What to Pack for Iceland In July: Don’t Forget These 25 Items
My husband and I went to Iceland in July. The summer months (late May/early June – August) are an incredible time of the year to come to Iceland due to the Midnight Sun. The sky never really gets completely dark, so you can pack a ton of activities in a day. Having the right outfit is essential to making all your adventures comfortable and enjoyable. I hope my 25-item packing list will help as you are trying to figure out what to pack for Iceland in July.
List of What to Pack for Iceland in July
- 01- Windproof waterproof jacket
- 02- Lightweight down jacket
- 03- Sweatshirt or fleece
- 04- Scarf
- 05- Beanie
- 06- Polarized sunglasses
- 07- Trail runners
- 08- Waterproof booties
- 09- Flip-flops
- 10- Waterproof touchscreen gloves
- 11- Hiking pants
- 12- Fleece-lined leggings
- 13- Swimsuit
- 14- Daypack
- 15- Quick-drying travel towel
- 16- Bug repellant + fly net
- 17- Sleep mask
- 18- Sunscreen
- 19- GoPro
- 20- Hand warmers
- 21- Disposable cutlery + Ziploc bags
- 22- Portable power bank
- 23- Water bottle
- 24- Moisturizer + lip balm
- 25- Hair perfector shampoo + leave-in conditioner
- Downloadable Iceland summer packing list
- Final thoughts
Windproof & Waterproof Jacket
Wearing my Arc’teryx jacket at Diamond Beach in Iceland
Summer temperatures can range widely from 40-75 °F but will average in the 50s. Needless to say, layers are super important as the weather is unpredictable. One layer you do not want to forget on your What to Pack for Iceland List is a waterproof/windproof jacket. When we first landed and drove our rental car to all the sites along the Golden Circle, it was pouring rain, cold, and windy.
I was happy I had brought my Arc’teryx jacket to keep out the elements. It is extremely lightweight and packs down into a super small size. The GORE-TEX material makes it waterproof. It is also windproof and quite breathable.
Yes, it is a little more expensive, but this is a staple piece you will be able to use on many more trips to come. The other trip this jacket came in handy was when we hiked and visited Milford Sound in New Zealand. You will appreciate this jacket for any trip that involves rain, wind, and cooler temperatures.
An alternative, less expensive but still super stylish option in lots of fun colors is the Helly Hansen Women’s Waterproof Jacket. It has near-perfect reviews.
Lightweight Down Jacket
Wearing my Uniqlo jacket at Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks in Iceland
Remember layers are essential for the crazy changing Icelandic weather! I brought my Uniqlo ultralight down jacket. It is super lightweight but offers incredible warmth and packs down small into a suitcase.
It has a flattering silhouette. I have gotten a lot of mileage out of this jacket including on our recent South African safari experience at Lion Sands River Lodge.
My exact Uniqlo jacket is not available anymore, but Amazon makes a great similar, highly-rated packable light-down jacket.
Sweatshirt or Fleece
I opted for a sweatshirt as my next layer. My absolute favorite sweatshirt of all time is the Athleta mindset sweatshirt. It boasts having the “softest fabric imaginable,” which I can attest to! It feels incredible on your skin and gives you yet another layer of warmth. I wore my J.crew T-shirt underneath my sweatshirt as my last layer.
In summary, my 4 layers were as follows:
- Windproof Arcteryx jacket
- Uniqlo ultralight down jacket
- Athleta mindset sweatshirt
- Jcrew T-shirt
Posing at Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in Iceland
Another important essential item is the scarf. Remember, layering is key when packing for Iceland even in the summer! Rei usually has a great selection of scarves including ones from Smartwool.
I love classic pieces that will last a lifetime, so I personally brought my Burberry scarf that I purchased years ago on Gilt (great discounts on designer items!). It kept me warm as we explored the south coast, and it jazzed up my outfit when we enjoyed several cocktails at my favorite bar in Iceland.
Looking out at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in Iceland
I hate hat hair, so I wasn’t planning on packing a hat initially. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime shipping. At the last hour, I decided to purchase a beanie, and I’m so glad I did.
