What To Pack for a Summer Trip to Iceland

We’re back from Iceland and we are excited to share our trip with all of you! The rest of the week we are diving into a recap of our trip, including what we did, where we ate, what we learned, and anything else noteworthy to share. Our hope is that these next few posts will act as a resource for anyone else planning a summer trip to Iceland.Travel_Iceland-casey-bridget-reykjavik

Packing Guide for Visiting Iceland in the Summer

To kick things off, we want to start with the burning question, “What the heck do I pack for a summer trip to Iceland”?! This was a question we asked ourselves a lot before leaving for Iceland and one we did a lot of research on as we prepared. Today we are breaking down our answer with a list of items we think you need to pack for your upcoming trip.

What to pack for a summer trip to Iceland

1. Layers!Travel_Iceland-casey-rain-coat

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Layers, layers, and more layers! We put this first on our packing list because we think it’s probably the most important thing you can pack while preparing for your summertime trip to Iceland. The weather will change throughout the day and layering up is the best way to adapt accordingly. Travel_Iceland_Reykjavik-bridget-winter-coat
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The mornings are pretty chilly, yet by the afternoon you’ll probably be ditching some of your layers! On a typical day in Iceland we each wore a shirt, athletic zip up, and rain coat (sometimes even a winter jacket) and we were set all day.

2. Comfortable ShoesTravel_Iceland-TOMS-pink-wall-jeans

Coming in at the second most important spot on our packing list — comfortable shoes! Bridget wore these TOMS gym shoes and Casey wore these gym shoes almost the entire trip. Travel_Iceland-casey-black-jeans-gymshoes
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Reykjavik was very casual, so honestly you can probably wear these all day walking around the city and then wear them to dinner too. We both packed these dressier TOMS for dinners, but honestly we didn’t really need to throw them in our suitcases.

3. BootsTravel_Iceland-sperry-duck-boots

The only other pair of shoes we think you should pack is a pair of boots. We both packed these light weight, super comfy pair and were happy to have them when we explored the Golden Circle. To save space in the suitcase, you can stick socks (and even underwear) right inside the boots and you’ll stay nice and organized.

4. UmbrellaTravel_Iceland_Reykjavik-harbor-boats-view

We each brought these tiny travel umbrellas and were really happy to have them when it rained one evening on the way to dinner in Reykjavik. We lucked out that there wasn’t a ton of rain while we were in Iceland, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry! Plus the umbrellas were so small that they easily fit in our backpacks.

5. Casual OutfitsTravel_Iceland-Bridget-reykjavik-casual-toms

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We touched on the casual nature of both Reykjavik and Iceland in general, but we wanted to make a point to stress how you really only need to pack casual outfits. We both packed a pair of jeans and several athleisure pants and that was honestly all we needed. Travel_Iceland-casey-sweater-gymshoes
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There was no need for fancy dinner outfits, it was casual vibes all the way! So don’t stress out about what you’re going to wear out or to dinner… several casual looks is all you need no matter what’s on your agenda!

6. Rain JacketTravel_Iceland-casey-raincoat-golden-circle

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Along with umbrellas, having our raincoats was also essential. The water repellent material kept us dry when it rained and the hoods on our coats were also helpful to fight against the water and wind on the Golden Circle Tour. Travel_Iceland-casey-finn-golden-circle-waterfallAnd remember how we stressed the importance of layers? This layer is a crucial one!

7. BackpackTravel_Iceland_Reykjavik-matt_finn

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If we were out of our apartment, you can probably bet we (or our husbands) were wearing a backpack. Having these backpacks was an easy and comfortable way to carry all of the day’s essentials and we could not imagine the trip without the backpacks. Cameras, money, bathing suits, wireless internet… you name it, we had it with us thanks to these backpacks.

8. Swim SuitTravel_Iceland_casey_finn-7

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You definitely want to pack your swim suit on your trip to Iceland. Even though the temperatures don’t suggest that it’s “swimming weather”, there are lots of geothermal pools around Iceland that attract swimmers all year round.

