Iceland: perfect packing list

Iceland is such a popular destination right now between the northern lights and the waterfalls. It’s an amazing destination year round but the weather can be quite unpredictable yet temperatures don’t get into extremes. In the winter you’ve got to be prepared for snow storms that flare up out of nowhere. In the summer it’s just cold winds to worry about. The best advice I have for you is to stay warm and protect your skin from those arctic blasts of wind. You are on an island after all.

Here’s my Iceland winter travel packing list which I’m guessing would not be much different from my summer packing list or my general packing list for all places. Two weeks in cold weather, ready, here goes…

What’s in my wallet?

  • Passport
  • Priority card for lounge access (I got mine through my credit card)
  • Digital copies of my passport, credit card phone numbers, flight itinerary and anything else I have booked ahead like hotels
  • Saved Google maps for the places I am going
  • Two credit cards, one MasterCard and one Visa (with chips)
  • Cash (or debit card with chip and pin access. Make sure you tell your bank ahead of time so it won’t get blocked on you.)

Electronic gadgets

  • Kindle stocked with several books to read
  • Phone stocked with sleep music and a couple shows to watch
  • Camera, travel tripod, ND filters for long exposure shots, lens cleaning kit, extra memory cards, spare battery and battery charger
  • External battery charger for my phone with wall plug and car plug
  • Plug adapter for European outlets
  • Noise canceling ear buds and a two prong adapter (you have to have this for some flights)
  • High powered rechargeable flashlight

Cold weather clothing

  • Scarf that doubles as a blanket
  • Compression socks for the plane ride
  • Tall waterproof hiking boots or snow boots
  • Backup waterproof shoes in case I get waterlogged
  • 1 pair waterproof pants or snow pants
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • Fleece lined tights, silk leggings and cold weather leggings to layer under my jeans and waterproof pants (I can wear multiple if I’m that cold)
  • Wool sweater plus a couple other long sleeve layering shirts
  • 2 pairs thick wool socks
  • 3 pairs long wool socks
  • 3 pairs silk sock liners
  • Down vest
  • Thick waterproof jacket with furry hood
  • Wool hat, balaclava (or other face mask), headband, gloves (for using my camera) and mittens (for real warmth)
  • Undergarment bag with undergarments in it (I don’t like people touching those things if they have to go through my bag at TSA)
  • Bathing suit and small quick dry towel for hot springs
  • House slippers (I don’t know about you but I don’t know what’s been on that carpet and how often it was cleaned plus my feet get cold even inside)

Toiletry bag

  • Aspirin, sleep aids, cold meds, upset tummy meds, Emergen-C
  • Small finger nail clippers and file (I always break fingernails when traveling, it’s usually at the airport)
  • GoToob’s for all my liquids (shampoo, body wash, lotion, face wash)
  • Hand wipes and hand sanitizer
  • Tissue / toilet paper for when nothing is provided or you are on the road
  • Lip balm
  • Gum
  • Ear plugs

Other stuff

  • Pen and notebook for notes if my phone dies
  • Headlamp
  • TSA-approved lock
  • Sunglasses in the case
  • Hand warmers (to stick in your mittens)
  • Empty reusable water bottle
  • Snack bars or trail mix and jerky
  • Ice trekkers
  • Paper map (just in case)
  • Laundry bag

It all gets packed in a backpack and checked roller bag. The roller bag is a bit bigger since I’m also packing for two people. If I’m traveling by myself I usually use a smaller carry-on roller bag or larger backpack with a small purse. The above list is just for me.

For Iceland packing, the backpack is what I carried on the plane and includes everything I needed for the 7+ hour flight. Mainly, that’s what’s listed in the electronic gadgets section plus a couple toiletries and one change of clothes. For this trip since there was no free meal service I also had packed some food from home to go with a couple KIND bar snacks. I never leave home without snacks. No one likes a hangry person.

Want some more fun packing tips? I’ve got some!

Want more on planning for Iceland? I’ve got that covered too!

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  1. […] bone chilling so always be papered for the cold. You’ll want to dress in layers or at least bring layers for warmth despite what the forecast reads. The wind will always make it colder and you never know […]

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