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Ultimate Iceland Packing List: What to Pack for Iceland in Winter

Updated: Feb 20

Planning a winter trip to Iceland but unsure about what essentials to pack? It's completely understandable, especially when facing unfamiliarly cold temperatures. Deciding what to pack can be a bit overwhelming as you embark on your journey to Iceland in winter.

With numerous fascinating locations and freezing temperatures, Iceland is one of the most fascinating travle destinations in Europe - but it's often challenging to figure out the right items to bring along. But fret not, our handy Iceland packing list will provide you with all the essential information to ensure you are well-prepared without overpacking.

Finnland & Lappland Packliste Winter


Table of Contents


1. Weather in Iceland: How cold does it get in Iceland during winter?

The weather in Iceland during winter is often cold and rugged. Average temperatures vary depending on the region and month, but generally, the winter season in Iceland spans from November to March. For instance, we traveled to Iceland at the end of November.

To give you a better understanding of the average daytime temperatures in Iceland during the winter months, we've included a climate table for the period from November to March.




3°C to -1°C


2°C to -3°C


2°C to -3°C


3°C to -2°C


3°C to -2°C

2. Packling List for Iceland: Important Travel Information in Advance

Before we dive into our packing list, we want to provide you with some essential information for your trip, ensuring you're perfectly prepared for your snowy adventure.

Travel Documents and Money

Iceland is not part of the EU; nevertheless, your ID card is sufficient for entry. The local currency is the Icelandic Króna, but you can use cards almost everywhere. We recommend not carrying too much cash. If you plan on snowmobiling or renting a car, you'll need your driver's license.

Here's a summary of the essential documents:

  1. Passport or ID card

  2. Wallet

  3. Debit card

  4. Credit card

  5. Health insurance card / Travel insurance

  6. Cash

  7. International driver's license

Luggage Allowance & Weight Limits

Most airlines allow 23kg of checked luggage. Since winter clothing takes up considerable space, we highly recommend utilizing this option. If you're staying in Iceland for a week, one large suitcase for two people should suffice.

In addition to checked luggage, you can also bring carry-on baggage, typically weighing up to 8kg and not exceeding dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 23cm.

We always carry our camera equipment in our carry-on, and you can find how we pack it below.

3. What to Wear in Iceland: Clothing for Winter in Iceland

Appropriate clothing is crucial for a winter vacation. Given the chilly and windy conditions in Iceland, it's essential to pack warm, windproof attire. Therefore, the following clothing items should definitely be in your suitcase!

  • Warm winter jacket or coat

  • Ski pants / Snow pants / Thermal hiking pants (for ladies / gents)

  • Ski / Thermal underwear (for ladies / gents)

  • Balaclava

  • Fleece sweater (for ladies / gents)

  • Wool sweater

  • Jeans

  • Sweatpants

  • Underwear

  • Optional: Swimsuit

  • Pajamas

  • Warm socks

  • Wool socks (wear these as extra pair of socks when you plan to stay longer outside)

  • Gloves

  • Beanie

The Right Jacket for Your Iceland Trip

In our view, the ideal jacket for Iceland should possess the following qualities: it must be wind-resistant, waterproof jacket, which is well-insulated. Ideally, your winter jacket should also have a hood for additional cold protection.

If you already own a warm ski jacket, you can definitely use it for your winter vacation. Ensure that there is enough space under your jacket for layering different clothing.

If your base layers are warm enough, you may not need to purchase a special jacket for this trip.

Person geht im Schnee

Selecting the Right Snow Pants for Iceland in Winter

A pair of snow pants can make a significant difference in Iceland, so be sure to include them in your gear. We recommend these thermal pants, for example.

Essential Functional Underwear

Also crucial: thermal underwear. For our Iceland adventure, we opted for slightly warmer functional underwear, choosing this set.

Which Gloves are Best for Iceland?

To keep your hands warm for extended periods, bring suitable gloves. While local organizers often provide warm mittens, they limit your mobility. Mittens make it challenging to operate your phone or camera.

For this reason, we each brought along these gloves and were highly satisfied. With warm hands and the necessary flexibility, they proved to be the perfect choice. An alternative to those are these gloves which are windproof and water-repellent.

4. Shoes and Socks for Iceland: Keeping Your Feet Warm in the Arctic

In the icy realms of Iceland, warm feet are an absolute necessity. That's why when it comes to choosing your footwear and socks, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind.

