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Iceland Packing Guide

Geysers, glaciers, lagoons—there are few places in the world more majestic than Iceland. That’s why we are SO excited to be able to bring you to this wonderland this August as part of our “Film + Fjords” tour. We’ll be traveling with professional photographer Claire Bangser, who leads tours for National Geographic through Iceland and knows travel photography like no other.


We’ll be hiking, we’ll be camping, we’ll be sleeping out beneath the stars (cross your fingers for the northern lights!). All in all, it’s going to be a grand adventure.

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But how should you pack for it?


Layer Up

The key to packing for Iceland is in the layers- the weather changes by the hour so it’s handy to bring leggings, tights, long sleeves and scarves so you can layer up or down. Jeans are the least practical thing to bring, as they let in too much air when it’s cold and not enough when it’s warm.

Tips from our Trip Leader Claire:
Layers! While it can get pretty warm during the day in August, nights will be cool and at times even could drop below freezing. Since we’ll be camping a few nights of the trip, be sure to bring warm layers including:Wool socks,Long underwear, Gloves, Hat, Scarf, Fleece, Windbreaker


Warm Jackets

We’ll be traveling at the end of summer, which means we will have more daylight than darkness. But, we’ll be pretty active on this trip—waking up before the sun rises, hiking to the tops of mountains, camping in rustic cabins—so you’ll want to bring a jacket that is weather-resistant. I have a thin Marmot jacket that I’ve been wearing for years. Yes, they can be a little pricy ($1-300) but you’ll wear them forever.


Sarong or Light Towel

Most places we are staying will have towels for rent (when at hostels) or they’ll be available at hotels, but it’s worth it to throw something in your bag that you can use to dry off with, just in case. A sarong is always in my bag because it can double as a blanket on a cold bus, or a scarf when I want to cover up, or a towel if need be.

Tips From Our Trip Leader Claire:
Note that due to the sulfur in the baths, gold and silver items will tarnish permanently. We recommend removing all jewelry before bathing. It may be wise to bring a small case or purse you can keep things in while you dip.


Hiking Shoes

No need to splurge here on expensive trekking shoes, just make sure you bring something you can walk in as we will be doing some hiking. If hiking isn’t your thing, no worries, you can always opt out of our activities, but the views you’ll get will be worth it!


Camera + Gear

This is an expedition all about photography and videography, after all. Bring your DSLR and tripod (extra points if you can pack them down to small sizes!). If you want to shoot on your smart phone, make sure you download a “northern lights” app that will slow your exposure so that you can take shots of the lights—otherwise they won’t show up! A small tripod like the Joby Gorillapod can be adapted to both phone and camera and is invaluable!


Here’s a tip from our Trip Leader, Claire:


Camera stuff! This trip is all about building photography our skills, so be sure to bring:

1.) A digital camera: ideally a DSLR or mirrorless camera with the option of using manual controls (but anything you feel comfortable with will do).

2.) Extra batteries: assume you might have to go 2-3 days without recharging a battery

3.) Extra SD or CF cards (depending on what your camera uses): assume you’ll shoot 15-40GB of photos per day.

4.) A card reader: so you can back your images up each night to your computer

5.) A laptop with Lightroom CC (Creative Cloud) pre-downloaded. This is the software we’ll be using to edit our images, and you’ll learn to love it quickly. If you don’t care too much about editing and really want to leave your computer at home, that’s okay too. But learning how to tone and edit your images well can really make them pop and set them apart. There is a 30-day free trial available so if you don’t want to buy Lightroom, just download it before the trip!

6.) An external hard drive: when you shoot RAW photos, they can quickly eat up your computer hard drive space! Pick up an external hard drive for storing your photos safely. Here’s one I like. NOTE: make sure you buy a drive that is compatible with your laptop (i.e. Mac vs. PC) and has a plug that will work with your computer (i.e. thunderbolt vs. USB 2 vs. USB 3)



You’ll need something to bring your gear in! Don’t forget that we’ll be on the move a lot. So pack smartly, and bring luggage that’s easy to handle. For our day trips you’ll need a day pack and/or a backpack that can hold you camera. While in the city you’ll want something smaller and versatile.

Here are a couple of suggestions from one of our Damesly Gal Pals: Tchoup Industries. They are a sturdy, handmade and women owned bag company and when we asked what Patti, the creator, would pack here’s the suggestions she gave us:

I think our new convertible bag is so perfect for travel. You can pack it flat in your suitcase and have versatile carry options while you’re out and about.


I also recommend our Flap Pack as a larger day bag that can be used for a day hike or schlepping around the city.
And our Ditty Bag is always a travel no brainer! We now have three color options. Our orange one is pretty snazzy.



Are you ready for a great adventure? Sign up now for our Iceland journey and come see the world with us!

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