Not sure what to include in your Iceland winter packing list? Well, you’re in the right place. I combed through the web for what to pack before my own Iceland winter road trip. There were so many things I was so glad I brought and soooo many things I wished I hadn’t! So, I’ve decided to put this Iceland packing list together to help y’all out. It includes clothes and gear, as well as things you might not think of for the camper van, too!
But before we start, there’s one principle I need you to accept before packing for Iceland by camper van in winter; less. is. more! (Whaaat? Why would you take LESS in winter?) Trust me. When I went on my road trip, I shared half of 50lb check-in luggage. If I could do the trip again, I would literally take one carry-on luggage. Honestly, I probably could have shared that one carry-on!
- Reason one – it is so cold that you will repeat the same clothes JUST to avoid pulling your luggage outside AGAIN to get that fresh shirt out. Because every time you do, you let a LOT of cold air into the nice, cozy camper with all that precious heat inside, because the luggage storage is in the back of the camper with the two large doors.
- Reason two – you would rather have the extra space in your camper van so that you can move items around more freely. Not only will this keep the frustration and physical discomfort levels down, but it will make getting ready each morning and each night SO much faster. So trust me when I say: less is more.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to it! Oh, and I make zero commission off purchases using the links on images and text throughout this post. They’re just there for your convenience.
ICELAND WINTER PACKING LIST: CLOTHING
One Good Coat
Yep, just one down coat or other warm, waterproof outerwear item. Bring a second one only if you reeeaaally can’t stand wearing the same one in every picture. But realize the extra one will take up room in your camper, because you won’t be returning it to the suitcase between wears. Strongly consider taking only one, good and neutrally-colored coat to mix and match colored beanies and scarves with.
Two Thick Sweaters
Or crewnecks, or cardigans, or turtlenecks. These are to wear underneath the coat. Trust me, you need less of them than you think. Choose two of different colors incase you want to unzip your coat for pictures and have some variety.
Two Long-Sleeved Shirts
Thermal shirts work great as your base layer. You want something close to your skin that will keep you warm, but won’t make you break a sweat and smell. It might sound gross, but you will seriously only need 2 – 3 if you are traveling for a week. Switch shirts half-way through the week.
One Pair of Fleece-Lined Leggings
Or your preferred warm pants of choice. Personally, I’m a leggings gal and not a jeans gal. But fleece-lined leggings just take leggings up to a whole other level!! These are a lifesaver for a trip to Iceland (or anywhere chilly!). I bought these and they worked great. They even have a nifty upper back pocket with a zipper that can fit your phone and cards.
One Pair of Normal Leggings
These are to wear under your pants, or as a second layer above the fleece-lined leggings. You can also use one of these as your pajama bottoms for the week.
One Pair of Winter Boots
These boots should be tall, waterproof, and snow proof. I bought these boots in black before my trip (the ones pictured above in the center).
One Pair of Other Shoes
Make these hiking boots only if your activities require them. Otherwise, bring sneakers to wear during long drives or walking around town in Reykjavik.
Three Pairs of Wool Socks
Mayyybe four pairs. You know yourself best on this one. You might want to take enough to layer two socks at a time. That’s what I did, and my toes felt perfect. Consider getting some fun ones for cute photos of your feet and the views from the back of the campervan!
One Pair of Slippers
This is for showering and for walking back from hot springs. I took a pair of white flip flips, but I really wish I had brought slides instead! I find these more comfortable for walking over wet surfaces (like the Blue Lagoon) or gravel (like to and from natural hot springs).
Five Pairs of Underwear
Sorry if it’s gross, but there’s pretty much no way you’re showering every day while doing a camper van road trip. Ladies – bring some pantiliners to switch daily. I’ve provided two biodegradable brands with no plastic packaging to consider below.
One Pajama Set
One long sleeved top and one long sleeved bottom. Make sure they’re warm, but breathable for the camper van. They should also look presentable enough, since you’ll be hoping in and out of the van with them on before bed and in the morning.
Make sure these are brightly colored! That way, they’ll pop in photos against the white and gray Iceland scenery. These beanies are also a great way to switch things up in pictures, so it’s less obvious you’re wearing the same coat everyday! Get a beanie with a fleece lining for extra warmth.
Two Thick Scarves
I’ll be honest; these are mostly decorative! Your coat and the layers underneath should be enough to keep you warm (Iceland isn’t that cold actually, compared to mainland Europe and North America winters). Like the beanies, different scarves will help to switch things up in your pictures. So be sure to pick two different colors.
One Pair of Gloves
Make sure these have touch-screen finger tips!! You don’t want to be taking your gloves off every time you need to snap a picture. If you don’t have a pair already, definitely invest in some touch-screen-tip gloves.
If you plan to have a photoshoot in the Blue Lagoon, consider what color and style suit you want to bring. Bold single colors like red and yellow pop in pictures, while white, blue, and black slyly blend in.
Related reading: Super-Detailed Iceland One Week Road Trip Itinerary
In general, you know your own tolerance to cold, and how many layers you will need to keep comfortable. As a rule of thumb, plan to basically wear the ONE main, layered outfit every day. Bring some beanies or scarves to switch up your pictures (if you care), and only bring a change of items for the things that will be unbearable not to change out of (i.e. underwear, base layer shirt, socks).
OTHER ITEMS TO PACK
Refillable Water Bottle
Iceland is really great with drinking water. You can fill up a water bottle at any gas stations with food inside, so bring one along to save some cash money and the environment too.
Dry Foods from Back Home
- Your favorite peanut butter, almond butter, or similar spread. Having things you love will make camper meals that much less dull. Also, certain things can be hard to find outside the U.S., like good peanut butter! Once in Iceland, you can grab some jam or bananas before hitting the road. Then you can make PB&J or PB & banana sandwiches. Or pair your nut butter with apples for a protein-filled snack.
- Your favorite granola. Pair this with your flavor choice of Skyr yogurt, the Icelandic response to Greek yogurt. So creamy…mmm…
- Your favorite snack bars. Have an obsession with Cliff bars or Luna bars? Bring a week’s worth of your faves to munch on while it’s your buddy’s turn behind the wheel. Alternatively, some protein bars are so filling, you can use them for breakfast and be on the road lickity quick!
Other Miscellaneous Items
- If you plan on swimming in a natural thermal pools or rivers: a quick dry towel. You might consider bringing a small one, too, for washing your face each morning and night.
- Car charger/lighter adapter depending on your camper (I didn’t really need this with CampEasy).
- Body wipes for in between showers.
- Waterproof phone case for epic snaps from the Blue Lagoon.
What to Grocery Shop in Iceland
- Quick fruits to eat: bananas are great – filling, easy to peel, and can be sliced and added to that peanut butter you brought for a hearty lunch sandwich.
- Apples: quickly rise off, and bite in – doesn’t get simpler than that. An easy snack to munch on while in the car or out exploring.
- Yogurt: add that granola from back home and create an easy and filling snack.
- Eggs, bacon, and toast: for a proper filling breakfast on mornings you have time.
- Pasta and a mix of sauces (tomato, pesto, alfredo) so you don’t get sick of it too quickly.
- Hot dogs & buns: can easily be boiled, or grilled if time and weather permit (you might have to rent a grill additionally from your camper rental company).
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY ICELAND WINTER PACKING LIST?
What do you think? Have you been to Iceland in winter in a camper van? What did you bring that I left out of my Iceland winter packing list? Let me know below!