Updated: Aug 22, 2022
When you've decided to travel around Iceland by campervan, one of the most important things to know about is what you should pack and wear for your trip. Not having the right layers, footwear, or travel essentials can make or break your trip. There's nothing worse than coming to a place like Iceland unprepared and only realizing this fact when it's too late. So we'd like to help you avoid all that. Here is our list of must have items of what to pack and wear when you are traveling around Iceland by campervan.
Bring the Right Footwear
Let's start from the bottom and work our way up. I can't stress the importance of having the correct footwear in Iceland enough. It's a wild, rocky, rugged country and you will be doing a lot of hiking across uneven terrain. You are very likely to slip while walking if you don't have the right shoes. Even if you just stick to grassy areas in the campgrounds where you stay, there's still lots of holes in the ground that might catch you by surprise. My best suggestion for what to wear in Iceland is to start with a good, sturdy pair of waterproof boots. Hiking boots are great, as the bottom surface will give you lots of traction. And please look for shoes that are waterproof, not water resistant. You'll be sloshing through lots of pools, puddles, melted ice, and possibly even some snow.
It's also quite likely that you'll encounter some rainfall during your Iceland road trip. Even though the weather is much sunnier in the summer, there are still rainy days. And even on the clearest, most beautiful days, you will likely be visiting places that have gushing water like some of Iceland's waterfalls. You'll be so happy that you packed waterproof hiking boots as you make the trek past slippery rocks and the sprays of Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, and Dettifoss waterfalls.
Your warm, dry feet will thank you at the end of a long day. Be sure to pair the right footwear with high-quality wool socks to make sure you packed the ultimate Iceland combination in your suitcase.
The Four-Layer System for Dressing in Iceland and Staying Warm
Layers, layers, layers. I cannot express strongly enough the importance of wearing the right layers made from the right materials during your trip. Even though your Iceland campervan rental will come with a Webasto heater, you still need to keep in mind the elements that you're facing outside of your vehicle.
I always recommend the four-layer system for what to wear in Iceland. It's the right balance of lightweight yet heavy duty fabrics that work in harmony to keep you from getting damp under your clothes while simultaneously keeping in heat. So, what are the four layers that you need for dressing in Iceland?
First Layer of Iceland Clothing
Your base layer of Iceland clothing needs to be some sort of thermal underwear. Materials like Merino wool are perfect for this because they serve double-duty. In addition to wicking moisture from the skin (and therefore keeping you dry) wool is a natural fiber that traps heat close to the skin's surface. This will keep you warm and toasty.
Second Layer of Iceland Clothing
The middle layer of clothing for Iceland needs to be similar to the base layer. Synthetic fibers like fleece or natural materials like wool will do a great job of keeping the heat in and moving moisture out by absorbing it.
Third Layer of Iceland Clothing
The next layer you want to pack in your suitcase for your Iceland campervan trip is your insulating layer. All the heat that you've stored in the previous two layers isn't going anywhere when you've got the right insulating material. Brands like Gore-Tex and puffy North Face parkas and down jackets are your best bet here.
Fourth Layer of Iceland Clothing
Lastly, you are going to need a shell layer to top it all off. This waterproof fourth layer is designed to keep moisture from ice, snow, and rain far away from your three inner layers. These four different layers work together and you can always remove them as you hike, climb, and explore.
Other Essentials to Pack in Your Suitcase
When traveling around Iceland by camper van, you're going to need a few extra items to be comfortable at campsites and during activities for your trip. A high-quality, compact microfiber towel is perfect for camping in Iceland as it dries extremely quickly. You also want to bring a sleep mask if you're traveling during the endless hours of the Midnight Sun. A headlamp or a flashlight is also quite useful if you're going to be rummaging around a campsite in Iceland at night. Lastly, remember that you want to pack a bathing suit as thermal springs and hot pots are accessible all year long.
As far as electronics are concerned, it's always good to have external batteries and USB chargers. It's also a really good idea to bring some sort of waterproof protection for your camera. As I mentioned, Iceland is quite wet and you don't want dampness creeping in. Lastly, a high-quality, sturdy tripod will be your best friend as you try to capture those amazing waterfall photos and long-exposure images of nighttime wonders like the Northern Lights.
A Travel Guide to Iceland by Campervan - Part Three: What to Pack and Wear
Traveling around Iceland by camper van is an awesome adventure. Just make sure that you know what to wear and pack the right items in your suitcase or backpack. A little bit of preparation goes a long way in having an amazing trip.