Iceland, “the land of fire and ice”, is a unique country that you must visit at least once in your lifetime! It is a place where you can get very close to waterfalls, jump in thermal waters, see whales swimming right near your boat, hike glaciers, explore astounding ice caves and much more!
If you are planning a visit there in the near future, then you are probably wondering what to pack for Iceland, right?
Iceland’s climate and weather can be quite unpredictable at times which is why it’s important for your luggage to contain everything you might need during your stay! Remember – Iceland is an expensive country and it is definitely better to pack everything you need before going, rather than buying items while there.
It is also important to consider the season you are going, as a summer packing list is a bit different from the winter one.
But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! In this article I created a detailed packing list for Iceland that will help you pack everything you need – it has a general list at the beginning, then season-specific items sorted out by months followed by a men’s packing list.
Here is a useful video I found that you might want to watch before you start packing:
Without further ado, here is my extended packing list for Iceland, divided into types, seasons and gender:
Iceland All-Season Packing List
NOTE: Even if the items below are pretty universal for men and women, there are still differences in male and female hiking boots, pants etc., so I am linking to women’s clothing here (do not worry, men can find their gender-specific list below in this post).
This is my list of what to wear in Iceland. Enjoy!
- Warm windproof and waterproof jacket – even if you are lucky to catch no rain, you will get really close to strong waterfalls which will completely soak you after 2 minutes, so you need a good jacket for Iceland
- Good hiking boots – you will be walking, hiking and climbing so much during your trip that this is the most important item, I would say. Whatever you choose, please make sure you pick the best hiking boots for your Iceland trip that are waterproof and that keep your ankle fixed
- Hiking pants – essential for all your hiking and climbing activities in Iceland
- Waterproof pants – I strongly recommend taking with you at least one pair of waterproof pants for the days when you’re visiting the strong waterfalls or for the rainy days (it can be simple light ones that go over your normal hiking pants, too)
- Active wear T-shirts – ideal for layering
- Fleece – perfect to keep you warm without taking up too much space
- Zip-up hoodie – keeps you warm and you can take it off easily if it’s too hot
- Thick sweater – the last thing you want is to be cold in Iceland, trust me, so winter clothes are a must for any season in Iceland!
- Jeans – comfy and useful, especially for driving or just walking around
- Cardigan – it keeps you warm and it is also fashionable (great for discovering cities like Reykjavik and Akureyri)
- Tank tops – for layering
- Leggings – for that mild weather when it is too hot in hiking pants or simply for layering
- Underwear – make sure you take just enough for your entire stay, so you won’t be stressed about finding a laundromat
- Wool socks – warm feet are happy feet!
- Normal socks – the more the better so you do not worry about washing them, cotton preferably
- Swim suit & flip-flops – for the Blue Lagoon and other thermal pools you might want to jump into
- Long sleeve shirt
- Microfiber towel – in addition to the fact that it is light, this kind of towel also gets dry super quick, which is very convenient!
- Sunglasses – During Iceland summer or winter, the sun is quite strong! I always recommend sunglasses with polarized lenses, as they protect your eyes. I have used those exclusively for over 5 years now
- Hat, gloves and a scarf – I recommend packing them even if you go to Iceland in August (the warmest month) as you will need it at some point, trust me on this one! Thebest gloves for Icelandare the ones with a special thermal layer on your fingers. They are very convenient because they allow you to use your smartphone without having to take the gloves off, so handy!
- A nice outfit – you can pack one or two (for me one was enough) cute outfits for going out in Reykjavik or in the other cities
- Lip balm – dry lips are the worst!
- Sunscreen SPF 50 – the sun is strong during the summer, so it is better to make sure you have protection on hand
- Motion sickness pills – for those who generally do not feel good on boats. You might want to take these pills with you in case you are doing a whale watching tour (highly recommended!)
- Toiletries – whatever you usually take with you on a trip. For packing it, I recommend something like this or this (if you are visiting for a short time only).
- Your phone – duh!
