Iceland’s climate is constantly changing and the temperatures can fluctuate drastically every day. It can be sunny at one moment, hailing and snowing the next, and windy and raining a few minutes later.
My main recommendation for packing for Iceland in fall & winter is to LAYER and bring your warmest clothes. Try and bring warmer clothes than you may think you need especially if you’re coming from a mild climate like I was (San Francisco)!
And always remember:
“There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes.” – My Mom
Keep that in mind when you’re packing because having warm clothes will definitely make your trip a lot more enjoyable!
When I was in Iceland I took a camper van around Iceland’s Ring Road and slept in that. It gets VERY cold at night so if you are camping be sure to pack extra warm clothes for sleeping.
Packing list below + examples of my outfits (aka same thing every day)!
Here’s what to pack for Iceland in Fall & Winter
- A warm hat or ear muffs. Preferably fleece lined or wool. My recs here and here.
- A warm knit scarf or blanket scarf. My recs here, here and here.
- A sturdy raincoat. Preferably one that you know works. It is also smart in winter months to bring a Gortex jacket. My reccs here, here and here.
- Sturdy and comfortable hiking shoes. I wore these every day while I was there in the fall. Mine are sold out, but these are closest to what I had. These are similar also.
- Short rain boots (for fall). These are easier to pack and perfect for the rain. In the fall it might rain every day. My recs here, here and here.
- Snow boots (for winter). Definitely bring snow boots if you’re going any time after October! My recs here and here.
- Warm gloves. In fall you can get by with fleece gloves, but in winter you’ll want heavier duty snow gloves. My recs here and here.
- An umbrella: I used this a lot!
- Puffer jacket or a parka. Bring your warmest coat. Even better if it fits under your rain coat or you can opt for a Gortex jacket instead. I wore my Patagonia puffer.
- A sweater or sweatshirt. Or buy an Icelandic sweater upon arrival. My recs here and here.
- A fleece half zip or full zip up jacket: I lived in mine.
- A camelback backpack or something similar for hiking and storing layers of clothes while you’re out and about.
- Thermal leggings: These were key for me. Bring a few pairs! Or you can bring leggings with fleece that you can layer. My recs here and here.
- Wool socks: Bring the warmest socks you own. Don’t even worry about bringing ankle socks/tennis shoe socks because you won’t wear them. Here are fun ones and here are more practical.
- Thermal long sleeves. I brought a few of these and it was key to my survival in the cold. I also slept in them at night.
- Swimsuit: Even though it’s cold you’ll want to hit up the hot springs in Iceland!
- Jeans: I brought a pair of Uniqlo jeggings for going out in Reykjavik.
- Hand and feet warmers
- Headlamp: Perfect if you are in a camper van or going out in the dark. I brought this one.
- Toiletries: Don’t forget your lotion and chapstick as it gets super dry.
- Quick dry towel: If you’re camping. Here’s the one I use.
- Camera. I use the Sony Alpha 6000.
Outfit examples…I wore the same thing every day pretty much.