Iceland is windy. The warmth of my Under Armour hat saved my ears! The beanie has a super soft fleece lining and is made of stretchable comfortable knit. There is no way I would have made it through our Iceland vacation without this little life-saver. A beanie definitely should be on your What to Pack for Iceland List.
Loved my polarized sunglasses for the Iceland trip
I love polarized sunglasses for outdoor activities. It reduces glare and eye strain. I have been a big fan of Ray-Ban polarized sunglasses for quite some time as seen in all of my travel photos. I wore the Aviator Titanium sunglasses while we were in Iceland.
Climbing around the Reynisdrangar sea stacks on Iceland’s south coast
We did several day hikes to some amazing natural wonders such as Svartifoss Waterfall and Reykjadalur Hot Springs. In my opinion, you do not need hard-core hiking boots in the summer unless you are doing a glacier hike. The type of shoe you need will depend on what kind of hikes you are planning to do.
We went on several day hikes along well-marked paths during the summer month of July. I wore my trail runners, which worked out perfectly. They had enough grip to handle the terrain and were lightweight and comfortable … more like souped-up tennis shoes. Plus, they come in a lot of fun colors unlike the boring brown and grey colors hiking boots come in (which I have too!).
I have been a big fan of Saucony Women’s Peregrine trail runners for a long time. They are super comfortable right out of the box (lots of cushion!) and are lightweight. Plus, they have great aggressive lugs to really dig into the terrain. I wear them on most of our hiking trips.
For hiking, I also love my Smartwool socks.
Also, consider bringing a second pair of walking shoes. Why? If you hike in muddy terrain, you do not want to track that dirt back into the car. I bring a trash bag to throw my muddy shoes in after hikes and then switch into my comfortable Allbirds tennis shoes. Yes, they do feel like walking on clouds! Your feet will thank you after a long hike.
Wearing my Blondo Waterproof Booties in mushroom suede
You will not be wearing hiking boots or trail runners the entire time. For nights out in Reykjavik and dinner in some of the local towns, I wore my Blondo waterproof booties. They have a little block heel and are SUPER comfortable. It is a nice way to jazz up your outfit.
Wearing tennis shoes and socks would be a pain in the butt when you are trying to get in and out of the water in the Blue Lagoon or any natural hot spring. Having a pair of slip-resistant slip-flops to slide into will make that transition much easier.
Yes, you will need gloves even in the summer!
I brought an old pair of gloves I had gotten from REI years ago. On our first day in Iceland as we were walking along the Almannagjá Gorge towards Oxarafoss Waterfall, it started to rain and the wind picked up. I was freezing! My gloves were not waterproof and did get wet. It didn’t help that I kept taking them off, so I could take pictures.
If you are traveling to Iceland, bring waterproof and windproof gloves that ALSO have sensitive touchscreen fingertip pads! That way you keep those hands nice and toasty as you snap away at Iceland’s gorgeous scenery. This item is essential for your What to Pack for Iceland List.
What to pack for Iceland in July: Athleta skinny pants
DO NOT WEAR JEANS! At least while you are hiking around. Save the jeans for dining out in Reykjavik. Have you ever walked around in wet jeans? It’s miserable, and they take forever to dry. Try to find pants that can brave the elements while you are exploring Iceland’s rugged side.
I buy a lot of my “travel pants” from Athleta. For my trip to Iceland, I wore Athleta’s Wander Stash Skinny Pant in black. It has all these little pockets that I could put things in. Plus, its TREK TECH material is extremely durable, resists tears, and does not wrinkle. I love finding pants that work for both outdoor adventures and walking around the city.
By day, I paired these pants with a sweatshirt and trail runners while discovering waterfalls. At night when we dined out, I threw these pants on with a nice sweater and my waterproof booties for a more dressy look.
I am not sure if Athleta still sells this specific style, but they usually carry some type of similar pants.
My other favorite hiking pant I brought that is a little more “rugged” in appearance is the Prana Halle Pant. It is made of this Stretch Zion performance fabric and is wrinkle-free and quick-drying. Great selection of colors. Another cool feature is you can roll up the pant leg if you get a little hot or want to dangle your feet in some water.
