Iceland is definitely a bucket list country! If you love nature, you don’t want to miss this one! The array of thermal hot spots combined with rolling green mountainous landscapes, your senses will be delighted if not overwhelmed with gratitude. Add to that the radical changes in weather, the consistent smell of Sulphur, and the never-ending light that prevails through the night, a trip to Iceland involves mysticism, adventure, and celebration!
But first, you need to know how to pack! Because even though it’s summer, it’s still near the Arctic Circle, and you need to be prepared, no matter what arises. The weather changes radically and I experienced temperatures between 52-63 degrees Fahrenheit, though it was often colder in some locations.
While in Iceland for ten days, there were only three that were sun-filled. When it was wet, there was no shortage of rain! I needed waterproof EVERYTHING! An umbrella only goes so far.
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1. Waterproof pants – I found these North Face Venture 2 1/2 Zip Pants to be perfect. There’s certainly enough room for layering too, which you will need because as it is only a shell, your legs will freeze!
2. Windbreaker/Rain jacket – Again, you must be protected from the elements. No doubt you will encounter rain and wind so purchasing a rain jacket that is windproof would be ideal. There are a variety of companies to choose from that can help you attain this goal. I opted for a NorthFace 3-in-1 jacket that had a zip-out down insulated jacket. What I liked, was that it packed down very easy in my carry on! It wasn’t very warm though, so layering is important!
3. Waterproof shoes/boots – An absolute must! I highly recommend you invest in a good pair of waterproof hiking or walking shoes. More than likely you will be doing a lot of nature tours and perhaps have some nice days to walk around Reykjavik. So the bottom line is you need to be dry and comfortable. I love my Adidas Terrex Swift sneakers because they look great with just about anything and very practical! I can wear them on hikes, or in the gym and I like the speed lacing and lace bungee.
4. Rain Cover for your Backpack – this was a pack saver! Before leaving for a tour day, I covered my pack in this simple and affordable rain cover from Joy Walker. I got the small for my Osprey Questa Daypack and it fit perfect! A lot of people acknowledged how great an idea it was to have that extra protection. And it worked; everything remained dry!
5. Eye Mask – Even though many places will have “black-out curtains,” I highly recommend bringing an eye mask because the light can still come through on the sides and top. When it looks like daytime at 1a, you will wish you had some additional darkness to get some sleep! I found this eye mask to be great, and super comfortable!
6. Buff/Scarf/Earmuffs – You will need something warm to cover your neck if your base layers aren’t zipping all the way up! Do not underestimate the chill in Iceland! I love Buff’s; I got my first one for Safari and now I rarely travel without one because it is multi-functional! I got a similar type with a fleece lining and for earmuffs, I love these which I’ve had for years! You can use a Buff like a hat too, and they are so easy to pack!
7. Waterproof cell phone case – Wow! So glad I brought these Waterproof cell phone cases from Mpow! Super cheap, two in a pack, and I was able to take my phone into The Blue Lagoon with no problems!
8. Camera – This might be a no-brainer, but just in case, bring your camera with waterproof housing. Or a waterproof camera bag. So many stunning landscapes to photograph, you will not want to be without your camera!
9. Merino wool base layers – You will wear these every day of your trip. Well, I did. Especially under your waterproof pants, you will want to keep your legs warm! My favorite base layers are from SmartWool or Icebreaker.
10. Swimsuit – You might not be going to a beach, but there are several locations where you can take a dip in a thermal pool, and you will want to do that! Thermal springs are varied and many in Iceland, including spas where you can soak for hours. Bring a swimsuit, or wear it under your hiking gear!
Iceland is a magical place and you want your holiday to be just as magical! Just remember, it IS Iceland, and even though it might be “Summer” it’s still going to be cool or cold depending on where you reside. I hope this list has been helpful, and if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment!
‘Til next time, thanks for reading and Happy Travels!