Friday, January 27, 2023


So that you’ve booked your flight and deliberate your journey. Now for the actually tough half, what to pack in your dream vacation. It is a surprisingly troublesome process, because of Iceland’s 4 seasons in at some point model of climate. In reality, you’re simply as prone to get heat, calm and sunny days as you might be moist and windy, whatever the time of yr. This makes packing just a little troublesome. So we’ve created the final word packing checklist that works properly all yr spherical, with solely minor variations.

If you happen to’re right here for per week you’ll doubtless expertise all climate sorts that Iceland has to supply. The nice, the unhealthy and the windy!

Abstract of the Prime 10 Issues to Pack For Iceland

Under is a fast abstract of the Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland however I strongly advocate studying on to study extra in regards to the altering seasons and the totally different issues you might need all year long.

— Hats, gloves and buff (sure, even in summer season)
— Sleeping masks (particularly in summer season, it’s all the time vibrant)
— A number of layers with an excellent base layer (keep away from cotton as a base layer)
— Waterproof jacket and pants (one thing mild to go over your garments)
— Small again pack (for water, snacks and shedding layers)
— Reusable water bottle and / or thermos (we hate single use plastic!)
— Sunscreen, sunglass, lip balm and moisturiser (sure, even in winter)
— Working Credit score Card (Visa and MasterCard are accepted in all places)
— Digicam and Tripod (or a very good telephone)
— Waterproof climbing boots and comfortable socks (dry ft = pleased traveler)
— Worldwide SIM or Roaming telephone (all the time verify your roaming charges)

One factor you don’t have to fret about brining is any technical gear akin to micro spikes for strolling round throughout autumn and winter, helmets, harness, crampons or another security gear required for a glacier hike or heat overalls if doing actions akin to ATV or snowmobiling excursions. These are supplied.

Svínafellsjökull Glacier. Hidden Iceland. Photo by Erik Solie

What’s the climate actually like in Iceland?

Thanks partly to the gulf stream, Iceland is loads hotter than you would possibly suppose for a small island in the midst of the Atlantic ocean skirting the Arctic Circle. The nice and cozy waters that move up from the Equator move round Iceland all yr spherical, permitting the winters to be unseasonably heat (in comparison with locations of the identical latitude) and for the summers to be stunning delicate, regardless of as much as 24 hours of daylight.

LUGGAGE TIP: Intention for one full sized suitcase and one small day pack. We’ve got a number of area in our automobiles however there’s all the time a restrict.

Is winter actually that heat?

In winter, on the coldest and darkest days of the yr, the common temperature is round 0-1 levels Celsius (32-34 Fahrenheit) although it will possibly fluctuate fairly wildly above and under that quantity. Meaning a number of layers on some days and virtually t-shirts on others. Imagine it or not, that is fairly an analogous temperature to New York Metropolis, because of the gulf stream holding us heat.

Winter Mountains. Vatnajökull National Park. Hidden Iceland. Photo Norris Niman

Is summer season actually that chilly?

In summer season, on the warmest and sunniest days of the yr the common temperature is round 13-15 levels Celsius (55 – 60 Fahrenheit). Similar to winter, it will possibly swing fairly wildly above and under this quantity. We’ve skilled days as excessive as 25 Celsius (80 F) and days as little as 5 Celsius (41 F) in the midst of summer season. Assume evenings might be chilly whatever the day temperature.

For the needs of the Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland, contemplate summer season to be from early Could till the beginning of September and the remaining months within the winter camp.

What in regards to the wind and the rain?

You’ve most likely heard the previous adage, “for those who don’t just like the climate, simply wait 5 minutes.”

Whatever the temperature and time of yr, Iceland can get just a little moist and windy at occasions. Don’t fear although, we additionally get a number of solar and calm days too. I promise! Fortunately, it’s uncommon to get lengthy spells of unhealthy climate at any time of yr.

With that mentioned, the stronger storms are likely to confine themselves to winter, although summer season is under no circumstances immune. This is the reason we’ve added waterproofs and a number of layers to the Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland. It’s also the rationale we solely advocate self-driving from mid-April to mid-October. Any additional into winter and an inexperienced driver would possibly wrestle with the circumstances.

Is there a giant distinction between winter and summer season packing?

