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11 Must-Have Essentials to Pack for Iceland in the Winter

Iceland is a magical winter wonderland with its magnificent landscape and the northern lights! But Iceland could have hush climate and weather conditions that require visitors to be well prepared, especially in the winter. Having the essential gear and the right clothing for Iceland in the winter will make or break your experience. DRY, WARM, and EQUIPPED are the three keywords to keep in mind when deciding what to pack for Iceland in the winter.

Waterproof Snow Boots

No matter which month of the year you visit Iceland, you will most likely get wet and cold a few times. Warm, waterproof, anti-slip, and attractive boots are the most important footwear to bring to Iceland. My Sorel waterproof snow boots kept my feet warm and dry during my winter trip in Iceland. I also got so many compliments as my friends see how fashionable they are in my photos.

Heated Vest

I cannot believe I didn’t discover the Ororo heated vest until my outdoors man husband got a mens Ororo heated vest first and introduced it to me! It’s perfect for Icelandic winter! It even has become the most utilized piece of clothing at home in the winter for me. The heating elements are designed to be near arteries to keep the entire body warm without any bulk. This heated vest is efficient enough to replace most layers of clothing for me in the winter. When walking your dog or going to games, you would love this vest or a heated jacket alternative.

One thing to note when traveling with this vest, you may want to wear it on the airplane or pack it (or at least the battery) in your carry-on due to airline guidelines on lithium rechargeable batteries in checked luggage.

Waterproof Windbreaker Winter Jacket

Invest in a high-quality, fashionable, waterproof, windproof winter jacket because it’s probably going to be in all of your photos in Iceland. Helly Hansen makes high-quality and stylish coats without TNF markup. This versatile HH jacket meets the fashion and function requirements and has the perfect length for Iceland.

Nothing feels more miserable than being wet on top of being cold in Iceland. Besides keeping your feet dry and warm, make sure you keep your entire body dry as much as you can. Even the forecast tells you it’s going to be sunny on a day in Iceland, you can still run into occasional rain showers. When you visit waterfalls in Iceland, your waterproof windbreaker jacket and rain pants also become your best friend.

Rain Pants

When it comes to choosing rain pants, my go-to is the MARMOT full side zip rain pants. As an outdoor expert, MARMOT makes humble high-quality pieces without outrageous prices. Rain pants will block water and wind to make you feel warmer. The best part of these pants: the full side zips on these Marmot rain pants allow you to get in and out of them quickly without taking off your shoes.

Fleece Leggings

I lived in my fleece leggings with pockets in Iceland. It kept me warm and styled well with my snow boots and long winter jacket in Iceland. When the environment is wet or extra cold, I put on my rain pants on the outside and I feel bulletproof. If you are not a leggings person, this pants make perfect long underwear under your regular hiking pants.

3 Essential Winter Clothing Accessories

These beautiful wool hiking socks will keep your feet warm and dry in Iceland. Don’t pack any cotton socks because they may always feel damp in Iceland.

A pair of winter flip-top convertible mittens will allow you to access your phone while keeping your hands warm. I love mittens as my fingers feel warmer in them than separate finger gloves.

Keeping your ears warm with a fleece-lined ear warmer is critical to keep your body temperature warm in Iceland.

The above clothing accessories are small but will make a big difference to your outdoor adventures in Iceland!

Power Bank

A powerful power bank is a must-have for Iceland in the winter as phone batteries drain much faster in cold climate. When we were out chasing the northern lights in the evening, we have our phones connected to our Anker portable charger the entire time in below-freezing temperatures. Our Anker power bank has lasted for years and are still going strong. You can charge three devices simultaneously on this powerful model.

LED Head Lamp

Days can be short during the winter in Iceland. You will find an LED head lamp essential from time to time especially when you are outside chasing the northern lights or ice caving. It’s important to pick one with red light mode for better night vision in Iceland.


With the latest camera technology in our phones, it’s totally possible to capture the northern lights photos with a phone camera. But you want to have a phone tripod to keep the phone as steady as possible. I used a selfie stick tripod for my phone in Iceland and caught some impressive photos of the northern lights and myself (lol).

If you plan to bring your DSLR camera to Iceland which is highly recommended for the northern lights, you definitely want to bring a good tripod for your camera and even a compatible shutter cable release.

Read our best tips and everything to know to maximize your chance of seeing the northern lights in Iceland.

We’d love to hear if you have any essential items you used in Iceland or pack for cold climate vacations. Leave a comment below.

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