Packing for Iceland as a Photographer

I just did my packing for Iceland.  And, if you follow my YouTube channel pretty closely, you know how much I hate packing. It is the bane of my existence.  But, usually packing means throwing all my things in my suitcase and cleaning up a hotel room that I managed to destroy and in which scatter all my worldly possessions in a span of a couple days.  This time, I’m leaving a lot of things behind in Kent and packing a very small kit for Iceland.

Of course, this following list of things I’m packing for Iceland is geared (pun intended) towards a photography kit.  But, honestly, I think that anyone can follow this packing list.  I think most people that travel to Iceland also pack a bunch of camera gear, even non-photographers.

Still, this is primarily a packing list for photographer’s visiting Iceland.

I’m not going to get all fancy with a lot of talk and text. I’m basically just going to list everything with some notes.

Clothing

Iceland is all about layers and staying dry. It’s also about keeping the wind off you.  In general, Iceland isn’t that cold (compared to Canada in the winter), but it can be dangerous because of the wind and rain.  So, my advice is to bring regular clothes with you. Then, bring a fleece or down jacket, and if you need it because it’s windy or rainy put a shell over it.

Thus, my clothing list is pretty basic.

Bring your regular clothes and then the following:

  • Wind Resistant Trousers
  • Wind and Rain Resistant Jacket Shell
  • Water Resistant Gloves – I have some new Vellerret gloves that are built for photographers
  • A wool hat
road, Iceland

There are lots of cool road scenes in Iceland. This was my favourite. Nothing beats a good s-turn, as a driver or a photographer.

Footwear

Again, pack things for Iceland that are going to keep you dry and warm.  I suggest that you bring a pair of waterproof/resistant hiking shoes that you can wear for most situations.  Then, you might also want to pack gumboots for situations where you’re walking across rivers.  Photographers will definitely want rubber boots to get into rivers and creeks for photos.  Serious photographers might want to consider bringing hip waders.

Bring lots of socks! You’ll be changing them more than you think.

Dettifoss, Iceland

The power of this moment at Dettifoss can’t really be described in a photo. But, by climbing above the scene and putting a photographer in the image for scale, I think it works. What you can’t see in this image is the gale force wind that had us on our knees at times worried about being knocked into the waterfall.

Camera Gear

Obviously, everyone is different.  And, everyone’s kit is different. So, instead of listing what you should bring, I’ll list what I am bringing.

This is my camera gear packing list for Iceland as a photographer:

  • Camera Body = Canon 6d
  • Lenses = Canon 16-35mm f/4, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8, Canon 50mm f/1.4, and Rokinon 14mm f/2.8
  • Drone = Mavic Pro
  • Video Camera = Sony a6300 with kit 16-50mm lens and Zhiyun Crane Gimbal with Rode VideoMicro.
  • Action Cams = GoPro Hero 5, and GoPro Hero 5 Sessions.
  • Extra Batteries = 3 Canon LPE6 & 5 Sony batteries.
  • Filters = 1 6-stop ND, 1 10-stop ND, 1 3-stop soft grad ND, 1 3-stop hard grad ND, 1 2-stop soft grad ND – all filters are Lee Filters.
  • Drone Filters = Filters by PolarPro for the Mavic
  • Tripod = 3 Legged Thing Winston
waterfall, Iceland

What was amazing about Iceland was that there were worthy sites nearly every kilometer. It made it hard to get anywhere. I have no idea what this waterfall in northeast Iceland is called, nor was it a major attraction on the road. But, damn, was it every beautiful and photogenic.

Other Electronics

I think most are going to want to pack these things to Iceland whether or not you’re a photographer.  Again, these are my things listed. Not necessarily the exact items you should bring.  But, I’m sure you get the point.

  • Dell XPS15 Laptop
  • 1 PowerBank –  for charging cameras and cell phones
  • LG G5 smartphone
  • Power adapters – Iceland uses European 2-prong plug-ins
  • 5 – 64GB SanDisk Extreme SD Cards
  • 5 – 64GB SanDisk Extreme MicroSD cards
  • 2 – 510GB SanDisk SSD
  • 1 – Card Reader
Kirkjufellsfoss, Iceland Waterfalls

Kirkjufellsfoss

Random Things?

I carry a couple things no matter where I travel that don’t really fit into any category.

Some of these things are really important when packing for Iceland but can totally seem random.

  • A Couple Shower Caps: I know, so random. But they are great for keeping your camera dry.
  • Microfiber Towel: To dry off lenses and yourself.
  • Protein Bars: Food is so expensive in Iceland. So, I like to pack some protein bars as snacks.
  • CDs: Yes, you read that right. CDs are great to set your tripod on if you’re shooting in soft sand. It widens the base of the tripod so it doesn’t sink in.
Geothermal site, Iceland

Moon-like landscape at the geothermal site.

Apps for Iceland?

I definitely recommend a couple apps if you’re a photographer heading to Iceland.

  • TPE: The Photographer’s Ephinemeris is a must as a photographer. It shows the direction of light, times of sunsets, etc. So good.
  • Photo Pills: This app is like TPE but I use it mostly for planning the milky way.
  • Map of Iceland Offline: You can also download the map of Iceland offline on Google Maps.
  • My Aurora Forecast: An app that gives you the forecast in Iceland (and globally) for the Northern Lights.

What’s Next

I hope the packing tips were helpful for Iceland.

Next article, I’ll get back to some images. I was back in Canada recently, and I still haven’t

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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8 Comments

  1. Hi Brendan, great post! I had the pleasure of traveling to Iceland in July. It was stunning! I can see how this would be a great destination for photographers. I would love to develop a tour to Iceland to be able to show people this incredible region. Your photos are beautiful, thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thanks buddy there are some really useful tips in here

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  3. I really hope that I will get to Iceland soon and your post is exactly what I needed! I can now pack properly for a trip there and plus the process will be stress-free, Brendan! When’s the best time of the year to go there?

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  4. How I wish I can visit Iceland. Love the photos

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  5. Great pictures! It’s nice you showed a bit hidden and less-known wonders of this country. We’ve been in Iceland two years ago and loved that place (apart from the weather, of course 🙂 Best Regards

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  6. Hello Brendan, I saw your website and I am a fan of your photography.

    I need your advice please, let me know if you get my email.

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  7. Hi Brendan. Really enjoying your content on social media and after watching many of your You Tube clogs I have now become very interested in Photography. Still very much a beginner but learning daily. I’m off to Iceland in February and wanted to invest in a good filter set. I will be doing Day/nighttime photography including waterfalls/landscape/northern lights. Can you advise the filters I would definitely need for this trip. Can’t afford all that you have but an idea of maybe a couple of filters that would do a decent job. Thanks in advance.

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