I have worn these Anatomie leggings on multiple trips and oh wow. These leggings are super warm and comfortable and work great for a night out in Reykjavik!
Soaking in the Reykjadalur Hot Springs Thermal River
I knew about Iceland because of all the travel images I saw of the Blue Lagoon. Yes, it is touristy, but you have to visit the milky blue waters of this incredible oversized hot tub. You need a bathing suit. I love the Voda brand. The Blue Lagoon offers bathing suit rentals, but that is kinda weird. Just bring your own and enjoy this quintessential experience.
The Blue Lagoon is not the only place you can experience Icelandic thermal water. There are many incredible locations to check out, both natural and man-made. In addition to the Blue Lagoon, we also hiked to and soaked in the Reykjadalur Hot Springs. Gotta bring a bathing suit.
I didn’t have a picture of the Zomake daypack from our time in Iceland, but here is a pic I took when we hiked to Ram’s Head in St John USVI.
There are two types of daypacks I now bring on all of my “outdoorsy” vacations. If I am doing more intense, 5+ mile hikes or long bike rides, my CamelBak comes with me. It comes with 2 pockets that I can stash my personal items in and has a hydration bladder to keep me from getting dehydrated. This is a great bag for travel due to its smaller lightweight size.
We did a few day hikes to Svartifoss Waterfall and Reykjadalur Hot Springs. These hikes were fairly easy, so instead I brought my Zomake daypack. This little bag is incredible and packs down super small. When we hiked to Reykjadalur Hot Springs, I was able to pack my water bottle, a change of undergarments (wore my bathing suit there and then changed into a dry bra/underwear after getting wet), and a camping towel. This brings me to the next item.
Quick-Drying Travel Towel
What to pack for Iceland in July: Quick-drying compact microfiber towel
No need to bring a full-size beach towel. A compact, super absorbent, and lightweight camping towel does the trick. The Blue Lagoon offers towels, but you will need to bring your own if you venture off to some of the natural hot springs.
In addition to drying off, our travel towel also worked out great as a screen when we had to change into dry clothes in front of a bunch of people at Reykjadalur Hot Springs.
Another travel tip. Bring a trash bag to throw your wet bathing suit in.
Bug Repellant + Fly Net
What to pack for Iceland in July: Sawyer Permethrin spray and Repel Deet insect repellent
I failed. I am the one who prepares for all situations, and I definitely did not think to bring bug spray. I think of mosquitoes and bugs when I think of hot, humid, tropical-like weather. When we went to Iceland in July, the temperature was in the range of the 50/60s°F. Bugs did not even cross my mind as a thing to prepare for.
I was wrong. When we hiked to Reykjadalur Hot Springs, we were attacked by relentless swarms of black flies. See the photo below of the flies dive-bombing my camera.
Annoying buzzing flies on the Reykjadalur Hot Springs hike
We passed by some horseback riders during our hike. ALL were wearing fly nets. If you choose to do this adventure, I strongly advise bringing bug repellant and a fly net.
What to pack for Iceland in July: My MZOO sleep mask
This item will only apply if you are visiting Iceland during the Midnight Sun, which occurs during the summer months. Pick accommodations that have blackout curtains, otherwise, your body is not going to know when to turn off.
In addition, bring a sleep mask. This item has to be on your What to Pack for Iceland List! Even if your hotel has blackout curtains, the sun will still try to find that little crack to sneak through and hit you in the eye. Be prepared.
I’ve tried out several different sleep masks, and my favorite is my MZOO sleep mask. It has cups for your eyes, which prevent your eyes from touching the mask. You can even blink with the mask on! It does a fantastic job of sealing out the light.
What to pack for Iceland in July: My Elta MD UV Clear sunscreen
Do NOT let the overcast skies and cooler temperatures lure you into the false sense that you are not getting any sun. You will get burned especially during the summer months.
I work in dermatology, so you will see me preach a lot about sunscreen in my blog posts. Say NO to wrinkles and skin cancer. Lather up. My favorite go-to sunscreen that I have used for years is Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 sunscreen.
Strongly consider bringing a GoPro when you are trying to figure out what to pack for Iceland. I normally just bring my GoPro for my snorkeling adventures. I brought it to Iceland, and I’m so glad I did.
