What To Pack For Iceland: The Five-Step Solution

What To Pack For Iceland: The Five-Step Solution

Written by Patrick Gensel on

Patrick Gensel is a world-roaming, visual storyteller with a special place in his heart for action sports and the natural world. No matter where Patrick is, you can always find him sharing his stories on his website and Twitter

What To Pack For Iceland: The Five-Step Solution

What To Pack For Iceland: The Five-Step Solution


With hot springs, glaciers, Viking museums, and the dancing waves of the northern lights, Iceland is an appealing destination for those who are adventurous at heart. June to August is a particularly nice time to visit the country, because temperatures are relatively warm (53 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit and 44 to 47 degrees Celsius) and you'll experience 24 hours of sunlight from the end of June to early July. But what should you pack when traveling to this magical land of fire and Ice? The following five-step solution offers just what you need to get ready for your trip to this exciting country.

Step 1: Find the Perfect Bag

When packing for your trip to Iceland, where should you start? Begin with the bag, of course! You may not think that there’s much to a bag, but every bag has its purpose. Knowing how you plan to travel and what you plan to do will help you choose the right bag. For instance, if you plan to rent a car and want to maximize the space that's available to you, pick a heavy-duty bag that is water-resistant. That way, you can throw it on your car’s roof rack, leaving more space in the car. On the other hand, if you'll be walking a lot with your bag and are trying to keep your pack lightweight, the EC Lync System is a great solution because it converts from wheeled bag to backpack. It is also great if you'll be traveling on planes, buses, and/or trains that have overhead racks and you’ll need a compact carry-on.

Step 2: Prepare For Unpredictable Weather

The weather in Iceland is extremely unpredictable. There is a saying that I kept hearing over and over in Iceland from tourists and locals alike, and that was: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” And that couldn’t be more true. When I was in Iceland, the weather fluctuated frequently from chilly downpour to sunny and warm. With that in mind, you need to pack accordingly. If you plan on seeing the sights outside of Reykjavik (and you should!), then some essential items are: rain gear, a pair of comfortable hiking shoes or boots (preferably waterproof), a fleece jacket, warm socks, and a warm hat. If it is chilly out, and it likely will be, dressing in layers with a ski-type jacket on top and short sleeves underneath will help you stay comfortable and flexible.

Step 3: Pack With Lodging In Mind

Are you camping in a tent, staying in a hostel, or living it up in a luxury accommodation? These distinctions matter when packing for Iceland. If you plan to go the tent route, pack a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad (or rent them from an outfitter in Reykjavik.). If you go the hostel route, you can get away with just a sleeping bag. Staying in a fancy hotel? Leave all the sleeping gear at home.

Step 4: Plan For a Night Out in Reykjavik

The colorful capitol of Iceland, Reykjavik, has no shortage of urban adventures, especially for those who enjoy nightlife. If this is your cup of tea, then plan on bringing some clothing that's suited to a night on the town. Items like skirts, dresses, jeans, and button-down shirts are all acceptable attire—just don't forget a jacket, because the temperature can drop in an instant. And, stick your ID and credit cards into a neck wallet that slides under your clothes to deter thieves.

Step 5: Capture Those Stunning Views

You don’t want to head to such a gorgeous country without packing your camera. Smartphones these days capture fantastic photo and video, so take advantage of that, but it never hurts to take another camera and extra memory cards, if possible. There are so many beautiful sights to take in that you won’t want to run out of space.

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