Iceland Ring Road Trip Essentials: What to Pack for Clothes, Food, Photo Gear, Car Equipment

Pack lightly, travel often. And yes, bring your drone!

Every since I've started minimizing and completed my first round of Project333, packing to me has gotten easier, that and the fact that I've been on an airplane every few months or so. Also, for the second year in a row, I've been convinced to leave the warmth of New Jersey summers to hike or road trip somewhere slightly colder. Last year, it was the Andes in Peru for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This year, it was Iceland. Who knows where next year will bring? I think at this point, I've mastered the art of having a summer capsule and a winter capsule. For Iceland, our trip lasted 6 days on the road with a new place to sleep each night.

As it is my personal goal to live and travel sustainably, I didn't want to buy lots of new stuff just for the sake of this trip as it is both a waste of resource and a waste of money. Thankfully, I have most of what I needed and have learned to live without. I also borrowed a few winter things from my sister and mother to reduce the need to buy things. We went to Iceland in June and luckily for us, the weather was great, a bit more rainy that I was expecting and definitely not as cold.

This posts contains affiliate links. See Disclosures for details. Before buying, I do highly recommend that you really consider if you absolutely need an item. Remember that a new object requires more time to manage.

 
 
 

3 Things to Know About Iceland

From all of my research and blog reading, there are 3 main things one should know about Iceland. Knowing these things will ensure you pack properly and appropriately.


Iceland Experiences All Seasons In a Matter of Minutes

This means, layer, layer, layer. The key pieces to have when layering is a good, quick dry base layer, a good, warm softshell layer and an absolute waterproof and windproof outershell.


Iceland is Expensive

Bring necessary gear to make your trip as comfortable for you. Although, we want to pack light so that it makes it easier to pack and unpack, we also want to make sure we are not buying a bunch of things in Iceland. Because everything in Iceland is imported, everything is expensive. Do not get caught buying $5 waters every few hours or double the price rain gear.

Iceland is Sparse

Since Iceland only has around 300K inhabitants and you'll be road tripping around Iceland's most remote parts, it will not be easy finding supplies. There are no malls. The rest stops have limited amount of things and close fairly early so be prepared.

 

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Clothing

  • 6 pairs of base layers. One for each day because I like to be clean like that. My base layers included a tank top and a long sleeve. All thin, all quick-dry. All a combination of Uniqlo Heattech, Under Armour and Reebok workout tanks.
  • 4 pairs of pants: an REI waterproof hiking pant, Uniqlo city pants that are slightly thicker, and my Girlfriend Collective activewear pants, and another thin Heattech which I wore under my REI pants when we went glacier hiking
  • 4 pairs of shoes: hiking boots, city boots, Ugg slippers, flip flops. I originally was using the Merrell Moab, but they felt clunky on me even though I did the Inca Trail with them with no issues. Thanks to REI's one year return policy, I exchanged them for the Ahnu Sugarpine Waterproof Boots which are very lightweight and have great ankle support. The Uggs were perfect as it let my feet breathe a bit and I could easily take it on and off in the car. The city boots were also perfect for strolling around Reykjavik
  • 1 waterproof outer layer from North Face which I wore over everything
  • 1 fleece from North Face
  • 1 soft shell that I got as a company gift that I finally used
  • 1 scarf
  • 2 winter hats
  • Sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Wool socks
  • Sunglasses
 
City strolling in Reykjavic.

City strolling in Reykjavic.

Exploring in volcanic ash in Dritvik.

Exploring in volcanic ash in Dritvik.

 
 

Food

Shout outs to my car mates Sarkis, Magda and Sylvia who brought so many treats on this epic road trip. Many were Polish treats which were delicious. Here are the items I brought:

  • 3 bottles of Sancerre (so that I could toast the longest day of the year in Iceland #priorities)
  • Epic Bars
  • Cliff Bars
  • Lara Bars
  • Sardines (keto friendly)
  • Trader Joe's Nut Butters
  • Paleo granola and energy bites from WFM Bulk
  • Reusable water bottle and coffee cup are important essentials as I mention here

 Bringing your own snacks definitely helps make the road trip a bit better. You'll be stopping less and will have something to occupy you. This, of course isn't trash free, but getting a few things in bulk from the States saves lot of money and provides some sustenance should you find yourself at at remote location and all stores are closed. The sardines, nut butter and granola came in handy on those days when we didn't have time to stop for breakfast somewhere.

 
 
 

Photo Gear

  • Phone Camera - my primary photo equipment is my iPhone 6
  • Waterproof Case for Phone Camera for the Blue Lagoon or when it downpours (I didn't have one but would have come in handy)
  • Drone - our friends brought their DJI Spark and DJI Mavic which provided some awesome shots
  • GoPro for the action shots - we barely used ours
  • DSLR - bring it if you have one
  • Tripod - a good quality one since it gets windy
 
 

Car Equipment

  • USB fast chargers
  • Walkie Talkies
  • GPS - we used the one in the car, but not necessarily needed. I had pretty good cell reception in Iceland despite that fact that most of the island is uninhabited
 

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