Packing for Iceland and NYC was a big thing for me. I knew that this trip was going to require a bit of planning as the projected weather and activities in both countries looked different enough to render different types of outfits. I was also torn by my fantasy of taking dramatic outfit photos (think lots of volume, lots of lace, perfect makeup and hair) as opposed to the reality of practical tourist dressing and the desire to travel light. Alas I gravitated to the latter due to several constraints. We didn’t get to take ultra ‘fashiony’ photos but you know what, that’s the reality of a holiday and what mattered most was that we had totally enjoyed and enriched ourselves.
So how did I figure out what to pack? Btw, if you didn’t already know, my luggage weighed around 20kg for a 3.5 week holiday and I was so damn proud! I was known to take too much with me so I considered this a #win. I did a bunch of research online and found iheartreykjavik especially useful for answering the questions I had. Admittedly I would swap a number of items that I brought with me for something more versatile had I known what we would be going through but overall, I think I did a decent job with my packing.
Iceland is known for its ultra gusty wind conditions and unexpected rain and snow so be sure to pack enough wind/waterproof gears. Icelanders also love to crank up the heater indoors and I find the best way to tackle the sudden change in temperature to be thoughtful layering that could be peeled off with ease.
So are you curious about what I thought are the “must bring” to make your stay more comfortable in colder months? Here’s my 2 cents: #1. Thermals I got my Heattech Extra Warm from Uniqlo and they kept me nice, toasty and happy.
#2. Chunky Knits Thick, woollen jumpers are a must. The jumpers I took with me fell on the borderline of acceptability so I ended up wearing my lopapeysa (handknit sweater made with rustic Icelandic wool) a lot because it kept me so cosy and warm.
#3. Wool Socks Pack as many as you could because you will wear them. Frozen toes are not fun. Funny story, I thought I packed enough of them with me but ended up also wearing the 2 pairs that I finished knitting in Iceland.
#4. Waterproof Hiking Shoes Put your hands up if the hiking shoes also make you wrinkle your nose. You have no idea how long it took for me to try and find hiking shoes that I actually don’t mind wearing. In the end I settled for Sperry’s Saltwater Duck Boots because a bunch of bloggers did quite well in them in Iceland’s rugged terrains. While they were comfortable and relatively stylish, I wished that I had opted for a pair of proper hiking boots instead because I did actually slip once and very mildly hurt my foot for a couple of days. I also didn’t enjoy their grip on certain icy parts which made hiking less enjoyable. On that unfortunate note, rain boots will never be those hiking boots you want them to be.
#5. Waterproof/Windproof Gloves My gloves were thick but not waterproof so they were a bit useless and gross after my snow fight with Mr M or after accidentally touching something wet and muddy.
#6. Hooded Puffa Jacket I took the famous ultra light down jacket with me and I cannot express enough how much I loved it. It was a lot more windproof and waterproof than expected. Someone asked me on instagram whether it was toasty enough and the answer is a big yes as long as you’re smart about the way you layer your clothes. The hood is not optional, it’s necessary!
#7. Bathing Suit For a dip in those glorious hot springs. Say no more.
#8. Sunnies Sunnies are so needed for your dip at the Blue Lagoon during the day because the combo of steam and reflection actually hurt the eyes! Your eyes will also thank you while driving in the snow.
#9. Small Cross Body Bag I took my trusty Rebecca Minkoff 5-zip cross body bag with me and it was super useful in keeping all my valuables close to me. I wore it daily throughout the entire holiday. Your bag will get wet at some stage due to the unexpected weather so leave your precious Chanel or Gucci at home. Instead take something that you’re not too fussed about and just enjoy the holiday.
#10. Beanie and Scarf They complete your outfits and your head and neck will thank you for them.
Side note: #1. When you do your own research, you would come across a recommendation for waterproof/windproof pants. I struggled a big deal about packing this functional piece and decided against it in the end. They are not cheap and I knew that I would rather wear wet denim than be seen in them. Did I regret not having them? No. I couldn’t think of an instance where I would need them. Having said that, Mr M did take a pair with him and found them comfortable and useful.
#2. Unless you’re a model/blogger on a work trip to Iceland, packing skirts and dresses would only take up unnecessary space. However, if you’re spending a lot of time in Reykjavik and intend to check out some of their fancy restaurants and night life, be sure to pack beautiful clothes and even heeled leather boots because locals in Reykjavik are stylish.
#3. Everyone talks about packing a thermos for the road trip. Mr M and I didn’t have one and I secretly wished that we did. The thought of sipping something warm on the road is comforting indeed. Pss… S’well is huge over there so make sure you use their bottles if you care about looks and fitting in 😉
Feel free to leave a comment in the section below if you have any questions!
Outfit Details: Skivvy Uniqlo Lopapeysa Iceland Puffa Jacket Uniqlo Anorak Witchery (super old)Denim Nudie (super old) Handknit Socks Made by me Rain Boots Sperry Scarf Seed Heritage Bag Rebecca Minkoff Fur Pom Pom Seed Heritage