- Waterproof case for your phone – essential when you are going close to the waterfalls
- Phone car mount – for using your phone as a GPS in the car
- Camera – if you do not have one yet, I recommend Olympus OMD Mark ii, it is a small mirrorless camera with amazing quality, I have been using one like this for over a year now and I am loving it!
- Waterproof camera bag/backpack – it is very convenient to have the camera accessible in the back of the car any time you want to pull it out to take a picture or take it with you for a short hike
- European Adapter/power converter – handy for those not from Europe (Iceland has European electrical outlets)
- Portable battery – you will be on the road for hours and there will be plenty of photo opportunities
- Headphones – it is illegal to talk on the phone without headphones you are driving in Iceland
- Portable Wi-Fi – this one was provided to us by a rental car company for an extra charge, but you can be smarter and buy it beforehand. You can buy just one local sim card and share the internet with everyone in the car! It is a great deal compared to buying an Icelandic sim card for everybody in the group or paying your roaming fees.
- Go-Pro – you will do so many activities that an action-cam is a must! By the way, I have a post about the tours you should take in Iceland here.
- Drone – I believe Iceland is the ideal country for flying a drone! I am a bit sad they did not have drones widely available back when I visited. The next time I go, I am taking my DJI Mavic Pro for sure!
- Gimbal– not a necessary item, but it is amazing if you want to take some professional looking shots with your phone!
- Chargers and extra batteries – make sure you don’t forget these as well
- Kindle– If you think you will have some time for a good book (on the plane for instance), I suggest getting a Kindle if you do not have one yet. It is super light, it has a paper white screen and it can fit ALL the books you want! Seriously, I consider the Kindle to be one of the best inventions out there. I have used mine for over 7 years now and it is always with me on my travels!
- Offline maps – if you are not sure Google maps will work offline (read all about how to download an offline map here), you should download an app called Maps.me. It is a great map that works offline – you can search for places and generate a route through it, too! If you are a fan of paper maps (for example, for a trail you are going to take), here is a good one.
- Insurance – beyond car insurance (please read this post where I explain why it is important to buy full insurance for your car in Iceland), I strongly recommend purchasing personal insurance. You will be doing so many activities and Iceland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, why take the risk? This company will not only cover all your medical costs if something happened but will also reimburse you for stolen luggage, electronics, flight cancellations and much more! I hope none of this will ever happen to you, but it is always better to be safe than sorry!
- A refillable water bottle – the water is crystal clear everywhere in Iceland, so you do not need to buy a new bottle all the time, just fill yours from the tap!
- Energy snacks – perfect for when you need a quick energy refill
- Tent, sleeping bag, camping mattress – if you want to camp overnight
- Hiking poles – in case you are going for a longer hike such as Landmannalaugar
- Torch/flashlight – essential for those who want to visit caves and ice caves
- Guidebook – even if I have not used paper books for some time now, for those who are used to them, I can recommend Lonely Planet. It has the easiest layout in my opinion, and the Iceland book is updated quite often
- Packing cubes – very helpful with packing all the clothes nicely. It is seriously my lifesaver in keeping things organized!
- Vacuum Packing Bags – these are a relatively new thing on the market, but they have amazing reviews. I think these bags can save a looot of space in your luggage!
- Waterproof backpack – your backpack for Iceland must be waterproof for your electronics
- A suitcase fit for your needs – make sure it has 4 stable large wheels so that it is easy to manage it
Iceland Winter-Specific Packing List
Even though many people avoid visiting Iceland during the winter, this country has so much to offer in that season too!
Of course, before heading to Iceland in the winter you must be well informed and do your homework first. Here’s what you should know about Iceland winter weather: it is obviously colder in the winter, the days are short (only 4-5 hours of daylight; the longest night is on December 21st) and the nights (also known as polar nights) are long. The average winter temperature is between -5° to 5°C (23° – 41° F). That’s why you need to dress and pack accordingly! Okay, so what do you need to bring with you if you are traveling to Iceland during the winter months? Here is what I suggest for your winter packing list:
- Thermal underwear – one of the travel essentials for Iceland that will keep you warm during the cold winter days
- Warm hiking boots – as I mentioned before, good footwear for Iceland is super important! Make sure your hiking boots are waterproof and will keep your feet warm
- Thick gloves – should be a priority when thinking about what to pack for Iceland in winter
- Merino wool socks – of course these are on my list of what to take to Iceland in December or any other winter month! They are so, so useful for keeping your feet warm!
