Debating what your Iceland suitcase should include? Here’s my guide on what to pack for Iceland in spring…
Got a trip to Iceland coming up? Then you need a packing list! Here’s my go-to guide on what you should pack for Iceland in spring.
One of the most stressful things I had to think about while preparing for my trip to Iceland was what to pack. Iceland in winter is one thing. You know what you’re going to get, right? Snow. Ice. Wind. Hail. Darkness.
You know it’s going to be cold and you’ll need all your industrial-strength warm clothing. However, the springtime isn’t quite so cut and dry…
Iceland in spring
Springtime in Iceland. It’s that weird in-between time when it can still be freezing cold… or there could be a glimmer of spring. Even sunshine!
So what should you pack for Iceland in spring? Do you still need a massive winter coat? Are waterproof trousers necessary? Might it actually be warmer than you think? I was in a massive fluster about what to pack. All I can say is that I read a LOT of blogs ahead of my trip.
Luckily, our flight had a really generous baggage allowance so I didn’t really have to make any big decisions ahead of time. I just chucked it all in and wore what was appropriate on the day. With that in mind, here’s what I would recommend packing for Iceland in spring…
A waterproof jacket
Pretty much every blog I read as research for the trip said to pack a waterproof shell coat as your outer layer and have a warm layer underneath. I bought a waterproof coat on this basis – having looked at several different jackets I opted for this Berghaus one that was a slightly longer length as I thought it would keep me warmer and drier.
A lot of jackets are made from a specific gore-tex material that is designed for this purpose. Mine’s wasn’t, but it was a proper outdoorsy jacket – it wasn’t just ‘shower-proof’. It was really needed, it kept me dry when it needed to and it was wind-proof as well.
Waterproof trousers (proper ones!)
One thing that caught me out on this trip is waterproof trousers. I had some ‘allegedly’ waterproof trousers from ASOS that I’d got a while back but hadn’t really worn. I was kinda in the ‘do I really need waterproof trousers camp’. But as it turns out, you do!
Unfortunately, mine weren’t properly waterproof – something I only realised when standing in front of a waterfall and getting caught in all the spray. I would recommend having a proper pair so that you can do the whole walking behind the waterfall and taking a pic thing – something you can’t really do if you’re getting soaked along the way!
Another key thing you will definitely need to pack for Iceland in spring is hiking boots. We did the ice cave tour one day, which involves trudging through the snow to get to this amazing ice cave in the glacier. You’d think most people would wear sturdy hiking boots because they wouldn’t want to wreck their trainers or get wet feet… nope!
I saw someone in white trainers and someone else was in Converse. Other people had heeled boots. That’s a big no for me – get some hiking boots in your suitcase. They’re perfect for tours, like the Golden Circle, as well as mooching around Reykjavik.
I’d definitely recommend a thick pair of leggings for Iceland – the kind that acts like a suction pad around your body. I wore a pair of jeans on the first day we were in Reykjavik and I was cold – they were a little oversized and all I could feel was the breeze billowing up the gap between the material and my skin. That’s why leggings are essential for your trip.
I packed a pair of extra thick sports leggings that are extremely hard to get on. They hug your skin like nothing else and the result is they’re incredibly warm. Perfect for Iceland!
A cosy fleece
For Iceland in spring, you need a warm layer to go over a jumper or high-neck top and under your waterproof coat. I’d recommend a cosy zip-up fleece that you can easily take off when it gets warm – and zip right up again when it gets chillier.
My partner got me a second-hand North Face fleece from eBay for this trip. I didn’t like the look of it too much to begin with but I wore it every single day – I barely took it off! Even if you buy something second-hand, you’ll be grateful for it if you’re cold.
Chunky beanie hat
People that don’t wear a hat in a location like Iceland are, quite frankly, a little bit mad. It’s bloody cold! I never need much of an excuse to rock my beanie hat but the wind and the cold of Iceland definitely made me make sure I didn’t forget to pack my favourite one.
I would recommend packing an extra chunky beanie hat, preferably with a fleece lining. When you’re exposed to all the elements it really does make such a difference.
Planning on visiting the Blue Lagoon during your trip? If you are then definitely pack a hair bobble so you can tie your hair back. Apparently, the minerals in the water wreck your hair – I definitely felt it in the bits I got wet. It was extremely hard to get a brush through afterwards.
