Iceland is an amazing destination. It is very diverse and is deservedly called the “land of fire and ice”. Whether ice caves, glacier hikes, or the exploration of a volcanic crater. Iceland is a paradise for all nature lovers.
The best way to explore Iceland is a road trip around the whole island! This way you can fully enjoy the freedom and nature. And with our 18 must-have Iceland packing list travel gadgets you are ready for the perfect trip in 2021 and beyond 🙂
Iceland should also be visited several times, as each season has its own charm. This is also a bit of a challenge, as you should be prepared for the different and sometimes quite extreme weather conditions.
But do not worry. This packing list and other recommendations and advice on this page will help you enjoy your Iceland trip to the fullest at any time of the year.
As with every journey, planning is an important aspect to avoid unpleasant surprises during the entire trip and to save money for the next one 😉
Regardless of your next destination, we also have some general information and tips for you in this article:
Smart Travel Planning – 5 Tips to Save Money on your next Trip
17 Travel Gadgets you need on your Iceland Packing List!
Universal Travel Adapter
A Travel Adapter is a must-have on every journey! With it you don’t have to worry about the sockets at your destination and you can charge your devices quickly on your own. Especially handy are the USB ports, which allow you to charge several devices at the same time at one socket.
Magnetic In Car Phone Holder
Perfect on every Road-Trip! And Iceland is made for road trips! The wide roads make it easy for every car driver to enjoy the beautiful nature without worries. This In Car Phone Holder is highly recommended as it is compatible with any car and smartphone.
Dual-Port USB Car Charger Adapter
Of course, it is also important that you do not run out of navigation while driving 😉 It is a small but very useful companion which you should always have in your car even when at home. Again, there are several USB ports with which you can even charge your camera equipment for the next stop while driving.
Lowa GTX Mid Hiking Boot
If you travel to Iceland, you simply have to walk through nature! With good hiking boots you make sure that you don’t mind longer hikes. And you will never get enough of hiking in Iceland. Lowa hiking boots are highly recommended because they are of excellent quality. We have been using them ourselves for many years and are totally convinced!
Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats
Iceland has extreme weather conditions. It is especially attractive to travel to Iceland in winter, not only because of the northern lights. Glacier hikes, snow-covered waterfalls and landscapes, as well as ice caves are beautiful destinations. This little extra for your hiking boots (or other shoes) ensures that you are always safe and have a firm grip.
Fast Drying Microfiber Travel Towel
If you think of Iceland, you may not think of a swimming vacation first. But on Iceland there are great hot lagoons and natural hot spots in the middle of nature! After a long hike it is an incredible feeling to relax there. But it is even colder when you get out 😛 That’s why these fast drying microfiber travel towels are highly recommended! Not only do they dry very quickly and allow you to get back into your warm clothes, they also take up very little space and are super lightweight.
Depending on how you want to travel Iceland, a backpacking backpack can be a great option. We have linked our loyal companions for you. When buying a backpack for hiking, it is very important to make sure that the weight is well distributed and your back is not put under the wrong load. Both backpacks have a large volume. We recommend not to exceed this volume, otherwise it will be too heavy.
Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack
If you have a big backpack with you, of course you don’t want to walk around with it all the time. This small practical ultra lightweight packable backpack is perfect for every trip! The daypack’s adjustable breathable straps ensure a proper fit and comfortable all-day use. We are really surprised how comfortable and robust it is. A clear recommendation!
Originally we bought these Packing Cubes in order to get along with a small piece of luggage even on a short weekend trip. But we quickly fell in love with the practical Cubes. You can not only save a lot of space, but also organize your luggage and save unnecessary packing and unpacking time. That’s why they should not only be part of your Iceland packing list but also of your general travel equipment 🙂
Action Camera 4K WiFi
Iceland is not only great for hiking, but also for diving and snorkeling! With this action camera you can capture unique moments and relive all the excitement at home. This product convinces especially in the price-performance ratio. An absolute highlight is the crystal clear water in the Silfra fissure.
Speaking of camera equipment, this Gorillapod is an absolute must-have for Iceland! With its help you can take breathtaking pictures of the dancing Northern Lights. You are guaranteed to enjoy these pictures for a long time after your Icelandic trip and remember the wonderful time you spent here.
A good extra to the scarf is a Softshell jacket. It is most important that they are windproof and water repellent. These two jackets have convinced us above all. Good clothing is always important because it keeps you in good shape longer and you can enjoy your vacation even more.
Knitted Winter Beanie
Make sure that your ears are protected. Not only in winter your ears need special attention on Iceland. Even in summer the strong wind can easily lead to unpleasant earaches.
