Are you trying to figure out what to pack for Iceland in summer? I’m breaking it all down in this post!
Iceland in summer is an absolute DREAM. Truly, road tripping around the Ring Road in Iceland during June was one of my top top TOP favorite travel experiences, ever. It’s really hard to overstate how magical Iceland is during summer, when it never gets dark.
Iceland in summer is also interesting, because “summer” is a bit of a misnomer – it can be COLD, even in June, July, and August. Of course, there can still be nice periods of weather too, but know that nice weather means the average high is about 57 degrees, with it sometimes getting up to the low 60’s F/15C. So even nice days can still be chilly.
And of course, it’s not just the air temperature that matters. Iceland can be extremely windy, and it can rain frequently as well. Plus, the weather can change on a dime – it can go from 20 mph winds and rainy to calm and clear several times in a day!
Despite this rather chilly weather forecast, summer is still an excellent time to visit Iceland, you just need to be prepared with the right gear!
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Strategy for Clothing to Pack for Iceland in Summer
When considering what clothing to pack for Iceland in Summer, your main strategy is LAYERS. Layers help keep you warm, but also are easy to remove if when it warms up for a bit or the sun comes out. Layers, layers, layers.
Iceland Packing List for Other Times of Year
While this Iceland packing list was specifically created with summer in mind, I actually think a lot of it applies to other seasons as well, particularly spring and fall. The closer you get to winter, the more heavy duty cold weather gear you’ll want, but a lot of the packing list still applies!
What to Pack for Iceland in Summer: Women’s Clothing
Okay, so I separated the clothing sections into two subsections: women and men. These sections could also be titled “cold people” and “warm people” (ha!). The types of clothing that I wore in Iceland were VASTLY different from what Matthew wore. I always run cold and he always runs hot, so I needed a lot more layers and warm items than he did.
With all the hiking, exploring, and adventure activities you’ll be doing, I recommend only sports bras for Iceland! These come in a set of three and are comfy, supportive, and affordable.
While I chose to only wear the shirt part of this thermal layer set, this set is a really good base layer or thermal underwear
The exact sweaters I wore are older, but these are very similar to the types of sweaters I wore in Iceland. I was aiming for something midweight and that wasn’t too boxy. (So, it added warmth but not too much bulk).
This puffy coat was a great layer – it actually isn’t too thick or bulky and added a lot of warmth. I liked having this coat for more warmth and the next jacket as a windbreaker/rainjacket.
A good rainjacket/ windbreaker is ESSENTIAL for Iceland. I particularly wanted a rainjacket that would really pop in the pictures and had my heart set on a yellow jacket. This one was perfect!
Frogg Toggs Poncho – An Alternate Option to a Rainjacket
If you have a great, warm coat that isn’t waterproof but also you don’t want to layer another jacket on top of, you could also just bring a poncho.
We actually really like this specific type of Frogg Toggs ponchos, because they are very sturdy and durable and look and act more like a jacket (with the sleeves) than a standard poncho. There’s also the option to buy a rain jacket + rain pants set, which is a good option if you don’t want to wear waterproof pants all day but also don’t want to get wet when it rains, either.
Either way, though, you FOR SURE need to have some type of waterproof jacket, whatever form it takes!
Leggings and Fleece Lined Leggings
I know a lot of people choose to wear waterproof pants in Iceland – both so you can add layers underneath and, of course, to stay dry in the frequent rainstorms that occur. I really don’t like those type of pants, and preferred to wear my favorite regular black leggings, or the same brand of leggings, but just fleece-lined.
Combined with all the other gear I was wearing, I stayed warm enough with just these sets on bottom.
What to Pack for Iceland in Summer: Men’s Clothing
Matthew’s packing list is so vastly different from mine – actually, as I was going back to compile this list and comparing what I wore and what he wore, I honestly couldn’t believe he wore so little!
Matthew always runs hot, and he’s a bigger guy, which keeps him warmer. Here’s what Matthew wore in Iceland in summer:
Waterproof Windbreaker Jacket
This is literally it. I had all these layers on, and he literally wore a long-sleeved (sometimes short-sleeved!) t-shirt, a pair of pants, this waterproof + windbreaker jacket, and that’s it (well, plus the hat + gloves mentioned in the next section. But as far as warm clothes go, this was it!)
Like I mentioned in my sections above, I would highly recommend a waterproof windbreaker jacket (or get the Frogg Toggs poncho jacket from above).
What to Pack for Iceland in Summer: “Accessories“
I’m calling this section accessories, but these are all still very much necessary items on your Iceland summer packing list.
I would bring 2-3 swimsuits for all the hot pots and hot springs you’ll visit in Iceland. Also, some of the natural hot pots will get your swimsuit a little bit dirty (the hot pots were nice, but they are natural, so there is some dirt on the rocks).