Make sure you have your suit so you can be ready to take advantage of these hot spots. Heck, we even put our suits in our backpacks while exploring just in case we came across one of these pools and wanted to take a dip! You can never be too prepared, right?

9. HatTravel_Iceland-bridget-casey-golden-circle

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Hat hair, don’t care! We were all about the hats while exploring Iceland. Whether a baseball cap or a snow hat, make sure to bring a hat so you don’t have to worry about your hair while out and about. Travel_Iceland-casey-raincoat-hoodIceland is super casual, especially while you’re exploring, and the hat is the perfect accessory to keep your hair out of your face while keeping you a little warmer. Plus it’s so windy in Iceland…so this will keep your tresses at bay.

10. Water BottleTravel_Iceland-bridget-bottle-sweatershirt

The water in Iceland is not only safe to drink right from the faucet, but it’s also delicious! So much so that there were super long lines at the airport for passengers to fill up their water bottles. We highly recommend packing a water bottle to refill throughout your time in Iceland. This will give you the opportunity to  get fresh water whenever you want and will also save you a lot of money because you won’t have to pay the high costs of buying bottled water.

11. Sunglasses & SunscreenTravel_Iceland_Reykjavik-views

Our tour guide on the Golden Circle Tour told our group that if you don’t like the weather in Iceland, wait five minutes because it’ll probably change. Even in the short time we were there, we understand what he was talking about because the weather was constantly changing. We saw rain, but we also saw a lot of sunshine! Travel_Iceland-matt-finn-benchMake sure you’re not so focused on the layers and cold temps that you forget to pack sunglasses and sunscreen. Whether you’re exploring downtown or swimming in a geothermal pool, sunscreen is a must.

12. Camera

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The views all over Iceland are AMAZING so having your camera on hand is a must. We brought our camera with this lens and were really happy with our photos. We also brought our GoPro to use at the Blue Lagoon. We saw a lot of people had waterproof cases (like this one) on their phones at the Blue Lagoon so that they could take pictures in the gorgeous water. We didn’t do that, but it really is an amazing idea if you want to document the once-in-a-lifetime experience!

13. A Few Necessary Pieces of TechnologyTravel_Iceland_Reykjavik-flag

We are going to dive into this topic a bit more later in the week, but one item you NEED to pack are these type C outlet adapters for your electronics. In order to use our phone/computer chargers or our curling iron and blow dryer, we needed these outlet adapters because the American plug is not compatible with the Iceland outlets. However, spending a few bucks on those adapters will allow you to use all of your gadgets while in Iceland.

14. Optional: Winter CoatTravel_Icelandic-horse-bridge

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I packed a winter coat for the trip and Casey opted not to. Both of us were happy with our decisions and that’s why I put this last item as an “optional” one to add to your suitcase. With enough layers you can probably skip the thick winter coat, but personally I run cold and was SO happy to have my coat. In short… if you run cold, grab your coat and if not you can always leave it at home, which will save some serious space in your luggage!Casey_bridget_SigP.S. If you’re planning a trip to Iceland anytime soon, be sure to tune in tomorrow and Friday for more Iceland information. We will be posting the top 10 tips we learned after traveling to Iceland and what to eat, see, and do while in Iceland. Our hope is that these posts will act as a helpful reference for fellow travelers so they don’t make the same mistakes that we did!

  • shawnna griffin

    hey girls- love the post! great tips! cool pics of Iceland!

  • Kara D

    I’m curious what did you girls end up wearing on the airplane rides? I usually try to wear the more bulkier items to save space in the suitcases, but only if it’s comfortable to wear. When I flew to Ireland, the rainboots stayed in the suitcase, but I wore the jackets on the plane because it would be easy to take it off if I needed to (which I didn’t, since they make those planes SO DARN COLD.)

    • Good question Kara! We both went with leggings, gym shoes, and then layers on top (t-shirt, zip up, scarf). We were able to squeeze our jackets into our luggage…but you’re right, why does it get so cold on there?!

  • Iceland is not actually a country that’s on my list to visit. Living in the UK I prefer hotter destinations where I don’t need to pack a rain coat!