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Packing for Iceland, with camping

We head back to Iceland in a few days. This trip is 17 days, with 10 of those being in the Westfjords in a camper van. After 10 days, we swap the camper out for a regular 4WD vehicle and will head to Thorsmark for a few days of hiking, then Westmann Island for another few days, and then finally to Selfoss for our last night.

I started packing a few weeks ago and had everything spread out on the guest bed. The problem with starting early is I keep second guessing what I want to bring;)

We do carryon only 99% of the time. I had an inkling of hope to do that this time, but that hope was quickly dashed. With sleeping bags, pads and camp pillows, there is just no way we could have done it. Well, if we gave up a few creature comforts maybe, by why???? We are used to backpacking here in the PNW so our stuff is pretty lightweight and compact, which helps.

My husband had not packed at all. I asked him to at least pull out what he wanted and I packed for him so he could continue our big dig project in the backyard today.

I feel pretty good about what we are bringing! We are using Osprey duffel bags that we have taken to Iceland before. They are technically carryon size, but not for Iceland Air. Plus the weight would be too much for their carryon. So we are checking those bags, and then each have a small day pack and I have a small LeSportsac bag with a change of clothes for each of us, and the misc that did not fit into the Osprey bags.

This is what I have packed:


2 short sleeve shirts (wear one on the plane)
2 long sleeve merino wool Bombas shirts
1 quarter zip technical long sleeve shirt
2 rain jackets, only because I love both colors and couldn't decide, lol. One is a bright orange REI, the other a Kelly green OR
1 pair rain pants
2 pair sock liners
4 pair merino wool socks
1 bucket hat for the sun
1 fleece beanie
2 pair hiking pants
1 pair fleece lined leggings (wear on the plane)
1 pair shorts
8 pair underwear
1 sports bra
2 regular bras
1 thermal top/bottom for pajamas
2 swimsuits so that we can hit more than one hot spring a day and not have to put on a wet suit
2 pair gloves
Lowa Renegade hiking boots
Saucony trail runners (wear on the plane)
Teva water sandals which will do double duty as shower shoes and for hikes with water crossings


sleeping bag
sleeping pad
sleep system camp pillow
sunglasses and readers
eye mask
tripod and SLR camera
bug nets
laundry lines and magnets for in the camper
hanging LED light for in the camper at night
microfiber camp towel (2, one for shower and another for hot springs)
hand and toe warmers
Power Banks (1 regular and 1 disposable one for emergency)
2 Mountain House meals for at the volcano huts or as backup
2 thin cooler bags
day pack, bladder and pack cover
water bottle
OTC meds and rx

I have a few days in case I am forgetting something, but I think we are set!

Edited to add, first aid kit! It is packed, but forgot to list it!

Posted by
9784 posts

This is going to be fabulous. My brother just did a 600-mile, several day bike race in the Westfjords that finished a week ago tomorrow. I was following him on the tracker and IG and the race's feeds, and it is so beautiful out there. Impressed you will be camping ! Have a great time. (And indeed, I do not see HOW anyone could do carry-on only when doing a camping trip !)

Posted by
2158 posts

Thanks Kim! Wow that is impressive! How cool that you could sort of follow along. We are doing a guided hiking trip to Hornstrandir one day, so really hoping to see the arctic foxes there. Kayaking another day. Horseback riding another. Other than those things, we are totally flexible so I am really excited to explore this area. This is our 5th trip, but first time to Westfjords, Thorsmark and Westmann. I am going all out with as much hiking as my knees will allow, and then having TKR as soon as we get home.

Posted by
2158 posts

I just thought I would report back on how the packing panned out.

I did not wear the shorts and one t-shirt, but I knew that would most likely be the case.

Thankfully we did not need the rain pants as we had amazing weather the entire trip.

Other things I did not use were the sun/bucket hat (could have, but hats usually just annoy me), second pair of gloves, bug nets, eye masks, hand/toe warmers, and the thin cooler bags.

We managed to do laundry twice in 17 days.

I did throw in another fleece lined legging at the last minute and was glad I did. I pretty much lived in both of those pairs.

The only thing I wish I would have brought were an extra set of batteries for the SLR. Turns out the knob for "Off" got moved and so the battery was drained. Of course I didn't realize it until I had it packed in my pack on a hike, so it was dead weight to carry. Thankfully I was able to find the right batteries in Isafjordur, so that was lucky.

Overall what we packed was spot on. The things we brought for the camper portion (10 of the days) were lifesavers!

We flew home late last night, stayed at our daughters overnight as she doesn't live far from, the airport, and then drove home today. My husband already has the sleeping bags hanging on the line to air out, and the camelbak bladders disassembled and drying out as well. Now for laundry....

Posted by
9784 posts

Welcome home ! Glad your packing went well - you sounded well prepared.

Posted by
553 posts

Thank you for sharing your packing list. I love seeing what people pack, and I especially like the followup of what worked and what wasn't needed. 🙂