What I'm packing for Iceland

Only a week to go and I'm starting to feel the stress of trying to pack for unpredictable weather. The recent pictures and weather updates I've seen haven't been too great for the Reykjavik area, but things could also be a lot worse. 

After looking at a few sample / real-life packing lists, I've decided to go with lighter items that can be layered for extra warmth. The biggest issue has been trying to pack as light as possible for nearly two weeks while sharing a suitcase with my husband. Even though we will have access to a washer, I don't want to have to be doing laundry every day - this is my vacation, after all. 

One other issue is trying to pack for a fairly good range of activities. General city exploring, hiking, and nice evenings are all things on the agenda, so I've tried to pick things that can be pretty versatile. 

Iceland packing list


  • Gray sweater

Cozy and not too bulky, so it will be good for layering on any particularly cold days and chilly nights. 

  • Striped top 

A classic that can be dressed up or down. 

  • Chambray shirt

Looks good with anything, good for layering, and can also work for day or night. 

  • Running top

For the more physical activity centered days and when I want to be extra comfy. 

  • Thermal base layer top

Layering and warmth essential. 


  • Medium wash jeans

My favorite pair that goes with everything and are comfortable enough to wear all day. 

  • Black leggings (wear on the plane)

Super comfy and good for hikes, running around, and keeping warm. 

  • Black thermal leggings

The other half of my plan to stay warm. 


  • Surplus anorak jacket (wear on the plane)

The longer length makes it good for keeping warm and looking somewhat chic. Also waterproof, so perfect for the inevitable rain.

  • Packable down jacket

An essential for any traveler and a good way to keep warm if it gets extra chilly.


  • Athletic shoes (wear on the plane) 

Comfy, looks good with basically anything, and good for any spontaneous hikes. 

  • Waterproof boots

Wet, cold feet are 100% the worst thing that could happen while away from home. 


  • Backpack

Necessary for day trips and carrying around camera gear.

  • Beanie

Gotta keep those ears warm and my hair from constantly being in my face.

  • Sunglasses

I haven't been anywhere where I don't need sunglasses.

  • Wool socks

For someone who always has cold feet, these are the best thing to wear with boots.  

Hopefully I won't be completely off with my choices and have to buy an entire capsule wardrobe while there. If anything, I'll just pick up a warmer coat if I have to. Having never been to Iceland and never having so little packing space, it's going to be interesting to see how it all goes.

We'll be there for 10 days, and we do have a washing machine in our Airbnb, so that definitely helps. I've also got to figure out and fit in my toiletries, but I'm a lot less worried about that than managing to make everything as functional as possible!