Iceland packing list

Complete Iceland Packing List For Winter

Although it’s hard to believe packing for Iceland can be a bit tricky, it is. The weather’s unpredictable and that means you should pack a few extra items for unexpected conditions. Although we visited in winter, we experienced a bit of the other three seasons too…and in one day!! Layering is the best way to prepare for the unexpected. Exploring Iceland on a road trip also means you probably won’t find a convenience store or rest stop for miles, so its best to carry some extra essentials. Drum roll, please…




You will need a waterproof parka or a heavy coat. It’ll be cold and wet so don’t cut corners, invest in a good one. Luckily,  I bought this on Amazon for under $100. Another good one is The North Face Down Parka.

WATERPROOF JACKET: Since you’ll likely spend time soaking in gorgeous waterfalls, expect to get wet. It may be windy too so don’t count on an umbrella to help you much. I got a jacket last minute at Marshalls for under $100. Im sure you’ve seen instagram pictures with people wearing yellow rain coats and while it may look nice, it’s almost $200 for basic yellow so get one in advance.

JEANS AND/OR LEGGINGS: Snow pants are a great purchase but I would also recommend bringing jeans and leggings. I wore my leggings under my jeans on extra cold days. Keep some in your backpack and change in case you visit a waterfall or it suddenly rains.

THERMAL: Want to know my secret to staying warm? Columbia’s thermal underwear line. Their innovative collection will keep you warm on outdoor excursions. Depending on the temperature, I’d wear it solo or layered with a jacket or sweater.

FLEECE: Add a fleece vestorfleece jacket to your Iceland packing list for a winter visit. I was thankful for the extra layer!


BOOTS OR HIKING SHOES: I packed these water-resistant leather boots but I only used them during city walks because I felt more comfortable wearing them there.  They worked great and kept my feet dry and warm.

SNOW BOOTS: For my winter trip, I bought these fabulous Sorel Boots.  I used these touring ice caves, walking the snow, hiking…you name it. Your toes will thank you! If they’re out of your price range, don’t despair…you can find these dupes onamazon.

SOCKS: Bombas socks are the perfect socks to wear in Iceland. They’re made of high-grade merino wool. This material will help regulate body temperature, transport sweat away as vapor, and cancel out odors. You will want to get a few pairs of warm wool instead of socks regular layering socks because they trap moisture and could make your feet colder. Plus for every pair of Bombas socks you buy, they donate a pair to someone in need. Check their webpage for more info.


GLOVES:  In the winter, you will obviously need gloves and its a plus if they’re touch screen. If you’re looking for a warm smartphone glove, and don’t mind a utilitarian look, the Isotoner Matrix Nylon Gloveis a great option…and very colorful too!

SCARFS AND HATS: I recommend wool, cashmere, or alpaca material.  They’re best for keeping you warm. I invested a while back inEverlane cashmere scarves and they came through on this trip and past winter vacays too.

SWIMSUIT: Yes, pack one even if it’s winter…after all, you want to be prepared for the Blue Lagoon or maybe a spur-of-the moment dip in a hot spring during your road trip.



CAMERA:  Bring a decent one (and a tripod), especially if the Lights are on your agenda.  Don’t forget spare batteries and memory cards either.

PORTABLE BATTERY:   Your phone battery may run out if you are using it a lot and since you will, and it’s Iceland cold, your device could power down even at 40%!!  Bring the charger to restart or just keep it alive.

SNACKS:The further from Reykjavík, the further the distances too between vilages where you can stock up on grub and gas. You’ll have fewer options too when you find one so pack in advance, especially if you have any special food requests (vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free etc.) I love granola bars, chips, or even some sandwiches for road trips.

FIRST AID KIT:Since most adventures in Iceland invovle outdoor activities, I’d keep a small first-aid kit too with at least the bare necessities. Pack a small one so that it fits in a backpack.

SUNGLASSES: Although sunlight’s limited in winter,  it can still be very strong. Sunglasses will also help protect your eyes from cold wind currents.

SUNSCREEN: ALWAYS wear it, even if it’s winter…see note above

LIP BALM:The cold temperatures will crack your lips open if you’re not careful.  Protect them with lip balm at all costs.

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