Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice and this Iceland summer packing list is going to reflect its famous tendency towards extremes. Yes, even in the summer in Iceland you need to be prepared for just about everything!
Whether or not you’re visiting Iceland on a stopover on the way to somewhere else in Europe or spending a full 7-days on Iceland’s Ring Road, there is a list of things you’ll need specifically for this portion of your trip. Iceland is demanding and unpredictable, but damn is it magical. (As long as you’re prepared for it!)
Check out this Iceland summer packing list for everything you’ll need for a comfortable and stress-free visit. And don’t forget to grab your copy of my free Iceland packing checklist so you don’t leave anything behind. Consider it the TL;DR of this blog post.
Iceland packing list summer apparel
First things first, you gotta make sure you bring the right clothing to Iceland in the summer. The fact that it’s “summer” can be seriously misleading, especially if you’re traveling on to, say, southern Italy for instance. “Summer” in these two places are just about polar opposite.
Temperatures in Iceland in the summer hover around 45°-50°F during the day. But you’ll also have to factor in the wind, clouds, and rain that will make it feel colder than it actually is. Here’s your Iceland summer clothing packing guide:
Waterproof jacket & pants
Two of the most important things you can pack for summer in Iceland is a waterproof jacket and a pair of waterproof pants. Weather in Iceland is notoriously unpredictable and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get wet regardless of how few days you spend in Iceland.
Personally, I prefer a light waterproof shell for both. This way, you can simply throw on the jacket and pull on the rain pants over your current clothes as a thin, light, waterproof outer layer. Plus, both fold up small so you can keep them in your day bag until you need them.
My husband and I both wear: (but like not in a matchy-matchy way)
These are such good quality items that I take on almost all trips with me now. Plus, they’re way more affordable than most other brands and still keep you dry and comfortable. ($400 for Arc’teryx rain pants? Whyyy?)
These are great to have for activities like horseback riding, visiting Iceland’s many waterfalls and geysers, boat-based tours like whale watching or puffin spotting, and I wore mine most recently on my Fagradalsfjall volcano hike where the wind was seriously out of its mind.
I love wearing my fleece for more outdoorsy adventures when I know I’m going to wish I was covered in a fuzzy blanket. This also works great under the rain shell that I’ll probably have to wear.
A packable, light down jacket is great for exploring the city and when I don’t expect to need a rain jacket. And if it gets too warm, you can always roll it up and shove it in your day bag.
Whichever way you go, know that you most likely won’t need anything heavier. It may be chilly in Iceland in the summer but it’s not frigid in a way that would necessitate a heavy parka you’d then have to carry around when it got too hot.
Living in Massachusetts means I also live in fleece-lined leggings. I can’t recommend these enough for a trip to Iceland, even Iceland in the summer.
These fleece-lined leggings are super comfortable and the fleece lining adds just the amount of warmth and coziness you need for Iceland’s summer temperatures. They aren’t bulky at all. They are warm enough to wear on their own in chilly temps, but they aren’t too warm than you’ll be hot if the sun comes out.
I personally own a few pairs of these fleece-lined leggings. Just look at this screenshot from my Amazon account. I’m not going to lie to you…since I work at home, I wear these leggings almost every single day from October to May. I get the ones that have the pockets so I can keep my phone close. (I especially love this feature when traveling.)
Tops – light layers
What you wear on top is up to you and is entirely a matter of preference. However, when planning your Iceland packing list for summer, be sure to stick with light layers.
Iceland in the summer can go from freezing to chilly to actually pretty warm when the sun shows itself. I personally would avoid packing tons of heavy sweaters. Instead, opt for thinner sweaters or long-sleeved tops, sweatshirts, with a light under layer as well. Make sure you’ll be able to shed your layers as the temps rise, or add more as temps drop.
Keep in mind also that the Columbia rain shell also makes a freaking fantastic windbreaker. This jacket is light but wow does it keep the cold wind off you.
Bottoms – oh, the places you will go
Again, what you pack as far as pants is entirely up to your own preferences. I’ve already explained my love of simple black fleece-lined leggings. These work for dinners out, Reykjavik walking tours, volcano hikes, the Golden Circle tour, and more. Basically = the perfect pants.
However, you might disagree. In that case, jeans are acceptable options for exploring the cities as are whatever kind of pants you want to wear.
For outdoor adventures such as hiking and horseback riding, you’ll definitely want a more adventure-worthy pair of pants. Many people love more traditional hiking pants for hiking (go figure, right? Shop hiking pants here on Amazon or Columbia) and you’ll want something more flexible and comfortable than jeans for something like horseback riding.
(Keep in mind also that your “outdoor” pants will get dirty and maybe smelly if horses are involved so you’ll need “indoor” pants as well if you have dinner plans.)
Yes, all of this talk of “it’s cold in Iceland in the summer!” might seem weird up against a suggestion to pack a bathing suit. But, while it is cold in Iceland in the summer, the water is still very, very hot. Have you forgotten about the “fire” portion of the Land of Fire and Ice?
Iceland is famous for its plethora of geothermal spas and hot springs and you’ll definitely want to partake. Regardless of how short you are on time, you should absolutely at least pay a visit to the Blue Lagoon. And for that, you’ll need a bathing suit.
It will be hard to remember to pack a bathing suit for your trip to Iceland while you’re folding sweaters and picking out warm socks. This is largely why the Blue Lagoon literally has bathing suits you can rent. To avoid this mistake (and having to wear a rented swimsuit as my friend hilariously did), grab my printable Iceland summer packing checklist here:
And don’t miss my post on the truth about visiting Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. It’s got must-know tips, all the info you need when planning, (the lowdown on nudity), and tons of photos.
Other apparel needs
Now that we’ve covered tops, bottoms, and outer layers, don’t forget your other apparel needs for visiting Iceland in the summer:
- Undergarments, however you define them. Just don’t forget sports bras for all your outdoor adventures!
- Sleepwear. Remember to take into account where you’ll be sleeping. If you’ll be in a campervan, you’ll probably need something a bit warmer than if you’ll be snug as a bug in a rug of a cushy hotel room.
- Socks and shoes, which I’m about to talk about…
The best shoes for Iceland in the summer (+ socks)
When visiting Iceland, it’s imperative that you have good, solid, waterproof shoes. Like I said already, the weather in Iceland is notoriously unpredictable and there’s a good chance you’ll see rain while you’re there.
If you have any outdoor adventures planned, which I certainly hope you do (!!!), waterproof outdoor shoes are an absolute must. Simply non-negotiable. Here are the best shoes for Iceland in the summer:
Good hiking boots
A pair of good hiking boots are a must-have for any Iceland summer packing list. These should be solid, comfortable, waterproof, and with good tread. Iceland is largely undeveloped so you’ll be on wet, uneven, dirty terrain a fair amount of the time.
My husband and I both wear Oboz hiking boots and I can’t recommend them enough. I’ve hiked the Andes, the Alps, the Amalfi Coast, an actively erupting Icelandic volcano, and even Vermont’s Green Mountains in these bad boys. I’ve hiked from A to V and I still swear by them. These boots were perfect right out of the box—they didn’t require a breaking-in period or any kind of getting used to.
My husband wears the Oboz Tamarack BDry. Get them here on Amazon or on Zappos.com. My husband prefers a low rise boot, while I (clumsy biotch) prefer a high-rise boot to minimize the potential for injury.
Casual but still waterproof shoes
For everything else you’ll do in Iceland, I still recommend a waterproof shoe. Whether that’s a cute boot, comfortable sneaker, or otherwise, your best bet is still something made for the elements.
I personally love a cute Sorel duck boot and I wore mine just about every day in Iceland (when I wasn’t climbing a mountain, that is). You can wear them with just about anything you’ll take to Iceland with you and they are super comfortable. Plus, they’re ready for any weather.
Check out Sorel duck boots on Zappos and/or Amazon. (These from Kamik are also seriously cute and don’t look like “rain boots.”) Just make sure whatever shoes you bring won’t absorb water and dry painfully slowly. You don’t want wet feet for your whole time in Iceland. *she types with a super cringy face*
Good quality socks
And for all your Iceland activities, I also recommend nothing but quality pairs of socks as well. It should go without saying that you need good outdoor/hiking socks to wear with your hiking boots. But, honestly, these kinds of socks are perfect for everyday wear, especially in a cold, damp environment like Iceland in the summer.
