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What clothes and equipment for a Road trip in Iceland in Winter ?

Today I will list all the things we took with us on our trip to Iceland in April 2019.

This post is NOT sponsored

Weather in Iceland in April

I remind the weather conditions for those who do not know this country yet: in April, it is between 1°C and 8°C and we are often confronted with snow (rarer), rain (often) and wind (up to 50km/h).

Being rather well equipped thanks to the varied temperatures during our world tour, we still had to buy some extra gear to face the rain, humidity and Icelandic wind.

Why not buy on the spot? You will see, on the spot, the prices will be doubled compared to the French prices!

For those who have nothing, here are all the things I recommend you bring with you. I know it’s a fast number, but you already have some at home, and some items can be “recycled” for your future hikes, to conquer the Mont Blanc, your next skiing vacations or for your future world tour.

Note: I put you the references from Decathlon, that’s where we bought most of our stuff, we don’t have any action from them; I found it simpler to give you the reference than to throw you a vague “technical pants”, it doesn’t help anyone 😀 you will certainly find the same thing at GoSport or Intersport. I bought some branded clothes, it’s my bling-bling side. But apart from the merino wool t-shirt at Icebreaker, the equivalent, for a lower cost, also exists at Decathlon/GoSport/InterSport.

A small point on laundromats

In Iceland, there are very few laundromats (people all have machines at home), except in youth hostels or in very big cities. At the hotel, it is necessary to pay per unit (2€, 3€ per garment). So you should either come with a lot of change of clothes, or opt for clothes that can be worn for several days without being washed.

Personally, we opted for the 2nd option: we only did 2 washes (one by hand, the other by machine) in 15 days. And we only washed the 1st diapers (in direct contact with the skin). By taking a shower every day and having quality technical diapers (merino wool), no unpleasant smell was reported.

Clothing (tops)

The technique called “onion” is to be adopted, because in Iceland, we walk a lot and we get warm quickly (as soon as the wind calms down in fact). It is necessary to opt for several layers of clothing, to be able to remove or add some easily according to your feeling

  1. A short sleeved merino wool t-shirt – 60€, for the very first diaper and to avoid odors, I recommend to put the means and opt for the Icebreaker brand
  2. A long sleeves merino wool tee-shirt to wear over the short sleeves tee-shirt –
    – from 15€ to 60€, the 2nd layer is less important, opt for Decathlon to pay less – read my comparison & the why of merino wool here
  3. A zipped fleece – 15€
  4. A light but warm comforter – we both opted for the Ultra Light Down at Uniqlo at 70€
  5. A waterproof coat :
    • being cold, I opted for a model at Aigle, waterproof but not Gore-tex), very warm, sold for 143€ (reference – Aigle Azori)
    • Jean-Benoît opted for a Decathlon model at 70€ (reference: MH500 RAINY MOUNTAIN WATERPROOF MOUNTAIN JACKET MEN BLACK QUECHUA) . He has been using this jacket for 5 years, he has climbed several 4000 meter peaks, two world tours and is still in impeccable condition

The first diapers (merino wool t-shirt) can be worn for several days without being washed. And even when we wash them, they dry in one night, so we didn’t take a change of clothes for the 1st diapers.

Clothing (stockings)

Here, too, we apply the multi-layer technique. The technical clothing, which is warmer and quicker drying, is used to counter the cold wind and rain in Iceland.

  • In terms of pants, since I’m cold but I also need breathable stockings, I opted for 3 layers:
    • Two ski tights – 20€/unit (you need two, to be able to change) (reference WED’ZE LOW CLOTHING 900 BLACK RED WED’ZE)
    • Hiking pants – mine comes from Columbia (reference Columbia Saturday Trail™), it’s a world tour pants (anti-stain, anti-UV, water repellent) but it’s not very warm. They can last several days without being washed
    • A waterproof windproof pants to put over – 15€/unit – as soon as the slightest drop of rain, we will have less scruples to get it dirty (reference WATERPROOF CHILD HIKING PANT MH100 MARINE BLUE 7 TO 15 YEARS QUECHUA) – yes I dress in the hihihi children’s department
  • Jean-Benoît being less cold, he opted for :
    • Two technical tights – 15€/unit (you need two, to be able to change)
    • A safe, waterproof mountain windproof pants, a little stuffed – 60€ (reference OVERPANT MH500 WTP)
These pants from JB are really quality, despite the washings, it remains waterproof. It has proven itself during the ascent of the Monte Rosa

Pyjamas / Home affairs

  • Two cotton pajamas (it’s useless to take too hot pajamas because the heating is on top)
  • Flip-flops (for walking indoors – go to the communal shower/pool) : we enjoy the communal heated pool and hot pots in Iceland almost every day. So we don’t really need to wash ourselves in the hotel. We always opt for rooms with shared showers, to save money.