Windproof and Water Resistant Gloves
Your perfect Iceland outfit is completed with these Windproof and Water Resistant Gloves. With the extra grip and touch function, you can even hold your smartphone in your hand and take some selfies or nature pictures 😛 Just like the hat, these gloves are also recommended in summer because of the strong wind.
The thermal underwear keeps you warm especially in winter and should not be missing on your Iceland packing list. I often wore only the thermal underwear and my Softshell jacket when hiking (and of course normal pants 😛 ). 1 pair of underwear is sufficient for your trip. If you feel uncomfortable with it you can of course pack more 😉
Foldable Water Bottle
Whether you are on a hike or an extended walk, sooner or later you will need something to drink. With this foldable drinking bottle you have a space-saving companion that can hold up to 1 litre of water. It is especially recommended on Iceland, as people like to hike longer than originally planned. This country simply has so much to offer!
Travel Headphones Sleeping Mask
Not only on the flight to Iceland but also “at night” on Iceland itself this sleeping mask can provide extra relaxation. In summer it hardly gets dark on Iceland, so someone with a light sleep will appreciate this gadget. Additionally you can listen to your favorite music or an audio book with this sleeping mask 🙂 This was already the last item for your Iceland packing list. Enjoy your Iceland adventure!
More Iceland Packing List Gadgets which may come in handy
Bonus Tip: Travel Insurance
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how quickly something unexpected can happen. However, in order for you to worry as little as possible during your well-deserved vacation, we have fought our way through the insurance jungle for you and looked for a reliable partner. Thereby we have stumbled upon WorldNomads.com. Insurance is always a very sensitive topic and honestly, we would rather do without it and spend the money on vacation for other nice things. But if something should happen, you are more than happy to have a partner like WorldNomads on your side!
Why WorldNomads has impressed us so much?
- Backed by specialized insurance providers and global assistance partners
- You can always buy the insurance online, even if you are already traveling
- You can adjust your insurance coverage during the trip and claim online
- They cover a range of adventure sports and activities
- Very high availability worldwide
6 Things you DO NOT need in Iceland
Windproof Travel Umbrella
I have seen this gadget on many Island Packing lists and wondered why it is on them. Who likes to go hiking with an umbrella when it is too windy outside? In my opinion, you should adjust your other clothing to all weather conditions (e.g. windproof softshell jacket with hood) so that you have your hands free.
Jet Lag Relief
Although it was a longer flight, I really had zero problems with jet lag on Iceland. Was it the fresh Icelandic air or my huge excitement? Iceland seems to solve the jet lag difficulties by itself.
There is no need to bring much cash as you can pay almost everywhere by card. On Iceland, $100 per person is enough to cover the time to the next cash machine in case of an emergency.
This might come in handy to stowe all your stuff, but you don’t need to keep it with you all the time as Iceland is super safe and secure
Try to avoid any heavy extra luggage. I did not find the time to read a book, as I enjoyed every second of the spectacular nature.
Non-practical clothing and jewelry
If you do not want to spend your Icelandic vacation exclusively in Reykjavík, you should pack only practical clothes. Most of the time you will be out hiking anyway!
3 Special Accommodations to stay in Iceland
Let’s start with our absolute favorite! The Guesthouse Nypugardar is just fabulous. From the warm welcome to the perfect location and the incredibly delicious dinner with home-bred lamb. The view from the room is indescribably beautiful. You can see directly to the fjord Hornafjörður and the Hvannadalshnjúk, the highest mountain of Iceland. The proximity to the Jökulsárlón glacier makes it a perfect accommodation for a road trip on the ring road. Also in terms of price, the accommodation is very good by Icelandic standards.
Are you a Viking fan? Then this accommodation is perfect for you! But also for all others it is a great way to start or finish your Icelandic adventure 😉 Hotel Viking can be reached directly by the shuttle bus from Keflavik airport. In addition it is only a 15 minutes bus ride to Reykjavík. Perfect location to save a few costs on the rental car, because you can book one day later or return it earlier. The accommodation itself is also very reasonable and has a lot to offer. We especially liked the rustic atmosphere and the food in the restaurant Valhalla.
Frost and Fire Hotel
First of all, this accommodation is a little more expensive. But it’s definitely worth it, if you want to treat yourself 🙂 The surroundings are just gorgeous! In addition to the bubbling geothermal springs, there is an outdoor pool and 2 Jacuzzis. This is where Instagramable Pictures are taken 😛 The location is perfect to finish off a hiking tour in Thingvellir National Park (about 40 minutes drive away). But make sure not to be late for your hotel. The sunset from the outdoor pool is a real highlight.
