What to Pack for Iceland in the Summer

What to Pack for Iceland in the Summer

Michael Baikepi Michael Baikepi
26. May 2022 (Updated: 5. Oct 2022) ∼ 11 min. read


Summer in Iceland is not as summer-y as you might think. However, visiting during the summer is a fantastic idea, as the days will be longer. The grass will be greener, and sheep will be roaming the countryside. There are activities, like whale-watching and glacier hiking you can engage in – not to forget the spectacular festivals you can attend.

June and July are the summer months in Iceland, maybe up to mid-August. Temperatures average around 55°F (12°C) but can go all the way up to 60-65°F (15-18°C).

If you're wondering what to pack for Iceland in the summer, you're in the right place, as you'll find the complete list here. We’ve left out the essentials, like underwear and socks, as it’s up to you to decide how many you pack.

Quick Overview: Iceland Summer Packing List for a 7-Day Trip

  • A windproof rain jacket.
  • A beanie.
  • A pair of touch-screen gloves.
  • 3-5 Sweaters.
  • 3-5 T-shirts.
  • 1-2 Fleeces or hoodies.
    • 2-3 Pairs of jeans.
      • 2-3 Pairs of leggings.
      • Hiking boots.
      • A pair of sneakers.
        • A pair of sandals or flip-flops.
          • A thin jacket.
          • A bathing suit.

          Complete List of What to Pack for Iceland in the Summer

          This list of what to pack for Iceland is separated into 5 categories, the:

          • Best clothes.
          • Best shoes.
          • Best electronics.
          • Adventure essentials.
          • Travel must-haves.

          Best Clothes for Iceland in the Summer

          Waterproof/Windproof Pants and Jacket

          If you hate getting wet as I do, then consider packing waterproof pants and a jacket. These are the cornerstone of your packing list as the weather is notoriously unpredictable and regardless of how many days you’ll spend here, you’ll need these one way or another.

          I prefer a lightweight waterproof pair that I can easily pull over my clothes when I need them, and place them in my backpack when I don’t.

          You'll need these when visiting waterfalls, puffin spotting on a boat, and when on a horse ride.

          Light But Warm Jacket/Coat

          Apart from your waterproof layers, you'll need to pack a light but warm jacket, such as a fleece jacket. This is great to wear during chilly outdoorsy adventures. Because it’s light, you can roll it up and shove it into your bag when it gets warm.

          Summer in Iceland never gets frigid enough to necessitate putting on a heavy parka. A fleece jacket is almost always enough.

          Light-Layer Tops

          Like fleece jackets, light layer tops are warm enough to get by an Iceland summer. Though it can get chilly, layering up always does the trick.

          Pack some thin sweaters, sweatshirts, long-sleeved tops, and light underlayers. Make sure you can add layers when temperatures drop and remove layers when temperatures rise.

          Bottoms

          Most of the pants you pack depend on your preferences. I love jeans as they always look good on me. If outdoor adventures like horseback riding or hiking are in your plans, you’ll want to pack adventure-worthy pants to fit the occasion.

          Get a pair of traditional hiking pants or something more comfortable and flexible than jeans for horseback riding. 

          (Note that the "outdoor" pants you use during adventures will get dirty, especially when horses are involved. So you’ll need a pair of "indoor" pants to use on special occasions.)

          Fleece-Lined Leggings

          I can't recommend fleece-lined leggings enough for your trip to Iceland. These types of leggings are very comfortable as the fleece lining adds coziness and warmth that you'll need when it gets cold.

          Fleece-lined leggings aren't bulky, and they are not too warm that they would cause problems when the sun comes out.

          Headband or Beanie

          The temperatures may not be extreme, but having something to keep your ears and head warm is a must in Iceland's wind. I usually have my beanie on or in my bag, and I'm sure you'll need it too. Be it on the beaches, the water, the countryside, or wherever.

          I've noticed that women also love headbands, but I'm a man, what do I know?

          Bathing Suit

          Though it may be a bit chilly during an Icelandic summer, the water is forever warm.

          Iceland is world-renowned for its hot springs and geothermal spas, and I'm sure you'll want a dip. Regardless of how short your trip will be, visiting the Blue Lagoon, at least should be on your checklist.

          man looking at a map

          The Best Shoes for Iceland in the Summer

          Weather-Resistant Shoes

          Most parts of Iceland are undeveloped. The ground leading to most sites is dirty, uneven, slippery, and rocky so pack a pair of weather-proof boots to aid you on the trip.

          Make sure the boots have rugged soles with a good tread. Make sure they are also flexible, comfortable, waterproof, and lightweight. 

          Good examples of weather-resistant boots are hiking shoes, and trail runners.

          Casual But Waterproof Shoes

          Water is everywhere in Iceland – from rain, oceans, rivers, and waterfalls. It can easily damage your shoes, which is why I recommend waterproof shoes. 

          Duck boots are great examples of casual shoes that don’t absorb water and can dry very quickly.

          Flip-Flops

          Bathing suits aren't complete without flip-flops. If you're going to visit the Blue Lagoon, you'll want to pack a pair of flip-flops to wear at the facility. You're going to need them for walking around the hot springs and geothermal spas, the showers, the hotel room, and going to the locker rooms.

          A simple pair of flip-flops are must-packs when traveling.

          Shoes at waterfall iceland

          Iceland Summer Adventure Essentials

          Refillable Water Bottle

          There is no need to stock up on bottled water as the water in Iceland is cold, super-refreshing, and completely free! Don't be fooled by the persistent smell of sulfur or the boiling mud. Tap water and water from most rivers is drinkable. 