I cannot say enough good things about Darn Tough hiking socks. I was not a believer until I started buying these, now they are all I wear in the colder months. They’re made from Merino wool—the best material for hiking and boot-wearing because it’s fast-wicking and fast-drying.
Darn Tough is a fabulous brand out of Vermont that truly stands behind their products. Their socks are indeed tough! They never stretch out or bunch up in your toes. They always feel like brand new socks when you put them on! Is that not the dream?
And, they are unconditionally guaranteed for life. Should something happen to your Darn Tough socks, the company will send you a new pair, no questions asked, no receipt needed.
Look, if I’m going to tell you to pack a down jacket and a bathing suit, I’m obviously going to tell you to pack warm hiking boots and flip-flops.
For visiting the Blue Lagoon you’ll want to bring a simple pair of flip-flops to wear around the facility. You’ll want them for the showers, the locker rooms, and that little stroll you’ll take around the pools to check the whole place out.
You’ll also want them for walking around in your hotel room or around any other geothermal spas or hot springs you encounter. A pair of flip-flops is always a great thing to travel with.
Iceland summer accessories
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s pretty chilly in Iceland even in the summer. For that reason, there are a few unseasonable accessories you’ll need to add to your Iceland summer packing list. Such as:
Pack a pair of light gloves with you and you won’t regret it. You won’t need anything like heavy winter gloves or utility gloves, etc. But a simple pair of light gloves to keep your hands warm while on walking tours, or boats, or hiking or just about anything else is all you need.
I like these simple Isotoner gloves myself.
Beanie or headband
It may not be frigid winter temps yet, but something to keep your head and ears warm is essential in Iceland’s wind (even in the summer). Personally, I can hardly bear to part with my beanies for most of the year. They are the one thing that keeps me warm more than anything else!
You’ll absolutely need one while exploring Iceland—be it on the water, in the countryside, on the beaches, wherever. I prefer warm headbands when I wear my hair in a ponytail, but they even make beanies for that now so… methinks I need to make a purchase.
Iceland summer adventure essentials
Iceland is a seriously unique place where you’ll do a lot of super unique activities. Snorkeling between tectonic plates? Climbing active volcanoes? Exploring boiling mud pits? Yes, all of that and more.
For these glorious Icelandic adventures, I have a few recommendations that will make your trip so much better and less stressful.
So much of the awesome stuff to see in Iceland is… a little bit too far away. This is often for safety reasons—your safety, when it comes to how close you can get to the exploding volcano lava for instance, and the safety of Iceland’s wildlife, as with puffin peeping, for example. There will be many times on your trip when you’ll want a closer look.
For that reason, I always recommend traveling with a small pair of binoculars. Many whale watching or puffin tours will have binoculars for you to use, but chances are you’ll have to share with the rest of your tour group and who wants that?
Refillable water bottle
You do not, I repeat DO NOT, need to stock up on tons of bottled water when you arrive in Iceland. The water in Iceland is delicious, cold, and totally fuh-ree! Don’t let the boiling mud and persistent smell of sulfur fool you – the water here is totally drinkable.
Be sure to have a refillable water bottle with you at all times to refill as you go, saving you tons of money and traveling in an eco-friendlier way.
Hiking day pack
Whether or not you head out on a huge/long wilderness hike in Iceland, you’ll still definitely want to bring along a small day pack. Something of this size is perfect for your Golden Circle tour, your volcano hike, your road trips, horseback riding, boat tours, all of it.
You don’t need a whole lot of space in order to bring along your camera equipment, your rain gear just in case, some extra snacks and your water bottle, and more. I bring my 2-liter Teton backpack on all my outdoorsy trips. (Plus, it comes with a hydration pack that I use for longer hikes!)
In bringing along only a small hiking pack, chances are if it rains you’ll still be able to wear it under your rain jacket. However, if you don’t think that will work and there’s forecast for heavier rains on your trip, I recommend adding a backpack rain cover to your Iceland summer packing list.
Most hiking backpacks will come with their own rain cover, so don’t forget to check if you already have one. (You can typically find it in the bottom-most panel of your bag.) The 2-liter Teton I mentioned above comes with one already sewn in.
If you don’t already have one, these make great (and often necessary) additions to your outdoor adventure arsenal. They save your bag and all its contents (expensive electronics and camera equipment!) from water ruin.
