A Handy Guide To Staying Warm In Iceland

Iceland is one of the most stunning countries in the world. Right in the far northern reaches of the Atlantic, just before you get to Greenland, stands this semi-habitable island, offering an almost unspoiled wilderness. 

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Iceland was once somewhere where only the keenest adventurers traveled. Today, though, it has become a glamorous tourist destination, with people seeking out rugged mountain passes, hot geysers, and semi-active volcanoes. It’s even popular for business conferences

The number one issue with Iceland, though, is how cold it gets. (They weren’t joking when they named it). 

While summers are just about passable, the rest of the year regularly sees temperatures dipping below freezing, which can catch you off guard if you’re not used to it. 

So what can you do to stay warm in Iceland? That’s the topic of this post. We explore all your options and what you need to do in terms of gear and strategy. 

Layer Up

First thing first: you’ll want to layer up. Trying to get away with just a t-shirt or a windproof jacket won’t cut it. 

Start with a thermal base layer for both your torso and legs. Make sure you choose a brand specially designed to keep you warm during winter. You want garments that offer plenty of thermal insulation to deal with low temperatures. 

After that, you’ll need a moisture-wicking mid-layer. The clothing you choose should be comfortable and enough to keep the wind off you if you’re not wearing an outer layer. 

Finally, you’ll need a waterproof and windproof outer layer. This is the most important item because it is what will protect you against the rain in cold weather and prevent you from getting hypothermia. 

Whether you need more layers depends on personal preference and the quality of your existing layers. Three layers should suffice for all but the most grueling winter adventures. 

Make Sure Your Outerwear Is High-Quality

To reiterate the previous point, in case it wasn’t clear, make sure you invest in the highest-quality outerwear you can. Look for womens thermal gloves that will prevent you from getting frost-bitten in the temperatures you’re likely to encounter when you travel to Iceland. (Most manufacturers will include minimum temperatures in their specifications so you know how cold it can get before you start feeling cold). 

You may also want to invest in better waterproof pants to keep you dry on long hikes. While snow itself seems harmless, it can melt when it comes into contact with your warm body, causing you to keep wet. 

Garters are another item you’ll want to consider. These help to pinch the bottom of your pants, preventing water from trickling into your shoes from above. 

Choose Thermal Fabrics

As a general rule of thumb, you should choose thermal fabrics. These tend to retain heat better than conventional alternatives, letting you go for longer before you start feeling cold. 

Thermal fabrics come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the application. The best are synthetic and feature moisture-wicking technologies to reduce sweat on your body, keeping you warm and comfortable. 

Wind-Resistant Fabrics

You’ll also want to consider taking wind-resistant fabrics with you. These feature densely packed fibers that prevent the wind from getting through to your skin. 

Wind-resistant fabrics are essential because they help keep warm air inside garments, the thing that actually keeps you comfortable on cold Icelandic adventures. If the wind can blow and push this air away, you’ll continue to feel cold, no matter how thick your clothes are. 

Insulated Footwear

If you believe conditions will be exceptionally cold, you may also require insulated footwear. These garments are perfect for icy conditions because they come with an additional layer of insulation you don’t get on most hiking boots. 

If you don’t want to buy completely new hiking boots from scratch, then you might be able to buy thermal insoles for your shoes. These provide an extra barrier against the cold, preventing the bottom of your feet from getting wet. However, they don’t always provide additional warmth to the top of your feet, which can leave you feeling cool. 

Use Icelandic Wool

If you don’t have all the equipment you need with you before you travel, you can always wait until you get to Iceland. The country’s inhabitants love Icelandic wool, a special type of wool with superior warming properties. Many of the local stores sell sweaters and small thermal items made of the material, famous for keeping out the snow and wind. 

Finally, don’t forget to enjoy Iceland’s many thermal baths. Even if the surrounding landscape is frozen, these still provide plenty of heat to keep you warm.

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