Budget flights to Iceland
4 seasons in Iceland. What to experience and what to be aware of
Spring in Iceland (April – May)
In spring Iceland wakes up from its hibernation. As far as temperatures are concerned, it still feels very winterly ( below 10°C ). So don’t forget to pack your cuddly socks 😛
Spring offers unbelievable great light conditions especially for professional but also for hobby photographers. Not only the sky offers amazing vibrant lights, but also everywhere else on Iceland you can see an astonishing variety of colors. For this reason alone a trip to Iceland in spring is highly recommended!
Which activities are most recommended in spring?
The first tip is going to be found in all seasons… Hike and enjoy the landscape! 🙂 No matter if on foot or by a unique trip on an Icelandic horse.
If you are not sensitive to cold, you can snorkel or dive in the Silfra fissure 😉 ( I myself did it in winter and was thrilled! )
An absolute highlight is the beginning of the Whale Season in April! An unique experience that you should not miss!
Due to the melted snow, the waterfalls are at their best in spring.
In springtime the temperatures also allow you to explore the Ring Road with a camper van and save some money. The prices are also a little bit cheaper, because most of the tourists arrive in summer. The real advantage, however, is that you have nature more to yourself.
But be prepared that some roads might be closed in spring. However, the Ring Road is passable all year round. There can only be temporary closures if the weather conditions are too extreme. So you might want to plan a few alternative stops for your road trip (don’t worry, you won’t be short of alternatives).
If you travel to Iceland, you will never run out of activities. In addition, an average of 17 hours of daylight await you in Iceland in spring. Enough time to explore the land of fire and ice 😛
Summer in Iceland (June – August)
Summer is the most popular travel season in Iceland. Not least because a very special natural spectacle takes place here: The midnight sun. As it is the peak time for tourists, make sure to book your accommodation and rental car in advance, especially in summer.
This means that the days almost never end, which also gives you extra energy 😉 The temperatures in summer vary a lot. But you can expect an average of very pleasant 15°C. So it is not too warm to go hiking in bright sunshine.
These months also make Iceland a paradise for photographers. Sunsets become sunrises and offer unique photo motives.
Which activities are most recommended in summer?
As already mentioned in spring, hiking is one of the absolute must-do’s in Iceland! However, in summer there is the special fact that it is almost 24 hours daylight and many tourists are on the road…. So why not do a “night”-hike to avoid the masses of tourists 😉 The Golden Circle Tour is a very popular route where you can see many great waterfalls and the Great Geyser. Plan on 2-3 days to enjoy everything in a relaxed way.
In summer you can also camp on Iceland! That way you can save your budget and also stay overnight in the middle of the beautiful Icelandic nature.
Puffins Puffins Puffins! I just love those gorgeous little birds. In summer you can see not only whales but also the world’s largest puffin colony!
Travel to Iceland in summer? Absolutely! On your packing list you can even remove some winter clothes. This allows you to travel with lighter luggage 🙂 If you feel up to it, you can also hike the Laugavegur route. This route has already been awarded by National Geographic as one of the best in the world (55km).
Autumn in Iceland (September – October )
Slowly the tourists leave Iceland and the off-season starts. If you travel to Iceland now, you will have even more space for yourself 😉
In autumn it is still relatively warm on Iceland, but the temperatures are quickly approaching winter. But this has its advantages, because with a little luck you can see not only the first snow but also the northern lights. Overall the temperatures are very similar to spring and will be between 0° to 10°C. However, it is much windier in autumn! Therefore windproof clothing is very important on your packing list.
Which activities are most recommended in autumn?
Again we have a little extra for your walks through the icelandic nature 😉 In autumn you can pick berries very well! Oh yes, picking berries on Iceland. Crowberries and Blueberries can be found on many hiking trails.
You can also start hunting the northerners. Make sure that you are outside of big cities (best in the north of Iceland) and have a good camera equipment with you. The Gorillapod from our packing list is also very helpful!
For a little more adrenaline we recommend a kayaking tour along the fjord. With a bit of luck you can also see the northern lights here. A magical moment.
But of course the photographers will also get their money’s worth. The beautiful autumn colors offer unique pictures! We love Iceland in any season anyway 😉 So travel to Iceland as often as you can.
Finally a very special recommendation: Visit the lava tunnel Raufarhólshellir. This experience is really indescribable and should be seen with your own eyes.
