It is true. Summer is almost over, but crisp fall evenings, delicious autumn-inspired cocktails, and the Northern Lights are just around the corner. It may not be a popular opinion, but fall is my favorite season. There is something inexplicably magical about it. If you have opted out of the taking advantage of Iceland’s long summer days, for our amber sunsets and moonlit northern lights expeditions, then you are in for a treat. But, before you get on the plane and hop off in Reykjavik, you need to make sure you are all packed up. Here is the essential packing guide For Reykjavik.
Reykjavik In The Fall
Before we dive into the list, let me give a quick rundown about Iceland in autumn. The end of summer and the beginning of fall mark the beginning of the off-season in Iceland. As we inch closer to winter, there will be fewer tourists visiting our shores. I personally think that the off-season is preferable for those seeking to have an authentic time here in Iceland. The average temperature in Reykjavik hovers around 10 Celsius during the day (50 Fahrenheit) and 5 Celsius during the night time (40 Fahrenheit). The further we march into winter, those temperatures dip by about 10 degrees. Make sure you check Reykjavik’s weather outlook before you come.
The Icelandic Essentials – A Great Day Bag
Having traveled as much as I have, I can confidently say the bag you choose to make your day bag is crucial. A cumbersome, uncomfortable backpack can complicate your life quickly. You want your pack to compliment the environment and situation you are in. If you are in the market for a new, comfortable, and affordable day bag for your trip to Reykjavik, you are in luck. If you are planning on staying primarily in the city, I recommend getting an Outlander Ultra Lightweight Packable backpack from Amazon.
At between 17 and 26 USD (15 – 22 Euros) this bag is a steal. It is durable, utilitarian, and most importantly affordable. It comes in 11 different style options with three different size options. The best part is that it is packable. If you are like me and like traveling light, that means that you can store the bag in your checked luggage. I prefer my carry-ons to be as least cumbersome as possible. There is nothing worse than trying to wrestle with a massive bag you have crammed under the seat in front of you. It is just an awkward, never graceful, weird minute for both you and the passengers in the aisle. Travel light. Here’s a link to the bag. If you are still on the fence check out the glowing reviews, people rave about it.
Packing Guide For Reykjavik – Portable Charger
Low-battery warnings are the bane of my existence when traveling. Recently I had my phone die on a long flight. Nothing is worse. Let me watch my shows in peace please, Odin. The same can be said for in a new city without a phone, or a way to charge it. The world is rapidly devolving into a society who can’t function without Google Maps, Trip Advisor, and Instagram.
And I am okay with it. When my phone dies, I feel like a caveman. The best way to avoid the existential dread of not knowing who said what on Twitter is to keep your phone charged. The name of the game is portable battery chargers. I rarely leave home without one. Why wouldn’t you bring one everywhere you go? Wandering the streets of Reykjavik on an autumn night sounds lovely, but I also like to be connected. If you do too, why not scoop up a RAV Portable battery charger?
This portable charger is amazing. It is capable of providing your phone or another device with up to seven full charges. It can give juice to two devices simultaneously, and it even has an emergency flashlight. There is a reason this is the most popular charger on Amazon. Not convinced? Take a look for yourself here.
Packing Guide For Reykjavik – Travel Adapter
A good travel adapter should be discreet, effective, and most importantly durable. I have owned a slew of travel adapters that were cheap and clunky. Its trial and error in finding one that works for you. You think you find one that is perfect, and then the buttons break. Or the side cracks. However, adapters should only serve to make your life easier. My personal recommendation for those coming to Iceland who needs to keep their laptops and phones charged during their travels is the Travel Adapter Worldwide All-in-One Universal Plug. I always travel with this handy little gadget. And, it has the added bonus is that it has two USB ports for charging mobile devices on the go. Pick one up before your trip to Iceland.
Packing Guide For Reykjavik – A Durable Rain Jacket
Rain jackets, oh how I love you. My grandfather taught me the importance of a great rain jacket when I was younger. Once before setting out on a day, trip, he told me to pack my rain jacket, and I refused. I was apparently clued into the weather better than my grandfather. Welp, he came back from our trip bone dry, and I looked like I had just jumped into a pond. Cold and shivering, I began to seriously reconsider my career as an amateur weatherman.
Ever since then I have always made sure to invest in a great rain jacket. The weather here in Iceland can change at a moment’s notice. You are going to want to keep dry during your Nordic getaway. If you don’t have a jacket, I recommend Columbia’s Watertight Rain Jacket Line for men and Charles River’s line of rain jackets for women. Both brands have plenty of options for colors and sizes, and they are both reliable and durable lines of jackets.
Be Sure to Bring Lots of Base Layers
Staying dry is only half the battle though when coming to Iceland, staying warm is the other. Our subarctic environment creates some stunning natural spectacles like the blistering green waves of the Northern Lights or the devilishly handsome horses we have here (why do they look so good? It must be their hair.) The best way to stay nice and toasty during your autumn visit to Iceland is to come prepared with several good base layers. Base layers are light and incredible insulators of heat, but they also breathe really well. This will allow you to wear less outwear. I always invest in a new set of base layers every couple of years. If you have had the good fortune of never having owned base layers, then I recommend Tesla’s affordable thermal line for men and women (Tesla the clothing company, not the car company.)