I always always always travel with a stash of Clif Bars. There are so many times on trips—especially in Iceland—when I find myself hungry with hours and miles to go before there’s an eatery in sight. (Especially if you’re road-tripping Iceland’s Ring Road.)
For longer excursions in Iceland, I recommend picking up some sandwiches or something similar from a grocery store in Reykjavik. Otherwise, be sure to pack along a stash of whatever backup snacks you prefer.
Iceland packing list: summer toiletries
Like clothing, what you pack as far as toiletries is entirely up to you and I’m willing to bet this varies person to person like 100%. Like I doubt anyone travels with as much Aquaphor as I do. That being said, there are a few things to note in this category as it pertains to packing for Iceland. Be sure to include the following on your Iceland summer packing list:
Bar of soap
Not all hotels in Iceland have soap in the shower, so I had to go searching for some in town after I arrived because I forgot one of my own. Luckily, my Icelandic bar of Dove soap was unexpectedly cheap! But still, it was an unnecessary chore I wish I didn’t have to deal with.
Look, if you suffer from motion sickness, you definitely don’t need to be reminded of what medications to bring. However, if you’re unsure and you’re planning on a whale watching or puffin tour, you might want to bring along some Dramamine just in case. The tours aren’t incredibly long, but everyone suffers in their own way.
That being said, if you are a chronic sufferer, perhaps you should check out my post on how I cured my motion sickness permanently! Seriously, it is possible!
As with any international trip, I always recommend bringing along a stock of your preferred over-the-counter medications. Whether it’s Tums, Pepto Bismol, ibuprofen, Midol, whatever… there’s always the chance you won’t be able to find it at your destination. (Or if you do, it may be very expensive.)
I tend to get sick when I travel abroad (as least, I did before I started wearing masks all day every day), and I know firsthand that not having my trusty meds is a real pain in the ass. (And I mean that as literally as possible. That’s where I got my Costa Rican flu cocktail.)
In Italy, they simply have no idea what half the medicines are you’re describing. In Costa Rica, their cold medicine was way too strong for me and was partially to blame for my 2 AM visit to the ER. Sick in Germany? You have to first talk to the pharmacist if you’re not feeling well who will assess your symptoms and suggest what meds you need to purchase. (But they do give you a free pack of Kleenex!) Most places in Europe do not allow you to just walk into a pharmacy and pick up whichever meds you want.
So, I now travel with a whole collection of OTC remedies like the pharmaceutical sales rep people must think I am. But, always make sure that what you want to bring into a country is legal in that country. What’s legal in the U.S. is not always legal in other countries. The same goes for prescription medications as well. Check this CDC page for traveling abroad with medicine for more info.
Iceland is actually not such a buggy place… depending on where you are. I don’t remember seeing any bugs in Reykjavik, or even out on most excursions. But in some places… wow… #buglife is out of control.
On my most recent visit, one of those places was the Geldingadalir Valley and all the way up to the Fagradalsfjall volcano. I mean, just absolute SWARMS of insects. The stuff nightmares and direct-to-DVD horror flicks are made of.
Bug repellent wasn’t even a consideration when I was putting together my summer Iceland packing list, but I seriously wish I had had some with me. (I don’t go anywhere in the summer at home without a bottle of Off! Deep Woods.)
Very weird pro tip: the bugs in this particular area were only attracted to the color yellow. Those in white and light gray (like myself) also attracted their fair share of flies, but our hiking group also had yellow arm bands. So, do not wear yellow if possible!
In addition to the above, don’t forget to pack your standard travel toiletries:
- Toothbrush / toothpaste / floss
- Whatever you use as part of your skin care routine (you may need to pack an extra suitcase lol)
- Shampoo / conditioner / hair products
- Hair brush + hair ties
- Hot tools if you use them
- Deodorant and whatever other smell-good products you prefer
- Body wash / face wash / moisturizer
- Hand / body lotion
- Nail file and clippers
- Shaving supplies
- Contact lenses and contact solution
- Feminine hygiene products (my collection of international tampons will tell you how often I remember this one)
- Cosmetics and makeup remover
- Small first-aid kit
- Lip balm / Chapstick
Iceland travel must-haves
For your summer trip to Iceland, be sure to add the following very useful items to your standard travel arsenal:
Okay, while you should always consider traveling with travel insurance, you should especially consider it for a trip to Iceland.