I’d also bring a couple of kirby grips so you can pin back any loose hairs at the front. I say this because you get a facemask as part of your ticket price at the Blue Lagoon. It apparently takes five years off you so you won’t want to miss out! Without the kirby grips you’re going to get face mask stuck to your hair, not fun when it solidifies and turns cement-like.
A reusable water bottle
A reusable water bottle is also a really good idea if you’re thinking about what to pack for Iceland in spring. You probably already know Iceland is pretty expensive so if you can save money somewhere, do it!
We didn’t buy any water when we were there – we simply filled our water bottles from the sink in the hotel bathroom. It meant that we didn’t have to splash out on bottles of water each day and it was better for the environment. What’s not to like?
I can’t take credit for this one as it was actually my sister’s budget brainwave. So we’ve already established that Iceland is expensive, right?
Therefore, it’s a good idea to shove some snacks in your suitcase so you don’t have to buy everything at a much higher cost while you’re there.
So what kind of snacks? I’m talking about the portable kind mostly. You’re out on long day trips a lot of the time and if you don’t prepare you’ll just end up buying food at every cafe you stop at. We had cereal bars and flapjacks in our bags so that we always had a filling snack to hand.
A battery charger
Imagine rocking up to the Blue Lagoon and not having any charge left on your phone? Or visiting an ice cave in a glacier and your phone dying? Having no charge on your phone could mean missing out on capturing some of those one-in-a-lifetime experiences.
That’s why you need a battery pack so you can charge your phone throughout the day. We actually had plug sockets on the bus one day but you can’t guarantee it. Even better, buy an audio and charge jack for your phone so you can listen to music while charging.
Your Iceland packing list:
- Waterproof coat
- Waterproof trousers
- Light down jacket
- Fleece or another warm layer
- Hat, scarf, and gloves
- Chunky socks
- Hiking boots
- Swimwear for the Blue Lagoon
- Hair bobble and kirby grips
- Re-useable water bottle
Anything else to consider?
It’s not all about the ‘gram of course, but I would it’s worth thinking about how your outdoor wear will look. A lot of bloggers recommend buying really bright clothes as they’ll look really striking against the rugged natural Icelandic landscapes. A bright raincoat does bring a certain aesthetic, especially if you choose yellow, red, bright pink, purple, or blue.
I’m not mad about colour and I preferred to get something more neutral that I know I would want to wear in my regular day-to-day life. I did steer away from black for this reason though – you probably will blend into the landscape a little. However, it was nice to add a splash of colour with the colourful stripes on my hat. Not a complete party pooper.
Obviously, the practicalities come first and you want to make sure a jacket will keep you warm and dry. But if you’re buying new for your trip it’s worth having a think about. Look at all these lovely colours below!
Tips for packing for Iceland
1. Shop for quality
One thing I know is that getting weather-appropriate clothing can be really expensive. Eye-wateringly so, really. However, I do think that proper outdoor wear is a better choice when you’re visiting somewhere like Iceland because it does make a difference. Good design, innit?
I would try to get higher quality items that work hard for you, rather than something that’s more of a fashion item off ASOS. And I can say that because I was the one with useless ASOS trousers. A gore-tex jacket or a down coat is what you need to look for, in my opinion.
2. Buy second-hand
So we know that proper outdoor clothing doesn’t come cheap. You only have to have a quick look at the price tags on North Face, Patagonia, and Rab clothing to see that. I, for one, don’t have £250 spare to spend on a jacket and so that’s why I got some of my stuff second hand.
I got the North Face fleece I mentioned earlier off eBay for a tenner. Well, my partner did. Considering I wore it every day of the trip I think that’s pretty good value for money! Definitely have a browse on eBay, Depop, and Vinted – and your local charity shops – for any bargains.
3. Don’t worry about fancy stuff
Do you need to bring any smarter clothes to Iceland? I’m probably not the best person to ask because, as I said, I basically wore the same stuff for the entire trip. The only thing I changed was my t-shirt each day. We also didn’t really go out for dinner in the evening either. Too tired lol.
Honestly, I would stick a nice jumper and a pair of jeans in your suitcase and leave it at that. Everyone is dressed for practicality in Iceland and it’s better to be warm than stylish, every time!