- Winter hat
- Headlamp – the days are very short during the winter months, so make sure a headlamp is on your list of what to bring in Iceland in winter
- Hand and toe warmers
Iceland Summer-Specific Packing List
June, July and August
This is the most popular time to visit Iceland and also the most crowded season.
If you are wondering what the weather is like in Iceland from June through August: the days are very long during the summer, also known as “the midnight sun” (the longest day is on June 21st), so you will have plenty of time to explore! The average temperature during summer in Iceland is between 10° to 15°C (50° – 60° F). (but it also can go up to 25°-28° C (77° – 82°F) sometimes if you are lucky!)
Here is what I recommend taking with you if you are visiting Iceland in August or any other summer month:
- Sunblock– as I said, the sun is very strong during Iceland’s summer time, so taking some good SPF 50+ sunblock with you in your bag is essential for a safe trip in Iceland
- Rain jacket – especially for the days you get close to the waterfalls
- Thin sweater – instead of the thick one I recommend for winter
- Sleep mask – for those of you who are light sleepers – during these months you will experience the famous Midnight Sun and it is really hard to fall asleep when it does not get dark almost at all!
- Insect repellent
Men’s packing list for Iceland
Even if most of the tips above are universal for men and women, I mostly included pictures and links to women’s clothes – I guess because the site is called Miss Tourist. 🙂
Please do not get upset with me, dear Mr. Tourist, as I said, the above items are pretty much the same, but below I have linked a couple of men’s clothing items so that you don’t have to do the searching yourself.
Just click on the link to see the price, choose your size and you will be ready to have the item shipped to you:
- Warm windproof and waterproof jacket – I can’t stress enough how important the Icelandic coats are for your Iceland trip. They will keep you warm and dry during your adventures!
- Good hiking boots – essential for all the activities you are going to do in Iceland. The best hiking boots are those that keep your feet warm and your ankle fixed
- Hiking pants
- Waterproof pants – you should pack these at least for the days when you will visit strong waterfalls
- Activewear T-shirts
- Tank tops – for layering
- Fleece – perfect for keeping you warm without taking up too much space
- Zip-up hoodie – keeps you warm and you can take it off easily if it’s too hot
- Thick sweater
- Jeans – make sure you bring some comfy jeans that will be perfect for driving around Iceland or just visiting the cities
- Underwear – another essential on this list of things to bring to Iceland. Make sure you bring enough so you will not have to stress about washing them
- Wool socks – perfect for keeping your feet warm during your adventures
- Board shorts and flip flops – for swimming in the Blue Lagoon or other thermal waters you might want to visit
- Long sleeve shirt
- Microfiber towel – it is light and it dries out extremely fast
- Sunglasses – with polarized glasses to protect you from the strong sun, regardless if it’s winter or summer
- Hat, gloves and neck warmer
- Sneakers – pack some comfy sneakers with you, they will be perfect for driving
- A nice outfit – for going out in Reykjavik. (By the way, you can read about things to do in Reykjavik here)
NOTE: Please note that all the items above such as electronics, packing help and other equipment are not gender-specific, so please feel free to refer to the links above!
|❄️ Temperature in winter:||-5° to 5°C (23° – 41° F)|
|☀️ Temperature in summer:||10° to 15°C (50° – 60° F)|
|🥾 For hiking:||Waterproof shoes and clothes|
|♨️ For hot springs:||Swimsuit|
What NOT To Take With You To Iceland
As a general rule – please do not over pack. It is true, the weather is unpredictable in Iceland and you will need to take quite a bit of stuff with you, but you do not need 3 pairs of hiking pants and 2 winter coats, just one of each is enough.