It worked out great for filming when it was a little misty like when we walked behind the incredibly powerful Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. I also used it while walking around in the thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon.
What to pack for Iceland in July: Hand warmers
On a beautiful summer day in Iceland, you will not need this. But remember, the weather is unpredictable and can change in a second. When it starts to rain and the wind picks up, it is FREEZING. This little item can make all the difference.
I have used hand warmers before but forget to bring them for this trip. It is the small things that can make a big difference in determining your comfort and enjoyment on an adventure.
Disposable Cutlery + Ziploc Sandwich Bags
This may sound a little weird, but these items are great when you are eating on the go. When we first landed in Iceland, we picked up our rental car and drove straight to the BONUS grocery store. We bought some of the local rye bread and Skyr yogurt, which are must-try Icelandic foods.
Because we had brought some packable silverware, we were able to scoop into that yogurt and cut off some slices of bread. The utensils come in handy too when you are making sandwiches or cutting up fruit for your day hikes.
You need something to throw your packed lunches in, so have some sandwich bags ready. They also work well as little trash bags. Never leave anything behind.
Portable Power Bank
What to pack for Iceland in July: Portable power banks
I bring a power bank now on all of our trips. I take a ton of photos and videos, which sucks the life out of my phone pretty quickly. My power bank has definitely saved me a few times when we are out sightseeing all day. Anker is a great reputable brand that I can personally vouch for since I have two of their power banks: the Ultra Compact that looks like a lipstick tube and the slightly bigger Powercore that charges a little bit faster.
Embrava Water bottle and Gatorade low sugar packets
This is an obvious one. If you are hiking, stay hydrated. Lots of great choices. I purchased my Embrava water bottle in 2016 on Amazon and use it for all of my trips. I’ll occasionally throw in a low-sugar Gatorade pack if I need the electrolytes.
Moisturizer + Lip Balm
What to pack for Iceland in July: Cerave moisturizer cream and Vanicream lip protectant
The cooler temperatures and wind can dry out your skin. I despise hotel moisturizers. Although most of them smell great, the quality is inferior.
I will never leave for a trip without packing my Cerave cream. Use it for the face AND body. No fragrance and it will not break you out. It is a high-quality affordable moisturizer packed with ceramides and hyaluronic acid to keep your skin plump and hydrated.
Do not neglect the lips. I use either Vanicream Lip Protectant or Elta MD UV Lip Balm for moisture and sun protection.
Hair Perfector + Leave-in Conditioner
Olaplex No. 3 and adwoa beauty Melonberry Hair Milk Leave-in Conditioner
Hair perfector and leave-in conditioner may not come to mind when you think of what to pack for Iceland. Let me tell you why you should strongly consider bringing these items.
If you are going to the Blue Lagoon (which I highly recommend if you’ve never been!), then you will need to pre and post-treat your hair. The geothermal water is enriched with silica, which will make your hair stiff and dry.
Before you jump into those milky aquamarine waters, rinse your hair in the shower and generously lather a leave-in conditioner onto your hair. Bring your own because the conditioner they provide is not very good. I personally used adwoa beauty Melonberry Hair Milk Leave-in Conditioner, which leaves my hair super soft.
After your time in the Blue Lagoon, use Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector to repair your hair. I love this product and actually use it once a week even when I’m not swimming around the Blue Lagoon!
After the shower, layer on more conditioner! You will need it.
Downloadable List of What to Pack for Iceland in July
Iceland Summer Packing List
Looking to print this list out to make sure everything makes it in your suitcase?
Download your personal copy of What to Pack for Iceland in the Summer.
Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Iceland
Iceland is rugged and wild and has weather to match. Packing the right clothes and gear can make your outdoor experience much more comfortable and enjoyable. Be prepared for the elements and dress in layers even in the summer! I hope this complete packing list helps you as you plan out your Iceland vacation. If you need help figuring out what to do and where to stay, check out my 4 Days in Iceland Itinerary and my Top 3 Hotel Picks.
Did I miss anything? Questions about my What to Pack for Iceland in July List?
Let me know in the comments below!