The Complete Iceland Packing List

Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, and to figuring out the best time to go and what to pack for Iceland can be difficult. One thing you can be sure of for most trips to Iceland is that it’s going to be chilly and wet. During our last trip to Iceland, it lightly rained the whole time. Our list below covers all the basics from required items like a waterproof jacket to the nice to have things like rain pants.

If you are looking for a specific summer Iceland packing list or winter Iceland packing list, look no further. This list is designed to be comprehensive, and we even detailed the weather patterns based on temperature and hours of sunlight so you can make the most informed packing decisions.

Complete Packing List For Iceland

Item NameItem DescriptionLevel of Importance (Required, Recommended, Nice to Have)Buy Now on Amazon
Waterproof BootsGoreTex boots or another type of waterproof boot.RequiredBuy Now on Amazon
Waterproof CoatA heavy rain jacket or a waterproof winter coat.RequiredBuy Now on Amazon
Universal Outlet Adapter /European Outlet AdapterIceland uses Europlug/Schuko-Plug, which is the kind with the two circular prongs. RequiredBuy Now on Amazon
Swimming SuitMaybe this isn't "Required" but you can't miss the hot springs.RequiredBuy Now on Amazon
Water Resistant BackpackHigh quality water resistant bag. Transportation is expensive in Iceland, minimize the back and forth and bring stuff with you.RequiredBuy Now on Amazon
Thermal ClothingBust out the long johns from grandma! It’s all about the layers!RequiredBuy Now on Amazon
Water Bottle / CanteenIceland is a capital for adventure travel. A good water bottle is key for hydration and saving the environment.RecommendedBuy Now on Amazon
Light gloves / Waterproof GlovesAgain, if waterproof is an option go for it. Some light gloves are a good idea.RecommendedBuy Now on Amazon
External Battery ChargerAn external charger is key to keep your navigation and comms up and running.RecommendedBuy Now on Amazon
Travel Size ToiletriesObvious, but needed!RequiredBuy Now on Amazon
Winter HatA light winter hat.RecommendedBuy Now on Amazon
Winter SocksIf you won't be outside a lot you might be fine with some regular socks. Will definitely be required if you go ice caving or trekking through snow.RecommendedBuy Now on Amazon
Trash BagsA trash bag for wet and dirty clothes.RecommendedBuy Now on Amazon
Rain Pants / Waterproof Hiking PantsRain pants or waterproof hiking pants are definitely a worthy buy. Strongly recommended if you will be outside often.RecommendedBuy Now on Amazon
ScarfStyle and utility. A scarf is not a bad idea. Nice to HaveBuy Now on Amazon
Melatonin PillsA natural sleep aid to survive a redeye or adjust to the time change.Nice to HaveBuy Now on Amazon
SunscreenIf you have fair skin, you can get sunburned anywhere even in overcast.Nice to HaveBuy Now on Amazon

Weather In Iceland

Let’s briefly review the weather. The average is around freezing (32 Fahrenheit, 0 Celcius), with the highs in summer approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit(27 Celcius) and lows in winter at 28 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celcius). What you need to be more worried about is the number of hours of daylight. We created an infographic that has a good summary of the weather below.

Weather In Iceland | Life Nomading | Best time to travel to Iceland | Summer weather in Iceland | Winter Weather in Iceland | What to pack for Iceland | Iceland Packing ListWinter

Winters are surprisingly mellow with the normal January temperature in Reykjavik (- 0.5°C/31°F) like New York City or Hamburg. It isn’t surprising to see snow in October or April, yet it rarely remains on the ground for more than a couple of days.

Summer

The average July temperature in the southern part of the island is 50–56 °F. Some summer days can go up to 68–77 °F. Summers in Iceland can be delightfully warm in addition to the unique Midnight Sun which gives 24 hours of light and the fervor of midnight golf, or early morning club escapades.

Quick Tips

Pack light! Having a checked bag lost can ruin a trip to Iceland as most trips are short and buying stuff on an island is expensive! Try to fit all your stuff in a carry on if possible – it will make your life easier and prevent any lost luggage events eating into your vacation time! If you are having packing space issues here are five tips to help!

Think water resistant! If there were a theme that could be applied to anything you pack this would be it! From boots to jackets – water resistance is key for a pleasant, warm, and comfortable trip to Iceland!

Required Items

Let’s take a deeper look into why we deemed some these key items as required. Technically all of these items may not be “required,” but they are if the plan is to see the best of what Iceland has to offer: Hot springs, amazing outdoor landscapes, and ice caves.

