As you might know, weather in Iceland can be fickle, especially in winter. To stay warm and dry during your stay, you have to layer your clothing. Keep the three-layer method in mind: wear an inner layer, a middle layer and an outer layer. The inner layer, preferably polyester, wool, or silk, is worn directly on your skin. These fabrics breathe and manage moisture well. The middle layer usually consists of a jacket or sweater and thermal underwear. These insulate heat and maximise warmth. And lastly, the outer layer protects against wind and rain. Don’t forget about good shoes. Hiking boots are essential for Iceland’s rugged terrain.
If you can’t fit all the above into your check-in bag, or if you think all those high-quality jackets and pants are too expensive, you might want to consider other options. Buying or even renting warm clothing in Iceland is your best bet.
Buy Icelandic brands
If you’re looking to buy warm clothes while in Iceland, you will find plenty of Icelandic design outdoor stores in downtown Reykjavík. An advantage of waiting with buying clothes until you’re in Iceland, is that Icelandic brands know exactly how to make clothing for the Icelandic climate.
Walk into the stores of 66°North, a brand founded in 1926 to produce clothing for Icelandic fishermen and find some of the best windproof and waterproof pants and parkas.
Or try Cintamani, one of the largest outdoor brands in Iceland, selling technologically advanced clothing for the outdoors as well as clothing Icelanders wear every day.
Icewear is another popular brand for people who love the outdoors. They sell warm woollen sweaters and trendy jackets that will protect you in extreme weather conditions. They specialise in knitwear, where it all started at for the brand.
ZO•ON Iceland is a fourth brand you should not miss when shopping for warm clothes in Iceland. Horizontal rain and gale-force winds will not bother you when you wear their products.
Try second-hand shops
Reykjavík is thrift shop heaven. Not only is second-hand shopping often cheaper, it is also a more sustainable way to shop. Most of the second-hand shops in downtown Reykjavík are on walking distance from each other, like the Red Cross shops, and there is a great one on driving distance from the centre with regular clothes markets, named Góði hirðirinn. Of course, there’s no guarantee that you will find what you’re looking for at a second-hand shop, but they are chock-full with clothing and often you will at least find warm pants and sweaters there. If they don’t sell everything you need, you can always rent the equipment that is still missing.
Rent your clothes
Renting warm clothes can provide an easy solution for people travelling to Iceland who otherwise have no need for them. Firstly, if you booked a tour, check with your tour operator if they rent out or provide gear like overalls, hiking boots, waterproof jackets, and waterproof pants. Otherwise, check out clothes rental Iceland Cover. Renting from them will save space in your bags and their services are cheaper than buying a full set of winter clothing. They rent out heavy outdoor clothing like hiking pants, parkas, raincoats, and down jackets, and they deliver straight to your doorstep. Another option is Gangleri Outfitters, a company not only renting out winter clothing, but also camping sets, and gps. In summer, they mostly rent out camping gear, and in wintertime warm clothing and winter mountaineering gear.
Stay warm and enjoy your stay in Iceland this winter.