When packing your suitcase, think practically and minimal. Trust me, it is no fun to carry a heavy bag through the streets of Reykjavík. There are must-packs for the winter and others for the summertime. Iceland turns into a different country when the season changes. Read here why. When you pack for your Iceland Trip: Don’t forget to check our quick-packing guide with a checklist for you to download.
The No. 1 item that most people forget. Iceland is rich in geothermal hot springs that heat our houses and provide water for numerous pools and hot tubs. Public swimming pools are crucial for Icelanders, giving them a place to socialize, discuss the latest politics, or meet up with friends. Don’t miss our post about rules in public swimming pools in Iceland. Spoiler: You have to take it off.
2. Layer, Layers, Layers
If you visit in the summertime, take a few layers, for the wintertime, take a few more layers. Long underpants or leggins, 2-3 long sleeve shirts (the thermal ones, if you have). You won’t regret bringing one or two fleece jackets. Take a few warm (wool) socks. In the end, it’s all about layering. In order to pack minimal, choose items you can easily combine.
3. Reusable water bottle
You will love Icelandic tap water. It is one of the cleanest, best-tasting waters in the world. Ask anyone living here: they almost certainly do not buy their water bottled. It is 100 % safe to drink from any tab. What about the rotten egg smell? Check our FAQ. And if you love our planet, pack a reusable coffee mug. Check our sustainable travel guide for more info.
4. Rain-proof jacket
It will rain at some point. Ever heard about the saying “If you don’t like the weather, just wait for 5 minutes”? It is true. If you pack enough layers, one of these softshell jackets or raincoats will do. What you don’t want is a soaking wet, heavy winter coat that needs ages to dry. One raincoat is a must-pack for your Iceland trip.
Asking the honest guide: Do I need rain pants as well?
If you plan to hike, yes! If you make a city trip or day tour, you can survive without one. The honest guide Steffi survived Iceland for three years without rain pants. Although it is good to have a pair. Because they keep your legs warm as well.
5. Hat & Gloves
It is windy in Iceland, almost every day. Cold wind blows over from the Atlantic ocean, and your ears will feel like icicles after only a few minutes. “Damn, it’s too hot for a hat,” said no one ever in Iceland. For the winter, bring gloves. Even for snapping a few pictures near the ocean, you do wanna use your hands.
6. Outdoor Shoes & City Shoes
Are you planning a trip to the glacier, intense hiking, or long outdoor trips? Then you certainly want to pack professional hiking boots. Or better: wear them on the plain, since they take up so much space. For general activities, sturdy walking shoes with a thicker sole and waterproof features will be enough. Pack some sneakers or fancier shoes for the city & going out for dinner activities. Comfort is king! Don’t buy new shoes just before your trip. You are eventually going to walk a lot in them.
Have you been scrolling through all those incredible pictures of the Icelandic landscape? Professional photographers take most of these. If you are mainly planning to take photos for private use or Instagram, consider taking a medium-sized camera or your phone. Don’t forget to enjoy what you are seeing with your eyes instead of experiencing everything through your camera lens.
8. Power bank
While you are visiting Iceland, you do want to make the most of your time here. That means you will have less time to sit inside, charging your phone. The cold blowing wind will eventually give your battery a hard time. To navigate, take pictures, and call your loved ones, stay on top of things: take a power bank and charge it during the night. You will be grateful for having it.
If you don’t want to pay for a towel every time you go to a public swimming pool, have one with you. The costs for renting one can go up to 1000 kr. each. Iceland is relatively expensive already. Save money while packing.
You will eventually be on foot a lot during your Iceland adventure. Have all your items like water bottle, coffee mug, and charger secured in your backpack. Any one-shoulder handbag is great for going out in the evening, but bring a comfortable backpack for the day.
Leave space in your suitcase for all the goodies you will eventually buy. Maybe you want to get your hands on the famous “Lopapeysur,” the Icelandic wool sweater. Or you need something for the sweet tooth like Omnnom’s delicious chocolate bars. Whatever it is you will bring back home, you don’t want to pay for extra luggage fees for souvenirs.
There are essential things you need to pack for your Iceland Trip, for instance, layers, comfortable shoes, and swimwear. Other items like an umbrella and flip flops, you can surely leave at home. We wish you a beautiful Iceland adventure!