GuidesPackingWhat to Pack for Iceland in September: A List of Essentials
Happy young woman in bright clothes traveling Iceland, enjouing nature
Go Car Rental Iceland travel writer Aron Freyr
By Aron FreyrJul 9, 2024 • 5 min read

What to Pack for Iceland in September: A List of Essentials

Are you thinking about visiting Iceland? Do you have doubts about what’s the best month to do it? To be honest, there is no wrong month to come to this great country. Every season has its pros and cons, and you can discover different sides of the beautiful landscapes here depending on when you’re planning to come.

However, in this guide, we’ll explain what makes September a great choice and give you some advice on what to bring in your suitcase if you’re coming during this month.

Key Takeaways

  • When traveling to Iceland in September, expect mild temperatures with an average high of 11°C (51.8°F) and an average low of 6°C (42.8°F).
  • Despite Iceland's northern location, it is not as cold as one might expect, though September is a rainy month, so pack waterproof clothing.
  • It's essential to bring base layers for warmth, mid-layers for insulation, and waterproof outer layers to protect against rain.
  • Proper packing for Iceland in September involves more than just clothing; it's crucial to prepare for variable weather conditions.

When you’re planning a trip, one of the first things that surely comes to your mind is what to put in your bags. Making up your suitcase can sometimes be very easy, but others can be tricky. It’s important to take with you things that are going to be useful, trying to avoid carrying unnecessary items.

When your destination is a place like Iceland, this part of the preparation can be even more crucial than in other destinations. The weather here is mostly unknown to foreigners, and it’s very important to adapt to the changing climate.

Even though it’s located far up north, Iceland is not as cold as one might expect, especially compared with other places in similar latitudes. However, apart from a few weeks in the summer, it can't be considered warm either.

What’s the Weather Like in Iceland in September?

Let’s start by covering the weather you’ll face in Iceland in September, as that will be the #1 factor determining what you should pack for your trip to the Land of Fire and Ice.

In general, the average maximum temperature in Iceland in September is 11 °C (51.8 °F), while the average minimum is 6 °C (42.8 °F). During this month, it rarely snows. It might snow in the highest mountains and Central Highlands, but it’s rare in the rest. However, it’s a rainy month, so it’s important to bring clothes that help you fight rain.

This transition month from summer to autumn brings a mix of mild days, sudden rain showers, and the early signs of winter. As the nights grow longer, this month also offers a chance to see the Northern Lights.

Let’s get into the things you should bring on your trip.

What to Pack for Your Iceland’s Trip in September

When packing your bag, clothing’s the first thing that comes to mind (and it should be). However, proper packing entails way more than that.

Clothing for Iceland in September

The best way to deal with Iceland's ever-changing weather is to wear different layers. This will help you adapt to the different situations that will most likely occur during your trip.

Despite what you may think, it’s not necessary to bring a big bulky coat to fight the cold. It can be quite chilly at certain moments, but with the appropriate layering and a light but efficient jacket, you should be all right.

  • Base layers: Thermal shirts and underwear are essentials to keep you warm. Also, choose clothes that allow perspiration to stay dry. A good option is long-sleeved shirts, which are comfortable and warm and can be layered easily.
  • Mid layers: Fleece and wool are the two materials you should consider. Fleece is light yet warm and perfect for layering, while wool provides excellent insulation and is breathable.
  • Outer layers: Wear waterproof and windproof clothes. This is absolutely necessary. A waterproof jacket is a must due to frequent rain and strong winds. Also, bring a pair of rain pants to keep your lower body dry during rain or when walking through wet landscapes.
  • Footwear: Waterproof hiking boots are essential for hiking and outdoor activities, offering good grip and ankle support. As nature is Iceland’s main attraction, it’s very likely that your trip will include outdoor activities. Keeping your feet dry can make a huge difference in your trip. Also, a pair of casual shoes can come in handy when exploring cities like Reykjavik.
  • Warm socks: Wool or thermal to keep your feet warm.
  • Gloves: As most of the activities in Iceland are outdoors, gloves are great in the colder moments.
  • Hats and scarves: Whether wool or synthetic.
Girl with a raincoat in front of a waterfall in Iceland

Dress for the changing weather

Layering is the most effective way to dress for Iceland's unpredictable weather. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add a warm mid-layer, and top it with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Always have a hat, gloves, and scarf handy to adjust to temperature changes throughout the day.

Toiletries

There is no need to bring a toilet bag full of things. You can get everything you need in the shops in Iceland. So, take in your bag just those things that are basic for you, the ones you can’t survive without.

Whether you bring things or you buy them here, here are some things that are highly recommendable for your trip to Iceland.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Most hotels provide them but if you’re staying in a different kind of accommodation, they can be useful.
  • Deodorant.
  • Sunscreen. Even if September is not one of the warmest months, the UV rays can still be strong. Even more, if you are visiting a glacier, as the sun will reflect on the snow and ice and can burn your skin easily.
  • Moisturizer. This can be really helpful after a day out. You can combat dry skin caused by the chill and windy weather.
  • Lip balm. The weather can be harsh on your lips. Keep them protected to prevent chapped lips.

Health and medications

There’s no need to bring anything special in this sense. Only your personal prescription medications, as you might not be able to find them in Iceland.

However, it’s a good idea to get some things for your excursions. You can bring them with you, but you can also buy them in a pharmacy in any Icelandic town. Basic first aid items like band-aids, antiseptic cream, and pain relievers. If you are going to a wet area and the weather is more or less warm, an insect repellent can be a good idea.

Also, if you’re planning to go on a boat tour—to go whale watching, for example—that is highly recommended, and September is a great month for it—get medication for motion sickness.

