If you’ve been following my travels you know that there is one rule my family has and that is that we can only bring a carry on, checked bags are not allowed! When I found out we were going to Iceland I got nervous because I thought there was no way I’d be able to fit all my cold weather clothes into one bag!
Surprisingly it ended up being the easiest trip to pack for AND I didn’t even wear all the clothes I brought. I’ll be sharing with you what I packed and how much of each item I packed and hopefully help ease your nerves. Iceland is after all the land of fire and ice and temperatures can change multiple times in one day depending what part of the country you’re visiting.
We went to Iceland in May so it was the start of summer in Iceland. If you’re traveling to Iceland during winter/colder months check out this blog post that shares what you should pack!
With all the waterfalls, glaciers and rain in Iceland, you don’t want to be without your waterproof pants and rain jacket. There were opportunities to walk behind waterfalls or times it would be pouring rain and let me tell you without the proper gear, you will be miserable! These items will protect you from the rain while also adding an extra layer of warmth. I also packed 3 sweatshirts to layer over my long-sleeve tops to stay extra warm. A lot of times during the trip I was warm enough to just wear a long sleeve top and a sweatshirt, but it was nice to have my rain jacket on hand if it got chilly.
Base layers are super important because there is a chance you’ll be hiking a glacier in the morning and in the afternoon walking through a crater of a volcano. Wearing layers helps keep you warm and makes it easy to take off items to stay cool. For an 8 day trip, I packed 6 long sleeve tops, 2 t-shirts and one tank top to work out in. I also would rewear a few of these tops throughout the trip.
Luckily the weather in Iceland in May is around the 50-60s and I didn’t need to pack a bunch of warm bottom layers. I brought 2 pairs of leggings, 2 pairs of jeans and water-resistant pants. I would rewear a bunch of these items throughout our trip and would pair them with different tops to change-up each outfit. The coldest day we had I wore my black Lululemon yoga pants under my water-resistant pants and wore my waterproof pants over both of them. I stayed warm and dry the whole day!
The one thing you do not want to forget on your packing list for Iceland is hiking boots! You will want to have sturdy boots that are capable of keeping up with all of Iceland’s different terrains. Waterproof boots are also a plus! Along with my boots, I packed my favorite Adidas slip ons. I wore these on the plane and during more casual times of our trip. Another tip is to pack only outfits that match your shoes that way you can wear multiple outfits and make the most out of the shoes you brought. If you try to pack shoes to match your outfits rather than choosing outfits to match your shoes, then you will likely overpack shoes you bring.
The main accessories you will want to bring are a warm hat, gloves and warm socks. I almost packed a scarf, but took it out last-minute. I am happy I didn’t bring it because I ended up not needing it at all.
waterproof pants, waterproof jacket, hiking boots.
I tried to keep my “extra” items to a minimum. I didn’t want to overload my bag with items I may need. The items I was really happy that I brought were my waterproof phone case, swimsuit, waterproof camera, electrical outlet converter, snacks, headphones, sleep mask and sunglasses. An item I wish I brought was an external iPhone charger.
I try to be intentional about how i pack my items and I wanted to show how I place items into my luggage. I promise, all of this can fit into a carry on. 🙂
Packing cubes are so helpful because they help consolidate items. I packed my base layers and pants in one cube and pjs/underwear and socks into another!
Next I added my sweatshirts and rain jacket and then my two dresses that I ended up not even wearing.
On top of those items, I added my hiking boots. These boots were brand new and the bottoms were clean. If these have been worn before, I would’ve placed them in a travel shoe bag or plastic bag you could fin around the house.
My makeup bag and accessories were the last to go in my bag! That way if I needed quick access to my makeup/skincare items I could reach them quickly.
In my zipper pocket, I added all my extra items and snacks for the trip! Like I stated earlier, I removed my scarf before we left for the trip which opened up extra space!
I hope this packing list has been helpful and allows you to not overpack for your upcoming trip. Please share your packing tips for Iceland if you have been in the comments below!
Comment below or reach out to me on my Instagram if you have anymore questions about packing for Iceland!