit / A trip to Iceland would not be complete without a dip in one of the many natural hot springs found throughout the country. Of course, there is the popular and pricey Blue Lagoon, a man-made lagoon filled with mineral-rich water. If you’re looking for a quieter, more scenic and affordable option consider the Mývatn Nature Baths.

#4. Waterproof Jacket / A waterproof jacket is an absolute must for the constantly changing weather in Iceland! Looks for ones with bright colors that will pop in your photographs! This Patagonia jacket is a great option for women while this North Face jacket is ideal for men.

#5. Fleece Sweater / Pack a warm fleece like the Patagonia Better Sweater for layering over light clothing on warmer days and bundling up on colder days.

#6. Jeans and Hiking Pants  / Pack a pair of environmentally friendly Everlane jeans for nights out in Reykjavik and a pair of comfortable Patagonia hiking pants for outdoor exploration. 

 
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
 

Camera Essentials

#7. Nikon S1 / Perfect for sightseeing and hiking because the Nikon S1 is super lightweight! Use the 11-27.5mm lens for landscapes and a 30-110mm lens for everything else.

#8. Nikon D3300 / This compact DSLR camera features a 24.2 MP image sensor, so if it's high quality images you're after at a mid-range price point, the Nikon D3300 may be right for you. Use the 18-55mm for everyday sightseeing and the 55-200mm to zoom into details farther away. 

#9. GoPro / Lightweight, small, and easy to carry around, a GoPro is perfect for documenting your trip via photographs and video.

#10. Camera Bag / Bring along a strong and sturdy bag with built-in compartments big enough to fit a DSLR camera and lenses. This practical Think Tank camera bag fits the bill and comes with a waterproof rain cover.

#11. Other necessary camera items / Battery chargers, memory card, and hard drive for storing photos. Head here for a full listing of my camera gear.

 
Snowy road in Iceland
 

Other Gear to bring to Iceland

#12. Water bottle and Thermos / Think of the environment and save yourself the cost of buying water every day by bringing along your own water bottle from home. Iceland prides itself on having some of the cleanest drinking water on the planet so it's safe to drink directly from the tap. You can also bring along a thermos to keep coffee, tea, or soup piping hot to enjoy throughout the day.

#13. Backpack / If you’re traveling minimally with only a backpack, I can highly recommend the Osprey Farpoint 55L, which is really two backpacks in one (a 40L bag and a 15L daypack). For a handy daypack option, this one is both functional and comfortable.

#14. Wool Socks / Keep those feet toasty warm and dry with a good pair of ultra-soft wool socks!

 
Lone church in Iceland
 

Temperatures in Iceland

In the summer the average monthly high in Reykjavík is around 13° C with a low around 8° C. In the winter months the average temperature in Reykjavik usually hovers around freezing with a low of -5° C. If you head inland or up to the northern areas, the weather most likely will be significantly colder in the winter. 

No matter what time of year you go to Iceland, be sure to pack for all types of weather.

 

Further reading

Although most of us travel with a smartphone in our pocket, having a guidebook in your backpack never hurts! Here are some useful ones about traveling in Iceland:

 

 

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With temperatures and weather conditions constantly changing on this remote island in the North Atlantic, it's absolutely vital to pack the right things. Here are 14 essential items that will allow you to focus on having the best possible time exploring Iceland!