Usually, a summer packing list should be short, with shorts, dresses, and swimsuits at the top, but this is not the case when you travel to Iceland. The weather can go from wind to rain to “warm” (12°C-18°C/55°F-65°F on average) to cold, or any other combination, during the same day. So maybe the most crucial it is to dress in layers and be prepared for any change in the weather.
But there is not just cloth that you need to pack for Iceland; there are other essentials you should consider bringing with you. We will present you with a complete list of clothes and essentials based on our experience on a week road trip visiting Iceland during the summer. To be better prepared, you should check the weather forecast and the length of your trip and pack accordingly to your circumstances. Don’t forget to subscribe and get our free printable list for Iceland clothes and essentials for Summer. Now available in English, Spanish, and Italian.
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- Hiking/Waterproof shoes: If you want to pack just one pair of shoes for your trip, hiking/waterproof boots should be the ones to select. Most of the things to do in Iceland include long or medium hiking, so proper shoes should be your priority. Because of the high rain probability, it is in your best interest to use ones that are also waterproof. The best recommendation is to take your most comfortable hiking boots or try new ones a few days in advance. You will need to spend long hours in those shoes, so you better be sure you can handle it.
- Trainers: If you don’t want to spend some money on boots, walking shoes can be a good option. There are even many brands out there that also offer waterproof walking shoes. But walking shoes can also be packed as the second pair of shoes for a more relaxed day or when you might like to rest from heavy boots. For example, to spend a day in Reykjavik, Vik, or to visit the Blue Lagoon.
- Flip flops: Of course, you won’t use them to visit any city or go hiking, not even probably to visit any beach, but you will probably need them to visit the hot springs. There are a few springs in Iceland, not just the Blue Lagoon. There are even some small natural pools along the road which are free. Flip-flops are the easy option to get in and out of it. Also, if you spend the night in a guesthouse or camping with a shared or outside bathroom, having flip-flops to hand will be the most comfortable option. Definitely, you don’t need an expensive one, the ones from the 1 €/$/£… store will do the job. But remember, some of these places can be slippery, so walk carefully to avoid accidents.
- Socks: As we mentioned before, there is no crazy cold weather in summer to need some merino wool socks or use two pairs of socks, but you would need some comfy socks for the boots. If you plan to hike a glacier or go into one of the caves, we recommend you pack one of your good winter socks. The most important is to take socks that are larger than the high of your boots, so they cover you for any friction. Try to get the ones for specific outdoor activities since this will help with the moisture if you don’t have good breathable shoes. If you are going for a few days, take one for each day, and if you plan to stay longer, you can take a few and wash them.
- Hiking pants: If you want to visit Hengifoss, Skatafell, or many other places in Iceland, you need to hike, and we all know the best way to do it: comfortable and appropriate clothes. Like in many other parts of this list, we have to repeat: you should arm for a waterproof one or water resistant. As you will see in writing on many souvenirs in Iceland: If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes. Most hiking pants will offer enough protection for the temperature of the summer. Still, if it is too much for you, you can always wear leggings or thermal pants underneath.
- Waterproof pants: Ok, with this, we go a step further, and we know more of the time they are not pretty, but this trip is not to Paris or Rome, so keeping comfortable and prepared for the weather should be the priority when you are packing. Now is a good time for a history of our trip. When we were looking for accommodations, we found these super cute tends. In the comments, we read that it cannot be the best option on rainy days since it can get very humid inside, and the hitter is just on the bed. But anyway we give it a chance because it looks like a very cool idea. We guess you already know where the history is going. Yes, we were so unlucky that the day was the only day of rain during our entire Ring Road trip. So the night was not the most comfortable one. We were initially freezing since we were soaking wet from a non-stop rain day, but once we when to bed, the hitter did its job and warmed us even more than we expected. But if this doesn’t convince you that you need the best possible waterproof, let us give you one more reason. We were for days drying clothes all around the car while we were on the road since we made the mistake of not taking all the kinds of possible waterproof garments.
- Leggings: Well, we think we all agree there are few clothes more comfortable than leggings (maybe just PJ). You should pack one and alternate it with your hiking pants. If your stay is more than a week or you will not take any other kind of pants, you should consider bringing one more.
- Shorts: At the beginning, we didn’t think we would need them, but the weather turns to be warmer than we were expecting, and some of us regret not packing comfy shorts for some days with no long hikes.
- Sweat pants: We know this is not an option many people would include, but for us was a very comfy option. Also, for example, after the Blue Lagoon was a bit cold and we felt so relaxing, there was nothing better than getting in comfy clothes to end the day.
- Jeans/trousers: We didn’t opt for this option, and honestly, we didn’t need it, but if you plan to have dinner at night in one of the restaurants in the city (Reykjavik or Akuyeri), some more presentable clothes might be a good idea. In most of the restaurants around the road, you will be presentable enough with your hiking clothes.
- Thermal pants: This is another optional. It will depend on how much resistant you are to low temperatures. But for us, born in the Caribbean, we didn’t need to use one, but you can always pack one to be on the safe side. Also, if you plan to hike the glacier or go to one of the caves, wearing appropriate winter clothes, such as thermal pants, is always the best option.
- Shirt: This should be your base layer. One shirt for each day works for us for a week, but just take the usual amount you take for a trip. For example, a few days during our trip started a bit cold, but around midday/afternoon, we were already in our base layer. You can substitute it for a long sleeve.
