21 In Iceland/ Travel

Essentials for a Winter Trip to Iceland

Traveling to Iceland in the winter is absolutely magical. However, figuring out what to pack for a winter trip to Iceland can feel overwhelming. When we decided to visit Iceland in winter, I had visions of feet of snow that I was going to have to trek through. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, but it did still take a little bit of planning. Here are the essentials for a winter trip to Iceland. All of the products I’ve linked to are products/brands I personally use and highly recommend!

Bring the Proper Winter Gear:


I know that it’s often a temptation to put fashion over function. I’ve chosen fashion over function for most of my adult life. However, for this trip, I decided to invest in some quality pieces while not completely unfashionable their functionality is incomparable.

A warm, down coat is a must. I got this amazing Eddie Bauer coat online and although it’s a puffy coat, I enjoyed that it tapered in a bit at the waist giving a slightly more flattering shape. I chose a longer coat because it meant more warmth further down my body. This was a great choice because that wind in Iceland is intense.

Snow boots that are easy to get on and off. I found these snow boots that are waterproof which was great because even more than snow, we encountered sleet and rain which means you need protection from that as well. These boots are faux-fur-lined so your feet are nice and cozy. The best part is that they zip on and off and have great grip. I did everything in these boots: hike, walk through the streets and drive. They’re so comfy. I would also highly recommend warm, hiking socks for an added layer of warmth and protection.

stocking cap or ear warmers is essential as well. I was always instantly warmer the minute I put a hat on. While, I loved the one I brought and highly recommend bringing one, also be open to purchasing one in Iceland as well, since they have so many amazing knit products. Either way, you’ll want to protect your ears from the cold wind.

Don’t Forget the Little Things:

Still planning your trip to Iceland? Check out MY POSTS from the land of fire and ice HERE.

When I was expressing concern about the cold, my dear friend Kirsten mentioned that her son took HotHands to football games to keep him warm. She brought me several packets of them and they were PERFECT. Especially if you’re a lover of taking photos. I simply slipped one into each pocket and then I didn’t have to wear gloves and I could easily take photos with my camera and my phone. It was genius!

I know that winter trip to Iceland doesn’t scream swimsuit season to most people, don’t forget that Iceland is full of geothermal pools. The Blue Lagoon is the most famous of these, but they can be found all over this island country. This suit was from Urban Outfitters, but is no longer available.

A Portable USB Charger. There are all kinds of brands out there. The brand I personally use is PocketJuice, but there are many brands and sizes available for purchase. This is perfect because while making the most of the daylight in winter, that can mean decently long days without making stops long enough to charge. Whether on foot, in a rental car or a tour bus, you’ll want to have the opportunity to charge your phone!

Camera Equipment

Although many things have to line up perfectly to get to see the Northern Lights (we know because we only got to see them from the airplane) that’s one of the most popular reasons to visit Iceland in the winter. Because of this, you want to be sure to have the right camera equipment. You’ll need a tripod to get crisp, clear images. We love traveling with this one because it’s lighter than most and folds down to just over 12 inches. Plus, a good DSLR camera (we shoot with a Nikon D750 and a Canon T1i) will capture those photos perfectly, if you’re lucky enough to see them. Lastly, don’t forget that spare SD Card because it would be devastating to miss capturing that moment. If you’re not ready to invest in an expensive camera and capturing your trip with your smart phone (most of my photos were taken with my iPhone 7+) you can also use this handy phone tripod with a remote!

Packing for winter trips can often seem daunting, but hopefully these winter essentials will make packing for your upcoming trip to Iceland even easier!

Have you traveled to Iceland in winter? What winter essentials topped your list?

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you book through Booking.com or purchase one of these items from Amazon through For the Love of Wanderlust, you will help me stay on the road + keep my site running at no additional cost for you.

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  • Reply
    Megan Indoe
    December 6, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    OMG you’re making me wish we were going to Iceland right now! I would for sure have to hit the store to find a better winter jacket and get some good boots! And it would be a huge mistake to forget a swimsuit!!!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 8, 2017 at 12:15 am

      I heard from several people in Reykjavik who said they had forgotten theirs. What a shame! That winter coat is hands-down one of the best wardrobe investments I’ve ever made. I thought I hated winter, but it turns out I just was’t ever properly equipped!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    You totally nailed this packing list. I am from Norway, not been to Iceland yet, but this is also what you need in Norway during a winter trip. Snow boots are essentials same as ear warmers and a proper coat. Your photos are amazing. Definitively important to have a good camera with you.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 8, 2017 at 12:19 am

      Thank you! I’m glad to have the Scandinavian stamp of approval! Thank you very much for the compliment on my photos as well! Xx

  • Reply
    December 7, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Fantastic recommendations! Funny enough, the thing I used most whilst in Iceland was my bathing suit and of course, that puffy jacket. But I seriously regret not being better equipped in the good shoes department. Love the way you list all these products and where to procure them, it makes life that much easier for the prospective shopper 😀

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 8, 2017 at 12:21 am

      Thanks, Izzy! I’m glad my list got the stamp of approval from one of my favorite female travelers!

  • Reply
    Meg Jerrard
    December 7, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Great tips – we’ve visited Iceland in the summer, and LOVED it, so hoping to get back in winter at some point to experience the different season. Excellent camera tips – I would die if I returned without great photos of the Northern Lights. Important to have spare batteries too because they usually have a shorter lifespan in cold weather. Thanks for the tips!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 8, 2017 at 12:23 am

      Thanks Meg. Too funny that we’re opposite of you. We’re dying to go in the summer now! I’m hoping we’ll get there for our anniversary in June.

  • Reply
    George Brown
    December 8, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Winter would be really cold in Iceland. But I believe its a beautiful country. I am sure these tips will help visitors plan better.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 8, 2017 at 9:02 am

      The coastal winds actually keep it much warmer than I imagined. It’s still cold, but it gets much colder in Missouri, where I’m from. We were pleasantly surprised.

  • Reply
    January 7, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Goodness gracious this is soooooo wonderful, thank you for this helpful post!
    I’m a bit of a newbie traveler as I have only just fallen in love with the idea and magic of wandering the world recently but I’ve definitely been benefiting from it all so far.
    I’m planning my Iceland trip for May which is probably not the best time to go but I’m sure your packing tips applies just the same for May as it would for the winter months.
    My blog is originally a book reviewing blog but as I’ve been traveling more an more, solo as a woman I’ve begun to open my blog to also include my travels. I’m so glad I came across your page with all these tips and wonderful photos. Happy travels and blogging.
    If you’re interested in also following my travel adventures as well as some reviews heres the link to my blog as well:

  • Reply
    January 14, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Having been to Iceland in the summer, I know I’d have to prepare differently for the winter. Thanks for helping me plan my packing essentials! Iceland is a place I fell in love with and I’d love to see it in all of the seasons!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2018 at 12:56 am

    I loved visiting Iceland in the winter a few years ago. Bathing suit (or trunks for the men) is essential for the blue lagoon. Everyone should visit that for a relaxation fix 🙂

  • Reply
    Medha Verma
    January 15, 2018 at 2:10 am

    I think the most useful tip (for me) was to carry a swimsuit for the geothermal pools, because I would never have thought of doing that when travelling to Iceland in the winter!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2018 at 8:41 am

    I’d love to visit Iceland, even on winter! 😀 Though, after reading your post, I think I’ll need to invest more on my gear for a more comfortable visit. LOL.. Love your recommendations, btw.. Very handy especially for those traveling to Iceland on their first time! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 15, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    Iceland in winter seems to be so lovely. While it is bound to be coooold, there are things you can enjoy best in the cold weather and among those are the hot water springs 🙂 . I would not mind soaking day-in and day-out .

  • Reply
    Sam Sparrow
    January 16, 2018 at 2:25 am

    I’ve never been to Iceland but I did go to Oslo in January and definitely a lot of the recommendations apply here! I’m still yet to invest in a real cosy down coat like you have suggested, so that will be the next thing I buy I think! Good photography tips too!

  • Reply
    January 16, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    The hand warmers are a great idea. I always find it annoying to take pictures when I have constantly to take my gloves off. I also appreciated the “bring a swimsuit” advice. I feel like I never have one when I need it. Iceland is high on my bucket list and this is a hand post to have when it comes time to pack!

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    January 16, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Iceland in the winter would be fascinating but would definitely require preparations especially for people like us who come from temperate regions where it never snows. This is a very valuable guide to ensure the essentials are not forgotten. I especially loved the concept of HotHands, seems so convenient, especially when you want to go trigger happy with your camera.

  • Reply
    Archana Singh
    January 16, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    Iceland is one country where I wanna go so badly. I went to Finland last year in winters and like you I made a good use of HotHands. They really came very handy. I’ll make sure to carry them to Iceland too.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 6:37 am

    Your post appeared at the correct timing. I have to pack tomorrow for a winter expedition to the snow land, which will be like -20 degree Celsius some what like Iceland. And see Now I have a ready made check list. Amazing.

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