If you’ve booked the Topdeck Iceland Explorer or a trip to Iceland in winter, then high five! You’re off to the land of lava, hidden people, fermented (rotten) shark, Skyr and the elusive aurora borealis.
So suit and boot up, it’s time to pack those bags – here’s what you need to bring for an Icelandic winter holiday.
- Good shoes and woollen socks.
Let’s start with your feet. You NEED good shoes, and by good shoes I don’t mean Cons or sneakers, I mean solid, thick, hiking boots with quality woollen socks that protect your feet from the freezing ground. Otherwise you’ll be in a world of pain – trust me. I once wore gumboots in the snow and had to spend two hours with my feet next to a fire thawing my toes.
- A backpack (no roll-along bags please).
Again, speaking from experience – it’s not cool to roll your luggage through snow. It catches in the wheels and you’ll turn into a human snowplough. Backpacks all the way, plus it’ll keep your back warm.
- More money than you think.
Save up folks, Iceland isn’t the cheapest destination. Most goods are imported which means bad news for your wallets.
- A balaclava.
When it’s 10 below and you’re staring at the sky with your nose in the air trying to spot the Northern Lights, you’ll wish you had something to cover it. Who cares if you look scary AF – at least you’ll have warm cheeks.
- Bathers and a shower cap.
I forbid you from going to Iceland and not going to the Blue Lagoon – it’s one of the coolest experiences ever.
There’s something to be said about running from -12 degree air into 40-degree water – seriously. Spend two hours here and you’ll have skin like silk – but your hair will be straw so bring a fancy shower cap to protect it from the course mineral water. Plus, you’ll be easy to find among the steam.
- Three layers.
They say you need three layers to keep out extreme cold. Go grab some cotton thermals for a base layer, a mid-layer hoodie or cardigan made of wool, and a wind proof jacket.
- Two pairs of gloves.
Don’t try and tell me you won’t run over to the first patch of snow you see, pick it up and throw it at your mate.
You’ll need two pairs of gloves for when the other one gets inevitably wet. Plus, it’s cold enough to warrant two pairs – trust me.
- A thermal bottle.
Water in Iceland smells rank. There’s no getting away from it – the island is volcanic so warm water comes straight from the earth and is riddled with sulphur. It sounds cool until you’re brushing your teeth with egg-flavoured water.
I bought a thermal bottle, which I filled with boiled water. (Note, the water in Iceland is some of the purest in the world and doesn’t need to be filtered – I just boiled it because I had trouble drinking it because of the smell.)
For the more adventurous types, you can also fill it up with hot chocolate and whisky too. Perfect for late-night aurora hunts.
- A good camera
With some of the most unique natural features I’ve ever seen, please invest in a good camera before you go. From the lava fields to snow-capped glacial mountains to black-sand beaches, you’ll have a hard time putting your camera down.
So you’re all set! Have an amazing trip and don’t forget to share your pics with us by using the #topdecker hashtag.