In Iceland, especially in the winter, travelers can expect all sorts of weather. While it does get cold in Iceland, it is a bit unusual for it to get below 20 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. In fact, if you compare the daily low temperatures in January and February to those in New York City, Reykjavik's temperatures are lower. Probably the greatest consideration is the amount of wind in Iceland, especially during the winter months. Of course there is snow and ice in Iceland in the winter months, but probably not as much as one would expect.
Summers can be cool. The Professor recalls wearing a parka in July in Reykjavik once. If it gets into the 80's (it never goes above 90) in the summer, expect to see crowds of people in the parks and squares enjoying some of the rare hot days during the year.
This is what The Professor recommends packing on a trip to Iceland:
Crampons: These are cleats that can easily be slipped on to shoes or boots. They provide good traction on the ice and gravel. Surprisingly, in Reykjavik they don't clean walkways and streets of ice and snow like you think they would. So, crampons come in handy out in the country and in the city.
Rainwear: Whatever the season, it is going to rain in Iceland. Don't wait to get there before buying raingear because it will cost you a fortune, like almost everything else in Iceland. Here is a recommended rain jacket for men and rain jacket for women. Ladies will want to keep their feet dry with these boots and men can do the same with these.
Walking Sticks: When The Traveling Professor takes his small groups on a trip to Iceland, it involves walking on black sand beaches, on glaciers, through a geyser field, on cooled volcanic surfaces and all sorts of rough terrain. This walking stick comes in handy.
Bathing Suit: What? In Iceland? Absolutely. You are going to the Blue Lagoon, right?
Polartec Gloves: Of course, keeping your hands warm is important. However, you want to be able to grab a camera or binoculars easily. So, a form fitting pair of Polartec gloves will be essential in Iceland.
Layers: Instead of bulking up with one large coat, The Professor recommends layers. For women, leggings like these, worn under pants are popular on The Traveling Professor small group tours to Iceland. These thermal tops are worn under layers of perhaps a sweater and down jacket. Men can get products like these to be worn under pants and these to be worn under a sweater, sweatshirt and jacket.
Sunglasses: Light reflecting off the snow and ice can be brutal. A pair of polarized sunglasses can be helpful.
Waterproof Daypack: On those daily excursions, The Professor always packs extra dry socks, extra shoes and even a pair of pants. To keep them all dry, try this backpack.