WHAT TO PACK FOR ICELAND IN WINTER
It comes as no surprise that I have been excited about writing the what to pack for winter in Iceland. The most important concept here is layers, layers, and more layers!! ...and a sturdy pair of boots... and a water resistant winter jacket.
Long underwear are a necessity. I wore a pair everyday under whatever pants I was wearing. If i did not start the day with them on, I put them on at a bathroom stop! More form-fitting, long sleeve shirts are necessary as well as they provide warmth with little bulk, allowing you to layer more as needed. For these base layers silk was highly recommended for warmth and value by the knowledgeable and trustworthy staff at REI. They provide a surprising amount of warmth for being so thin, therefore best for layering without bulk! I would also recommend HEATTECH base layers from Uniqlo. I purchased and used all of the following from the HEATTECH collection: turtleneck, long sleece shirt, quarter zip, long underwear. These can be worn instead of or in addition to silk base layers, and they come at a very reasonable price! I actually feel like everything I packed layering-wise was from Uniqlo, but it's affordable and high quality so it was hard to go wrong.
On top of base layers, I wore and would strongly recommend joggers
and/or technical pants. Joggers are ideal because the elastic ankles help keep cold air out
and keep your pants from dragging on the wet ground! Techincal pants are a practical item
to pack- either water resistant or quick-dry. My joggers were from Uniqlo (big surprise I know)
and my technical pants were from Bluffworks.
I have a winter jacket I bought from Jack Wilson several years ago that is not the warmest of all jackets, but it is water resistant and worked perfectly with all of my base layers underneath. The hat I wore everyday was a fur trapper hat from my girlfriend's grandfather. It is by far the warmest hat and was so essential on this trip! It is definitely worth the investment to have a quality winter hat! Wool socks were a necessity worn daily. In addition to the clothing essentials, I would definitely bring a day backpack with you to take a extra layers and a pair of socks with you each day. I also would recommend purchasing dry bags just in case you get caught in the rain and want to protect your electronics and documents such as passports. One last recommendation would be a waterproof case for your phone. There isn't really a need to go all out with a $50+ case unless you really want to. I bought one on Amazon for $20, tested it before I went, and it worked out perfectly! By tested it I mean I put paper in it and submerged it in the sink for 2 hours and the paper remained dry.
Having a reliable pair of boots will become one of the most essential items on your trip to Iceland. As the name suggests, it is definitely icey! An old pair of gym shoes or boots without good traction will not be substantial enough- unless you just plan on staying on the bus the entire time. You could either leverage a pair you have, purchase crampons to attach to the bottom of your shoes, or take this as an opportunity to invest in a new pair. I wore the Weatherproof Allen Edmond boots with a wool lining. These were perfect for the trip and I really put them to the test. I even got totally soaked by a wave that came up to my knees while I was taking a picture and the boots dried relatively quickly! Confirmed that these are worth the investment!
From a suitcases perspective, I packed in two eBags carry-on suitcases. Both suitcases comply with WOW air baggage policies. I bought the ticket that included a carry-on and a checked bag. The suitcases are a hard plastic shell that has locks built in and they are both spinners.
Click here to read my detailed review on WOW air.