Iceland is a unique and stunning country. It also happens to have some of the most unexpected daily weather. You can (and likely will) experience all four-seasons in one day. I read plenty of blogs and advice on how to prepare before my time in Iceland and have come up with my personal packing essentials that came in handy during our 5-day trip in Iceland.
Keep in mind, our trip took place the first week of September. The weather can be a bit rainier at this time of the year. You are entering into the winter which will mean drier, colder days and nearly full days of darkness ( and if you are lucky, the northern lights). In comparison to summer where you get wetter days, green and luscious scenery but also midnight sun and a nearly 21+ hours to explore the country. We had a mix of both.
Regardless, I have become warm-blooded living in the south and this was the first cold-weather destination that I have planned a trip to for as long as I can remember. The key is to prepare for the weather . I think that everyone can agree, if you are cold, wet, and hungry … you will not be a happy camper on your travels.
It’s also worth mentioning, Iceland is very expensive. One of the best ways that we were able to save some money was by packing healthy road-trip snacks and easy breakfast substitutes so that we only truly ‘splurged’ on our daily dinners. The budget airlines that fly into Reykjavik also charge extra for every additional bag you have so we did everything in our power to pack lightly in carry-on luggage.
ICELAND PACKING LIST – 5 Day/4 Night
- My absolute favorite Away Luggage carry-on: I have the bigger carry-on and it comes equipped with a built-in USB charging port which is perfect for those long days of exploring when you can’t afford a dead battery. [Follow the link and we can both get $20 off our next order!]
- Hat, Gloves, and wool socks
- Waterproof hiking boots if you have them
- Waterproof pants (or just rent them for your outdoor excursions. We had that option for every tour with Arctic Adventures)
- Healthy breakfast options
- Trader Joes Instant-Oatmeal (all you need is boiling water!)
- Sun & Swell granola balls: gluten-free, organic, and vegan. Bonus: They are a Certified B-Corporation.
- Travel-sized collagen packets (easy to add to your morning coffee). My personal favorite are these Vital Protein single-serve packets.
- Healthy road trip snacks
- RXBars: great variety, simple ingredients, whole 30, and paleo friendly
- Square Organic bars (for when your sweet-tooth kicks in); My favorite is the chocolate covered crunch flavor.
- Trader Joes: You can’t go wrong with a bag of mixed nuts and the dried-mango! I always make a stop at TJ’s for my pre-trip packing!
- Long Johns: I wore these every single day underneath my layers and they were best decision I made to stay warm.
- Hand and feet warmers: These were also key so that my hands didn’t completely freeze, especially during some of our tours when we spent hours out in the colder weather elements; snowmobiling, glacier hiking, etc.
- Rain jacket: Trust me… it will rain at least 3-5x per day if you go during the wetter months. Our weather went from a downpour of rain to vibrant rainbows multiple times a day.
- Bathing Suit: this is an important one considering we almost forgot ours two days leading up to the trip. We remembered last minute that we would be spending our first several hours in Iceland swimming around the Blue Lagoon!
- Water Bottle: Reusable is key. A big perk in Iceland is the fresh and safe water you can drink! Save yourself some money and keep filling up your water bottle throughout your trip. (one of my favorites right here)
If there are two things I could recommend while you are packing for your Iceland adventures, it would be this:
Layers, layers and more layers. You will go from cold and wet chasing waterfalls to warm and cozy driving to your next destination in a heated car, to getting soaked by cool rain as you walk from sight to sight. It is always better to be over-prepared versus not having enough clothing to stay warm and dry.
Last but not least, snacks! Like I already mentioned, Iceland is pricey. Gas, accommodations, drinks, and food. This was one of the tips that I was so glad I received before our trip. Simple and healthy snacks will prevent those hungry moments that we all dread.
Check out some of my new favorite travel-sized toiletries above. Dani’s Naturals is full of good options for safer and cleaner shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.
TIP: Pack a small unused candle like the Danis Naturals one above in your carry-on. It will make your clothes and anything packed inside your suitcase smell heavenly upon arrival to your destination! (These are made with an essential oil blend and is 100% vegan wax, eco-friendly, free from toxins like pesticides and herbicides AND non paraffin)