Iceland in winter was probably the hardest trip I’ve ever packed for. The weather can get crazy cold/rain/wind, but then can also be somewhat nice (as you can tell by my not wearing a coat in the photo below). I’ve listed here some essential clothes and brand suggestions to consider before taking a trip to this icy country.
I got this Cuddle Dud long sleeve shirt, priced at $32. It’s super comfy and warm and I wore it pretty much every day that I was there. In hindsight I wish I would have brought two of these because I wore it so much!
In addition to your base layer shirt you will of course need a few regular shirts as well! I brought two of my comfiest long sleeve shirts, and also a warm crew neck wool sweatshirt from Walmart. I was tired of buying expensive clothing gear haha, so Walmart for the win! I actually love that sweatshirt now though.
I brought my North Face Osito 2 jacket, priced at $99. This coat is super warm, and there were a few days I only wore this coat without my outer layer. On extra cold or windy days though, you will be glad to have two coats.
My outer coat layer actually isn’t very warm. It was mostly about giving myself some extra shield from the wind, having a hood, and covering my butt! You will definitely need a longer coat in Iceland otherwise your butt will freeze. I don’t really have any brand suggestions for this because there are just so many options. Any coat that is longer and has a hood will do the trick!
Thermal Leggings- 2 Pairs
Let me just say right off the bat that base layers are everything in Iceland. I bought a pair of Under Armour thermal leggings, base layer 4.0, priced at $85. The 1.0 leggings are cheaper, but won’t keep you as warm. I’m not sure how drastic of a difference there is between the two, but I can for sure say that there were many times during our trip that I was thankful to have the 4.0 ones. I wore two pairs of leggings everyday- the Under Armous ones, and then a pair of Cuddl Dud activewear leggings, priced at $32, underneath. This combination was perfect because the Cuddl Dud leggings are pretty thin (but still super warm) and then the Under Armour leggings were my outter, thicker layer.
I only used these a couple of times but I still think they were worth bringing. I got these North Face ones for $70. They are super lightweight and were perfect for just throwing on over my leggings if I knew we were going to a waterfall or something. There’s nothing worse than getting your pants wet from waterfall mist and then having to get back in the car and drive for hours!
These socks were seriously everything to me! I found some Merino wool socks at Walmart for only $15 and they kept my feet soooo warm. They are really thick and went up past my ankle to give my lower leg a bit of coverage as well. I usually wore two pairs of socks- regular socks and then the thermal ones over them- everyday.
I couldn’t find my exact pair of hiking boots online but these ones are very similar for $150. I really like this brand because they double as good snow boots and hiking boots. I used these boots to hike all around Costa Rica last year, through Iceland in winter, and most recently through the desert-like climate of Uganda.
If you don’t know, crampons are an ice pick device you can strap on to the bottom of your shoes when you’re walking on slippery ice. I didn’t even know what these were until I went to Iceland. I didn’t bring a pair of these, but Lizzie had a pair and they definitely came in handy a few times. I still have a vivid memory of my clinging to Lizzie as she walked me down a set of stairs COVERED in ice. Anyways, if you want to invest in a good pair of crampons check out these REI ones for $129. If you’re looking for a cheaper pair to get you through this one trip, check out these for only $20.
I almost didn’t bring shorts on this trip but I’m SO happy I did. I just slept in Nike shorts every night and it was the best feeling ever. After my legs were so bundled up during the day, it felt so good to put shorts on at night. All the hotels we stayed in were really warm despite the cold outside so that wasn’t a problem.
Please don’t go to Iceland with only ear warmers haha. Investing in a good hat can make all the difference! I bought a Northface hat that was lined with fleece on the inside and knit on the outside. I couldn’t find my exact one, but I found a similar one here for $24.
Pretty self explanatory.
I bought a pair of Northface gloves but I ended up only wearing them once. I mostly just wore two pairs of those basic knit gloves that you can get at Target or Walmart. There were some times that my hands were freezing but I always found it too bothersome to pull out my real gloves. If you want to invest in real gloves though, I got these Northface waterproof, windproof and touchscreen gloves for $40. They’re nice because they aren’t super bulky, and they have a clasp to hook them together when you aren’t wearing them. That was helpful for me because I am always loosing everything.
Because hot springs!!
Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments!