Written by Out Adventurer Anthony Nove.
Iceland’s climate is full of extremes, which is why I personally love its slogan, The Land of Fire and Ice. The name speaks to the obvious, of course; there are over 130 active volcanoes, and over 11% of the country is covered by glaciers.
Below are a few practical items you’ll need to be resilient and comfortable for Out Adventures’ Iceland Winter Weekend.
Let’s start with the most important thing, and you’ll need a versatile winter coat that is both wind-blocking and water-resistant. The locals don’t really use umbrellas, so make sure your coat has a hood that will further protect you from wind and rain. The water-resistant feature will also come in handy when you get close to Iceland’s majestic waterfalls or the crashing waves on the black sand beaches.
Purchase windproof gloves that insulate your hands but allow your fingers enough dexterity to maneuver your camera. Also consider a touchscreen-friendly pair.
Select a multi-functional scarf that wraps around your neck and is also designed to cover your mouth and nose. You don’t want to be fidgeting with it on treks.
Warm, waterproof boots are essential. Make sure they’re well insulated and are warm enough to hike through snow. For added warmth, consider purchasing a half size larger than normal to allow room for some thick wool socks. Personally, I recommend getting a pair with zippers because having to lace up boots while hiking can be cumbersome.
5. Thermal Underwear
I was outside hiking (and shopping) for hours, and thanks to a nice base layer of thermal undies, I never felt the cold. If you decide to hike a glacier or plan to linger along the windy cliffs snapping selfies as I did, I highly recommend investing in thermals.
Icelanders, surprisingly never look like they’re off to surmount a glacier, so you shouldn’t either. For evenings out in Reykjavik, bring a nice pair of shoes and a selection of evening wear.
That’s right, pack your swimwear! Iceland is home to incredible therapeutic hot springs. One of the most popular is The Blue Lagoon.
If you wear glasses, try getting contacts for this trip. From my own experience, having to wipe rain or snow constantly from my glasses got really annoying.
- Ibuprofen (Advil) tablets/pills are administered by prescription only in Iceland.
- Make sure to bring an oil-based moisturizer like jojoba or coconut oil. Iceland doesn’t look dry, but the changes in weather can irritate the skin.
- Credit cards are accepted everywhere. Contact your bank and select a card to bring with you that won’t incur international fees.
- Don’t wear jewelry in the natural springs; the natural minerals in the water will tarnish everything.
- Purchase lip balm with beeswax, and use it often. The beeswax coats lips and helps better protect them from the cold and dry weather.