Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Ok, so you just booked your winter flight to Iceland! Now what? Trust us, we’ve been there too. We were arctic adventurer novices before our trip to the 3rd windiest place in the world and had no idea what to pack. Now, if you’re an outdoorsy person or have an REI credit card, this is not the list for you. This is intended people who don’t have a lot of cold weather gear, but want to explore Iceland and take great photos while staying warm & keeping your camera gear protected. This is not a comprehensive list of everything you need, but a few essential items off that worked really well for us on our trip.
A sturdy pair of snow boots are key if you want to enjoy the time spent outside. We got the Lands’ End Women's Alpine Snow Boots and the L.L Bean Men's Storm Chasers with the arctic grip. The Lands’ End boots were super insulated, while the L.L Bean Boots had great traction.
We tried a few different brands socks on our trip and our favorites were easily the Wigwam Sub-Zero Insulated Wool socks and the Icebreaker Lite Crew socks. These certainly did not sock & kept us nice and warm!
We didn’t want to wear super thick gloves to restrict out photo taking abilities and wanted to be able to interact with our touch screens without taking off our gloves off. We opted to go with the North Face Etip gloves, which work great with touch screens. These gloves will keep your hands warm if the wind is minimal, but you really cannot wear these long term on their own. We paired them with Grabber hot hand warmers, and they worked perfectly for us on our adventures.
If you’re going to Iceland in the winter, you're probably on the hunt for the Northern Lights. The temperatures drop significantly at night and once the wind picks up it can be a little rough. We brought RefrigiWear full face masks and got great use out of them during those cold Icelandic nights. You’ll want to pack a few beanies too, especially ones that cover your ears.
The weather in Iceland changes rapidly, making layering key. We read all about it before going on our trip, but its really something you need to experience to understand how quickly it actually changes. You're going to want to pack a few fleeces for your trip. We didn’t leave our hotel for an excursion without a North Face or Columbia fleece on under out jacket.
We used the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack on our excursions to store our water bottles and gear. Our DIGIANT canvas camera backpack worked really well in keeping our camera gear dry and secure. It also has the ability to strap a tripod to it, which was really helpful on our Northern Lights tour.
Two Dopes Tip: If you want to photograph the Northern Lights, you’ll need to bring your DSLR camera and a tripod.