- Hoodie/sweater/fleece jacket …: This should be your second layer. We recommend whatever keeps you warm and comfy, which you can wear under your outwear jacket. In the picture below, you can see we didn’t take a specific case, just the ones that work better for each. Of course, fleece is the predominant one since we all know how comfy these are. Some days, it was not cold enough to use a layer on top of this one.
- Waterproof jacket: Another essential to wear in Iceland. Should we go over how important this is again? … Maybe one last time … This should be the first thing to pack, next to your boots. It will cover you for the rain, for the wind, and combined with your hoodie/sweater/fleece… from the cold. Of course, we will always try to keep our expenses low for our trips, but for the rain jacket, you should expend a bit and try to buy a good one that is durable and will keep you warm and dry during the trip.
- Jacket: So we should say this is totally optional since the hoodie/sweater/fleece … with the waterproof on top was more than enough to protect us from the low temperatures, but some of us also took an extra jacket, in spacial the downs one, since this is very easy to pack in a backpack.
- Thermal long slaves shirt: As the thermal pants are optional, and we didn’t need them.
- Hat: Now, writing this post and looking at the trip pictures, we realize we use our beanies more than we remember. Some days were because it was a bit cold and others to help control the hair from the wind.
- Gloves: If we don’t remember wrong, we pack our gloves, but honestly, we didn’t use them once. But since gloves don’t need too much space, we recommend packing them just in case, particularly if you plan to camp.
- Sunglasses: A must that you should not forget.
- Scarf: Better be cautious than have to expend a lot in one latter in Iceland. As for gloves, we didn’t need to use them. But it might be the case for you that you had a colder day or night. So we will especially recommend the ones that can be used as a headband. These 2 in 1 are very helpful when you don’t have too much space to pack a heavy scarf. They are also very comfortable for hiking or outdoor activities.
- Swimwear: For sure, you should not forget this. Even if you are not planning to visit the Blue Lagoon or other geothermal baths that need to be paid for, there are some free hidden hot springs around the road that you probably wouldn’t want to miss. Unfortunately for us, we weren’t lucky enough to get an empty one, but we wish you the best of luck in the chase of a hidden spring in Iceland.
Don’t forget to subscribe and get our free printable list for Iceland clothes and essentials for Summer. Now available in English, Spanish, and Italian.
- Waterproof backpack/Backpack rain cover: Like everything, this is your option, but since you will frequently need to pack camera gear, money, or other essentials while you are visiting the different attractions and because the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable, it is better to be ready and avoid to end with something important cover in water.
- Towel: Since we slept mostly in guesthouses, we didn’t really need one for our daily cleaning. Also, one for the Blue Lagoon is included in the entrance price. But if you will stay in a camp area, you better have your, and if you plan to relax in one of the free hidden hot springs on the road, you will need your personal one. We strongly recommend the quick drying towel since they will quickly occupy less space in your bag than a regular towel.
- Waterproof phone case: If you want to bring your phone to the spring and relax inside, you will need to get a waterproof case with you. You will end with some blurry pictures and videos, but hey, at least it is something.
- Water bottle: Iceland perfectly reflects how beautiful mother nature is, so let’s contribute a bit, and don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle. You can drink tap water everywhere in Iceland. You will also want to take a bottle with you during hikes, so better bring the one you know will fit in your backpack. We bought a big bottle of water during our first grocery in Reykjavik before hitting the road to refill our individual bottles when we didn’t find where on the road.
- Charging accessories: We are sure you will want to take photos of videos everywhere, so you can come back one day to the pictures and remember how beautiful this trip was. So be sure every day to have your phone on a full battery. It will be good to have too a fully charged external battery. If you are going on a road trip, you can get one USB car charger. Also, remember in Iceland, plugs use the standard European plug with two round prongs, so be sure to bring an adapter if necessary.
- Head net: It was just one place where we were missing not to bring one of this net, Krafla. What saves us from enjoying the place without finishing with our mouths covered in bugs was our masks (COVID times) and sunglasses.
- Thermal bottle: If you are a coffee or tee lover, you don’t want to forget this. It will help to keep you warm and awake on the road.
- Reusable folding cup: If you want to have the coffee or tee on the road, you better have some cups to do it. The reusable folding one helps you to save space in your luggage.
- Lunch box, with reusable cutlery: Honestly, there was more weight in our backpacks from food than for clothes. This was the tip that most help us to save money in Iceland and afford this trip. So yes, we pack our lunch almost every day and have a perfect lunch each day in a beautiful location by the road.
- Food: This will need a whole post about all the food we bring with us, but anything you can get to cook there will help keep your budget low.
- First aid kit: Lucky for us, we didn’t need it. So we have a perfectly safe trip, but it is better to be prepared if you will be on the road, far away from the city, to have some first aid medicine and bands. You can also install the Döff app to contact the emergency service if you need help without making a phone call.
- Photography or video gear: I think I don’t need to mention this, but whatever photography or video equipment you have will be essential in Iceland.
- Refreshing kit: Most hotels and guesthouses will have the basics for cleaning, but best to bring a few extras, like suncream and moisturizer. One more tip we didn’t know before our trip: conditioner, shampoo, and shower gel are included in the Blue Lagoon entrance price.