The Ideal Winter Shoes

When selecting your winter shoes, prioritize those with a thick sole. Additionally, they should be waterproof and ideally insulated. When making a purchase, be sure to go up a size to allow room for 1-2 pairs of thick socks. We recommend these winter shoes, for instance.

Tip: Insulating your feet is crucial for staying warm in the frigid Iceland temperatures. Don't skimp on the thickness of your socks and choose ones made for extreme cold.

Winterlandschaft Polarlichter Island

Socks Matter

Investing in high-quality, warm socks is just as important as choosing the right shoes. Look for thermal or wool socks that provide insulation and moisture-wicking properties. For Iceland, consider these cozy options.

Pro Tip: Bring extra pairs of socks, especially if you plan on partaking in activities where your feet may get wet. Dry feet are happy feet!

Remember, your feet are your mode of transportation in this winter wonderland, so ensuring they stay warm and dry is key to a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

5. Iceland Packing List: Personal Care Essentials

When it comes to our personal care items, we make a conscious effort to prioritize compactness, lightweight options, and minimal (plastic) packaging. In the detailed breakdown below, discover all the crucial items that shouldn't be left behind on your Iceland adventure:

  • Toiletry Bag

  • Shampoo, shower gel, and conditioner

  • Deodorant

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss

  • Cotton swabs

  • Nail care set

  • Hairbrush

  • Hair ties

  • Makeup

  • Lip care

  • Razor

  • Tweezers

  • Tampons, sanitary pads

  • Face cream / Cold protection cream

  • Body lotion

  • Tissues

Pro Tip: Embrace travel-sized versions of your toiletries for a space-saving and lightweight solution in your luggage.

6. Photography Gear & Tech Essentials for Iceland

Capturing your dream vacation in Iceland is a must, so be sure to have your camera ready. Here, you'll find this and other technical essentials for your holiday:

By the way, if you're curious about the detailed breakdown of our camera gear, you can find it here.

7. Iceland Packing List: Miscellaneous Essentials

For your outings, we've compiled a list of some items that can come in handy.

Tip: Try Audible free for 30 days and enjoy audiobooks during your vacation or on your journey.

8. Tips to Combat the Cold in Iceland

To ensure you can relish the winter wonders of Iceland outdoors without freezing, here are our top tips for battling the cold:

  • Layer Up: Embrace the Onion Look - Layer your clothing, for instance, wear two pairs of socks on top of each other.

  • Opt for Contacts: In freezing temperatures, glasses can fog up and the lenses freeze. To avoid this, consider using contact lenses.

  • Heated Insoles: Definitely a must for next time! Feet tend to get cold quickly, especially when spending evenings outdoors chasing the Northern Lights. We received recommendations for these heated insoles.

  • Hand Warmers: The counterpart to heated insoles - hand warmers. Alternatively, there are pocket heaters that keep hands warm without any scent. They use lighter fluid and are reusable.

  • Power Bank: Smartphones drain faster in extreme cold, so having a power bank is crucial. We used this one.

  • Cold Protection Cream: If you want to shield your skin from the cold, a cold protection cream is a great idea. Make sure it doesn't contain water. Avoid using regular face cream before going outside, as the water content could have the opposite effect.

  • Balaclava: An absolute game-changer - a balaclava not only keeps a part of your face warm but also ensures you're snug from head to neck. We had this balaclava with us during our Iceland trip and highly recommend it.

9. Safeguarding: Retrieving Your (Hand) Luggage

You probably remember the old luggage tags where you wrote your name and address in case your baggage went missing. Today, this process is incredibly easy with a QR code that you can stick to your luggage, only requiring a quick scan.

The advantage is that your name and address are not publicly visible, and you can be contacted anonymously.

These QR code stickers can also be used for various valuables, such as your AirPods, providing an added layer of security.

10. Tips for a Pleasant Flight

Since most of us don't fly in First or Business Class, a longer flight in Economy Class can quickly become a bit uncomfortable. That's why we're here to guide you on how to make your flight as relaxed and comfortable as possible! In this blog article you can find our best tips for a pleasant flight!


Now that you know what you need for a winter vacation in Iceland, all that's left is to book your ticket, pack your suitcase, and off you go! You can find affordable flights on, by the way.

Would you like more insights into our travels? Check out our Instagram channels tom_rbg_ and anna_mser! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the routes through these channels!


*This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links won't incur any extra costs for you; it's a way to support and reward our efforts.


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