So a trip to Iceland in autumn is definitely a good idea! You can also save some money in the off-season. Overall, Iceland is affordable at any time of the year if you save a bit here and there 😉 In addition, the driving conditions are very good in autumn, as the roads are free and the weather is not that extreme yet.
Winter in Iceland (November – March)
Winter season is the darkest period of the year, so a good preparation is very important 🙂 You should be ready for the extreme weather conditions as well. We strongly recommend that you follow the clothing recommendations on our packing list 🙂 Of course you can also pack other softshell jackets or something similar 😛
But don’t let yourself be scared off too much. I myself drove the Ring Road in winter without any problems. Besides, you experience unique moments especially at this time. Of course the darkness also favors the chance to see the northern lights. If they are extremely strong, it can even seem like daylight.
The average temperature is around 0°C. But the cold is by no means bothersome and with the right clothes you won’t have to freeze. You will be warm anyway when you go hiking 😉
Which activities are most recommended in winter?
A hike through the Winter Wonderland? No problem on Iceland in winter! The snow-covered landscapes and fantastic waterfalls are truly unique in the world.
In addition, a side trip to the sulphur fields in the north of Iceland should not be missed. The smell takes a lot of getting used to 😀
The hot pots are especially recommended in winter. I personally would skip the touristic (and very expensive!) Blue Lagoon and visit Mývatn Nature Baths. Another highlight there is that you can have a beer (or any other drink of your choice) brought straight to the hot pot.
Furthermore, in winter you can combine a glacier hike with a visit to an ice cave. This will definitely be an unforgettable day for you!
Who doesn’t think of Christmas with this scenery? Luckily there is also the house of Santa Claus on Iceland 😉 So off to Akureyri for a short visit to Santa.
If you travel to Iceland, you will never be disappointed. But we have to admit that winter is our personal favorite time to visit Iceland 🙂 But you are going to miss the cute little puffins 😛
10 Interesting Facts about Iceland!
Celebrating Christmas with 13 Santas
On Iceland there is not just one Santa… they have 13!
And each of them has its own arrival and departure date 😉
Besides, everyone has his own mischievous character. For example, Skyrgámur is known for eating the skyr from everyone 😛
The 13 Santas serve to show the children wrong behavior.
There are also beautiful handmade figures for each Santa to collect. This way you always have a new reason for another trip to Iceland.
Icelandic Horses are banned from returning
The Icelandic law forbids all horses to be imported to Iceland. Furthermore, exported horses are not allowed to return.
That is why it is said that Icelandic horses are the purest horse breed in the world.
So make sure you get a beautiful picture with this magnificent animal in the nature of Iceland 😉
Until the year 1989 there was still the prohibition on Iceland 😉
But since then the Icelanders love their golden drink even more and celebrate “Bjórdagurinn” (Beer day) every year on March 1st.
There are over 100 Icelandic words for “wind”
It is no secret that weather conditions in Iceland can be very extreme. And also the Icelandic language is not necessarily the easiest in the world (example: say this word out loud… Eyjafjallajökull – A volcano on Iceland 😛 )
To talk about the fast changing weather the Icelanders thought of far more than 100 different words.
Iceland is the safest country in the world
There are many reasons for this. The most beautiful reason for me is the thought that Iceland with its less than 400.000 residents is like a small village where everybody knows and trusts each other 🙂
You can see two of the earth’s tectonic plates meeting above the earth’s surface
And you can even dive or snorkel between them!
This makes Iceland even more unique and special, as this is one of only two places in the whole world, where you can see this!
You will hardly notice this during your visit to Iceland, because you have so much nature to admire. but after hearing this info for the first time I was surprised how I could have missed it 😀
At that time the Vikings took care that a lot of the trees were cut down.
A positive side effect, there are also no mosquitoes 😉
One in 10 Icelanders publishes a book
Yes Iceland is really a nation that loves books! Not only are there an incredible number of authors in Iceland, you will also see an unusual number of libraries and other stores where you can buy books while strolling through the streets 🙂
One of the most popular Christmas presents is therefore of course, a book.
There are no familiy names on Iceland
Somewhat uncreative but nevertheless quite funny is the Icelandic system for finding surnames 😛
You simply take the first name of the mother/father and add a dottir/son behind it.
This way you immediately know who to contact if the little Stefanson has done something wrong 😉
And last but not least, do you know the national sport of Iceland?
It’s Handball! 😉
Every handball player you ask will tell you that soccer is a sissy sport 😛 Handball is a much more intense sport and you have to be more robust. But handball players can also celebrate well off the court.
This is a good description of a robust but very warm and lovable Icelander 😛