This is a summer Iceland packing list. June, July and August are the “official summer months” but May and September can also be quite nice.
This packing list is for those planning on renting a car, driving the country, staying in hotels, visiting waterfalls, hiking, horse backing riding, taking photos, visiting geothermals and a night in Reykjavik. Use this as a starting point and adjust your pack list according to your planned activities, needs and itinerary.
The first thing you need to know about packing for Iceland is how to dress in layers so you are comfortable in the changing weather.
How to Layer for Cold Weather
Base Layer (Moisture Manage) + Mid Layer (Insulation) + Outer Layer (Rain & Wind Protection)
Base layer: long or short T-shirt
Mid Layer: a long-sleeved shirt, sweater, down, or fleece
Outer Layer: a waterproof jacket.
Warm jacket with synthetic insulation and preferably water proof/resistant
Waterproof/breathable rain jacket. This one for women is a top ranking hooded jacket that is lightweight and packs into the size of your hand. And this lightweight breathable and windproof jacket hooded one for men.
Waterproof/breathable Pants. This pair is a top ranking Amazon pant for men. And I personally own this women’s Prana hiking pant and love!
Base Layer short sleeve shirts. I like these for women. These are awesome for men.
Base Layer Long sleeve shirts This is top ranked for men. They recommend ordering a size up. And this one for women.
Midweight base layer long underwear top and bottom. This long underwear base for women. These for men. And this is an awesome midweight hoody for men. And I am having “gear envy” over this one for women.
Down Jacket, I like the down “sweater” style like this one for women or like this one for men.
Down Vest, like this one for men or this one for women
Fleece Jacket. This one is Ranked #1 for women on Amazon and this for men.
Jeans, 1 pair for Reykjavík
Warm Sweater, for Reyjavik
Warm leggings, women. These are water resistant, fleece lined, thermal, zippered pocket
Bathing suit for hot springs
Light Robe for hot springs
Lightweight Gloves, these rank #1 on Amazon and have a touchpad finger
Warm Gloves These are ranked #1 on Amazon and are waterproof. These are waterproof and have touchscreen fingers
Scarf You may consider this Buff Multi Function Scarf wearable in 12 ways
Wool or synthetic (not cotton) socks for boots
Undies (‘quick dry’ are convenient so that you can handwash in the hotel sink and they will dry overnight) Here are women’s and here are men’s. Sink laundry soap here.
Socks for tennis shoes. I like these low ones for men and these for men and women.
Hiking boot socks These for men or these for women.
Sunglasses and case
Waterproof slip-resistant or hiking boots. For women or these for men.
Flip flops for hot springs. I like these Crocs
Tennis shoes or boots for town
Nice shoes for night out in Reykavich
Bag to put wet swimsuit in
Umbrella I like this one because it is windproof (and the wind in Iceland can be strong! It also is available in clear so you have better visibility)
Travel Size Sink Laundry Detergent
Travel Pillow This one OR this one
Camera and accessories
Camera Bag waterproof
DayPack. This one has an adjustable torso for custom fit and an integrated raincover to protect your gear, this is one of my favorites.
Sleep eye mask
Thermos 20 ounce thermos
Lightweight Travel Mug to make instant oatmeal in your room or use for your coffee
European electrical adaptor socket
Portable charger for phone and computer in room
Car charger for phone and other devices. Use this one for multiple device charge capability
Various sizes ziplock bags and large plastic bags for miscellaneous
Clothesline and clothespins for the hotel room or the car
Binoculars These are lightweight, waterproof with smartphone adapter
Hot Hands Hand Warmers
If you will be grocery shopping bring reusable grocery bags. You have to pay individually for plastic bags and you can tell it’s not the “norm” to get bags.
Confirmation of lodging
Insurance, Medical and Trip/Travel
Guide book. Lonely Planet or Rick Steves
Iceland Travel Journal
Map National Geo
Paper and pens
TRAVEL BAG CARRY ON
Passport (have original one here and a copy in suitcase)
Cancellation insurance/baggage stubs/medical insurance info
Emergency travel contact phone numbers
Car and house keys (put in a zipped pocket)
Car parking claim checks
Wallet (leave items at home that you know you won’t need)
Credit cards; ATM Debit card, long-distance card; driver’s license, health insurance card, travel insurance papers, etc.
Candy and/or gum
Band aids for blisters
Small waterless hand sanitizer or wipes
Sunglasses (sunglass strap)
Any Required medical/dental items
Refillable Water bottle
Magazines or other reading material
Pen and Paper
Headphones for plane
IPod and Earphones
TOILETRIES In a quart Ziplock
Facial cleanser Soap
Small bar of soap
Shampoo & conditioner (To protect your hair, use a generous amount of conditioner and leave on your hear before going in geothermals)
Toothbrush, & floss
Hair brush, comb, hair clips, pony tail holder
Nail file; nail clippers; tweezers
Baby Wipes in a zip lock
Prescriptions in original containers
Hair dryer and flat iron
Peppermint tea or peppermint candies for nausea
Pseudofed, Sinus/allergy medication
Imodium (anti-diarrhea medication)