Aurora Hunting in Iceland: Packing List

Next week I'll be heading to a place that I've been dreaming of going for years; Iceland.  I'd always imagined going to Iceland in the summer months, when there is almost 24 hrs of sunlight and the opportunities for photographing in great light are that much more available.  However a few months ago, I started thinking it might be fun to go to Iceland when most people don't want to venture there, in winter. This time of year also coincides with being one of the best times to glimpse the aurora borealis.  

I've hired a local guide during my time there who will be able to help with much needed local knowledge during this time of year.  He's also a pretty fantastic photographer so that won't hurt either.   Our general itinerary is fairly simple.  We'll be spending several days on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula before heading west along the south coast.  

Packing for a trip like this is pretty specific and it's essential to have the right gear to keep protected from the elements.  Iceland is known for notoriously unpredictable weather.  So after a couple months of research here is what I'm bringing with me....

Camera Gear

  • Nikon D7100
  • Nikon 12 - 24mm / 4.0
  • Nikon 17 - 55mm / 2.8
  • Nikon 18 - 200mm / 4 - 5.6
  • Leica M9
  • Summicron 50mm / 2.0
  • San Disk 64 GB SD Card  (x2)
  • San Disk 32 GB SD Card  (x2)
  • San Disk 16 GB SD Card
  • Lee Filters (Graduated Neutral Density x 3, Polarizer, Big Stopper, Little Stopper)
  • Lee Filter Holder and corresponding filter rings for Nikon lenses
  • Mindshift Filter Hive
  • Gitzo GT1542T Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod
  • Really Right Stuff BH-40 LR Tripod Head (plus L-plates)

Outdoor Gear

  • Arcteryx Kappa Hoody
  • Patagonia Down Sweater
  • Patagonia R4 Fleece
  • Patagonia R1 Hoody
  • Outdoor Research Voodoo Pants
  • Patagonia Capilene Long Underwear  (x2)
  • Assorted Smartwool Socks (x4)
  • Ugg Hannen Boot (Waterproof and oh so warm)
  • Sorel Insulated/Waterproof Boot (for night time photography/deep snow)
  • Kahtoola MICROspikes (for walking around icy waterfalls, etc)
  • Outdoor Research Stormtracker Gloves
  • Outdoor Research Windwarrior Hat
  • Balaklava


  • F-Stop Gear Loka Backpack
  • Dana Design Small Shoulder Bag.  I use this as a lighter alternative to the backpack when hiking.  It folds up flat in my suitcase.  This is a now defunct brand, but still a great bag)
  • Patagonia Freewheeler Bag

Other Stuff

  • Assorted chargers and international plug adaptors
  • Box of Cliff Bars (in case I get hungry!)
  • Hot Hands hand warmers
  • Peak Design Camera Leash
  • Packtowell (x2, size medium)  These come in really handy in rain and snow.  They can be used to help cover your camera from the elements but also keep them dry.  
  • Adventure Medical Kids Ultralight/Watertight Hikers Medical Kit (packs ultra small, just in case or a twisted ankle, etc etc)
  • Petzl Headlamp

Photographs and stories to come after my return, I'm sure.  So stay tuned! 


1 comment

Andrew Woolwine

Always wanted to head there myself with my wife. The Faroe Islands are another one on the list. Can’t wait to see the pictures.

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