packing for iceland

Föt gera manninn “Clothes maketh the man…”

– courtesy of Wired magazine –

if you’re from the hazy, humid, heat-filled tropics and think you’re going to need a truckful of winter-wear to bring with you, STOP!

packing for a trip to iceland in the winter isn’t about strutting your stuff because believe me, practicality winds, oops, sorry, I meant wins hand and gloves down over fashion trends.

most Icelanders are too busy trying to stay out of the cold than to spare a few seconds checking out your designer threads, so keep it simple. keep it strictly functional.

as mentioned in the previous article, you want to get a couple of your winter wear while you’re in Iceland, so in the meantime, here’s what ideally should be packed in your bag.

  • toiletries, skincare (and makeup for the ladies)
  • tissue (lots of it in case you catch the cold due to climate change. that’s quite likely to happen the first few days.)
  • multi-vitamins or prescription meds if you need any
  • 1 x pair of jeans (preferably of thick jean material)
  • 1 x pair of fleece pants
  • 1 x water resistant hiking pants if you decide to go glacier trekking/ice-climbing or duel with the rain and snow on outdoor tours
  • 1 x pair of PJs
  • 2 x thermals both tops and bottoms
  • 1 x pair of woollen socks (you can buy 2 pairs of good quality icelandic wool socks while you’re there.)
  • 1 x sweater (you can buy a warm ‘lopi’ while in iceland.)
  • 2 x long-sleeved tee-shirts
  • 2 x long-sleeved shirts/blouses
  • 1 x cardigan
  • 1 x city jacket/parka, preferably thick and water resistant with a hoodie
  • 1 x tri-climate jacket (North Face, Columbia or Marmot. Anything generic and be prepared to freeeeeeeze….)
  • 1 x leather gloves
  • 1 x scarf
  • 1 x wool hat (or you can get one with the long flaps in iceland. they’re very warm and keep your ears from freezing in the winds.)
  • 1 x Timberland/Columbia/Caterpillar hiking boots or whatever brand that gives you traction in the wind, sleet and snow since you will be using those boots for your outdoor tours which include a lot of trekking and climbing.
  • 1 x sneakers/leather boots/Uggs for all your daily city jaunts

now that list may seem a bit daunting and to add to that, it’s really going to weigh your bags down if you don’t do something about it.

to the rescue comes the very handy vacuum seal bags. according to my travelling companion, you can get these at Robinson’s department store if you stay in singapore. i believe in malaysia, you can find them for about RM5 at the Daiso store.

these help to double the amount of space in your luggage especially if you’re travelling with bulky winter wear and the airline you’re travelling on only allows 1 piece of check-in luggage.

if you really cannot find these vacuum seal bags where you’re at, you can buy gallon-sized Ziploc bags, pack your clothes in them and sit on those packs before sealing them up. if all else fails, try seeing if you can purchase them online. i’m sure you’ll find them.

good luck and stay warm!

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