What to Pack for Iceland for Outdoor Activities

Iceland, with its stunning landscapes, geothermal wonders, and rugged terrain, offers an array of outdoor activities for adventurous travelers. However, packing for an Icelandic adventure can be challenging due to its unpredictable weather and diverse conditions. Whether you’re planning to hike glaciers, explore volcanic landscapes, or soak in natural hot springs, it’s essential to be well-prepared. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to pack for outdoor activities in Iceland.


1. Layering Essentials

The key to dressing for Icelandic weather is layering, which allows you to adjust your clothing based on changing conditions.

Base Layer: Opt for moisture-wicking materials like merino wool or synthetic fabrics. Avoid cotton as it retains moisture.

Mid Layer: Fleece or down jackets provide insulation. A good mid-layer traps body heat and keeps you warm.

Outer Layer: A waterproof and windproof jacket is crucial. Look for Gore-Tex or similar materials that offer breathability and protection from the elements.

2. Pants and Leggings

Base Layer: Thermal leggings or long underwear made from wool or synthetic materials.

Outer Layer: Waterproof and windproof pants are essential for staying dry during rain or snow. Hiking pants with zip-off legs are versatile options.

3. Footwear

Hiking Boots: Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support are a must for traversing Iceland’s rough terrains.

Socks: Merino wool socks are excellent for keeping feet warm and dry. Bring multiple pairs to change frequently.

4. Accessories

Hats and Gloves: A warm hat that covers your ears and insulated gloves are necessary to protect against the cold and wind.

Buff or Neck Gaiter: Useful for protecting your neck and face from wind and cold.

Sunglasses and Sunscreen: Despite the cold, the sun can be intense, especially with reflections from snow and ice. Polarized sunglasses and high SPF sunscreen are important.

Gear and Equipment

1. Backpack

A durable, waterproof backpack with a capacity of 20-30 liters is ideal for day trips. Look for one with a rain cover and multiple compartments for organization.

2. Hiking Poles

Hiking poles provide stability and reduce strain on your knees during long hikes or treks on uneven terrain.

3. Water Bottle and Hydration System

Staying hydrated is crucial. Pack a reusable water bottle or a hydration bladder that fits into your backpack.

4. Navigation Tools

Map and Compass: Essential for navigation in remote areas.

GPS Device: Useful for more accurate navigation and tracking your route.

Smartphone: Load it with offline maps and useful apps for weather updates and emergency information.

5. Camping Gear

If you plan on camping, ensure you have high-quality, weather-resistant equipment.

Tent: A four-season tent is recommended for Iceland’s variable weather.

Sleeping Bag: A down sleeping bag rated for cold temperatures ensures a warm night’s sleep.

Sleeping Pad: Provides insulation from the cold ground and additional comfort.

Additional Items

1. Personal Care Items

First Aid Kit: A comprehensive kit with bandages, antiseptic wipes, and any personal medications.

Toiletries: Biodegradable soap, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. Wet wipes can be handy for quick clean-ups.

Hand Warmers: Disposable or reusable hand warmers can provide extra warmth during cold days.

2. Camera and Accessories

Iceland’s landscapes are incredibly photogenic. Bring a camera with extra batteries and memory cards. A waterproof case or bag can protect your equipment from the elements.

3. Snacks and Meals

Pack high-energy snacks like nuts, dried fruits, and energy bars. If camping, bring lightweight, non-perishable meals that are easy to prepare.


Packing for outdoor activities in Iceland requires careful consideration of the weather and terrain. By layering your clothing, bringing essential gear, and preparing for varying conditions, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure. From the geothermal pools of the Blue Lagoon to the rugged trails of Landmannalaugar, being well-prepared will allow you to fully experience the breathtaking beauty and unique challenges that Iceland has to offer.


You may also like

What to Wear in Poland in Winter

What to Wear in Poland in Winter
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}