Travel Hacks: What to pack for Iceland

All Season Packing List for Iceland

No matter what time of year you travel to Iceland, be prepared for cold. We were there in mid-September and had nice days where just a jacket kept us warm and cold days where we needed more layers. That’s the key – bring layers.

Also, pack what you need in a backpack or carry-on, including your rain jacket and puffy. That way, if the airline loses your luggage (they lost mine for a day), you will stay warm.

Most of the links below are paid links, as I am an Amazon Affiliate. That means I receive a commission if you click on the link and buy the item. I highly recommend all the items below, as I’ve used them myself. I am not a sponsor of any of the companies. I simply put this list together to help you, as other bloggers with lists have helped me. Happy Travels!!

Bruarfoss Iceland

The Necessities

Couldn’t live without

  • Thermos – This was my favorite thing I brought on the trip. Thank you to the blogger who suggested to bring a thermos! I made tea in the morning and drank it all day.
  • Brita filtered water bottle – As you have probably already heard, the tap water is pristine in Iceland. So bring a water bottle and fill up anywhere you’d like. A blogger recommended a filtered water bottle and because my stomach is sensitive, I got one. It is not expensive, the size is perfect and the water does have a hint of sulfur in it. Hot water smells like rotten eggs because the get their hot water from a geothermal system.

Luggage & packing

  • Packing cubes by Tripped – I’m so happy I ran across these! Had never used a 2-zipper system and it’s so smart. Zip open the first & second zipper and fit as much stuff as you can into the packing cube. Close the first zipper. And then the second. Like magic you can put more clothes in the packing cube than what you would expect.
  • Premium packing cubes by Tripped for winter gear. This one is made from mesh and breathable. It is a bit bigger than the others and I was happy to have it on my trip.
  • Rain resistant luggage – I bought Eagle Creek ORV 2-Wheel Trunk 30 luggage right before the trip. It fit everything I needed including my sleeping bag and sleeping mat.
  • Water resistant shoe bag – The one in the link is one of the best ones I’ve found. Turns out my BF has the same brand and bags in different colors.
  • TSA accepted luggage locks – These fit well on the Eagle Creek. They come in a pack of 4, which is handy as the Eagle Creek requires three locks.


  • 2 pairs of water resistant hiking pants.
    • Make sure long underwear can be worn under them.
    • I brought Columbia hiking pants and REI pants, both had DWR finish, which means they are water resistant.
    • I saw a woman wearing Norrona Falketind and not only are they durable but they are super sexy too!
  • Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeved Shirt – I used an anti-stink Lululemon shirt as my base layer. They dry quickly.
  • Compression socks for the plane ride – I love these! My legs didn’t cramp. Plus they are comfortable and cute.
  • Smartwool socks w/full cushion – a total necessity. I also wore cotton socks under them. One day I didn’t wear my Smartwool socks and my toes froze.
  • Neck gator – The ROXY DryFlight is great because it wicks moisture and it is soft inside. It is the only gator I brought (some bloggers recommended bringing a few – not sure I agree) and was happy with it.
  • Long underwear – Generally my legs don’t get cold but I was glad to have taken a pair of Patagonia long underwear (would have bought Smartwool if I weren’t allergic to wool). I also packed Thermasilk long underwear as they are light weight and comfortable.
    • No matter what time of year you go to Iceland, bring at least one set of long underwear – both bottoms and tops.
    • I used one set for sleeping and one set for hiking.

