I'm planning a three weeks trip to Iceland in July and I'm concerned about what kind of clothes I need to bring with me. I don't have a rigid schedule, so this may vary, but right now I'm thinking about hitchhiking on the Hringvegur, taking day trips for simple hiking during the stops.

According to the wiki page the average July temperature in the southern part of the island is 10–13 °C which is quite cold for my likings. Obviously temperature isn't the only factor and it's important, for example, considering the mean precipitation days which should be around 10 days in July. And what about winds?

Another nasty problem is that usually winter clothes are heavier and bigger than a pair of flip flop and a bathing suit which is annoying when you try to pack lightly.
I also tend to over-cover myself when it's cold, which is not very good when it comes to hike because I usually sweat a lot even if out it's way below zero.

So, from hat to shoes what would I need to survive the Icelandic weather in July and be able to face small hikings without travelling with too much stuff?

2 Answers 2


The weather in south it is often wet and windy, the north slightly less so, but can get some nasty cold spells, although it shouldn't be too extreme in July. For going high up in the mountains or travelling in the mid-interior you would need of course to be prepared for much lower temperatures and sometimes extreme weather.

The main thing to think about is to have protection against wind and rain. So in order to avoid unpleasant experiences, I would suggest you bring at least the following items:

  • A good wind and rain proof jacket with a hood
  • A warm sweater (which you can remove when temperatures are higher)
  • Pants with some wind and rain protection
  • Strong hiking boots. They are essential for hiking as the rough terrain (sharp rocks, lava) you might encounter can otherwise quickly destroy your footwear

Depending on your comfort level a pair of gloves and a hat might also come in handy if the temperatures get very low.

You should be aware that the weather can fluctuate a lot in iceland, even in the same day.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if there is direct sunlight and it is not windy it can feel much warmer than you would expect for the temperature. There might very well be times when you could get by with very light clothing.


Layers. Bring several. The average temperatures you quote are very misleading. Two years ago I was there in July and, while I would concur with the average, temperatures varied between 4C and 20C.

That means that I used a thin long-sleeve top and was slightly hot around noon and was quite cold with a jacket, sweater plus long-sleeve top at night. Light gloves and a wool hat were very welcome.

There was a surprising variation between direct sunlight and shade in terms of temperatures. Winds get quite strong which contribute significantly to being cold but when they take a break, you will find yourself warm just a few moments later.

You need a thin inner layer, a sweater that you can remove easily and a loose jacket that you can wear over the sweater. Make sure your outermost layer is waterproof. When it's warmer, you can skip the one layer in-between.

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