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What to wear on a glacier hike in Iceland?

Embarking on a glacier hike in Iceland is an adventure like no other. The island's dramatic glacial landscapes offer an otherworldly experience that draws adventurers from around the globe. However, traversing these ancient ice giants requires preparation and the right gear.


Below is a comprehensive guide on what to wear on a glacier hike in Iceland to ensure you are well-equipped for this unique journey.


glacier hike in Iceland


Complete Gear and Attire for Iceland Glacier Hikes


Essential Attire for Glacier Trekking in Iceland


  • Layered Clothing: Iceland's weather is notorious for being unpredictable. Temperatures on a glacier can vary and may drop below freezing, even in summer. To stay comfortable, layering is key. Start with a merino wool base layer, which is excellent for insulation while wicking away moisture. Add a mid-layer of fleece for warmth, and top it with a waterproof and windproof outer layer.

  • Waterproof Hiking Boots: Footwear is critical for a glacier hike. Choose waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support to navigate the icy and rocky terrain. Make sure they are broken in to avoid blisters.

  • Accessories: Don't forget a warm hat, gloves, and sunglasses to protect against the sun's glare off the ice. A high SPF sunscreen is also essential, as UV radiation is more intense on glaciers.


Gear and Attire for Iceland Glacier Hikes


The Ultimate Gear Checklist for Iceland's Glaciers


  • Base layer of merino wool

  • Insulating fleece or wool layers

  • Waterproof and windproof jacket and pants

  • Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots with ankle support

  • Wool or synthetic socks (avoid cotton)

  • Warm hat and gloves

  • Sunglasses and sunscreen

  • Backpack with water and snacks

  • Camera or smartphone for photos

  • Personal first aid kit


Glacier Safety Equipment


When you book a Glacier Hike tour with experienced guides like Landmannalaugar Tours, they will provide essential glacier safety equipment. This usually includes crampons for traction on the ice, an ice axe for stability, and a helmet. In some cases, harnesses and ropes may also be part of the provided gear.


Glacier Safety Equipment

Practical Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Glacier Hike


  • Stay Hydrated and Energized: Pack a reusable water bottle and high-energy snacks like nuts or energy bars. Staying hydrated and maintaining energy levels is crucial, especially in cold environments.

  • Follow Your Guide: The importance of a knowledgeable guide cannot be overstated. Glacier terrain can be treacherous with hidden crevasses. A guide will lead you safely and provide instruction on using safety gear.

  • Capture the Memories: A camera is a must-have to capture the stunning scenery. Whether it’s the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon or the icy expanse of Vatnajökull glacier, you'll want to preserve these memories.

  • After the Hike: Pack an extra set of clothing to change into after your hike. You'll appreciate being able to switch into dry clothes if you get wet.

  • Respect the Environment: Glaciers are fragile ecosystems. Stick to the paths and instructions provided by your guide to minimize your impact on the environment.


For a visual guide and additional tips, check out this informative video on glacier hiking in Iceland:




Time to hike!


Hiking a glacier in Iceland is an experience that combines beauty, excitement, and a touch of challenge. By following this guide and preparing with the appropriate gear and clothing, you will set yourself up for a successful and memorable adventure.


Remember, safety comes first, and respecting the natural landscape ensures that these magnificent glaciers can be enjoyed for generations to come. Happy hiking!


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