Are you a plus-sized woman like me and do you wonder what to wear to Iceland in winter? Do you still want to look cute and/or feminine, not freeze to death and keep warm? Check out my Iceland winter packing list for women with a few extra pounds.
I show you the best women’s coat for Iceland in winter and my perfect Iceland winter boots that I loved! And I show you what other Iceland winter clothes you should pack for your trip to Iceland in December and January!
I was not paid or sponsored to write this post. I paid for both the Iceland trip and all our gear myself. All items have been tried and tested by me.
As always, all opinions are my own. For your convenience, I added affiliate links to services and products that I recommend and are currently available. If you decide to purchase something via one of my links, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you.
Plus-Sized Women’s Iceland Winter Packing List –
How to look cute in Iceland and not freeze to death in winter?
How to look cute in Iceland and not freeze to death in winter?
I booked my flights for a winter trip to Iceland months in advance. And so I found myself going shopping for a winter coat and fitting winter booth in August!
As it turned out, that was quite a good idea because it took me a while to find cute but warm gear to stay warm in Iceland in the winter. As a plus-sized woman, it was hard to find good quality winter clothes that fitted. So I give you my Iceland winter packing list for women like me, with a few pounds extra.
What to wear in Iceland in winter?
I knew that I would only be able to enjoy Iceland in December and January if I wouldn’t be cold. Or wet. Or both. As we haven’t had a decent winter here in ages, I knew I needed to gear up and find some good quality winter clothes to wear in Iceland.
I started early and managed to hunt some sales items. As it was summer when I went shopping for winter clothes, the items on offer were limited but much reduced in price!
The main item on my list would be a winter coat. And a good one that would be water resistant or even water proof but more importantly winter proof. As I knew the coat would be the one item I’d wear throughout the whole trip, I knew it would be the one I’d see in every picture.
Call me vain or blame Instagram fame, but I wanted the coat to look cute. And stand out. I knew exactly what I wanted it to look but finding it in my size was quite the endeavor.
The Best Coat for Iceland’s Winter
The main requirement for a winter coat for Iceland is that it is warm. Although Iceland’s winter temperatures are not that low (usually minus 5 degrees Celsius or 0) the wind can make it feel much colder than it actually is. So, if you’re going to purchase a new winter coat for Iceland, it must meet the following requirements:
- Warm (duh!)
- Waterproof or at least water resistant up to half an hour of rain
- Have a hood
- Have pockets for gloves, hat, wallet and what not
- Long, so it covers part of your bum and legs
- Lightweight, it dries quickly and you don’t feel weighed down wearing it
- Durable and preferable as sustainable as possible.
My Jacket for Iceland’s Winter Trip
After much deliberation, fitting, comparing pricing and discarding options, I bought my Fjällräven Una Red Jacket.
I already loved Fjällräven as a durable outdoor brand. They make good quality gear that lasts and they have the XXL (plus size) for women that seem to fit me. I loved my Fjällräven hiking pants and decided to try their Una Winter Jacket.
Ok, I have to be honest, together with a winter sweater, the XXL was a bit on the small side. Especially around the boobs. Now that I’ve gained a few Corona pounds, I’m afraid it doesn’t fit anymore, but at the time of purchase, it did fit.
And it had all the requirements. Warm, winterproof, water resistant, with a hood and pockets and because of the longer model, slightly tucked in waste, I felt it had quite a feminine look to otherwise a bulky winter attire.
I picked the red color as I imagined it would stand out against grey Iceland winter weather.
My Iceland Winter Boats
Cold hands and cold feet can make any winter trip super uncomfortable. So besides a good winter coat, I decided to buy some new winter boats for our Iceland trip.
To be honest, I haven’t worn them before and I haven’t worn them since, but they were still worth every penny as I had dry and warm feet the whole entire Iceland trip.
Normally, if I go anywhere in winter, I put on some thick woolen socks and wear my hiking boots. But I always end up with dead toes and cold, wet feet. So, I decided to invest in warm, insulated winter boots.
