Before leaving for our trip we did a ton of research about Iceland. We wanted to know exactly what to expect in order to come as prepared as possible. We had heard that everything there was extremely expensive and really didn’t want to have to buy any unnecessary items while there so as not to go over our allotted budget. So, in order to save you guys a lot or time and heartache on the road, below you’ll find a list of our essential travel gear for Iceland.
These were essential during our trip to Iceland as we hiked practically everyday. Waterfalls, lava fields, mountains – you name it, we hiked it. We would recommend having boots as opposed to shoes for the extra support around the ankle. Having waterproof boots is a must as well since the weather is quite temperamental in Iceland and there is nothing worse than hiking with wet feet! Our pick is the amazing Eddie Bauer Lukla Pro Hiker. They kept our feet dry and warm throughout our whole trip and we experiences rain, snow, ice and mud. Plus we got them at a very reasonable price and they are a great value, especially when compared to other similar, more expensive boots.
Reusable water bottle
Since the water in Iceland is so pure and food/drink is so expensive, bringing a reusable water bottle and filling up on tap water is a great way to save some money. Plus the water is delicious! Our top pick is the Vapur Element Bottle. It can stand on its own, even when only half full, has a built-in carabiner so you are sure never to lose it, and best of all it folds up completely when empty which is a huge space saver when you’re only travelling with carry-on luggage.
Every time we went on a hike we made sure to have a backpack filled with maps, snacks and water for the course of our journey. Our favourites are these handy Stowaway Packable Daypacks by Eddie Bauer. They fold into themselves! Again, great when trying to save as much space as possible. Plus they are really roomy, have comfortable padded shoulders and a breathable back.
Oh did it ever rain in Iceland! The weather in this country is not for the faint of heart. It actually rained (like poured rain) for 4 days straight. That meant we either had to suck it up and go outside in the rain, or sit inside all day and miss out on half our trip. Since almost all activities in Iceland are outside, we were really glad to have brought awesome rain jackets to keep us warm and dry throughout the day. Our top pick is the North Face Venture Rain Jacket. Never did we get a single drop on us with these on!
Packable down coat
Once again, these are a huge space saver and we would not have made it through our trip without them. Because Iceland’s weather changes so quickly, layers are the key to staying warm during your trip. These coats were perfect since they were lightweight yet extremely warm and were easily folded into a small cylinder when not in use (which meant we could easily bring them along in our backpacks on any hike). Our top picks were these Paradox jackets, which are very reasonably priced and are even water-repellent – great for the kind of weather we experienced.
Same idea as the rain coats here, these guys were key to keeping us warm and dry during this crazy rainy days. Note that rain falls pretty much horizontally in Iceland due to the strong winds so you’re sure to get hit wherever you’re not covered. Any waterproof pants will do (ours were old pants from our soccer days). Our top pick are the MEC Hydrofoil pants.
Waterproof cellphone case
Rain, rain, rain! This feels like we’re repeating ourselves but it’s really important to emphasize the importance of proper rain gear on your trip. If you plan on taking pictures along your hikes and don’t want to run the risk of ruining your fancy camera (totally understandable cause those are real expensive!) then protecting your phone with a waterproof case is a must. These amazing Lifeproof cases really saved our phones as they are waterproof (we were even able to bring our phones into the Blue Lagoon with us!).
Thermal underwear/warm socks/toque/mittens
Layers, layers, layers! These will save you over the course of your trip and will be useful for many more to come in the future. Our top picks (which available for both men and women) are: Paradox Alive Top, Roots Cabin Socks, Columbia Trail Flash Beanie, and Columbia Omni-Heat Touch Gloves.
Never underestimate the power of a good old Ziploc plastic bag! we used these for absolutely everything during our trip, from storing all of our toiletries (which was a smart move wince they ended up exploding in our suitcase at one point – hooray for the leak proof Ziploc!) to housing our snacks for the week. These babies are probably the most underrated travel accessory ever.
Oh how a map (or guide book) would have come in handy! Though we had printed off many Google Maps so as not to get lost along the way, we found we would have been much better off just using a locally bought map. If you’re opting to forgo the GPS during your journey like we did, we strongly recommend purchasing a map/guide book at a gas station along the way. It will be much clearer as Google Maps’ directions in Iceland can get a bit confusing at times.
One of our readers recently pointed out that snacks were a must bring for her recent trip to Iceland and we completely agree! We brought an entire box of Clif Bars and other assortment of snacks on our trip and found this to be a lifesaver. We would pack a few granola bars in our daypacks when going on hikes and snack on them when we got to our destination. Also, when driving late at night and restaurants were scarce, we filled our bellies with these.
Been to Iceland?
Have we missed any essential travel gear?
Comment below to share tips of your own!
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