Electronics

Photo camera

If you’re a photography lover, you already have this in your bag. Iceland has some of the most amazing landscapes and sites in the world, and it’s a very popular destination for both photography professionals and enthusiasts. Even if you are not that passionate, you’ll surely like to take some images back with you. Bring extra batteries and memory cards.

Anonymous tourist with camera against mountain in Iceland

Smartphone

Very useful for navigation and staying connected. It’s highly recommended to check the weather forecast and the road conditions every day. Having an international plan is really important, or you can just buy a local SIM card.

Phones nowadays take really good pictures, so it’s an alternative if you don’t have a photo camera. Take with you a portable charger if you're having a long day out to make sure your battery doesn’t die when you might need it.

Electrical adapters

Iceland uses the European plug with two round prongs. A universal adapter is a good investment.

GPS Device or Apps

The best way to move around Iceland is by car. You can choose your trips with full freedom. When renting a car, it’s a good idea to add a GPS or navigator. If not, an app on your phone can do as well.

Explore Iceland at your own pace

10 years of epic journeys with 400,000+ explorers

Book a car

Other Essential Items

  • Reusable Water Bottle: A reusable water bottle is absolutely necessary when making a day trip to Iceland. Tap water is safe and delicious in Iceland, so it's eco-friendly and practical.
  • Backpack: A waterproof, durable backpack for daily excursions to carry snacks, water, and extra layers.
  • Swimsuit: This may be a surprise, but we assure you you’ll need it. Iceland is full of hot springs and geothermal pools, all well worth a visit. Imagine soaking yourself in clear hot water while the outside temperature is cold!
  • Towel: If you’re going to one of these great natural baths, you are going to need a towel. Much better if it dries really quick.
  • Sunglasses: Essential if you are going to the glaciers to protect from the sun reflecting on the ice.
  • Snacks: High-energy snacks like nuts, dried fruits, or energy bars for hikes.
  • Notebook and Pen: Useful for jotting down travel notes or information from tours.
Hikers on the trail in the Islandic mountains

What Not to Pack for Iceland in September

Who are we to tell you what you mustn’t bring? You can pack the way you like, but there are things we believe you won’t need during your trip to Iceland in September.

  • High-Heeled Shoes: Perhaps you have a big event or social gathering. Otherwise, they are very impractical for Iceland's terrain.
  • Heavy Duty Winter Gear: If you are going to the Highlands, you might need these items. If not, regular thermal wear should suffice. Bear in mind that winter clothing can be rented in Iceland, so maybe you can save up some space in your suitcase.
  • Single-Use Plastic Items: Nature is Iceland’s most precious treasure and needs to be preserved. Avoid bringing disposable plastics.
  • Excessive Jewelry: Again, it's completely up to you, but you won’t need it when doing activities outdoors and it could get lost.
  • Too Many Clothes: Be practical and bring layers instead of overpacking.

Travel Tips

  • Car Rental: Renting a car provides flexibility to explore at your own pace. Ensure the vehicle is equipped for Iceland’s variable weather. Check which tires you’re going to need depending on your destination as well.
  • Plan for the Unexpected: Weather can change rapidly. Always be prepared for rain, wind, and sudden temperature drops.
  • Respect Nature: This should apply everywhere you go. However, even more so in Iceland. Stay on marked paths and follow local guidelines to protect Iceland’s fragile environment.
  • Cultural Experiences: September is the time for traditional sheep and horse roundups, offering a unique cultural experience.
  • Stay Informed: Check weather forecasts and road conditions regularly to avoid unexpected issues during your trip.

Dress For The Occasion

Packing for a trip to Iceland in September requires careful consideration of the island’s unpredictable weather. By focusing on versatile, weather-appropriate clothing and essential items, you’ll be ready to enjoy everything from city explorations to natural wonders without any setbacks. Remember to pack light but smart, and always be prepared for the ever-changing Icelandic weather. A world of wonders awaits you!

Related Blog Posts

Happy portrait of young  hiker enjoying the outdoors activity in September in IcelandWeather

What to Expect: Weather in Iceland in September

Are you planning a trip to Iceland in September? This is a popular time to visit the country, as the summer crowds have dispersed and the winter weather has not yet arrived. However, it's important to understand what kind of weather to expect during this time of year so you can pack accordingly and plan your activities. In this article, we'll discuss the weather in Iceland in September and provide some tips for making the most of your trip.

Go Car Rental Iceland travel writer Aron Freyr
By Aron FreyrDec 8, 2023 • 10 min read
A couple watching a waterfall in iceland in SeptemberBest Seasons

Exploring Iceland in September 2024: Weather, Northern Lights & Best Things to Do!

Embark on a magical journey to Iceland in September 2024, where you’ll experience a unique blend of enchanting landscapes, delightful weather, and captivating cultural events. As summer transitions into autumn, the land of fire and ice reveals its true beauty, offering a breathtaking spectacle of vibrant fall foliage and the mesmerizing Northern Lights. From glacier tours to hot springs and festive celebrations, let us guide you through the wonders of Iceland in September, ensuring an unforgettable adventure!

Go Car Rental Iceland travel writer Aron Freyr
By Aron FreyrAug 25, 2023 • 12 min read
Couple admiring aurora borealis in the blue and starry sky of iceland in winter time Northern Lights

Aurora Adventures: Chasing Northern Lights in Iceland

The Northern Lights are one of the most sought-after natural wonders of the world. Viewing them is a common bucket list item for many, but most do not get a chance to see them in their lifetime. Iceland is home to some of the best aurora activity due to the country's long Northern Lights season and dark skies.

Go Car Rental Iceland travel writer Leah BIlquist
By Leah BIlquistMar 17, 2023 • 11 min read