To match my red jacket, I looked for red winter boots. And I wanted the taller boots with (fake) fur on top. And it had to fit my size 43 feet (US 10,5// UK size 8). As this is rather big, it was either finding the right brand that size up, or wear men’s boots.
My super cute women’s winter boots in size 10.5!
Luckily, Columbia had exactly what I was looking for. The red color was actually from last season, so I searched the interwebs to find me a pair. Love them as much as I do? Do you want your own pair? Shop them here.
As soon as I put them on, the fake fur tickled my skin and I was instantly warm! These boots would keep me warm for sure!
The only downside to these boots, is that they don’t have a hard shaped footbed, which results in ‘walking besides your shoes’ a bit if you wear them for longer periods of time.
Other Iceland winter clothes you must pack
The winter boats and jacket were by far the most expensive clothes I bought for our Iceland trip, but they were worth every penny. In the end, I still needed more warm clothes but I decided on one good expensive item and some cheaper knock-offs.
Other things I packed for our Iceland winter trip:
Waterproof, winterproof, insulated winter pants for Iceland.
I ended up with some black ski pants which was basically what I wore during the whole entire trip. They had ziplock pockets, so I could store my small gloves in them and I found them super comfortable. They didn’t make that awkward whoosh-whoosh sound when you walk, so it didn’t feel too awkward.
Thermo legging from Merino wool as a base-layer or sleeping gear.
I wore them at night, underneath my pants or 2 on top of each other when we went out to dinner at night. Or just around the apartment in the evening. They are not the most stylish ones but they are also not supposed to be worn for anything else as a base-layer or undergarment. Buy yours here.
Base-layer, thermal-shirt from Merino wool.
I had this shirt for a couple of years. It is a 260 zip-up shirt which is a loose fit base-layer or a normal outer layer. It worked well underneath a sweater and my coat or without the sweater on warmer days.
If you’re not familiar with Merino wool, then go read up. It is very expensive but also very durable and worth every penny. The advantages are plenty but for me, they are anti-bacterial, so you can wear the same shirt for a week but it doesn’t stink!
I love the loose-fit I have, as I don’t use it as a base-layer, but they also have form-fitted, long-sleeved shirts or tops in different thicknesses (more wool = warmer).
I like to wear these base-layer tops over my bra from Falke. As they are super soft, they keep me warm when I tuck it into my trousers and I can zip open my sweater a bit without showing the bra. They don’t let any cold air tough your skin, therefore, keeping your back warm.
Warm woolen underwear.
As I usually wear thongs, I needed something to fully cover my bum on our hiking trip last year. I tried briefs and shorts, but I found shorts to fit me the best and stay in the same place for the entire day. I have some super warm and comfortable shorts from Merino wool which worked perfectly for our winter trip to Iceland. As the Merino wool is anti-bacterial, it doesn’t smell after a day of wearing them.
Normal fleece sweater or woolen sweater
I just went through my wardrobe and picked the most decent fleece sweater I could find. I had mine for ages and it does the trick. Mine is from The North Face but any well-insulated fleece sweater would do. Obviously, the thicker the fleece, the warmer it will be. You can spend more money on a fleece sweater if it is lined with insulation mesh or has a lot of zip-pockets or a hoodie.
A normal wool sweater would also be a great layer to keep you warm. Iceland has some of the cutest knitting patterns known to men (and women!) kind. I couldn’t resist one and I had to buy this amazing knitted woolen sweater for my husband.
Warm Woolen Socks
Loads and loads of socks. I had some really warm wool hiking socks and I bought some new woolen ski-socks but in the end, it is never enough. After a day of wearing a pair of socks, or washing them a couple of times, they are never as warm as the first time. I’d say: bring 10 pairs of woolen socks on a 10-day Iceland winter trip.
