How to Pack for a Week in Iceland in a Backpack

girl walking through Iceland in a black vest

Packing light is something that generally comes easily to me. I’m the type that packs the morning of a trip and just hopes nothing is missing, which usually results in a small suitcase. (and some forgotten items, if we are being honest) So when we had the decision to pay $100 to add a carry-on for our trip to Iceland or just pack in a backpack, it was an obvious choice for me!

Now, that isn’t to say this was a walk in the park! I spent a lot of time choosing what was really worth bringing and what I was bringing for comfort. After all, we were staying there for 7 days, so it wasn’t necessarily a short trip! After successfully pulling it off, I thought I would share the packing run down.

First up, Clothing

We went to Iceland in August, so the weather was around 45°-55°F and windy every day. (We didn’t get any rain while we were there, but I think that was just luck!) That being said, we didn’t need a ton of thick layers, which helped a lot.

My Clothing Break Down looked like this…

  • 2 pairs of leggings
  • A swimsuit
  • Boots + a pair of tennis shoes
  • A packable down vest
  • Fleece Quarter zip
  • Rain Jacket (must!!)
  • About 4 long sleeves (all quick dry)
  • Socks, beanie, a scarf, and some sunnies

When it comes to clothing in Iceland, the biggest advice I can give is get quick dry layers! Iceland is known for its waterfalls and on most of them, you can get pretty close. You’ll want to wear leggings and a long sleeve that dries fast because a lot of mist comes off those waterfalls!

The beautiful thing about packing for Iceland is you really only need workout clothes. Unless you are planning on staying in Reykjavik, you likely won’t need any nice outfits. This also means you can re-wear clothes, because it’s just you and your friends in the middle of Iceland! So who cares about looking super put together!

As for fitting all your clothes in your backpack, make sure you wear all the bulkiest stuff to the airport. We looked like fools flying out of St. Louis in August (aka 100° days) wearing leggings, a quarter zip and boots, but we were warm when we landed (and everything fit)!

Everything Else You’ll Need…

Obviously, you’ll need a few other things in addition to clothing, but not much!

  • Because Iceland is across the ocean, you’ll need to bring an outlet converter. You can get one + a tiny American power strip, instead of packing and purchasing 3 or 4 converters.
  • Choose a backpack with a small pocket for your wallet, passport, and phone.
  • For your toiletries, only pack the essentials! I think I brought mascara and concealer and never even put it on!
  • Unless you have a demanding job, I would leave the computer and tablet at home. There is so much exploring to do that you won’t need it.

That’s it, folks. You really don’t need that much to have an amazing time in Iceland. In fact, we all agreed that we enjoyed our trip more because we packed so light! It was less to carry from each hotel to the next and less to sort out in the car. We got to focus solely on exploring, which was the best feeling. It has me thinking I should pack in a backpack for every trip I go on! 😉

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girl walking in front of Iceland waterfall

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