Waterproof Boots

Waterproof Boots | Gore-Tex Boots | Boots for Iceland | Waterproof Hiking BootsHiking the amazing landscapes and ice caves in Iceland are must-do activities. Pick up some waterproof hiking boots to do it all with dry feet. Almost any brand of boot made of Gore-Tex works well, as it is more breathable than a rubber boot but also waterproof.

Waterproof Coat

Rain Jacket | Marmot Jacket | Jacket for Iceland | Iceland Packing ListWe recommend layering up with a thick rain jacket or getting a waterproof winter coat. While it can be snowy, having enough layer can prevent needing a full-blown arctic hiking coat – unless you plan to hike in Vatnajokull. We previously detailed the best rain jackets for men, if you are a guy looking to grab one for an Icelandic trip. All in all, after talking with our fellow avid outdoorswoman and outdoorsmen we found that Marmot coats we’re consistently mentioned as a highwater proof coat.

Universal Outlet Adapter

Iceland Outlet | Outlet In Iceland | Packing list for Iceland

Iceland uses to Europlug, so any adapter that has a European outlet adapter should work. A universal adapter can be picked up online for less than twenty dollars. The outlet in Iceland is two round plugs and typically slightly indented into the wall.

Swimming Suit

Blue Lagoon | Packing Lit for Iceland | Packing list | Swimsuit for IcelandIceland is famous for hot springs, which means you need to bring a bathing suit. There are tons of hot springs. If you want the most comprehensive list of hot springs, hot pot Iceland has the only exhaustive list of locations with GPS coordinates. Aside from natural hot springs, the public baths is a more local off the beaten path option. The public baths are also much cheaper than the blue lagoon.

Water Resistant Backpack

Waterproof Backpack | Iceland | Packing List for IcelandGrabbing a water-resistant backpack or a waterproof backpack cover is a great idea. Transportation in Iceland is costly so carrying your daily essentials to reduce trips is ideal. On our last trip there it rained the entire time. Having a waterproof backpack will make any Iceland trip much more comfortable.

Recommended Items

Let’s review why some of these key suggested items can be so helpful, even though they may not be vital for an Iceland trip.

Gloves

Touch Screen Gloves | Packing list Iceland | Packing List All Times of Year | Full Iceland Packing List | Entire Packing List Iceland | Entire Iceland Packing List | Iceland Packing List | Total Iceland Packing List | Entire Packing List Iceland | touch screen glovesDepending on when you go – it could be snowing. If you plan to go up north into the highlands, you will undoubtedly encounter snow. Grabbing a pair of light gloves is ideal, and if the plan is to hike in the highlands or go ice caving, then snow gloves are recommended. Pick up a pair of touchscreen gloves so the touchscreen on the phone will still work.

External Battery Charger

Stay on the go and don’t worry about having to find a plug by bringing an external charger. Having an external charger in Iceland is important because most trips are short and transportation is expensive. Bringing an external charger will prevent trips home to charge and derailments of plans due to dead phones.

Winter Hat

A winter hat is another useful clothing item for an Iceland trip. Think of it as another layer that is easier to take on and off. With all the outdoor activities and different weather depending on location (highlands vs the black sand beach), It is nice to have a piece of clothing to warm up that is easy to store and put on.

Winter Socks

A good pair of socks will come in handy. The padding in the socks protects from blisters when hiking and keeps your feet warm. Smartwool socks or any other merino wool socks make the best winter socks hands down.

Nice to Have Items

Melatonin

Taking melatonin can keep sleep cycles intact. Most trips to iceland from the USA are redeyes, but even from other places a time change is likely. melatonin is a natural sleep aid that can be used to help sleep on the pain or at night if jet lag is keeping you from falling asleep.

Scarf

A good scarf is great for any adventure through Iceland. The Arctic wind is the last thing anyone wants blowing up their neck. Having a good scarf is also fashionable, and quite popular in Europe.

To review, here’s the full list or Required and Recommended items:

  • Waterproof boots
  • Universal Travel Adapter (Europlug)
  • Thermal clothing
  • Waterproof/winter jacket
  • Swimsuit
  • Waterproof backpack
  • Rain pants
  • Trash Bags
  • External charger
  • Winter hat
  • Gloves
  • Toiletries
  • Towel

If you want to go on an Iceland adventure with us, check out our Iceland Trips!

 

Author Marek Michalski

Always on the move, motorcycle wielding adventure traveler.

More posts by Marek Michalski