I’ve already mentioned how Iceland’s weather is unpredictable, but also Iceland’s terrain is uneven at best and treacherous at worst, aaand there’s always the chance you could get sick or injured like yours truly. (I make all the travel mistakes so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.)
Iceland is a land of adventures, so chances are you’ll be signing a Trapper Keeper’s worth of liability waivers. And where there are adventure activity waivers, there should always be travel insurance. Plus, it typically covers lots of other things like lost or delayed baggage, a wide range of medical and emergency expenses, and even rental car damage if you attempt to, say, drive to the Háifoss waterfall without 4×4 (but all plans are different).
I am such a devotee of World Nomads and I purchase a plan through them for every single international trip I take. And, yes, I have most definitely had to use my insurance plans on more than a few occasions. Look, travel insurance plans cost a lot less than you probably think and can possibly save your life. I look at travel insurance now as a (small but) non-negotiable travel expense. You can get an instant quote here without having to enter any personal information whatsoever.
Get the lowdown on the awesome tours you can take for which you’ll need waivers in my Iceland itinerary post!
I am also a huge devotee of travel guidebooks. I find them to be such great trip companions. You can find restaurants based on your budget and location. You can seek out top-rated things to do and see. They come with interesting local information and historical background. I just love them.
I personally gravitate towards Rough Guides, Fodor’s, and Rick Steves. Rough Guides keep it real in terms of content and recommendations. Fodor’s is great for a comprehensive guide. And Rick Steves and I have similar objectives with our trips so I love his suggestions.
I also have the Lonely Planet Iceland guidebook and though many people are devoted LP fans, I find this one to be my least favorite.
Iceland culture guide
But my favorite guidebooks of all are Culture Smart guidebooks! These pocket-sized guidebooks are dedicated to giving you the most helpful information on a destination’s customs and culture.
They include sections on local etiquette and what to be prepared for, when and how to tip, holidays and festivals, and so many more. They give great historical context and really help you to manage your expectations of a place and its residents.
Whether or not you typically sleep with an eye mask, this is an essential item for your Iceland summer packing list. You see, Iceland in the summer experiences 24-hour daylight. (This contoured 3-pack is what I personally use.)
And while this is seriously awesome if you’ve never experienced this, it does make for some awkward sleeping situations. Waking up at 3am to light coming through your window will mess up your already fudged up jet lagged sleep cycle. Do not forget a sleep mask for Iceland in the summer! (Trust me, closing the curtains will not be enough.)
Current travel needs
And because times, they are a-changing, there are a few more things you’ll need for any upcoming trips to Iceland. By no means should you forget to pack:
- Hand sanitizer, and enough of it for your entire trip (use it often!)
- Any test results you need to fly into or out of Iceland. Get them both digitally and printed out if possible. And make sure you take the right kinds of tests.
- Your CDC vaccination card. This little card is invaluable when it comes to travel, especially to Iceland. (Stick it in a protective sleeve to keep it safe!)
- Disposable face masks. Many European countries have begun mandating disposable medical-grade face masks over reusable cloth ones—primarily FFP and N95 masks. As of this posting, Iceland has not mandated any particular kind of mask over another, but as medical-grade masks provide much better protection, and because you never know when regulations will change, it’s better to stay on the safe side and purchase some quality medical masks for your trip.
Pro tip: The website Re-open EU offers a wealth of information in regards to travel as it currently stands. Select “Iceland” (or others) from the dropdown menu, make sure “Measures in place” is selected and click “Go!” Then, on the Iceland page, click on the mask icon to get the latest mandates and recommendations. (See image above.)
Other travel necessities
Your Iceland packing list for summer also needs your everyday travel essentials. Don’t forget to pack the very important following items:
- Passport and other IDs
- Credit cards
- Purse / day bag / personal item
- Sunglasses (Yes, even in cold cloudy Iceland. These are my absolute favorites!)
- Printed out copies of your tour confirmations, hotel and car rental bookings, World Nomads insurance information, airport transfer info, etc.