Packing Guide For Reykjavik – Jacket
It should go without saying, but if you are coming to visit us this fall be sure to bring a jacket. You want to purchase a jacket that is a 3-in-1. These types of jackets have the advantage of having zippable, removable layers that allow you to customize your wardrobe according to the weather. If it is chilly, but the wind isn’t too bad, you can get away with wearing the inside layer and shedding the outerwear portion of the jacket. I encourage you to either buy a 3-in-1 jacket or a great rain jacket with plenty of room for layering clothing. For the jacket-less amongst us, I recommend New Balance’s line of 3-in-1 jackets for Men and Free Country’s System Jacket for women. There are plenty of styles and sizes for each coat. Grab one when you can.
Bring Lots of Warm Clothing
I always recommend bringing a scarf, gloves, a warm hat, and some wool socks. These items are all more or less a dealer’s choice. Just make sure whatever cold weather outerwear accessories you bring are both insulating and water resistant. In terms of hats, I always say go for a beanie. This will keep your head toasty, and looking stylish, while you window shop down Laugavegur street or if you are putting back pints at one of our local Icelandic breweries. Neff beanies are usually what I wear. Amazon has endless color options for these handy beanies so you can look stylish in any cold weather situation is my recommendation for a warm Icelandic autumn hat.
Make sure to keep those digits dry and comfortable with a pair of nice gloves. I found a great pair of cold weather gloves off Amazon that I wear all the time, and they have the added bonus of having touchscreen capabilities. Which as we all know is crucial.
And finally, don’t forget about keeping your feet warm and cozy as well. Similar to a good base layer, wool socks are highly adaptable to any environment. A good pair of wool socks can allow your feet breathe when it is hot, stay warm when it is cold, and they also wick sweat and moisture efficiently. Your feet will thank you after you get your first pair of Smart Wool socks. Grab a couple of pairs here.
Other Essentials For Your Trip
I would recommend more options for the rugged adventurers looking for an ultimate packing guide for day hikes and day trips. But that article is coming later this week. So you will just have to keep your eyes peeled and look forward towards my next blog post. This list is for those seeking the essentials for their time spent exploring Reykjavik. I have picked up some other miscellaneous recommendations through my travels through Europe and Africa. These bonus recommendations will save you both time and money during your trip to the North Atlantic.
Packing Guide For Reykjavik – Reusable Water Bottle
Confession time. I feel naked when I don’t have a water bottle with me. One never leaves my sight. I always recommend Nalgene’s line of reusable bottles to friends, family, and basically, anyone that will listen. If you read this Nalgene, everything you make is incredible, and I need more bottles. Quick tip: you are headed to Iceland this fall remember that we have safe, fresh, and free water coming out of all of our faucets. Don’t make the mistake of wasting money on bottled water if you don’t have to. Nalgene bottles are compact, BPA free, and they are basically indestructible. Get one, stay hydrated and save some money.
Can’t Live Without Packing Cubes
Packing cubes. With travel bloggers and vloggers becoming ever more ubiquitous in our society you may have heard about packing cubes. I don’t know why someone didn’t invent these things earlier. These rectangular meshes and nylon zippable bags will change the way you travel. They will allow you to group your clothes together and they help keep you organized. We have all been in that moment where you are digging for something out of a suitcase, and it looks like someone threw a grenade into a laundry basket. Save some time and keep your clothes organized and together. ZOMAKE has a great line of affordable packing cubes that I highly recommend.
Try Out Some Icelandic with Your Phrasebook
Being able to speak the language wherever you go is a huge help. It will allow you to bridge cultural gaps, and learn something new about your host country. Just about everyone you will meet in Reykjavik will speak English. The expectation that you will have to speak Icelandic are slim to none. But, being able to test out Icelandic phrases on locals in Reykjavik is always a great way to make friends and have a little fun. Don’t worry about butchering the language, it is the thought that counts. The best pocket phrasebook that is full of great information about our language and country is “The Little Book of Icelandic.” Pick one up here.
Final Thoughts about Packing for Your Iceland Trip this Fall
Keep in mind that this is a barebones essential list. You should still bring the items you always pack for a long trip like a toothbrush, travel towel, and whatever else you think you will need. Stay tuned for the additional packing guide for those who are also planning on taking a hike or day trip in Iceland. Leave a comment below if you think I left anything out. Also, very important, leave some extra space when you pack (for souvenirs) and pack a bathing suit. “Bathing suit? Didn’t you say it is supposed to be relatively cold in Iceland?” is what you may be asking yourself. We are obsessed with hot tubs and hot-springs here in Iceland, and you never know when the opportunity will arise to go for a dip. Happy Trails!
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