After all there are variations in what it’s best to convey however the actuality is that what’s good for summer season is usually good for winter. It tends to principally come right down to the sheer variety of layers that you just would possibly put on in summer season or winter (or spring and autumn for that matter).

Earlier than you learn on, simply bear in mind the Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland is an evergreen checklist, so if you would like just a little extra element for particular clothes objects then try our winter packing checklist right here. Or summer season packing right here. Both method, the under checklist will serve you properly no matter if you find yourself travelling.

The Gerlingadalur Volcano by Dr. Holly Spice. Hidden Iceland (13).

What about spring and autumn (fall)?

I’ll be utilizing the time period ‘summer season’ and ‘winter’ all through our Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland, with little point out of spring and autumn. That is primarily to maintain the phrase rely down and to scale back pointless explanations. The truth is, spring and autumn ought to actually be thought to be winter in terms of packing. After all, it’s not often as chilly in April or October as it’s in January or February however belief me after I say, it will possibly undoubtedly really feel like winter on some days. For the needs of this checklist, contemplate ‘summer season’ from early Could till the beginning of September and the remaining months within the ‘winter’ camp.

Enjoyable Reality: The Viking Calendar divided its yr into 2 equal elements, summer season and winter. Today, all 4 seasons are recognised.

Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland

Please be aware, Hidden Iceland is under no circumstances endorsed, sponsored or paid by any of the manufacturers offered or linked on this weblog submit. 

1. Hats, gloves and a buff

Even in summer season, the wind can get just a little chilly on the pores and skin so it’s all the time good to have one thing to cowl up these extremities. That is much more essential in case you are doing a glacier hike, ice cave tour or longer hikes within the Icelandic nature.

A hat that’s sufficiently big and thick sufficient to cowl to the underside of your ears is pivotal right here. There’s nothing worse than chilly wind in your ears. So long as you have got a hood in your jacket you don’t want to fret an excessive amount of about waterproof variations. A typical 66 North beanie might be advantageous in summer season (and doubtless winter) although we do take pleasure in seeing our clients attempt to squeeze their helmets over the ‘fashionable’ Arctic hats, geared up with ear flaps.

A skinny, waterproof pair of Sealskinz gloves (or equal) will do in summer season however perhaps a thicker model in winter is healthier. Even a fluffy pair of mittens will serve you properly for those who aren’t aiming to be too dextrous more often than not.

Any commonplace buff will do actually. You need one thing that may stretch as much as cowl the pores and skin as much as nostril and right down to the neck. Breathability is vital right here. Scarves are okay however they do are likely to play havoc within the wind. This merchandise is much less essential in summer season, although you’ll be pleased you have got it when the wind picks up on the odd day.

2. Layers (prime and backside)

The temperature can change rapidly in Iceland, particularly for those who’re out in nature, exerting your self.So fairly than bringing a giant puffy pair of ski pants or ski jacket, contemplate the multi-layer technique.

For pants, begin with non-cotton, thermal underwear like lengthy johns or leggings. This needs to be underneath a heat waterproof pant. In winter, swapping the outside pants for ski-pants is okay to do however ensure you have one thing much less excessive for the automobile journeys and hotter moments.

For prime half, an extended sleeved non-cotton base layer underneath a mild sweater will do. Then a hotter down jacket to go over it will work properly as your commonplace 3 layers that you could mix or swap out and in of by means of the nice and cozy days and cooler summer season nights. In winter, a ski jacket or substantial winter jacket is a good suggestion so as to add to this.

For each prime and backside, merely add a layer or three to consolation in winter. As I mentioned, having the ability to add and take away layers is vital to dealing with Iceland’s ever altering atmosphere. A lot of our guides like to have the handcrafted Lopapeysa sweaters as one among their layers of selection. You should buy these in most native cities and villages and are thought-about fairly fashionable.

3. Waterproof outer layer

So many travellers overlook their decrease half in terms of packing. Nevertheless, holding your self dry throughout is pivotal to staying heat and pleased. A skinny waterproof outer layer is finest mixed with a number of heat internal layers that you could tackle and off, particularly in summer season. On a heat sunny day you is likely to be in shorts and t-shirt however you’ll be happy that you just introduced alongside your waterproofs if the climate modifications out of the blue. With that mentioned, there’s nothing fallacious with bringing ski pants and ski jacket within the winter months, however they’re unlikely to be a good suggestion in late spring and summer season. You’ll merely be too scorching. Most individuals get away with layers and waterproofs all yr spherical as an alternative.

Fortunately, we do lend our clients 66 North waterproof pants and jacket when on tour. That is 1,000 ISK per merchandise (2 for 1,500 ISK) in case you are becoming a member of a small group tour. It’s included within the value in case you are on a personal tour. Get in contact to rearrange a go to to our workplaces in case you are self-driving. We don’t advocate shopping for the only use plastic ponchos for a large number of apparent purpose.

4. Small again pack

Contemplating the climate is so changeable in Iceland all yr spherical then you definately’re going to wish to have a small pack with you. Except for carrying snacks, water and your digital camera, it’s additionally good for including and eradicating layers. The one factor worse than being too chilly in Iceland is being caught in too many layers and being too scorching. Particularly when hill-walking close to a dormant volcano or climbing within the highlands of Iceland.

Any model will do however attempt to convey one which has a water-resistant cowl or is absolutely waterproof if you would like keep away from the contents getting moist.

5. Reusable water bottle and/or Thermos

Icelanders hate plastic waste and we hope you do too. Many chilly water sources in Iceland, whether or not it’s from the faucet, a neighborhood river, or on a glacier, are clear and recent (and attractive). Simply ensure you seek the advice of along with your information first earlier than dipping your fingers in. Even in Iceland, it’s prudent to solely drink near the water supply and from springs. You by no means know what has occurred upstream.

So fairly than shopping for a number of plastic bottles, simply convey alongside your favorite re-usable bottle. The atmosphere (and the locals) will thanks for it and so they’ll all the time allow you to refill without spending a dime.

A lot of our guides use Nalgene bottles however you would possibly desire a thermos to maintain your recent water chilly (or your scorching chocolate scorching).

Falljokull Glacier. Hidden Iceland. Photo by Emily Sillet / EJS Creative

6. Sunscreen, Sun shades, Lipbalm and Moisturiser

Sure, it is a yr spherical suggestion. Summer season is in fact just a little sunnier and hotter however in winter you additionally get that golden hour that appears to final all day lengthy with solar streaming straight into your eyes. Couple that with the reflection of the ice and snow, whereas on a glacier hike or nature stroll, and also you’ll be pleased you have got some safety from the solar. Hydrating cream and lip balm are all the time good to have, particularly after a windy day.

Something above Issue 30 is a good suggestion for sunblock. Polarised sun shades are additionally a good suggestion, although something with a UV filter will doubtless suffice.

7. Bank cards that work internationally (money is never used)

Iceland does nonetheless use money however it’s much less and fewer prevalent. In every single place (and I imply in all places) takes card. Even the bathrooms for those who’re unfortunate sufficient to search out one which costs you. You’ll be able to in fact nonetheless take money out in native forex on the airport or an ATM if you would like, however you’ll discover that you find yourself utilizing it for tipping greater than the rest. Btw, tipping isn’t obligatory in Iceland however it’s a good gesture. You’ll be able to tip in your native forex if simpler. We debated not together with this one on the Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland however contemplating the quantity of occasions we get requested about money and tipping we thought it was solely honest to offer it a spot.

Most locations settle for Visa and MasterCard. AMEX is much less broadly used so have a again up card if that is your most well-liked cost supplier.

8. Digicam and Tripod (not drones)

You’ll be able to substitute the phrase digital camera with good telephone right here when you have a more moderen mannequin however it’s all the time good to have a digital camera with one thing to stabilise the image like a tripod for these atmospheric photographs. That is much more essential if you wish to get good pics of the Northern Lights (from September to April). Arguably, you could possibly take away this from Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland and simply designate one individual in your group to be the photographer.

Drones are solely permitted in some places and infrequently require permits. Contemplating you may not be capable to fly them on the windier days anyway and we’d hasten to say that it’s actually not price bringing them an extended more often than not, particularly for those who’re on small group excursions with different friends round.

9. Waterproof climbing boots & heat socks

Good strolling/ waterproof boots with good grip are a should for Iceland, particularly in winter. Getting moist ft in Iceland isn’t typically a well being threat because it doesn’t get too chilly (more often than not) however it’s a happiness threat. Strolling round in moist ft all day is nothing in need of depressing. Additionally, ensure you have a spare heat pair of insulated socks helpful if you find yourself out and about. Swapping into dry socks or including an additional layer of heat to your ft can actually make the distinction for these happiness ranges too.

