The Ultimate Iceland Packing List for Both Summer and Winter

Waterfall in Iceland photographed from the backside

Last May I spent just over a week adventuring through Iceland in a campervan. Exploring the Ring Road was one of my best travel decisions that I have ever made. However, it came with a lot of planning when it came to packing. Iceland weather can be chaotic to say the least.

I visited many campsites on my trip and noticed a lot of people unprepared. Sometimes even cold or wet with a miserable look on their face. Even in the summer months Iceland weather can change throughout the day from down pouring rain to sunshine to even hail. 

Below you’ll find my complete packing list for Iceland for year round travel. I have also included a packing list for Iceland in the summer months and a packing list for Iceland in the winter months.  These packing lists should help make sure you have the most enjoyable time in Iceland.

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Bedroom at the Fairfield Inn Busan

Year Round Iceland Packing List

Rain Gear

Having rain gear was probably one of the best decisions that I made for my trip to Iceland. Rainstorms come and go in Iceland. It does not only happen in the summer, but winter months do still get rain. I would recommend having rain gear that is easy to take on and off since weather changes so fast.

Phone with Power Bank

In today’s day and age, we all travel with a phone, but in Iceland it is essential to pack your power bank. Throughout your trip you will probably use a lot of navigation apps such as Google Maps and AllTrails. 

Both apps use a lot of battery power, so having something to charge your phone with will come in handy. Although most hotels will have electrical outlets if you are staying at a guesthouse, or campground there tends to be limited power outlets.

Reusable Water Bottle

Icelandic water is some of the cleanest and freshest water on the earth. If you plan on doing some glacier hikes there are even spots where you can drink water straight from the glacier. Bringing a reusable water bottle is essential as you can actually get free water in a lot of places. Bonus points if you bring an insulated reusable water bottle to keep your cold drinks cold in the summer and your hot beverages warm in the winter.


The beautiful landscape draws tourists from all over the world. If you want to make sure to capture the best pictures, bring your camera. I wouldn’t say I am a huge camera person, but I packed my Sony RX100 VII since it is compact. I also packed my GoPro to get action shots when I was hiking a glacier.

First Aid Kit

If you are planning on doing any sort of outdoor adventure in Iceland, I would recommend packing a small first aid kit. There are a lot of areas with uneven ground or slippery rocks by the waterfalls. A small first aid kit can make sure if you do get any scratches or pull a muscle you have what you need to continue on your trip.

Travel Adapter and Car Adapter

In Iceland, the standard power plugs and sockets are Type F, which is commonly used throughout Europe. However, if you are from other regions of the world where Type F is not used it is important to pack a travel adapter. I own a universal travel adapter with USB ports and bring it everywhere. 

I would also recommend bringing a car travel adapter to charge items such as your smartphone or camera. There is usually a lot of driving in Iceland, and this will make sure to keep your electronics charged all day.

Day Pack

There is no need to carry your luggage around with you everywhere you go in Iceland. Actually, it would be more of a pain than anything. Having a good day pack for your trip will make your life easier. You can keep your hands free while carrying all your essentials on your back. I brought a 20L day pack and found it perfect for my needs.


A swimsuit might sound like an odd item to bring year round, especially in winter where it easily gets below freezing. However, I can almost guarantee that somewhere on your itinerary to Iceland is a geothermal pool. This is the perfect way to spend those cold evenings or snowy days.

Hat and Gloves

Even in the summer months it can still get cold in Iceland just based on its geographical location. I am glad I packed my hat and gloves as they came in useful on some of my expeditions such as hiking a glacier and exploring a cave. If you do forget, many of the gas stations sell these items, so they are not too hard to find.

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Ice Cream Cup in Iceland on a summer day

Iceland Packing List for Summer Season

Sun Protection

Even though summer temperatures are still considered cooler than other regions this doesn’t mean sun protection isn’t important. With the sun being out for long hours and most visitors usually participating in events that are outdoors it is important to make sure that you have the proper protection. 

It is important to note that Iceland considers sustainability very important so if you are buying sunscreen with Iceland, you will most likely see eco-conscious brands. On my trip I packed thinksport mineral sunscreen as it is an environmentally conscious brand.

Ball cap and Sunglasses

Pack your favorite ball cap and sunglasses to deal with the all day sun in Iceland. The glare can get pretty brutal when you’re visiting waterfalls or driving on the road. They were especially helpful when I was doing a glacier hike.

Breathable Layers

Summer days in Iceland can start out frigid in the morning and progressively get warmer throughout the day until getting cooler again at night. Packing layers is one of the best things you can do for a trip to Iceland. A couple t-shirts, long sleeve, sleeves, sweatshirt and even a jacket as for top. For bottoms I would recommend mostly pants and maybe a pair or two of shorts.

Sleeping Mask

Bringing a sleeping mask during the summer months of Iceland is one of the best decisions that can be made. If you are unaware, summer months in Iceland provide almost 24 hours of sunlight per day. Of course, hotels and even campervans have blinds, but these do not always block out all the sun. This can make sleeping difficult and screw up the body’s internal clock. A quick side note, the Edition Reykjavik has amazing blackout curtains.

Hiking a glacier in Iceland

Iceland Packing List for Winter Season


Opposite of the all day sunshine in the summer, winter brings almost total darkness the whole day. This is the best time to visit Iceland if you want to have a chance to see the aurora borealis (northern lights). Being so dark it is important to have a headlamp for your trip so that if you are doing any activities outdoors that you are able to see. You do not need any fancy type of headlamp so if you don’t already own one I recommend just picking up a cheap one from Amazon.

Thermal Layers

Thermal layers will make sure you stay warm in the frigid winter months. A good thermal layer can go a long way. This includes a good pair of wool socks to keep your feet warm.


Having winter boots will not only help you keep warm but will make it easier to walk through areas of snow. A thicker outdoor hiking style boot is the best option in my opinion.

Hand Warmers 

Thank me later, but packing hand warmers and toe warmers will make your trip complete. If you’re anything like me, cold hands come easy (even with a good pair of gloves) and can ruin my mood. Hand warmers are a great way to stay warm throughout all of your activities in Iceland.

Neck Gaiter

Not only is it cold in winter, but it can also be very windy. Packing a neck gaiter will help avoid getting cold by protecting your neck. They are sold at almost any outdoor store, but I like this neck gaiter from REI because it can be worn in so many ways.

Conclusion: Iceland Packing List

Whether you are visiting in the winter or summer this Iceland packing list will help you be prepared. Have you already been to Iceland? Let me know in the comments what was one item on your Iceland packing list that you wish you would’ve brought.

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