Iceland Packing List for Any Time of the Year

Packing for the trip is frustrating, especially when you want to visit Iceland and don’t know what to be prepared for.

Well, the general rule is:

If the weather is bad, wait for five minutes!

Even though this phrase is mostly used in a humorous way, it is somewhat true. Weather in Iceland is very unpredictable which means that for the trip to Iceland you should be prepared for diverse weather.

No, you don’t need to bring extra 20 kg (44 lbs) of your winter clothing, but there are some essentials that regular travellers and backpackers should know about before starting to pack for the magical trip to Iceland.

Buff

It is multi-usable clothing that could be used as a scarf, headband, balaclava or simply as a hat. If you can’t find those in your city, they are popular in Iceland, so you won’t have a problem to buy one here.

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Winter hat and gloves

If you get easily uncomfortable with chilly weather it is good to have a pair of gloves and a winter hat, even on the sunniest day. Because sunny doesn’t always equal warm.

The wind- and waterproof jacket

Usually, the weather in Reykjavik is good, but it doesn’t mean that it will be same when you leave the city.

If you want to avoid getting wet and cold, it is highly recommended to bring with you a good wind- and waterproof jacket, best if it is two in one.

Reusable water bottle

When you drink Icelandic tap water you are least likely to get sick. So buy bottled water? Just get a reusable one. Not only because you can get free water from any sink and it is also eco-friendly.

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Dawn jacket

If visiting Iceland during the early spring, autumn or winter it is crucial to have a warm jacket which would protect you from the cold.

You live in a tropical climate?

So probably you don’t want to invest in one just for this trip. An alternative way is to rent it at Gangleri Outfitters outdoor store.

Hiking boots

Iceland is a wild country, most of its attractions are located remotely, so it is very important to have a pair of good hiking boots.

They should be waterproof to protect your feet from the rain, snow, mud and with a good ankle support to avoid injuring yourself.

Woolen socks

You might not need them in the summer if you’re only doing regular day tours.

However, for the long hikes, glacier walks and autumn/ winter season you must have at least one pair of them.

Don’t worry if it is hard to find them in your country, there are plenty of stores selling them in Iceland.

Thermal underwear

Quite useful if you are hiking or car camping on a long trips like a ring road. It can be worn while sleeping, sightseeing or trekking.

Warm sleeping bag 

Camping season in Iceland starts in May and ends in the end of September, but it is never too warm here in the night.

If you have a sleeping bag, check it’s comfort temperature level, if it is made for the summer season, it might not be useful to take it with you to Iceland.

This is not a joke. I used to work at the outdoor store and many tourists came to buy sleeping bags because the ones they had were not proper for the Icelandic summer weather.

For a visit in May – September, you should have at least three seasons sleeping bag with a High comfort -5° celsius (23°F).

From September – October (and the rest of the winter, if you dare to) it is preferable to use four season sleeping bag that goes way beyond -10° celcius (14°F).a-guide-to-sleeping-bag-seasons.jpgIf you’re still confused what sleeping bag fits best for you, take a look at this article about how to choose the right sleeping bag.

Sleeping pad

As I mentioned above, Icelandic summers are not as warm as in the rest of Europe.

For that reason if you want to have a comfortable and good sleep without feeling cold you would not only need a good sleeping bag but also a sleeping pad.

The thinner your pad is, it is more likely that the ground’s cold and humidity will decrease your sleeping bag’s insulation level. In other words, you will feel cold!

Most of the travellers choose foam pads, because they are light.

If you prefer to have a good rest, then I would go for a thicker pad. For more information, read: How to choose a right sleeping pad.

Stove with a screw-on system

This one is from my personal experience of selling portable gas for the tourists in Iceland.

If you want to avoid running all around Reykjavik looking for the canisters that fits your stove, bring one that has a screw-on system.

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It is the most common stove system in Iceland.

I promise, compared to click-on-system, Trangia and etc. you will have less hassle to find a gas for it anywhere you go.

If you’re okay to spend some extra money, the choice would be to buy a stove with a multi-fuel system.

Conclusion

  • Prepare a good packing list in advance
    • warm clothing
    • sleeping material
    • cooking gear

All those things can be easily purchased or rented in Reykjavik. With the assistance from the locals all those things can be easily purchased or rented in Reykjavik.

p.s. Recently we have started a video blog about Iceland, you can watch the first episode here: Autumn and Winter Weather in Iceland.

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