In particular, Hrunalaug, Fosslaug, and the Reykjadalur Thermal River all were spots where my swimsuit got a little dirty from the dirt. Consider bringing at least one old or dark colored suit for these hot pots.
I would also recommend bringing a couple of swim options to let them dry in between. I brought a white two piece and a black one piece and really liked how they looked in pictures. My suits are old, but these ones are very similar and highly rated!
A soft and warm beanie is a really lifesaver in the windy and often chilly Icelandic summer weather. I wore my hat practially nonstop, and Matthew wore a hat or headband frequently as well.
Good Winter Gloves
Even in summer, I would highly suggest packing a pair of good, thick, waterproof gloves. I wore my gloves almost the entire time we were out exploring in Iceland and was glad I had a really warm pair with me.
As always, I am always colder than Matthew, but Matthew still wore the gloves pretty frequently – usually to help block the wind.
I find that thin gloves do absolutely nothing to keep my hands warm. Since the weather in Iceland in summer can still be chilly, rainy, and windy, I would bring the winter gloves.
Hiking Shoes + Socks
Okay, let’s talk about shoes for a minute. In general, we felt like hiking boots were not absolutely necessary for Iceland. We did bring them, wore them, and they were nice, but we both also brought just a regular pair of good tennis shoes and wore those during our different activities as well, with no problem. Whatever style you choose, waterproof is best!
One spot that we did both wear hiking boots was when we were on the glacier hike – we just wanted the most stability possible (even though you attach crampons to the bottom of your shoes, so they aren’t strictly necessary, we still liked having them for that hike).
I would definitely recommend bringing two pairs of shoes though, in case one does gets wet.
Interestingly, despite my propensity towards always being cold, I actually did fine most days wearing just regular ankle socks.
All my shoes are old and not available, but Matthew has this pair of hiking boots that he really likes.
What to Pack for Iceland in Summer: Gear
All of the items on this gear list were incredibly helpful during our 7 day Ring Road road trip in Iceland!
On your trip to Iceland, you’re going to be visiting a lot of natural and manmade hot springs. The #1 thing I would recommend for these hot springs is a microfiber towel. These towels somehow manage to be super absorbant, yet dry really fast and pack down really small. They were absolutely perfect for the many dips we took in Icelandic hot pots.
Read More: 10 Amazing Hot Springs in Iceland (Ranked!)
Extra Charging Capacities
With the long days of sightseeing and the never-ending list of beautiful spots to see, you’ll definitely be using your phone a lot for pictures. We like to travel with this battery power bank so we can charge our phones as needed. I like this one because it has as digital screen telling us exactly what percentage we have left.
Alternatively, if you’re traveling by campervan, you can charge your phone in the car thingy dingy. We’ve actually started always bringing this car power strip on all of our roadtrips, and it would be very helpful for charging all your devices when you’re traveling by campervan in Iceland.
If you are traveling by campervan, the travel adaptors are unnecessary, as you will use the plug thingy in the car to charge your electronics.
However, if you are staying in hotels and guesthouses in Iceland, and you’re traveling from the US or another location that doesn’t use C type plugs, you’ll need an adaptor to charge your electronics.
I like this set, as it comes in a set of 3, is not expensive, and works for most places in Europe.
Clarifying Shampoo + Protein Free Conditioner
If you are visiting the Blue Lagoon (which you absolutely should – we loved it!), then definitely consider bringing a clarifying shampoo and protein-free conditioner to wash your hair out afterwards. The silica in the Blue Lagoon gives it it’s distinctive, milky blue color, but it will also cause your hair to turn into a gummy and straw-like texture.
To combat this, it’s highly recommended to wear your hair in a bun on top of your head, coat it with conditioner before entering the pools, and avoid getting your hair wet, and to wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo and protein-free conditioner afterwards if it does get wet.
I will say, I did this, but got splashed occasionally with the water. Afterwards, I did wash my hair with this shampoo + conditioner mixture but think I should’ve done it more vigorously, as I did notice some thicker texture to my hair in the following days.
Essentially, unless you have very short hair, I would plan on bringing the clarifying shampoo and protein-free conditioner. I linked some options here, but any brand will work!
Not only is water in Iceland safe to drink, since it’s basically all glacier water, it was some of the freshest and crispest water I’ve ever drunk! I know people get very attached to their water bottle of choice, but we’ve really liked our 40 oz hydroflask with the flip top lid – it works well keeping things cold for home and travel alike.