Bikini or bathing suit
Oddly enough, one of the first things I packed for my Iceland winter trip. As we booked a few accommodations with a hot tub (like this amazing luxury home with a private hot tub), I sure needed it! Also if you wish to visit some of the hot springs or the Blue Lagoon, you need appropriate bathing attire!
We both bought new gloves for our Iceland winter trip. As it was after Christmas, we got them from our in-laws but bought them ourselves.
At the store, we checked the labels and they were supposed to last from -15 to -25 degrees (Celcius). I say supposed as I still had cold hands.
For nearly 50€ I was hugely disappointed as I found them super expensive. Yes they were warm, had insulation and wind breaker qualities but I still had cold hands, with my thermo-gloves underneath them, in the car. Maybe I just get cold hands quickly but next time, I’d bring other ones.
A Warm hat to spruce up your outfit
I only brought one but this is where you can spice up your outfit and show your style. In the end, it is important that it has windbreaker qualities and can keep your head warm.
I don’t believe in those cute knitted hats where the wind gushes through instantly without any additional insulation. On many occasions, I pulled the hood of my winter coat over my hat to keep me extra warm.
A Turtle-neck or dickie
When I think of these, I imagine Howard from The Big Bang Theory with his dickies. But they work. Tucking in a scarf that is bulky and tangly, underneath your coat is a hassle.
I just pulled up the turtle neck and it kept me warm every day. No need to bring a scarf.
Of course, this can also be an item to show your style and they come in such a wide variety of colors and designs, you can mix and match. I choose one that could be worn on 2 sides, to have a different color on the odd days.
Add some home attire to your packing-list
Like comfy slippers. And some sweatpants or casual trousers for going out or hanging around the apartment at night. In the end, I concluded that nobody cares what you’re wearing in Iceland. They will mock you if they see you are not dressed weather appropriately. But they don’t care about fashion.
My Iceland Winter Packing List
If you’re not a big fan of reading, or just want a quick overview of what to pack for Iceland in winter, here is my Iceland winter packing list for 9 days. Some items I recommend to only bring 1, other’s I recommend to bring 9 or equal the number of days you’re going:
- Warm, wind-proof, water-resistant, (preferably with a hood) winter coat
- Warm, insulated, waterproof boots or shoes
- Woolen, long socks, I recommend bringing 9 or 10 pairs if you have that many. Otherwise, wash during the trip.
- Thermal leggings, or Merino wool long underwear. 1 will suffice.
- Warm, wool underwear, bring as many you think you need, you can always wash them during the trip
- 1 Bra or whatever you’re comfortable wearing for boob-support
- 2 Base-layer underwear for your body. It can be with sleeves or sleeveless
- 1 Merino wool thermal-shirt
- 1 Fleece Sweater, or woolen sweater
- One pair of insulated winter pants, wind-proof and water-resistant, the least, water-proof is even better
- 1 Woolen hat, with insulation to keep the wind out. Or bring as many as you like
- a turtle-neck or dickie instead of a scarf
- 1 pair of warm winter gloves. Mittens are better but then you can’t handle your phone or camera or car-keys, so I recommend gloves. They must be wind-proof, water-proof, and have a chill temperature of at least -15 to -25 degrees Celsius.
- a Bikini or bathing suit for the outdoor hot tub or the hot springs in Iceland.
- Optional: 1 set of comfortable home attire. Some flip flops, sweat pants, or pajamas. You can also wear something from the above list in bed.
- Optional: I also brought my hiking boots for some extra support during the days we’d be walking a lot. Especially when you take an ice cave tour, you need sturdy hiking boots for the crampons to fit.
- Optional: I brought my Abisko trekking tights. They are too thin to wear just like that, but I wore them with the Merino wool underwear layer on a couple of occasions when we went out to dinner at night or just around the apartment.
As you can see, besides underwear and socks, I only brought one item of each. It only happened once that I wore all layers at the same time.
So bra, underwear layer, Merino base-layer, sweater and jacket all at the same time.
