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Michael 84

What To Wear In Iceland

Tuesday, 3rd March, 2015

What To Pack For A Trip To Iceland

As you will know if you are a regular reader of my blog, I went to Iceland in the Autumn of last year. It’s a great place, with a big variety of things to do, and with each different type of activity, different clothing may be required, and it will also depend on what time of the year you’re going. Will you be spending more time in the city of Reykjavik or are you getting a secluded cabin out in the countryside? Packing the right things can be challenging, especially when you’re going somewhere for the first time.

What to pack for a trip to Iceland

First of all I think if you’re going for a few days or more then you will need to pay for baggage rather than just hand luggage. My case is pictured above, and it’s small, but it is full. Remember, since there’s rules about what you can carry in your hand luggage these days, I had all my products (hair, toothpaste/brush etc) in here, as well as various electrical chargers for cameras and things of that nature.

I had a mix of going out in Reykjavik doing a bit of city sightseeing, with going out on nights out to bars and the clubs, to doing activities such as the Golden Circle Tour which includes Gullfoss waterfall and the countryside, as well as the Blue Lagoon. There were plans to see the Northern Lights, but sadly that did not happen due to the weather.

This is what I took:

  • All black Nike Air Max trainers*
  • Pull & Bear Winter Coat*
  • Jeans*
  • T-Shirt*
  • Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses*
  • A nice shirt (He By Mango)
  • Smart denim jacket by All Saints (for day/evenings in the city)
  • A hoodie (My Onepiece)
  • A few T-Shirts, both smarter ones and casual ones
  • An extra pair of jeans (Armani)
  • Pair of shoes
  • Plenty socks and boxers
  • Swim Shorts

*Tip! The starred items are what I wore for travelling, so I wore my ‘big’ coat for travelling out so I had more space in my case.

Do I Need Waterproof Clothing?

Before I went to Iceland I read a few articles regarding what you should take, and many people said waterproof clothing was a must. I did not take any, although my winter coat is quite water resistant. I went to places which certainly weren’t dry – I got soaked getting too close to a Geysir for example, and going to Gullfoss waterfall you will get spray from the water and have to navigate watery rocks.

My advice is layering is the best option. I doubled up my hoodie with my coat when out on the Golden Circle tour, and during the day around the city I wore my hoodie with my coat. I would say that waterproof clothing is not essential, but this does depend on exactly what you are planning on doing, and what the weather is like when you go. I did not take a hat or scarf, but if I were going back I would consider taking one of each. I did end up buying a hat out in Reykjavik, there’s plenty on the shopping front to buy in terms of warm clothing by local brands.

No Waterproofs needed at the Golden Circle Tour, Iceland

Footwear

Wear comfortable footwear! If you’re going out and about, you’ll be walking a lot, so comfortable, sturdy footwear is something you need. I love my Air Max and can walk around in them all day and my feet are fine; Something I can’t say about Converse! If you’re hiking, or doing something more strenuous or challenging then you may need some more specialised footwear for climbing.

If you’re just doing the general tours and city as I did, there should be no need for anything heavy although it may depend on the weather. For the Golden Circle tour and waterfall I wore 2 pair of socks to be on the safe side, but thankfully I did not really need to.

Swim Shorts & Sunglasses

Yes I am still talking about Iceland clothing! :mrgreen: I went to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa, so packed some swim shorts. If you’re going here or to one of the other geothermal spas in Iceland you’ll need to pack some swim shorts.

Forgot the towel? Don’t worry! If you’re going to the Blue Lagoon they have certain packages which include different things, I wanted to save space in my suitcase so I chose a package which included a towel which they provide. Other thermal pools may offer this too, but you have to check before you go.

Sunglasses are also something you should really consider. It can be cold, but also sunny. The sun can reflect off the water or snow and can be very bright or blinding, so taking a pair of sunglasses could come in handy.

The Weather

I went at the beginning of September so it was fairly mild. The temperature can get very low in the winter and it can be cold, if you’re doing the Northern Lights factor in that it will be on a night which are colder than days, and also that you’ll be in the middle of nowhere making it colder still. One thing of note is the wind chill. I read the temperature before I went and it was around 9C which was not a lot cooler than in the UK, however the wind makes feel a lot colder.

Weather forecasts are notoriously inaccurate, but my advice is to check a few of them to get a general idea before you go what kind of weather your likely to be dealing with, and pack accordingly.

What To Wear On A Night Out In Reykjavik

It’s probably not the main reason you’re going to Iceland, however you need something to do in the evening, so you might want to go out to some bars or clubs and soak up some of the atmosphere as well as alcohol. Unless you want to look like the tourist which just came down a mountain, you should dress like you’re on a night out in any other major city. Some places may be a little bit more formal than others, but smart casual will be a good option if you don’t want to go for a smart style. Leave the walking shoes and big coat in your apartment and go out stylish.

I was there over the weekend and went out on both the Friday and Saturday night in Reykjavik. Friday night I wore my shoes along with denim jacket, smart dark jeans and a smart T-Shirt. Saturday night I switched it up and wore a shirt with my denim jacket and smart jeans with my shoes. I never felt under dressed or over dressed at any point, and was happy with my smart casual fashion.

Friday Night out in Reykjavik

Verdict

The key pieces of advice to take from this is to check the weather before you go, dress warm with layering when out and about on excursions and wear good footwear. If you’re going out in the evenings in Reykjavik pack something a little bit more fashionable from your wardrobe, and some smart trainers or shoes.

Have fun in Iceland, it’s an amazing country 🙂 I hope you have enjoyed some of the tips featured. Check out more of my Men’s Fashion Advice here, and for more on travel have a look at the travel blog.


Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger and T-shirt designer from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

  1. Rebecca Ellis Said,

    Great post! I would love to go travelling, but I’m afraid I am just rubbish at packing haha 🙂 (Tendency to pack things I don’t need)

    posted on Wednesday 11th March, 2015 at 0:20
  2. Em Sheldon Said,

    So desperate to visit Iceland!!!

    posted on Wednesday 8th April, 2015 at 7:11
  3. Michael Said,

    You should Em! It’s an amazing place 🙂

    posted on Wednesday 8th April, 2015 at 9:40
  4. Andrea Said,

    Hi! i’m doing a solo trip to London, Paeis, Switzerland and Iceland in september. I’ll be in Iceland from sept 18-21. Can you let me know how the road conditions were when you were there? I’m considering renting a car to take a long drive to the glacier lagoon but i’m worried about driving on slippery roads.

    posted on Friday 17th July, 2015 at 22:54
  5. Michael Said,

    Hi Andrea,

    The road conditions were fine when I was there, just like in the UK, no real difference, i.e. they were not covered in snow/ice. It may be different if you go further out, I was in Reykjavik and did the Golden Circle tour on a bus and the roads were fine 🙂

    Have a good time 🙂

    Michael

    posted on Saturday 18th July, 2015 at 14:21
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