          Make sure you pack a refillable water bottle to refill on the go, saving you loads of money.

          Binoculars

          Most of the amazing things to see in Iceland are seen from a distance. This is mostly for precautionary reasons. You don't want to be too close to an exploding volcano for example.

          It's also for keeping a respectable distance between you and the wildlife. Oftentimes, you'll want a closer look during your adventures, and a pair of binoculars will do that for you.

          For that reason pack a small pair of binoculars that you'll use during your puffin tours.

          Hiking Backpack

          Whether you're planning to go on a long hike or not, you'll want to have a small backpack with you at all times.

          Having a backpack allows you to pack your camera equipment, snacks, water bottle, rain gear, and more.

          Backpack Rain Cover

          Icelandic adventures often end in you getting wet – somehow.

          You’ve packed your waterproof jacket and pants. Now you need something to cover your backpack. A rain cover ensures electronics and snacks are not damaged by the water.

          Most adventure backpacks come with their own rain cover, so check before you add it to your Iceland summer packing list.

          a woman wearing a backpack in ceialdn

          Iceland Summer Packing List: Electronics

          A Camera and Charger

          Iceland is one of the world’s most photogenic countries and while 21st-century phone cameras take incredible pictures, you may need a camera for better shots.

          The camera I have is the Olympus OM-D E-M5. It came along with two lenses: a 40-150mm and a 12-40mm. It's portable and has many capabilities. Put away that iPhone 3, and get a camera.

          Make sure you don't forget the charger!

          Extra SD cards

          If you've listened to my advice and added a traditional camera to your packing list, you'll need to also pack an extra SD card so you never run out of space. 

          Waterproof Phone Case

          Waterproof this, waterproof that. 

          Yep – you’re going to also need a waterproof phone case, especially when taking pictures with your phone. Whether you’re planning to take pictures at the waterfalls or the Blue Lagoon, a waterproof phone case can literally save your phone.

          European Outlet Adapters

          Electrical outlets in Iceland are similar to those you find in other European countries. So if you are coming with American components, you won't be able to plug them onto any socket. 

          For that reason, you need to add European outlet adapters to your list. Get the 5-pack version so you can charge all your electronics using one adapter.

          man taking a photo in iceland

          Iceland Travel Must-Haves

          Travel insurance

          Make sure you have your travel insurance when traveling to Iceland.

          The weather here is unpredictable and the terrain is uneven. All these factors increase the likelihood of falling sick or getting injured.

          Iceland Guidebook

          I’m a huge fan of guidebooks when traveling, which is why I recommend you pack one. Guidebooks help you know where you are and where you want to go. They are like local guides. By just looking at the book, you can easily find the restaurants that meet your budget and location. You can look for top-rated things to see and do, as well. 

          Guidebooks come with a wealth of local information you can’t get anywhere else.

          Iceland Culture Guide

          Every culture is unique. So you don’t want to embarrass yourself by doing or saying things contrary to the culture of the country you’re visiting. Make sure you get a pocket-sized culture guidebook that will teach you the local etiquette and customs.

          You can also learn about the festivals, holidays, how to tip, and much more stuff. 

          Sleep mask

          Your Iceland summer packing list should include a sleep mask, as there will be 24-hour daylight. Although this might sound fascinating, you’ll encounter awkward moments waking up to 3 am morning light. This will mess with your mind, as you’ll still be battling with jetlag, as well.

          Closing curtains won’t help. Add a sleeping mask to your packing list.

          Other Travel Necessities

          • Passport
          • IDs
          • Credit cards
          • Sunglasses
          • Purse 
          • Sunglasses
          • Hotel Bookings
          • Car rental bookings in Iceland
          • Airport transfer info
          • Earplugs
          • Travel pillow
          • Reading material

          woman in iceland

          What NOT to Pack for Iceland in the Summer

          • Umbrella
            •  Although I mentioned that there is a lot of rain in Iceland, bringing an umbrella is a bad idea. The wind will render your umbrella null and void without fail!
          • High heels, Jewelry, and Dresses
            •  Iceland is not Paris… simple! It’s all about outdoor adventure, so pack accordingly.
          • Shoes that are not Waterproof
            • Whichever shoe you bring, be it sneakers, flip-flops, or boots – make sure it’s waterproof.
          • Shorts
            • Even though I’ve been throwing around the word summer in this article, Iceland is not really the place for a short. Don’t be fooled by locals pairing lopapeysas and shorts and think you can do likewise. You'll freeze!
          • Money belt
            • There is little to no petty theft in Iceland, so there’s no need for a money belt.
          • Hairdryer
            • Most hotel rooms in Europe come with hairdryers, so you won't need to bring one. 
          • Riding Gear
            • Icelandic horses aren’t vaccinated against many equine diseases, so local stables provide you with all the equipment you need (chaps, bridles, saddles, etc.).

          Final thoughts

          Whether you’re looking to sip some wine while floating in a geothermal pool. 

          Or hike a glacier while gazing at the exquisite waterfalls, Iceland has something for any adventure-seeking individual.

          My final advice for what to pack for Iceland in the summer is:

          • Have a small backpack to carry things around.
          • The 4-hour sunlight doesn't mean it’s hot.
          • Combat the wind, snow and rain, and snow with waterproof layers. 
          • Bring waterproof shoes that can handle the rocky and uneven terrain,

          Hope you enjoyed the article and see you in Iceland!