Travels: How to pack for Iceland in October

Welcome to part two of the Blossom Bite Iceland series!  Last week, I posted Travels: How to do Iceland in Three Days and this week I’m going to explain what to pack for an epic trip with only a rucksack.

Iceland was my dream destination for years and a few weeks ago, I finally got the chance to take the magic trip.  It was more than I ever could have imagined but the week before I flew, I was far from equipped.  I didn’t have an outdoorsy coat, thermals or anything of use in a Nordic country apart from my Sugar Hill Gang jumper. No?  Well seasoned travellers had warned me that Iceland can experience all four seasons on an extreme day.  How the hell do you prepare for all four seasons on an extreme day with a only had luggage?  The answer: with great difficulty.  However, with careful planning it most definitely can be achieved so this is my guide to autumnal packing in Iceland.

 

First things first, bring a decent weatherproof coat!  I visited during late September/ early October and the temperature varied from 14 degrees to 0 degrees in one day. When the sun went down it got cold very quickly so do not skimp on a durable, quality coat.  On  recommendation from the nice shop assistant, I bought a 3 in 1 windproof and waterproof coat and then layered up with jumpers.  I found this was the best option for me as it offered versatility however, there are many other options such as a quilted jacket which my friend bought. We both stayed nice and toasty during our trip so feel free to experiment with styles, just don’t scrimp on price!

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When it comes to footwear, you can afford a little more flexibility.  I only brought a cheap pair of walking boots and they worked really really well.  However, I managed to avoid rainy spells so they may have fallen apart if the weather wasn’t on our side.  Obviously, if you can afford a pair of Timberlands then by all means go big and get something durable.  As long as you have comfortable footwear with good grip and insulation then you’ll be absolutely fine for autumnal weather in Iceland.  It also makes sense to have a spare pair of shoes for city travelling but I ended up staying in my walking shoes for the whole trip so I wouldn’t say it’s essential.

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Next up, I know this isn’t revolutionary information but the simplest way to stay warm is to cover all your extremities.  With this in mind, I brought a woollen bobble hat, woollen gloves, thermal socks and a long scarf, none of which were particularly expensive but they did the trick and helped me feel cosy and warm.   For added protection, remember to include thermal layers in your packing and if you’re really feeling adventurous, why not bring some waterproof trousers?  I didn’t go for the waterproof trousers in the end as I was trying to save money and didn’t like the look of them.  I know, so stupid.  Thankfully, I was very lucky and didn’t get caught in any of the rainy spells but I wouldn’t advise taking the risk.

 

Lets face it, the priority for clothing in Iceland is practicality over fashion.  As someone who regularly opts for flats over heels on a night out, I’m a big fan of this!  However, I’m equally obsessive over fashion and when there’s a will, there’s a way.  Jeans are a ridiculously easy way to add a bit of edge to your outfit but if you want to stick with waterproof trousers then I also recommend a denim shirt.  Denim looks effortlessly cool and adds another thin layer to your outfit to keep you warm.  If you want to add more thin layers then try a long sleeved striped top, it’s equally versatile and relaxed with a touch of chic.

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Credit: Codie Hobbs

Finally, everyone should bring jumpers as they are crucial to staying warm but the iconic Lopopyser Icelandic jumpers are made of crazy prints and colours so why not go bold and make your winter gear funky?  Although Icelanders nail effortless style, this is the one item where you can really express yourself  Traditional, block colour or zebra print, bring jumpers that show off your style and have fun!

 

It’s very easy to focus on warm clothing and then completely forget about other little essentials that can protect you when it’s warm.  Even though Iceland is a cold country, the sun still shines bright so don’t forget to bring your sunglasses!  Also, whether it’s the blue lagoon or a local spa, remember to bring your swimming costume for the pool otherwise you’ll miss out on one hell of an experience.  Finally, you’re PJs.  I really couldn’t work out what to bring for sleepwear as I didn’t know if there would be heating in my hostel.  I know friends who have gone camping in Iceland and ended up wearing their entire wardrobe during the night to stay warm.  Yikes.  I opted for my winter PJ bottoms and a long sleeve top but my hostel ended up keeping the heating on during the night so I was boiling.  The moral of the story being, you won’t know how cold you’re going to be until you get there so I would suggest bringing a few options.  If you’re staying in a hostel/ hotel, there will probably be heating so I would assume your standard pyjamas would suffice.

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So there you go.  If you are on a budget and travelling to this beautiful country during September/ October then this should be a good starting point for your holiday packing.

Enjoy your travels!

BBx

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