- Travel pillow
- Ear plugs
- And any other reading material you want to bring
Iceland summer packing list – electronics
I don’t typically encourage you to travel with an arsenal of electronics—like, leave your laptop at home, people! No checking email. No! Close it. However, Iceland’s beauty is something that needs to be captured. For that reason and others, here are the electronics you need to have on your Iceland summer packing list:
A good camera (and charger)
Look, Iceland is one of the coolest and most fascinating countries. While most phone cameras now take incredible pictures (I am obsessed with my Google Pixel and use it for most of my pictures now), you may want a *real* camera for some better shots.
When I’m not shooting with my phone, I use the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and I love it. I have two lenses: a 12-40mm and a 40-150mm. It’s a simple camera to use that takes great auto photos (because I’m impatient) but has so much more capability.
Phone cameras are actually freaking fantastic now, but if you don’t have one of the latest four models or so, get yourself a real camera. Iceland’s landscape deserves so much better than your circa 2010 iPhone 4.
Extra SD cards
And if you do go the traditional camera route, be sure to have an extra SD card or two on hand so you never run out of space for photos.
GoPro + mounts
Iceland is also a great place to bring along your GoPro. Between horseback riding, tectonic plate snorkeling, whale watching, Blue Lagoon mud masking, volcano hiking, and WOW this list is long, you’ll have so much cool footage! What a great way to capture your Iceland trip.
Waterproof phone case
And if you are one of the gazillion people who simply use your phone as your camera, be sure to have a waterproof phone case if you plan on taking it anywhere near the water.
If you plan on photographing your time at the Blue Lagoon (you should!) or the geysers of the Golden Circle, the many, many waterfalls or geothermal springs, etc., pick up one of these waterproof phone cases.
European outlet adapters and voltage converters
Iceland’s outlets are the same as those used throughout Europe, meaning your American electronics will not be able to plug into an Icelandic wall. For that, you’ll need some European outlet adapters. Go ahead and pick up this 6-pack so you can be sure your phone, camera, and all other electronics are fully charged every night.
Likewise, Iceland’s outlets operate on 230 voltage whereas the U.S. uses 120 volts. This means if you plug in, say, an American hair straightener into an Icelandic outlet, you’ll likely burn off your hair and blow your hotel’s fuse. Basically, your straightener is getting way more power than it’s equipped to handle and Tim Taylor showed us that is rarely a good thing.
For us international travelers they also sell voltage converters so we can plug our electronics into foreign outlets safely. These little tools convert Iceland’s 230 volts to a safe 120 volts that our electronics can handle without exploding.
The other option is to opt for tools that have dual voltage specifically for travel. Some, like this hair dryer, have a button that switches the voltage. Others, like this flat iron, have built-in dual voltage capabilities.
To complete your summer Iceland packing list, don’t forget these other electronic items:
- Cell phone + charger
- Car charger for your phone if you plan on renting a car. You will undoubtedly need to use your phone for GPS, maps, etc. A car charger is something I often forget when traveling and I always regret it.
- Backup power bank. If you use your phone as a camera, you’ll definitely want a backup power bank to keep your power up while you’re out in the Icelandic countryside.
- Watch + charger (for me, that’s a Fitbit Versa)
- Headphones or earbuds
How to pack for Iceland in the summer
If you’re also wondering the best way to pack everything for Iceland, here are my favorite bags and packing essentials:
I am in love with my Away luggage, simple as that. At first I totally balked at spending that much on a suitcase, but it has really proven its worth. My previous habit of only buying cheap luggage (as a travel blogger = super dumb) resulted in suitcases with holes, broken handles, broken wheels, broken zippers, and just BUH-ROKEN. Yes, even my hard shell ones.
I finally broke down (lol) and invested in some quality luggage. It still looks like new even after a few years of traveling. Check out Away luggage here. I have the Medium in white. (Yes, I have to magically erase that b*tch all the time but #worthit! I’m the only one with white luggage at any airport.) I love the built-in storage and locks, and it’s sooo smooth.
I preach about packing cubes in like every single blog post and I have no shame about it. Packing cubes are the only way to go. I can’t believe some people still just put their stuff straight into their suitcase! Blasphemy!
Packing cubes are the only way to stay organized (and clean) when you travel. Please pick up some packing cubes. You will never go back.
