Figuring out your packing list for Iceland in winter may seem a bit daunting, but we’ve listed everything you will need to ensure you are comfortable and prepared for the Icelandic elements.
We were so excited when we were finally able to visit Iceland! The landscapes that you find there are just incredible and can leave you breathless – literally! In Iceland, it’s all about being outdoors and if you are traveling to Iceland in winter, you especially want to be prepared for any and everything. The weather can be quite unpredictable: one second it’s sunny, the next it’s sleeting sideways!
Since we’re from Florida, when it came time to figure out what to wear in Iceland, we were a bit nervous.
Umm…fleece leggings? What are those??
But we did some research, packed our bags, traveled to Iceland, and survived the cold! And now, we’ve put together this packing list in the hopes that it helps you during your trip to Iceland in winter.
Jacket/Coat – Invest in a good jacket! Trust me, this is not something you want to skimp on. Make sure it’s waterproof and has a hood. If you can get one that’s a bit longer, even better, because you’ll want to cover up as much as possible.
Pants – Some people say not to wear jeans, but we did ok with them. It depends what you’re doing that day. We also recommend taking a pair of snow pants.
Hat – Keeping your head warm is so important! We recommend a couple of fleece-lined beanies. Not only to change up your outfits, but in case one gets lost. You don’t want to be caught outside without a hat!
Gloves/Mittens – We actually had both; we used wool mittens over our gloves. Whenever we were taking pictures with our camera, we’d take off the mittens and still have our gloves on to keep warm. If you know you are going to be using your phone a lot, we recommend getting gloves with touch screen pads.
Scarf – Keeping your neck warm is also important! We had a regular loose knit scarf that didn’t block the wind very well, so we recommend getting a wool scarf. We also saw a lot of people wearing fleece-lined gaiters, so that’s an option as well.
Fleece Leggings – We personally don’t wear them, but we know a lot of people that swear by them. On days that you want to be extra comfortable, wear fleece-lined leggings on top of your thermals. Think of them as extra warm yoga pants.
Sweaters – Pack sweaters that fit comfortably under your jacket and that look nice when you go into town for dinner. You can also buy a wool sweater once you get to Iceland; they are super warm!
Long Sleeve Shirts – Again, it’s all about layers. Depending on what activities you are doing, you may want to take off your sweater and only have a long sleeve shirt.
Wool Socks – Having cold feet is the worst! Invest in moisture-wicking wool socks. You’ll thank us later.
We recommend taking at least two pairs of boots; one pair for every day wear and a tall pair for walking and/or hiking in snow. Both should be waterproof! We think Sorel makes incredible winter boots and we loved the pair that we bought. We know it might be hard to pack multiple pairs of boots, so if you can only take one pair, make it the pair of tall boots.
You might question this for a second, but remember that Iceland has the Blue Lagoon and many other hot springs throughout the country. If you’re lucky, you may even get invited by a local to a lesser known and less crowded hot spring, so have your swimsuit ready!
Camera – Seriously, you’re going to want to take a million pictures! We took some with our phone, but most of the photos we took were with our camera.
Portable Chargers – Because of the cold, the battery life of your electronics won’t last as long. We recommend packing a portable charger, maybe even two if you are doing all-day tours.
Adapters – Iceland’s outlets are like most other European countries. If you are traveling from the US you will need an adapter. Fyi, we’ve always found this website useful, as it lists the outlets and voltage used by each country in the world.
Converters – Odds are, you won’t need a converter since most phones and computers are dual voltage, but check your electronics just to be sure.
Waterproof Phone Case – Not an electronic, but we definitely recommend having a waterproof phone case with you to protect your phone when you are taking pictures close to waterfalls or when you are swimming in the Blue Lagoon.
Hand Warmers – One of the best things we bought for our trip! We used these every day and tucked them between our mittens and gloves, and sometimes in our boots.
Lotion and Lip Balm – Because of the cold, your face and skin will dry up. Since we’re used to Florida humidity, any time we leave the state we dry up like prunes so we always have a small bottle of lotion and lip balm readily available.
Tissues – Are we the only ones that get drippy noses when we’re out in the cold? If it happens to you too, take a few travel sized packs of Kleenex.
Water Bottle – You can drink water straight from the tap in Iceland, so bring a reusable water bottle. The cold water comes straight from the glaciers, so its clean and safe to drink. The hot water comes from the ground and smells like rotten eggs due to the sulfur, so we don’t recommend drinking it.
Umbrella – Like we mentioned earlier, the weather in Iceland can change quickly. It’s a good idea to have a small umbrella, just in case it unexpectedly starts raining.
Towel – It’s a good idea to have a thin, easy to pack, quick-dry towel. It’s perfect for after your dip in the hot springs and it’s stylish enough that it can also double up as a pashmina if you’re cold.
Sunglasses – When the sun does come out, it’s gorgeous! Make sure you have a good pair of sunglasses.
Medicines/Prescriptions – In Iceland, it’s not as easy to get medicine; you can’t even get ibuprofen over the counter. So take any medicines you think you might need. We always travel with Aleve, Tums, and a few band-aids (life savers if you get a blister).
Day Bag – And of course, you’ll want a day bag to roam around with. We personally love Osprey backpacks and think they are really comfortable and great quality.
Usually we are advocates of traveling light, but when it comes to packing for Iceland, we think more is better. We don’t want for you to be so miserably cold that you’re not enjoying the magic that is Iceland. We want you to enjoy every second of your trip! So hopefully this packing list for Iceland in winter will ensure you have a wonderful time and a great adventure.
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