Here are the items that I think you should NOT take with you on your Iceland adventure:
- Headlamp in the summer
- A hairdryer – it takes a lot of space, it might not work if you are coming from the USA and most of the hotels will have one anyway (ask for it if it is not in the room)
- Expensive jewellery – even if Iceland is one of the safest countries I have been to, I always recommend leaving expensive jewellery at home. You are going to be on the road a lot and it might easily get damaged or lost
- A lot of cash – you will see that cards are accepted pretty much everywhere in Iceland. There are also plenty of ATMs available (with a better conversion rate usually!), so you will find yourself not needing as much cash
- Fancy clothes – you might want to take a dress or two for a night out in Reykjavik, but given the fact that most of the time you will be hiking and exploring the astonishing nature, your high heels will probably just uselessly take up space in your luggage
If you are traveling to Iceland soon and you are searching for things to do while there, I have written many detailed itinerary posts (with prices, recommendations on where to stay and things to see and many Iceland travel tips) that you can check out below. All posts on Iceland can be found here.
That’s it! This was my list of recommended things to include in your Iceland packing list, all sorted by season, gender and type.
Remember: Iceland, although beautiful, is a very expensive country and it is better to buy most of the stuff you need in advance than to buy it inside the country. That way you will save some time and money and you will make sure you are totally prepared for your Icelandic trip.
When in Iceland, wear layers! Make sure you have comfortable clothes that will be enough for layering and don’t forget to bring waterproof and winter-proof clothes!
If you follow my packing list above, I’m sure you will be more than fine and packing for Iceland won’t be a chore anymore!
Last but not least, don’t forget to enjoy every second of your time in Iceland, it is an amazing country and, probably, my favorite place on Earth.
You can see my 14-day recommended itinerary in Iceland here.
I hope this ultimate Iceland packing list was useful. Do not forget to share my post with your friends if you liked it!
Would you add something to the list or do you have any questions?
Just drop me a line in the comments, I will be happy to reply!
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Do you know if an adaptor is required in order to plug in an i-phone or camera in the rental vehicles in Iceland? We’re from Canada (standard 2 prong plug ins). Our plug ins are the same as US.
The electrical plugs in Iceland are different from the ones used in the US/Canada, so you will need an adaptor for that. As for the cars, depending on how old the car is, they are going to have either the cigarette lighter outlet or the USB.
You’re great yulia! I was looking for some trip advices such as what kind of sunglasses i need to take for february-march trip there and i ve got really good advices with it! Have nice trips around world 🙂
Happy to help! 🙂
Hi Yulia, I would love your advice. I booked a six day trip to Iceland over Christmas this year for my family of four, including my eight and ten year old sons. We are not world travelers and now I’m a bit nervous. At the time I booked the airline tickets I also booked accommodations in Reykjavik for all of the nights. Now I’m second guessing my decision to book accommodations all in the same city. I believe I can cancel them and am wondering if maybe I should do that so we can do less driving each day? A few of the things we would like to do see are: the ice caves, some waterfalls, the northern lights, the blue lagoon or the secret lagoon. I also saw a tour that let you ride snow mobile’s cross a glacier and thought my kids would enjoy that.
I also was undecided about renting a car but now am feeling like that makes the most sense.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
I am happy it was useful!
it depends on your stye of traveling, but indeed, I’d say in 6 days you would want to move around a little and see other places. Reykjavik itself is only 120 000 people and you will discover the surroundings quite quickly as well.
For ideas on other great things to see around, I would suggest taking a look at this post (you will do the Golden Circle in any way but with the tips from this post you might see more things and stay somewhere around overnight too) and this post – there are some pretty amazing things to see North of Reykjavik, and you could also stay for a night there.
I also have a post about tours that you and your kids might like (glacier hike is included), click here to read it.
As for the car, I d definitely suggest renting it, you will be SO much more flexible with it and you’d be able to stop anywhere (every 5 minutes) for pictures or just to admire the beauty! To read my tips on renting a car in Iceland, please click here.
Hope this helps,
have a great adventure in Iceland!