Summer & Winter Packing List for Iceland

Iceland captivates travelers with its stunning landscapes. Think rugged glaciers, steaming geysers, and cascading waterfalls. Whether guests are embarking on a summer escapade or a winter expedition, packing for Iceland is an essential part of preparing for their journey. 

To ensure visitors are fully prepared, we’ve created a comprehensive Iceland packing list tailored for both winter and summer seasons. Our detailed guide includes everything you need to explore Iceland's wonders in style and safety. 

Summer in Iceland 

Icelandic summers are a marvel of nature, with long days bathed in the golden glow of the midnight sun. From June to August, the sun never truly sets, offering endless opportunities for exploration under the never-ending daylight. 

This is a time for discovering Iceland's stunning landscapes. Visitors can hike through volcanic craters, lush valleys, and dramatic coastlines, on off-the-beaten-path adventures. 

However, despite the warmth of the sun, Iceland's weather can be unpredictable, with sudden rain showers and cool breezes. While temperatures typically range from 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F), it’s important to bring warm layers and be well prepared for cooler weather. 

Summer packing list 

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Learn what to pack for Iceland to ensure a summer adventure filled with comfort, excitement, and unforgettable memories.

1. Lightweight layers

Breathable fabrics that wick away moisture and keep you cool during long days of exploration are essential in Iceland. Guests should consider bringing a mix of short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts, along with lightweight hiking pants and shorts for versatility.

2. Waterproof jacket and pants

Even in summertime, travelers can expect sudden rain showers, so high-quality waterproof pants and a rain jacket are a must. Travelers should look for options that are both light and durable, ensuring they stay warm and dry no matter the weather.

3. Hiking shoes

Sturdy hiking shoes make exploring Iceland's rugged terrain much easier. When packing for their journey, visitors should opt for waterproof options with excellent traction to conquer lava fields, glacier hikes, and coastal trails. 

4. Swimwear 

To enjoy Iceland’s luxurious geothermal spas, such as the famous Blue Lagoon, packing swimwear is essential. While most spas retreats provide towels, it’s a good idea to bring one in case there is an opportunity to bathe in a wild hot spring. 

5. Evening and casual outfits 

For evening outings or casual strolls, visitors should pack a few stylish yet practical outfits. It's advisable to consider packing a mix of versatile pieces such as jeans, sweaters, blouses, and lightweight jackets or cardigans. Sturdy footwear, such as ankle boots or comfortable walking shoes that can handle cobblestone streets, is also advisable. 

6. Sun protection

A cap, sunglasses, and high-SPF sunscreen are essential staples in any Iceland summer packing list. Even on cloudy days, UV rays can penetrate the atmosphere, so it's essential to protect the skin and eyes.

7. Reusable water bottle

A reusable bottle helps travelers stay hydrated during their Icelandic adventures, while also reducing plastic waste and minimizing their environmental footprint. Bottles can be refilled with tap water, which is drinkable and refreshing. 

8. Sleep mask 

For those not accustomed to the midnight sun, an eye mask can help you get quality sleep during the bright summer nights. 

9. Backpack 

Another must-have item to bring is a sturdy backpack that fits all essentials during a hike or a day tour. Travelers should choose one with comfortable straps and ample storage space to ensure they're well-prepared for every exploration.

10. Camera equipment and binoculars 

Photography-lovers should remember to pack their camera equipment to immortalize every magical moment of their adventures. For wildlife enthusiasts, a pair of binoculars is the perfect summer accessory if you want to get a close-up of puffins, Arctic foxes, and other animals. 

  • Explore exclusive experiences and first-class hotels in Iceland.

Winter in Iceland 

As temperatures drop and snow can blanket the landscape, Iceland transforms into a winter wonderland of unparalleled beauty. From November to March, guests have the opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of the northern lights dancing across the night sky.

Temperatures range from -5°C to 5°C (23°F to 41°F), offering a variety of thrilling cold-weather activities. These include snowmobiling across an ice-capped volcano, exploring an ancient ice cave, or seeing Iceland from above on a helicopter ride. 

As well as bringing the same items on the summer packing list (minus the sleep mask!), guests will also need some cold-weather essentials. Winter conditions require packing items such as thermal layers, insulated outerwear, and cozy accessories to stay warm and comfortable during outdoor excursions. 

With proper preparation and the right gear, travelers can embrace the beauty and adventure of Iceland's winter wonderland with confidence.

Winter packing list 

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Below we have curated an Iceland packing list for winter, tailored to the colder climate and activities of the Land of Fire and Ice.

1. Thermal layers

Wearing thermal base layers traps heat close to the body and keeps it warm in freezing temperatures. We advise travelers to look for clothing made from merino wool or synthetic materials that offer excellent insulation without adding bulk. 

2. Insulated outerwear

It’s worth investing in a high-quality down jacket or parka to keep warm and toasty during Icelandic winter adventures. Pairing it with insulated pants and waterproof boots ensures maximum protection against the elements.

3. Cozy accessories

These winter accessories ensure warmth and comfort amidst the frosty landscapes: 

  • Thermal gloves
  • Fleece-lined hat
  • Scarf 
  • Warm socks 

4. Hand and foot warmers

For added warmth on particularly chilly days, packing hand and foot warmers keep extremities cozy and comfortable during outdoor excursions.

5. Swimwear 

Even during a winter trip to Iceland, packing swimwear is essential, as it allows travelers to indulge in the country's geothermal spas and hot springs. These natural wonders provide a warm and rejuvenating escape from the cold, making swimwear a versatile addition to any Iceland packing. 

Helpful packing and travel tips 

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Along with a packing list, we’ve also included some valuable advice to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience in Iceland. 

1. Pack smart

Visitors should opt for versatile clothing and gear that can be layered for warmth or shed for comfort. 

At the same time, guests should tailor their packing list to the activities they plan to engage in, ensuring  they have the appropriate gear for each adventure. For example, if ice climbing is on the itinerary,  warm insulated clothing is essential to keep warm and comfortable. 

2. Check the weather 

Icelandic weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to stay updated on forecasts and pack accordingly. On a deluxe self-drive tour of Iceland, we always recommend checking road conditions as they can change unexpectedly. 

Road.is is a great resource for getting up to date information about road conditions and weather in Iceland. 

3. Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water, especially at high altitudes or during strenuous activities, is essential for maintaining hydration and overall well-being. This is why a reusable water bottle is recommended while traveling in Iceland. 

4. Respect nature

When visiting Iceland, it’s important that visitors respect its fragile ecosystems and pristine landscapes by practising responsible travel habits. From taking your litter with you to staying on designated trails, every action contributes to the conservation of Iceland's environment and preserving its natural beauty for future generations to enjoy.

Explore Iceland with Nine Worlds

At Nine Worlds, we recognize the significance of seamless travel experiences, particularly when it comes to packing for Iceland's diverse climates and seasonal activities.

Based in Iceland, our team of local experts can help you create the perfect trip to the Land of Fire and Ice. As a luxury management destination company, we offer private tours that are completely bespoke, for clients looking to experience Iceland beyond the beaten path. 

Contact us to find out more about the experiences we offer and start planning the perfect trip. 

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Call us, email us, or complete our enquiry form to start planning the perfect trip.

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