Iceland Mega Pro Tip: One of our favorite experiences in Iceland was hiking the Falljokul glacier. All glacier hikes have to be guided tours for safety reasons, and we chose to do a longer tour that took us up close to the ice fall. It also brought us by a tiny little glacier stream (on the glacier!) that we all got to sip water from. That water was unbelievably good. So clean. So crisp. So fresh. So pure. So delicious. I don’t want to oversell it but…
So, there’s 3 pro tips encapsulated in this mega pro tip. The first is to book the 4.5 hour glacier tour with the best tour guides ever at Melrakki. They drive you right up to the glacier (other companies make you walk 0.5 miles on ugly dirt to get to the glacier) and give very small group, personal tours.
The second pro tip is to bring an extra water bottle on your hike to fill up at the glacier stream. And the third pro tip is to book your glacier hike early – tours regularly sell out!
This item on your packing list for Iceland in summer is for anyone who is traveling by campervan. (Considering doing an Iceland campervan trip? Read our ultimate guide here!)
Because the weather was so volatile and would be rainy or windy when we were ready to eat, and also just because we wanted to spend as much time exploring, not cooking, we loved having these dehydrated meal pouches that we just filled with boiling water, and then 5 minutes later had a delicious, hot meal to eat.
We liked the Backpacker’s Pantry brand and the Mountain House brand. The lasagna and pad thai were our favorites.
This one might be a little bit more niche, but even as people who only take pictures with their phone, we really enjoyed having a tripod in Iceland. It gave us stability when we were taking pictures and videos of the erupting volcano, and it let us take some fun pictures of the two of us together.
We brought this, but this wasn’t something we ended up needing to use. However, if you are sensitive to light when you sleep, you should definitely consider packing a sleep mask, since it will always be light outside in the summertime.
Chapstick and Lotion
With Iceland’s often very windy climate, I found that my hands and lips got really dry. A good lotion and chapstick were absolute essentials for me – don’t forget to pack them!
I know people are very committed to their chapstick and lotion brands, so bring whatever you like, but I will say if you are looking for a hydrating and repairing chapstick – the Carmex stick has worked wonders for me!
Securing some travel insurance is an important part of prepping for any international trip – you never know when something might happen, and your regular insurance generally won’t cover you overseas. Costs for a medical emergency on vacation can add up extremely fast, so it’s just better to be safe than sorry. (If covid has taught me anything, it’s that you never know what could happen!)
I like booking insurance at Insure My Trip, as they offer a variety of plans with different coverages to choose from, so you can find the right option for you. Plus, they have great customer support if you need help before, during, or after your trip.
Iceland Packing List For Summer – A Summary
Women’s Clothing/Clothing for a Cold Person
- Sports Bra
- Thermal Layer
- Puffer coat
- Rainjacket Windbreaker
- Poncho or Poncho set
- Leggings/fleece-lined leggings
Men’s Clothing/Clothing for a Hot Person
- Waterproof windbreaker jacket
Accessories for Everyone
- Hiking shoes + tennis shoes
- Microfiber towel
- Battery pack and/or car invertor power strip
- Travel plug adaptors
- Clarifying shampoo/protein-free conditioner
- Dehydrated meals
- Sleeping mask
- Travel Insurance
What NOT to Pack for Iceland in Summer:
An Umbrella: Iceland is too windy for umbrellas, they will just get blown around. Skip the umbrella, and bring a rain jacket or poncho.
Jeans: They’re uncomfortable to hike in (at least, in my opinion), and take forever to dry. Considering Iceland’s propensity to rain, I’d leave these at home.
Bug Spray: Unnecessary. There are hardly any bugs in Iceland.
Water Purifier: As we mentioned above, water in Iceland is both safe to drink and delicious. No purification tablets, filters, or special water bottles needed.
Hammock: While it may be tempting to bring a hammock while you’re campervanning, I would skip it – there are almost no trees in Iceland, which makes it near impossible to string a hammock.
Sunscreen: Despite being outside in your swimsuit, thanks to the high latitude, you’re just not going to get a sunburn. While I do always wear my facial sunscreen no matter what, you can skip the general body sunscreen.
Flashlights: If you’re traveling in Iceland in summer, it will truly, always be light out. No flashlights or lanterns necessary!
Extra Stuff: Especially if you’re campervanning, you want to travel as light as possible
Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Iceland in Summer
I hope this helps you figure out what to bring with you to Iceland for your summer trip! (Or spring or autumn trip!) If in doubt, I would err on the side of having enough warm clothing, just in case it’s chillier than you expect!
I will say that by wearing this exact outfit outlined in this post, I stayed warm and cozy almost the entire time we were in Iceland, and it was easy to remove layers on the rare occasion that I got too hot.
Also, the gear items on this list were all extremely helpful, but for sure you NEED the microfiber towels!
Have a great trip to Iceland!