Packing for Summer in Iceland

“What should I pack for Iceland?” weighed heavily on my mind.  I’d heard several times to “dress for all seasons” but with my trip approaching, I still was unsure what to wear in Iceland in June.

Through some guesswork and some luck, I felt completely prepared during my time in Iceland in the summer.  Many days were sunny (one was almost too hot!) but we still managed to experience all four seasons.  Even on cloudless days, we still needed the rain gear, the winter coat, the scarves, and the several layers of clothes we’d stowed along.    I’ve compiled this list to help you determine the essentials for your summer trip to Iceland.  Happy travels!

Summer in Iceland Packing List:

    1. Fleece-lined leggings keep your legs warm in the elements, plus they’re flexible enough to hike in but flattering enough to wear in public 😉  Before the trip, I ordered several pairs of Yogipace water-resistant, fleece-lined, thermal tights and LOVED them!  They are warm (but not too warm), stretchy, comfy, and even have pockets.   
    2. Waterproof Pants are guaranteed to keep you warm and dry in the elements!  These lightweight rain pants can slip right over your leggings to keep the wind and water out, and they come in a variety of fun colors!
    3. A Rain Jacket is necessary for rainy days, but also comes in handy for windy beaches and waterfalls.  Brightly colored rain gear adds some cheer to the gloomy fog, plus they look really nice in photos! I recommend purchasing a lightweight rain jacket for Iceland’s swiftly-changing weather.
    4. Cheery warm socks keep your feet happy!

      Wool socks help with those long hikes and chilly nights.  A pair of thick wool socks reduces blisters from walking and keep you feeling warm in the wind.  I recommend bringing several pairs, as well as some athletic socks.

    5. Tennis shoes are great for shorter hikes, especially once you start getting tired of your heavy hiking boots!  Again, the more brightly colored the better.  Bright sneakers bring some color and honestly – I think they hide the mud a little better than normal white or black
    6. Hiking boots provide ankle support for those rocky adventures.  Iceland is full of rivers and streams, so I’d recommend waterproof boots
    7. A wool hat will help retain your body heat and can be easily kept in a jacket pocket till needed.
  1. A Scarf will help keep the wind out and the heat in.  I really like the travel scarves by Waypoint with a hidden zipper pocket – they’re warm, comfy, and functional!
  2. Tees of all types are essential in layering.   I brought several long-sleeved thermal tees, tank tops to wear under the long sleeves, and one short-sleeved tee just in case.
  3. A sweatshirt or hoodie is comfy for lounging around in and is always helpful to add another layer.
  4. A vest will help trap your core heat, keeping you warmer.  I lived in my REI Co-op down vest, and am not sure if I’d have made it without it.
  5. A winter coat will come in handy on those extra windy days.  Plus, they can always double as a blanket or pillow.
  6. Polarized sunglasses keep out the arctic sun which spends most of its time low in the sky.
  7. Flip-flops are great for visiting geothermal pools and come in handy if you plan on camping.  I like having them in times when I don’t feel like taking the time to put on socks and shoes.

A few extras:

  • layers are key in Iceland – it’s better to start with too many than not enough
  • bring a few extra plastic bags to keep wet clothing in
  • don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray – no joke!  This is my favorite bug spray…so much deet!
  • If you plan on visiting Iceland’s geothermal pools, remember to bring a swimsuit!

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