On most days, I wore either the bra, underwear layer and my Merino base-layer with my jacket, or just the bra, underwear layer and sweater and my jacket.
Other things to add to your Iceland packing list
Of course, packing just clothes isn’t enough. I brought the following
- My toiletries, mini-size or travel-sized shampoo, soap, etc
- My camera, the Canon G9x, my Go-Pro Hero 7, and extra batteries as the cold can eat away battery life.
- Obviously, my iPhone. Where would we be without it? Almost 50% of the pictures we took were made with our phones.
- Food. We brought a lot of food and spices with us. I booked mainly apartments and lodges, so we could cook our own meals and save some money.
Watch my Web Story about Iceland for more inspiration!
Final tip for warm winter clothes for Iceland in Winter
In the end, it doesn’t matter how much warm gear you buy for your upcoming Iceland winter trip. If you don’t bring it, it is useless.
It could be that you base yourself in Reykjavik and take day-trips around the Golden Circle or beyond. If you don’t bring warm, dry clothes, and they sit in your hotel in Reykjavik, they are useless.
So pack an extra pair of warm socks in your day-pack and bring that extra sweater or long underwear. You can always change in the bathroom or bus if you notice during the day that the weather changes or you’re chilly.
If you take a road trip, as we did, we always had some extra clothes in the car. During our visit to Diamond Beach, I was surprised by the fast-approaching waves that come out of nowhere. Although I was warned, and extremely careful, I was caught by a crashing wave that nearly knocked me off my feet.
My hiking boots, socks, and thermal leggings were soaked. Oddly, my winter pants were fine, but the water got inside, soaking my base-layer and the inside of my pants. We immediately reverted back to the car to find out I only had dry socks.
As we drove back to the apartment (2-hour drive) my husband was kind enough to take off his base-layer pants and give them to me to wear in the car. It seems a bit extra to bring so many extra clothes, but you never know when you might need an extra pair of socks or a dry shirt!
- A rental car gives you amazing freedom in Iceland but they are a huge expense. Compare all prices and rates for car rental in Iceland here.
- Prepare before you travel to Iceland. Read more of my Iceland Stories here!
Best Clothes for Winter in Iceland
As you can see from my list, I didn’t purchase all my clothes specifically for winter in Iceland. I did spend some money on a few quality items, but I also checked what I had and how it could work for me.
In the end, it is not about being fashionable but being warm and comfortable. Shopping to find the right quality fit for plus-sized women can be challenging, so if you have warm clothes that work for you, then pack them for your Iceland winter trip!
The best clothes are the clothes that keep you warm and make you feel comfortable!
Are you thinking of going to Iceland in December or January? Or maybe February? I hope my Iceland winter packing list has helped get some insight into what clothes you need to bring for Iceland in winter and especially why!
Do you have any questions? Comments or tips yourself? Leave a comment in the comment section below! I’d love to read it.
I’m headed to Iceland at the beginning of September so from what I am hearing it is the transition in to Winter. What should be my main focus for packing?
Pack for all kinds of weather. Probably you’ll get all 4 seasons on 1 day. Just focus on multiple layers that match together. Have fun!
I NEVER read packing list posts, but as a plus-size gal living in chilly Minnesota I decided to take a look. And I loved your list and really honest comments. A dickie?! I hate turtlenecks, but this is a great idea because I only have to wear it when I need it and can take it off as soon as I’m out of the cold. Lots of other good things here too. But that was the best. I think my winter photography here at home will be a little more bearable now. I use glove liners inside my gloves or mittens so I can take them off to manage my camera. It’s hard to find good ones, but when you do, they are awesome. (I visited Iceland in June a couple years again and highly recommend you return when everything is green and not so cold!)
Thank you, Cindy! I would have never imagined someone from Minnesota needing advice for cold weather. LOL. I sure intend to return to Iceland, would love to discover the island with more daylight hours.