We lend AKU Mountaineering boots however something that’s waterproof and has a sturdy base will do. Consolation is king usually. If you happen to desire to borrow ours (helpful in case you are attempting to maintain your baggage area down) it’ll be 1000 ISK for small group excursions and included for personal excursions. Get in contact to rearrange a go to to our workplaces in case you are on a self-drive itinerary.

10. Worldwide SIM Card or a telephone with roaming

You should buy a neighborhood SIM Card in downtown Reykjavík. Wifi (particularly on tour with us) is often fairly prevalent. Nevertheless, in case you are selecting to make use of the ‘roaming’ characteristic in your telephone then we propose checking your community charges earlier than turning it on. It will possibly get just a little dear relying in your community.

We hope this helped you determine your packing wants for Iceland! Contact us when you have any additional questions.

Particular Due to Rachel Keenan from Sidetracked Journal, Simon Svensson from Simon Svensson Pictures and Norris Niman who supplied most footage on this weblog submit. Take a look at their Instagram pages for extra nice journey pics. 

Honourable ‘good to haves’

Good and informal clothes

Most eating places, bars and golf equipment that you just attend (except the Moss Restaurant on the Retreat Lodge and Tides Restaurant at The Reykjavík Version) are fairly casual, even the most costly ones. This implies you’ll be able to present up sporting fairly informal clothes with out being turned away. Denims and t-shirt tends to work usually. Saying that, being presentable is all the time an excellent plan for nights out in fact. Both method, good informal is okay in virtually all circumstances.


A few of our friends wish to convey binoculars. That is solely actually warranted if you find yourself chook watching in the summertime months although. A digital camera with an excellent zoom lens typically works simply advantageous.

Map of Iceland

This one is good to have in fact however it didn’t make it into the Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland as a result of you should buy one simply in any native store or fuel station. Additionally, the whole lot is ‘digital’ nowadays too, however in our thoughts nothing beats the texture of a scrunched up map with some notes scribbled on every location that you just’ve visited.

Micro-spikes / Snow chains / Yaktrak

If you happen to’re becoming a member of a Hidden Iceland tour, you’ll be given these in winter time without spending a dime however it’s all the time good to have your personal when strolling across the metropolis. Not wanted for spring or summer season. This one would undoubtedly be within the Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland if it wasn’t for the truth that Hidden Iceland present these on all our small group and personal excursions. Don’t mistake these for his or her rather more excessive older sibling, the crampon which is simply used on glaciers.

Battery pack and spare batteries

The chilly performs havoc with battery lifespans in Iceland so convey a battery pack or spare batteries in case you are just a little heavy on the image taking facet. This might arguably have made it into the Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland however with our Hidden Iceland car by no means being too distant we determine you’ll be able to recharge commonly sufficient.

Flip flops and a fast drying towel

Having these will be fairly nice in case you are desiring to go to scorching swimming pools out in nature. Nevertheless, the truth is that the majority pure scorching swimming pools could have their very own altering rooms until you wish to actually go off the overwhelmed path.

Shorts and T-shirt

This one didn’t make it within the Prime 10 Issues to Pack for Iceland because it sits firmly in the summertime solely facet of journey. And even then it’s not strictly talking mandatory. There might be loads of moments when shorts and t-shirt could also be desired in summer season however it’s by no means going to get so scorching on any given day {that a} mild base layer and lightweight pants gained’t additionally suffice.

Fundamental medicine

This worthy addition was urged by a previous buyer. All our Hidden Iceland guides could have a primary help equipment on any tour you be part of with us however past first help necessities you have to to go to a neighborhood pharmacy which will be fairly dear, although typically very properly stocked. So for those who don’t wish to shell out whereas in Iceland, be certain that to convey alongside your necessities.

Ryan Connolly | Marketing Manager, Guide, Co - Owner | Hidden Iceland

Hello, I’m Ryan Connolly; Co-Founder and Advertising & Environmental Supervisor of Hidden Iceland.

I’ve guided in a number of nations all over the world and stepped foot on all 7 continents. My ardour for the outside, science, nature, glaciers and volcanoes has led me to review and write about Iceland. I’ve been interviewed in ForbesConde Nast Traveller and Journey Pulse on numerous topics.

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