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Iceland Packing List Essentials

    Updated: 29th January 2024

    Packing items for backpacking
    Credit: Steven Coutts

    Essential Clothing for Iceland

    When packing for Iceland, it’s crucial to focus on staying warm, dry, and comfortable. Your clothing should be able to withstand the unpredictable Icelandic weather, which can quickly change from sunny to stormy.

    Thermal Layers

    Your first layer should always be a thermal top and leggings. Opt for materials like merino wool or synthetic fibres that offer moisture-wicking properties. This layer is essential as it maintains your body heat even in the coldest conditions.

    Waterproof Jacket and Trousers

    Iceland’s climate calls for reliable outerwear. Choose a waterproof and windproof jacket, ensuring it has a hood for added protection. Your trousers should be waterproof as well, to keep you dry during rainfall or when you’re exploring waterfalls like the famous Seljalandsfoss.

    Insulated Boots

    Invest in a sturdy pair of insulated and waterproof boots to handle Iceland’s rugged terrain. They should offer good traction for slippery surfaces and sufficient insulation to keep your feet warm while walking on glaciers or through snow.

    Navigating Iceland’s Weather

    When packing for Iceland, it’s vital you consider its diverse weather conditions. You’ll encounter everything from bright sun to driving rain, often in the same day. Proper attire will ensure comfort and protect you during your adventures.

    Wool Accessories

    You’ll find that wool accessories are indispensable when facing Iceland’s unpredictable weather. A snug wool hat, gloves, and a scarf will provide the warmth needed whilst allowing your skin to breathe. Wool’s natural moisture-wicking properties also mean you stay dry and comfortable, regardless of the damp.

    Windproof Accessories

    The wind in Iceland can be relentless, making windproof accessories a must. A sturdy windproof jacket and trousers form the first line of defence against the sharp Icelandic breeze. Opt for items with a tight weave or specialised coating that can stand up to the gusts, especially when you’re out exploring the splendid landscapes.

    Sunglasses and Sunscreen

    Despite the cooler climate, sunglasses and sunscreen are essential for your eyes and skin protection due to Iceland’s clean and crisp atmosphere, which can result in higher UV exposure. Always carry a pair of UV-protection sunglasses and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen, which will shield your skin even on cloudy days.

    Outdoor Adventure Gear

    When packing for the Icelandic outdoors, having the right gear is essential to enjoy and safely experience the diverse landscapes you’ll encounter. From volcano treks to geothermal pools, your adventure gear should be versatile and weather-appropriate.

    Hiking Equipment

    Footwear: Your walking boots should be waterproof, supportive, and broken in. Opt for boots with good ankle support and sturdy grip for traversing rocky paths and glacier hikes.

    Apparel: Dress in layers starting with a moisture-wicking base layer, an insulating mid-layer, and a waterproof outer layer. It’s vital to have a good quality wind and waterproof jacket that can withstand the unpredictable Icelandic weather.

    Accessories: Don’t forget gloves, a hat, and a neck gaiter for those chilly winds. If you’re venturing into the Highlands or tackling tougher hikes, consider packing a quality pair of hiking poles for extra stability.

    Swimwear for Hot Springs

    Swimwear: A must-have for any geothermal pool or hot spring visit. Choose a comfortable, quick-drying swimsuit.

    Towel: Bring a lightweight, fast-drying towel. Some hot springs are remote with no facilities, so pack your own.

    Remember to pack all your outdoor gear in a durable, water-resistant backpack, and consider bringing a waterproof case or bag for electronics and valuable items. With the right preparation, you’ll be ready to take on Iceland’s grand outdoor adventures.

    Electronic Essentials

    Before you embark on your Icelandic adventure, ensure you’ve packed the right electronic essentials to stay connected and powered up. Preparation is key in the land of fire and ice.

    Power Adapters

    Iceland’s electrical system operates on 220 volts and uses the standard European plug with two round prongs. You’ll need a Type C or Type F adapter if your devices don’t fit this specification. Check your devices for dual voltage support to avoid damaging them.

    • Laptops and phone chargers: Often support dual voltage (110-240V)
    • Appliances like hairdryers or curling irons: May need a voltage converter

    Portable Chargers

    When exploring Iceland’s vast landscapes, access to power outlets can be scarce. Carrying a portable charger ensures your phone or camera is always ready to capture the moment.

    • Capacity: Look for at least 10,000mAh to get multiple charges for your devices.
    • Durability: A water-resistant design could save your day during Iceland’s unpredictable weather.

    Remember, while Iceland’s beauty is enchanting, staying prepared with the right electronic essentials will help you to navigate and capture your journey with ease.

    Health and Safety Items

    When embarking on an adventure to Iceland, it’s essential you pack health and safety items to ensure you’re prepared for the unexpected.

    First Aid Kit

    Ensure your first aid kit contains bandages, antiseptic wipes, blister plasters, and gauze pads. Given Iceland’s rugged terrain, it’s wise to include an ankle support brace and a crepe bandage for potential sprains.

    Personal Medication

    It’s imperative to carry your personal medication, prescription details, and a doctor’s note, especially for medicine with strong regulatory controls. Also, pack a sufficient supply of any regular medication as it may be challenging to find specific items internationally.

    Travel Comforts

    When preparing for your trip to Iceland, comfort should be at the forefront of your mind, especially during transport. It’s essential to have a few travel comforts to help make your journey as relaxing as possible.

    Travel Pillow and Blanket

    Bringing a travel pillow and a compact, warm blanket can make a significant difference during flights or road trips in Iceland. Your pillow can provide essential neck support, preventing strains, whilst a blanket can keep you snug against the airplane’s or car’s air conditioning.

    Eye Mask and Earplugs

    An eye mask will prove indispensable due to Iceland’s long hours of daylight in the summer or if you find yourself in accommodation with less than perfect blackout curtains. Pairing an eye mask with noise-cancelling earplugs will help block out sound, ensuring a restful sleep no matter the environment.

    Need some last minute essentials? Check out our Reykjavik outdoor clothing shops guide!

    Where to Buy Outdoor Clothing in Reykjavik

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