Outer Wear

  • Sunglasses – When researching camping gear for another trip, I ran across Knockaround sunglasses. They are super cute, lightweight and you can design your own.
  • Waterproof Hiking Boots – These are my most favorite hiking boots – ever. The best thing is that they are waterproof when tied correctly. A buddy of an REI employee walked across a stream without getting his feet wet.
  • Waterproof backpack – I bought a backpack from Amazon that claimed to be waterproof but it got my stuff all wet. I ended up getting this Exped backpack, which is 100% waterproof. I attached an Eagle Creek pouch, similar to this one. Speaking about Eagle Creek, I bought their luggage and really like it! You can find it here on Amazon.
  • Backpack for the plane – I had to bring my computer and knowing that it rains a lot in Iceland, I searched for a rainproof backpack. I bought and returned a couple. Then I ran across the Terra 26L Laptop Backpack Duffel by Calpak and was Wowed!!! It was perfect for the trip!!! It fit both jackets (pack a Gore-tex jacket and puffy on the plane as well as toiletries. The airlines lost my luggage for a day and I was happy I packed everything I needed to survive).
  • Rain pants – I bought a pair at REI. They look like a garbage bag but kept me dry. It was nice to put them over the hiking pants because one day we went for a nice dinner and I took them off easily.
  • Gore-tex jacket – I bought a Burton gore-tex jacket and although it was big and bulky, I was glad I had it. It kept me dry and warm. The jacket goes down below the bum, which is nice when you have to sit on a wet surface. * Take this with you on the plane in case they lose your luggage.*
  • Beanies – I packed 3 different beanies: one that covers my ears, a light-weight cotton one and a heavy one. I was happy to have them all because when one was wet, I’d wear another one. I might get yet another heavy one for windy rainy days.
  • Gloves – I bought a pair in Iceland at the Thingsviller National Park. I was able to use my phone with them on, which kept my hands warm.
  • Swimsuit – for the geothermal hot springs.
  • Havaianas flip flops – for public showers.
  • Slippers – My BF didn’t pack slippers and regretted it, as the floor of the van was cold at night and in the mornings.


  • Multi-charging cable for phone, ebook and other devices. This little cable is amazing because you don’t have to bring fifty million cables to charge different devices.
  • Kobo e-reader – My friend turned me on to Kobo and it’s much better than Kindle, as you aren’t locked into buying books only on Amazon.
  • European Power Strip with USB C and 4 USB Ports, 3 AC Outlets. If you are staying at an Airbnb, this is handy to have.
  • Phone mount for car – This was really handy to have.


  • Vitamin C – I like the kids chewables by Natural factors. My BF wished he packed vitamins.
  • Bandaids – You are probably going to want to get waterproof ones like these.


  • Quick dry towel – We found a natural hot springs and I was glad to have packed a towel that dried quickly.
  • A foldable bag – You’ll need a bag to put your clothes and toiletries in when you shower. Campsite showers have hooks in them.
  • Light-weight Laundry bag – This laundry bag is perfect to bring on every trip.
  • Laundry detergent – Having a couple packs of laundry detergent is going come into good use if you stay for more than 5 days.
  • Waterproof headlamp – Petzl makes waterproof headlamps with blue, red and green modes. We used the headlamp a lot during van life in Iceland.
  • Sleeping mask – This is recommended if you are traveling in the summer when the sun doesn’t go down. In September, the sun went down around 9 pm so we didn’t need a sleeping mask.
  • Credit card with a pin number. Most stores accept ApplePay and the like. But some don’t and if you have to use a credit card, they require a pin number.
  • $100-$200 cash. We had to pay for showers in cash. And one campsite was cash-only.

Did use but still nice to have

What not to pack

  • Jeans – You will most likely encounter rain no matter what time of year you travel to Iceland. So having a pair of pants that doesn’t dry quickly is not a good idea. Plus, they aren’t the most comfortable to walk in. And aren’t generally compact and light.
  • Umbrella – If you bring waterproof clothing you won’t need an umbrella. Plus the wind is strong and it won’t be effective.
  • Rain poncho – I got this poncho and ended up not packing it because I read somewhere that it’s too windy in Iceland to be effective.
  • Sleeping mat (unless you are camping) – I listened to a YouTuber who said he used a camping mat in the van because the cushions were soft enough. I didn’t find this to be the case and wish I would have left my sleeping mat at home.
  • Dressy clothes – Get black hiking pants and wear them out to a nice restaurant.

Waterfall Iceland

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