All Seasons, all weathers, all fun if you dress well!
How hard can it be to decide what to wear when you visit a country that is called ICELAND?
Well!, we have had some complaints (at least one) about not telling our guests to be aware of the cold, wind, rain, heat (not so much) and the burning sun.
Now, here below we were going to divide the year into four seasons but didn't. This may come as a surprise for you but the seasons can sometimes become very similar and from time to time very hard to tell them apart. You will need an expert to tell you what season it is as some days (even some hours) can seem to have all of them.
There is also a big difference (or at least can be) between the weather in the north and south in Iceland. The weather in the northern part is more similar (usually) to a continental climate where it is warmer in the summers and colder in the winters while in the south the climate is more like an island climate with sometimes the same temperatures all year round (in fact Iceland is an island and some people even believe that the word island comes from the name of this particular island which in fact is in Icelandic written "Ísland")
The Summer typically starts (when that happens) sometime in June. It doesn't come sudden, you will have to look at the calendar and guess if it has arrived or not. All the snow will probably have disappeared from the lowlands and you don't have to scrape your windshields in the mornings. If you are going on a day tour you can't be sure if the weather will be like it is here and now after an hour of driving. So, what do you do? Well the answer is layers. Many layers.
Closest to the body you have a layer that breathes. Cotton is a no no. You don't wear cotton in Iceland when there is the slightest possibility of rain (unless you are Icelandic and down town). Cotton gets wet from rain or just even by your sweat. When this happens and you stop walking, the wind will make you cold, very cold and there is always wind and I know I am not supposed to scare you off but, people have died because of this. Cotton takes a long time to dry and is therefore not suitable clothing except for down town use.
For the inner most layer use polyester or wool and it has to breathe!
This could be a t-shirt in summer or long sleeves in winter
Layer two would be a fleece or wool sweater to keep you warm. Depending on how thick this sweater is you might want to add another layer of a similar kind.
The third (or fourth) layer would preferably be a wind stopper and depending on if it is waterproof or not, you add a waterproof layer. in winter this would be a thicker jacket, preferably waterproof if the snow turnes into sleet or frosty rain.
Using layers make it better to adjust to the ever changing conditions you are experiencing. When you get the hang of it you will be taking off and putting on layers all day long.
Do not imitate how people dress when you see them outside wearing shorts and t-shirts. These are typically Icelanders that have seen sunshine some part of the day. The temperature could easily be around the freezing point or about 20°F and they don't notice.
Jeans are cotton and therefore no good except for down town use.
Shoes! wear preferably hard sole shoes with a support for your ankle. Spray with
silicon to make them water resistant for rain and snow. Of course you also use
good wool socks or layers of socks.
Yaktrax/Crampons are essential in winter time to stay safe.