What to Pack for a Summer Trip to Iceland

Reynisfjara Beach. Image Credit: Me.

An Iceland Guide: Part 1

One of the trendiest places to visit at the moment is the lovely Scandinavian island country of Iceland. There are many reasons this is a popular destination for tourism, including:
  1. The flight there is extremely accessible from both a cost and convenience standpoint - in fact, my flight from Toronto cost $260 CAD round trip with WOW Air. Oftentimes they have flight sales, which makes it very easy to keep the flight under $500 CAD round trip. The flight time is only around 5 ½ hours, which is about the same as flying from Toronto to Los Angeles. 

  2. You can take a picture almost anywhere and it would look great on social media. 

  3. Most signs are in both Icelandic and English and most Icelanders speak English fluently. eliminating any potential language barriers for North Americans. They also drive on the same side of the road as we do in North America.

  4. Iceland is an incredibly safe country. The near 24h sunlight in summer is especially helpful for driving and walking around. The roads are also well maintained and generally do not have a lot of traffic. 

  5. Iceland is one of the least densely populated countries in the world, which makes it less crowded than many other tourist destinations, such as Florida. 
Obviously there are many more reasons to visit than just the five listed above. However, there is quite a bit of pre-trip preparation to do if you want to save money and have a good time, including planning out your luggage!

It might not be a big deal planning out your luggage if you're an avid hiker and backpacker. For the rest of us, I have compiled a list of useful items to pack before you leave for Iceland, including links to where you get them. Products with  beside them are items I personally used and 100% recommend.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This post is not sponsored by any of the companies or products mentioned. All opinions are my own.

The Essentials


Bottled water is not really a thing in Iceland - the tap water is high quality and great tasting. We actually tried looking for bottled water at Costco and other stores and only found sparkling water. Another reason to bring a water bottle is that budget airlines such as WOW Air charge $3 for a small bottle of water. Remember to fill up before you board the plane!

Where to buy: Manna Water Bottle ★ // Mana Water Bottle //  Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug


We went in early June, which meant it was still quite chilly in Reykjavik, especially at night. However, it gets progressively warmer as you make your way through the South Coast. As a result, I recommend layering up for warmth during the colder areas, and taking those layers off as it warms up.

Where to buy: Uniqlo Heatteach T-shirt  (in-store only) // H&M Jersey Top (W) // H&M Jersey Top (M) // Uniqlo Merino Wool Sweater ★ (in-store only) // H&M Wool Sweater (W) // H&M Merino Wool Sweater (M)


As stated above, it can get pretty chilly in Reykjavik. At one point I was wearing a light down jacket and both my sweaters! 

Where to buy: Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket  (in-store only) // Lululemon Jacket (W) // Old Navy Down Jacket (M) // Columbia Lake 22 Jacket (M)


Iceland has a ton of waterfalls, hills and places to hike. I opted for hiking boots as my one pair of walking and hiking shoes. My friend opted for running shoes, and switched into rain boots for the water falls. 

Where to buy: Timberland Norwood Hiking Boots  // Columbia Newton Ridge Waterproof Hiking Boots (M) // Crocs Jaunt Shorty Rain Boot (W)


A waterproof jacket is especially useful for keeping dry while exploring waterfalls, of which there are lots in Iceland due its many glaciers.

Where to buy: Uniqlo Blocktech Rain Parka ★ (in-store only) // The North Face Jacket (W) // Columbia Men's Watertight Shell Jacket (M)


Waterproof pants are nice to have for exploring waterfalls and keeping your bottom half dry. I also used this as an outer layer so that my leggings wouldn’t get too dirty.

Where to buy: The North Face Aphrodite II ★ // Similar (W) // Helly Hansen Dry Lifa Pants (M)


With so much natural geothermal activity in the country, it would be a shame not to explore the spas, public pools, or the Blue Lagoon if you’re feeling fancy. 

Where to buy: Aerie Swimwear ★ // Forever21 Swimwear (W) // ORANSSI Swim Shorts (M)

The Packing List

Due to WOW Air charging $138 round trip for a carry on luggage, we ended up packing light and sharing a carry on to reduce costs. I actually had a couple of packing “dress rehearsals” to make sure I could fit everything I needed into my bag and half a carry on. 

4x Long sleeve base layers (I counted on not sweating too much on at least one day) 
2x Sweaters
1x Light down jacket 
1x Raincoat 
1x Waterproof pants 
1x Swimsuit 
3x Leggings 
5x Underwear
5x Pairs of socks
1x Universal travel adapter (they use standard European outlets) 
1x Portable charger and charging cable
1x Selfie stick
1x Flip flops (wore hiking boots on the plane)
1x Towel (not 100% necessary as most AirBnBs we stayed at included towels)
1x Makeup and toiletry bag, including hand sanitizer and sunscreen

What you don't need to pack: Usually I would pack $100-200 CAD worth of local currency as well, but we found that almost everywhere took card. In fact, everyone used tap and pay! The one place that didn’t take card was the bathroom at Skogafoss.

Overall, all the items above can be found at Uniqlo or Amazon. If you're feeling frugal, you can probably find decent knockoffs at Miniso.

Have you been to Iceland before? What are your packing tips?