Island and Beach lover

What to pack to Iceland in the fall and winter (October – April)

Are you planning on visiting Iceland? And, wondering what to pack for Iceland in October? If so, then this blog post will help you pack for your trip! This Iceland packing list is written especially for the winter months because October is the beginning of winter in Iceland.

Iceland is a stunning country with lots to offer, especially if you enjoy hiking. For example, the Golden Circle is a hiking route in southern Iceland, covering about 300 kilometers looping from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back. Not to mention the hot springs and northern lights which make this country absolutely a must on your bucket list.

Layers

Warm layers, thin layers, lots of layers. Layers are the answer to the question of what to pack for an Iceland trip at this time of the year. The best parts of Iceland are outdoor activities such as watching the northern lights, glacier hiking on the south coast, or riding Icelandic horses on black sand beaches. However, exploring Iceland in the winter months, the strong winds and cold rainy days can be challenging.

Icelandic winter weather

The winter starts in late September or the beginning of October and ends in April. The average temperatures are around 0°C (32°F). The weather in Iceland can change rapidly during the winter. From warm days to cold nights, the temperatures are constantly changing. Especially inland and during winter, the weather can change abruptly and dramatically. The wind can rapidly increase in speed and the temperature quickly shifts. The sun is also stronger during this time of year, so make sure you cover up! Just like with any northern country, always be prepared with rain gear and a winter coat.

Wind- and waterproof jacket

The best option is to take an insulated waterproof and windproof jacket, but not everyone has this type of winter jacket. You can also achieve weather protection by wearing a warm jacket (down jacket) and a thinner waterproof jacket above it. Or you can wear a windproof and waterproof jacket with a fleece sweater under it. These options are also good because if you’re wearing layers it’s easier to adjust to the changing weather conditions.

Waterproof trousers

Waterproof pants are good to wear in Iceland in the winter. If you go outside, or even if you get wet somehow, then your clothes won’t get soaked and cold. Also, having warm clothes on underneath is a must, because Iceland can get very cold outside. Another option is wearing ski pants, which are water-resistant and will keep you warm.

Wool socks

Wool socks are also very important to wear in Iceland during winter months. If you don’t have warm socks on your feet, then they will freeze and feel like ice blocks after a while outside in the cold weather. Wool keeps you warm even when it’s wet. Ski socks are also a good alternative. If you’re feeling fancy merino wool socks are the absolute best.

Thermal underwear

When you visit Iceland in the winter, it’s a good idea to pack some thermal underwear. This a great way to keep you warm and comfortable when the temperatures start to drop at night. So remember to pack some thermal leggings, thermal tops, and other thermal layer options to keep you extra warm.

Long-sleeved shirts

Thin long sleeved shirts should be part of your winter essentials for Icelandic winters. Long-sleeved shirts are the best way to bring an extra layer to your outdoor outfit and can keep you extra warm.

Winter hat

Next up, warm hats. Having cold ears while hiking can be very uncomfortable, that is why you need a warm and windproof hat. Fleece hats usually are the best option for this, and some hats have a fleece interior or fleece ear flaps that can be tied up to cover your ears.

Waterproof hiking boots or walking shoes

You definitely need to pack a good pair of waterproof winter boots if you’re going to Iceland in the colder months! The Icelandic weather is known for being very unpredictable, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Make sure your hiking boots are waterproof so that you don’t get wet feet. I would recommend investing in good quality waterproof boots because don’t want to ruin your vacation by getting blisters on your feet. An alternative to waterproof hiking shoes are snow boots. Snow boots are nice and warm and waterproof winter boots, but for some people less comfy for hiking.

Blister plasters

On that note, I would recommend packing a couple of blister plasters too, just in case you get blisters on your feet while hiking around! They can be a lifesaver.

Windproof gloves

Windproof gloves are a must-have for a winter trip to this country. They’ll keep your hands warm and you will feel a lot less cold if it’s windy outside. Get a pair that windproof, breathable, and waterproof gloves – those would be the best option for Iceland in the wintertime.

Backpack

Make sure you pack a small backpack that is big enough to hold all of your essentials. You’ll likely be walking around a lot, so make sure you have enough room for any souvenirs or snacks!

Sunglasses

Although the weather is very unpredictable in Iceland, sunglasses are always a good idea. You never know when the sun might peek out from behind those clouds!

Sunscreen

Even though the sun is weaker during the winter, it’s still important to pack sunscreen. The winter weather can cause the snow to reflect more sunlight onto your skin, which is why it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Reusable water bottle

Next on this Iceland packing list is a reusable water bottle. You’ll be doing a lot of hiking in nature and there won’t always be shops or cafes around to buy bottled water from.

Snacks

It’s also a good idea to pack along some snacks so as not to get too hungry (or should I say hangry) while out and about. Energy bars, trail mix, or even some fruit are all good options.

Lip balm

If you have sensitive lips, the icy wind may make your lips crack and bleed, so make sure to pack a lip balm.

Camera

I recommend packing good camera gear if you’re going to Iceland in the Fall or Winter! This country is full of natural beauty and photo opportunities, so it’s nice to capture all of your memories in photos or film.

Extra cash

If you’re planning on doing any shopping during your trip, it’s always a good idea to bring along some extra cash. Many of the smaller stores in Iceland don’t accept credit cards, so make sure you have enough money to cover all of your purchases!

Map or GPS

You should definitely pack a map if you’re going to Iceland in the winter! It’s easy to get lost during this time of year, so make sure you have something that can help guide your way around the country.

Swimsuit or bikini

Last but not least, bring a swimsuit or bikini. Iceland has some amazing natural hot springs to visit, especially in the winter! These geothermal pools are very popular with locals and visitors alike (the most famous being the Blue Lagoon). If you’re planning on visiting these during your trip then make sure to pack a swimsuit or bikini. Also, if you’re not planning to go to the hot springs, your hotel might have a pool, so I absolutely recommend taking it in just in case.

Conclusion

I hope that this Iceland winter packing list was helpful as you plan your trip to Iceland! I listed all the winter essentials you need for an Iceland winter trip.

The biggest takeaway from this list is to bring waterproof clothes with you, such as waterproof gloves and a waterproof jacket. Besides staying dry also to stay warm by wearing warm layers and warm clothes, such as warm socks and a warm beanie. Lastly, add good hiking winter boots to your Iceland winter packing list.

Make sure you pack appropriately for the weather conditions when you explore Iceland in the winter season, and you’re sure to have a great time!

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