Your Iceland clothes may be very different than your regular clothes, especially if you love in a warm climate. (And especially if you’re not visiting Iceland in the summer!) But even in the warmest months of June, July and August, high temperatures may still only be in the 50s Fahrenheit (12 Celsius or so.) What should you have on your Iceland packing list?
Think layers for your Iceland clothes
Layers are incredibly helpful for 2 very different reasons. First, they’re warmer than one giant puffy jacket. The air between your layers acts as an excellent insulator. If you have 4 or 5 layers on top, you can often be toasty warm without a lot of bulk.
Second, layers allow you to shed articles of clothing as the day gets warmer, or as you warm up on that long hike.
Iceland clothes to wear every day
When I head to Iceland, here’s what I’m wearing:
- Wool or technical baselayer. I’m a big fan of wool, like this men’s wool shirt or this one for women. The brand doesn’t matter much here- as long as the reviews are decent, and it’s 100% wool, but whatever is cheapest. You won’t want to go too large in size here– if it’s a bit tight without being uncomfortable, adding more layers on top will be easier
- Any other shirt. There’s no need to buy anything here. Any t-shirt or sweater is fine. I have a tighter wool sweater that I usually wear here.
- A sweater, wool or synthetic. You may already have several wool or acrylic sweaters? Wool will get less smelly, but use what you have. Or if you need to buy one, here’s a men’s option and a women’s option. (It seems harder to find women’s sweaters that are wool!)
- A sweatshirt or other thicker layer, like a fleece. This is only needed for very cold days.
- A waterproof outer jacket. Think closer to a windbreaker than a parka, since you already have all of these other clothes on! There are lots of options; here’s one for men and one for women.
- A hat. This is super important, and super easy to pack. This is what I wear, and I can put the hood of my waterproof jacket over top if it’s raining.
- Gloves are good too!
- Hiking shoes or boots.
How waterproof should your Iceland clothes be?
You want your top to be waterproof. Waterproof pants are nice to have, but may not be worth the money if you won’t wear them after your trip. (I do find myself wearing them at home, especially to shovel snow!)
I purposefully put an image of people wearing jeans in the main image at the top. This was a day I was riding horses up at Húsey Farm in North Iceland. It was a beautiful sunny day, and jeans were just fine for that particular day! Just not a day when it’s wet.
The rest of our Iceland packing list
- Bathing suit. If you plan to swim a lot, you may want 2 if you hate putting on a wet bathing suit.
- Towels? Most thermal pools will rent towels for a fee. Bring your own to save some money if you won’t be able to borrow from your accommodations. Towels at the Blue Lagoon are free.
- Technology. Cell phones, cameras, cables, power converters
- Travel documents. Passport, plane tickets, itineraries or any other tickets. Driver’s license if you’re renting a car.
- Reusable water bottles. Or buy one bottle of water and refill it throughout your trip. See the next tip.
- Sunscreen? This seems odd, I know. But the summer sun is still strong in Iceland. If you’ll be out hiking a lot, you might need some! You might even want a baseball cap in summer?
- Comfortable stuff. Icelandic homes can be warm, since geothermal energy is cheap. Bring a few less warm items to lounge around in, and some pajamas too!
- Shoes. Maybe you’ll wear your only pair, or maybe you’ll have one lighter pair of shoes and one pair of hiking boots?
- Toiletries! Toothbrush, hairbrush, toothpaste, deodorant.
- Any medications you take regularly, including over the counter medications you may need as well as prescription medication.
- A day pack or backpack for day trips and hikes.
- Sunglasses are good for glacier hikes or snowmobile trips.
Let us know in the comments what else you packed for your trip to Iceland! What other Iceland clothes would you recommend?