** This was originally posted on 2/24/18. I’ve made a few revisions for readability purposes.**
So you’ve made the official decision to take that trip to Iceland, and now you’re planning to go in the winter. Great choice! As I mentioned in my previous post, traveling to Iceland in March is a great time to go as you have the opportunity to view the Northern Lights, without experiencing days without sunlight.
When my friends and I were planning our trip to Iceland, our biggest question was how to pack for a March trip to Iceland. As none of us are very outdoorsy, nor have participated in winter sports (e.g., skiing) a great deal, we did have to purchase a few items to prepare for the trip. In this post I will cover all you need to know on packing for Iceland in March.
Determining what to Pack Based on Planned Activities
Before you go out and purchase anything, you should first take an assessment of the activities that you plan to do in Iceland, or at least have a general sense of what types of activities are available to you. Keep in mind that the weather in March was around 30-35 degrees during the day (Fahrenheit) and about 10 degrees colder in the evening.
See the Iceland Travel Guide in my previous post if you need some ideas for winter Iceland activities. When we finalized our list of activities for our four days in Iceland, we noted that we would be spending a lot of time outside, so it would be in our best interest to back warmly. The categories of items that we purchased cover clothing (Base Layers and Outwear) as well as other essentials that you’ll need to pack for your winter trip to Iceland.
Clothing | Base Layers
1 | Thermal Underwear
As those of you from colder climates know, layering is key to keeping warm when in colder temperatures. As a base layer, I purchased 2 sets of thermal underwear made of the fabric modal, as this fabric has the known qualities of being breathable and resistant to shrinkage.
2 | Wool Sweater
I purchased a merino wool sweater, which was incredibly warm. Merino wool is known for being finer and softer than typical wool, making it more comfortable and not itchy. It also does a great job of wicking moisture away from your body, which is very beneficial when its cold out.
3 | Wool Socks
You should pack several pairs of wool socks with you when you go to keep your feet warm and dry. And comfortable in your boots!
I know that there are a lot of people who speak to the benefits of the thinner smartwool socks, but personally I think the regular wool socks kept my feet much warmer. Choose the one that you like best!
Clothing | Outerwear
4 | Ski Jacket / Coat
I decided to take a ski jacket instead of my normal winter coat to be better protected against any rain or wind we encountered. I purchased a ski jacket by Columbia from a local outlet, and it was one of the best decisions I made! It really held up against the wind chill, which can be pretty intense in Iceland.
5 | Gloves
Pack a good pair of gloves to keep your digits warm! Since there was a lot of wind, it didn’t take my typical choice of wool gloves, but the ones shown here instead. I liked these gloves because they are warm but still form fitting, and still wear them regularly.
6 | Thermal Leggings
7 | Ski Pants
So when I told my friends I was taking these along with me, they laughed at first. But let me tell you, they were the only way I survived waiting to see the Northern Lights! I put the ski pants on top of my thermal leggings to combat being outside in the cold for extended periods of time. I wore them for our ATV ride as well.
8 | Snow Boots
Finally, I alternated between wearing my old riding boots and my snow shoes based on the activities of the day. I highly recommend taking snow shoes, especially if you plan to be pretty active outside during your trip.
Additional Essentials when Packing for Iceland in March
9 | Hand and Toe Warmers
10 | Swimsuit
A visit to the Blue Lagoon or any other heated pool is kind of a must-do activity in Iceland. That means you should not forget to pack your swimsuit! Here’s a cute suit, just in case you need a new one ;).
11 | Waterproof Phone Case
12 | Charging Case
I also highly recommend that you bring a charging case for your phone with you, as phone batteries typically die much faster when exposed to colder temperatures.
Getting it all in your Suitcase
By now I’m sure it seems that I’ve listed out a lot of items, but believe it or not, you can fit all of these items easily into a carry-on suitcase. I always leverage packing cubes and sometimes use compression bags if I’m really set on using a carry on bag, but I’ll plan to give more detailed tips on packing light in a later post.
Have you been to Iceland? What tips to you have to provide? Put them in the comment box below! Additionally, feel free to drop me a comment below if you have any questions for me!