Everybody already has all this stuff at home so I don’t count it as extra money 😀


The number of tourists who complain of having cold feet in Iceland! So we were forced to buy real hiking shoes a shivering hot, to protect our ankles, but above all to prevent the rain from seeping inside the shoes and keep our feet warm.

  • I opted for a pair of waterproof (non Gore-Tex) Timberland hiking boots bought on sale: 65€. Tip: if you have small feet like me (36-37): buy in the children’s department, it’s the same quality, but cheaper.
  • Jean-Benoît opted for a first price hiking pair at Decathlon (raincoats): 35€ (reference: NH150 SHOES MID 2553572)
our shoes aren’t Gore-Tex, just Waterproof but that’s more than enough. I poured a glass of water on the shoes for the photo, 0 problem

It’s important to choose real hiking socks, even the cheapest ones, because they are designed to limit blisters. The best socks (if you have the budget for), are the ones marked “left”, “right”. For those that sweat from the foot, choose talcum powder and/or insoles (I really like the leather ones from Minalli)

  • Hiking socks (two pairs) : 6,5€
  • Soles from Minelli: 7€/pair

To avoid slipping on ice or snow, we have a system of mini-crampons to put over the shoes. Very practical!

  • Shoe studs: 26€(Amazon link) but it will cost less if you buy them in Iceland (about 17€ in souvenir stores)

We also opted for rubber boots, because we need them to tame big waterfalls (with crampons on the feet if there is too much snow/ice). This is an optional purchase, if you already have Gore-Tex shoes. But they are essential for ONE particular stunt (I’ve talked about it here)

The boots also serve as a “plan B” if our hiking boots get wet. I know that many criticize the rubber boots because the lava (very present in Iceland) damages them, but it isn’t in 14 days that they will be perforated eh.

  • Rain boots (optional): 9,9€ (look for the boots from Decathlon’s hunting department) – reference BOTTE GLENARM 100 VE 765810, these have very thick soles
  • High socks for boots (one pair – optional) : 6,5€
  • Boot soles (anti-slip, anti-odorant – optional): 3,5€


  • Poncho (optional): 6€. The poncho is optional if you are already dressed in 100% Gore-Tex. We still have a poncho price because our clothes are just waterproof, water repellent. That helped us a lot when we had to face the very powerfull waterfalls on the 3rd day
  • Gloves : 25€
  • Polar fleece hat & scarf (JB preferred a choker which he really appreciated): 15€
  • Microfiber towel: 6€ (for swimming pools, essential because towel rental is expensive: about 5€ each time)
  • Plastic bag to cover the camera: free of charge
  • Garbage bags to put our clothes/shoes in a safe place (we often bathe in the hot pots in the middle of nature, so you have to protect your clothes, in case it snows/rain): free of charge
  • Swimsuit (essential!) between 5€ and 15€
  • Light backpacks: 2€ (to be taken when hiking)
  • Two hot-water bottles (optional): 17€/unit it’s my cold side talking. I’m so afraid of being cold that I fill them up before leaving in the morning
  • A small thermos flask (optional): at 3€ per tea, you want to make your own tea/coffee. Some people come with a kettle (car compatible), I chose a small thermos that I fill every morning before leaving.

I tested the exchange of our business and it looks something like this (click on the picture to zoom)

Here is the sleeve of my coat after 20 minutes in the rain, I’m not cold, and it dries 20 minutes later


  • Survival blanket : 2,5€
  • Our survival kits that we made ourselves (see my article on the EDC kit)


Everyone is entitled to 3kg of food (food is expensive in Iceland) so we brought as much as possible:

  • 5 Decathlon freeze-dried meals per person, at 5€/unit: for days of total laziness and if the hotel does not have a kitchen, as all you have to do is pour boiling water and close the bag. The meal is ready in 5 minutes and it is less bad than we feared. Almost all guesthouses/hotels are equipped with a kettle (shared or one per room)
  • Cereal bars : 2€
  • Chocolate

The rest can be bought on the spot, in discount supermarkets such as Bonus and Netto.

Have a good trip!

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