For a carry-on I use the Pacsafe 15-Liter Venturesafe Anti-Theft backpack. I absolutely love Pacsafe’s theft-proof products and really I should probably just buy stock in the company. After getting robbed in Italy, I now preach theft-proof bags to anyone who will listen. They are an essential part of my overall travel safety plan and I have multiple versions.
I also have the Travelon Anti-Theft Slim Backpack for everyday purse usage. These bags are slash-proof, have locking zippers, are RFID blocking, have straps that latch too, and are weatherproof for that matter. I simply will not travel with a regular ol’ bag again.
What NOT to pack for Iceland
While there are some things you should definitely pack specifically for Iceland, there are also a few things you should leave behind for these same reasons. Here are the things you should leave off your summer Iceland packing list:
Yeah, I’ve mentioned rain and the need to stay dry in Iceland numerous times. But Iceland’s crazy wind will render any umbrella you bring null and void. In short, your umbrella will not survive and you stick out like the tourist that you are for even attempting to carry one.
Stick with a hooded waterproof jacket and you’ll be fine. Don’t make this trip any more complicated than it needs to be!
High heels / dresses / super nice clothes / jewelry
Iceland is a land for outdoor adventure above all else. It’s not a place where you’ll want to bring a lot of nice clothes—it’s super casual here. With its hills and natural terrain, it’s also not a place conducive to high-heel wearing. And with its high winds and low temperatures, packing dresses is just a mistake.
In my Iceland itinerary I include a dinner at an amazing restaurant (seriously, make your reservations today!), but it’s still not the kind of place that requires anything more than dressy casual. Like, I wore my duck boots and a sweatshirt (that has some ruffles on it so it looks like something nicer, but yay it’s still a sweatshirt!) and it was fine.
The man next to me wore a white sport coat that was covered in fake blood stains and a neon green mohawk. Your jeans/sweater combo will be just fine.
Likewise, you’ll definitely want to keep jewelry to a minimum as well. With all the adventures you’ll find yourself on, you’ll also find that dealing with jewelry is a huge hassle. You can’t wear it into the Lagoon; you won’t want to wear it hiking or horseback riding; and dangly earrings will just get caught in your windy hair or knitted hat. Leave it.
Shoes that aren’t waterproof
Waterproof shoes (and outerwear) are some of the most important things you can bring to Iceland. Even if you typically travel with sneakers or more casual shoes, you may want to consider something waterproof specifically for this trip.
Even when Iceland is at its warmest, it’s still not really shorts weather. Actually, let me rephrase that. For non-Icelanders, Iceland is not a place for shorts-wearing. Will you see locals pairing shorts and lopapeysas in 45°F weather? Absolutely. For everyone else, we’ve got fleece-lined pants and warm socks.
Honestly, these are some of the worst things to bring on any trip. Nothing will make you stand out as a potential target faster than a money belt.
First of all, you aren’t fooling anyone. There is nothing discreet about wearing one, and there is certainly nothing discreet about trying to get stuff in and out of one. The whole thing is awkward, you’ll stick out like a vulnerable tourist, and I’m willing to bet wearing it is incredibly sweaty and uncomfortable.
You won’t have to worry too much about petty theft in Iceland, but if you’d still feel more comfortable with a protective layer, opt for one of the anti-theft purses or bags from Pacsafe or Travelon instead.
Most hotel rooms nowadays (in Europe at least) come with hair dryers so you really don’t need to bring your own. Sure, it’s probably not as high a quality as the one you’re used to, but really, what your hair looks like will hardly matter when beanies, wet weather, and unruly wind step into the picture.
Plus, bringing an American hair dryer means you’ll have to also bring a converter in order to use it and not short out your entire hotel’s electricity (as one of my friends did in France). A hair dryer will just unnecessarily take up space and add weight to your luggage.
That being said, I myself am a woman, and one with super long hair at that. So, I totally understand the often impractical need to travel with hair tools to places like Iceland. If you need to bring your fancy hairdryer and your hot tools, YOU DO YOU! Just make sure you bring some mega hold products with ya too.
Free Iceland summer packing checklist
I know that was a lot. So, if you haven’t already done so by now, be sure to sign up below and you’ll immediately receive this post in its most condensed, printable, check-off-able form. Here’s hoping you have the best, most prepared and well-equipped time in Iceland!
Which activities do you have planned for your summer Iceland trip?
Let me know below!
Save this info, pin this image: