So you’re planning for a trip to Iceland this winter? Well I can’t say I blame you, it’s truly a magical winter destination! But one of the final pieces of putting together the Iceland winter trip plan is knowing everything you need to have while you’re there. This Iceland packing list for winter will answer the questions, “What do you wear in Iceland in winter?” and “What to pack for winter in Iceland?” based on what. I brought, used, and loved during my winter trip to Iceland.
What to Pack for Winter in Iceland – The Short Version
The Long Version of the Iceland Winter Packing List
Let’s get started on all of the things I brought and loved for my winter trip to Iceland. Each of these things I personally used and were on my personal Iceland winter packing list, starting with the outfits I wore and all the way to the camera gear I brought.
Related Post: 5 Tips for Visiting Iceland in Winter
Winter Clothes & Wearables
Parka &/or Down Coat + Raincoat Combo
I absolutely lived in this Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka. It is so warm, water resistant, and I thought it was super cute. I couldn’t recommend it enough. My husband had the Eddie Bauer Superior Down Parka and to say he is objectively obsessed is an understatement.
But, if you don’t want to go full parka and have a down, packable coat and a raincoat at home, those should work well for you too. You’ll want to wear the raincoat over the down coat because you’ll want to always be waterproof, since Iceland winter weather can turn on a dime.
And if you’re a lover of Amazon, here are some coats (including the Eddie Bauer parka I mention above):
Fleece Zip Up (Mid Layer)
Another thing I 100% lived in was this Patagonia Better Sweater full zip fleece jacket. I absolutely adore this thing; it is so warm and I had it layered under my parka every single day. Having this middle layer between your base layer and your heavy coat is a must for any Iceland winter packing list.
Hat & Scarf &/or Balaclava
You are absolutely going to want to protect your ears and eventually your face from the windy elements of an Icelandic winter. Whatever winter hat and scarf you have is just fine and you don’t necessarily need to buy anything new for your Iceland winter packing list.
However, I will be honest and say this balaclava was the absolute MVP of my Iceland packing list. It was so nice to be able to pull it up and it not fall down my face when it got too windy to bare anymore. It was warm yet still breathable, and I love its multi-purpose function.
Merino Wool Base Layer
A solid, comfortable base layer is a must for any “what to wear in Iceland for winter” packing list. My personal favorite happens to be this Smartwool base layer!
No Iceland winter packing list is complete without some incredibly warm, water and wind-resistant pants. The few hours my husband didn’t wear these (on the first day when we arrived) he was definitely cold. Every day thereafter, he felt warm and comfortable!
Definitely add these to your Iceland winter packing list, but whether you wear them or not is up to you. Every single day I wore a pair of leggings underneath a pair of fleece-lined pants and I was super comfortable and my legs were always warm, but never too warm. However, you might not need them depending on the fleece-lined pants you get. But definitely bring a pair or two and have them on you at all times while you’re exploring Iceland for if/when you do get cold.
I’m sure you’re not surprised to see snow boots on an Iceland winter packing guide, and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t include them. Pack your favorite snow boots, whatever is your tried and true pair is, and bring them. Snow boots were the only shoes I wore during my entire trip. Also, pro tip? Just wear them on the plane so you don’t have to worry about them taking any space in your luggage.
Recommended Winter Boots
I love these because they’re super lightweight and warm. I’ve used them for years, but my ONLY complaint is that they don’t have a super heavy tread. You will absolutely need crampons with these if walking on icy or slick surface.
I didn’t bring these with, but I sort of wish I had. They are more heavy duty with a much more aggressive tread and I think those attributes would have been helpful walking around in the snow and ice.
Trekking or really, really thick hiking socks are going to be your best friend and an absolute must for what to wear in Iceland in winter. AND the ultimate partner for some good snow boots. You’re going to want something that doesn’t stay wet if they get a little snow in them, that don’t get super stinky, are nice and thick, and are overall good at regulating temperatures. I’m a huge fan of the Smartwool trekking/mountaineering socks specifically, and were a non-negotiable item on my Iceland winter packing list.
Because of the ice and snow, it won’t just be roads that are slippery! You’re going to want add crampons that you can safely and easily put on quickly to your Iceland winter packing list. We used them constantly, especially when walking to/from waterfall and canyon views.
You can also consider microspikes, but we only ever needed them for an ice cave tour and they were provided by our tour guides.
Speaking of ice cave tours, check out and definitely schedule one of these bad boys during your trip; you won’t regret it!
Thick, Waterproof Gloves
You’re not going to survive an Iceland winter without adding a good, solid, warm pair of gloves to your packing list. It’s super important to have some that are both waterproof and windproof, and ideally you’ll have some that are touchscreen-friendly as well. I kind of rotated between two pairs, depending on how cold it was. The coldest my hands ever were were at Gulfoss; for whatever reason it was FREEZING there. So if you’re like me and are going to pack two pairs of gloves, bust out your heaviest pair for that stop.
Other Random, Helpful Things to Pack For Winter in Iceland
- Quick dry towel for if you get wet anywhere (i.e. waterfalls)
- Universal travel plugin adapter
- Mini hair bands for my long-haired travelers who don’t want to get birds’ nests built up on the back of your head under hat/scarf; I wore braids a lot
- Car charging port if you’re going to be driving and have multiple things to plug in
So there you go, the ultimate guide to what to wear and pack for winter in Iceland! For more boots-on-the-ground views of my trip, check out my Iceland Instagram story highlight! And as always, feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. And happy planning! I’m so excited for you, you’re going to have a blast and I hope this list helps you better plan what you need to pack for your trip to Iceland in winter!