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What to Wear for Glacier Tours

Visiting a glacier is an invigorating experience!  In fact, for many, it is a once-in-a-lifetime journey.  Also, good news too Iceland has 13 glaciers beckoning you to explore!  Therefore, in traveling to Iceland, choosing to book a glacier tour is a brilliant idea!  After all, we are the famed land of fire and ice!  So do not let the opportunity pass you by… And today we get you ready for it by sharing with you what to wear for glacier tours!

Glaciers Around the World

Did you know glaciers are found all over the world?  Although, 99% of the world’s glaciers are in countries of Antarctica and Greenland.  Meanwhile, the remaining 1% of the world’s glaciers are scattered around the rest of the world, and found in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. 

All in all, there are about 200,000 glaciers in the world.  Nevertheless, many people haven’t seen a glacier.  Can you believe that?  Maybe you’re even one of those folks!  Likely also may not know a lot about glaciers, as the majority tend to be fairly inaccessible and far up in inhospitable mountain ranges.  Regardless of location though, there are commonalities in what to wear for glacier tours worldwide.

Glaciers in Iceland

However, Iceland is a small country with relatively easy access to many glaciers.  First, you can be right by a glacier in less than a 3-hour drive from the KEF International Airport.  Second, some can be seen from the country’s Ring Road (Route 1).  Third, there are 13 large glaciers in Iceland, many of which have many outlet glaciers.  To illustrate, there are ~269 named glaciers in total.  Therefore that means, glaciers cover about 11% of the country!

 Let’s educate you a tiny bit… The word for “glacier” in Icelandic is “jökull.”  So you’ll notice that they all have a “jökull” ending.  Next, let’s take a closer look at the 13 largest glaciers!  Vatnajökull is hands down the largest glacier in Iceland.  Which also happens to be the largest glacier in Europe as well.  Further, you’ll also find our Ice Pic Journeys glacier tours happening on this awe-inspiring glacier as well!

Next, we highlight by size of the glacier… Langjökull, Hofsjökull, Mýrdalsjökull, Drangajökull, Eyjafjallajökull, Tungnafellsjökull, Þórisjökull, Eiríksjökull, Þrándarjökull, Tindfjallajökull, Torfajökull and Snæfellsjökull.  Okay so now try to say them 3 times fast and see what happens.  You know, just in case you needed a tongue-twister!  Ready to know about what to wear for glacier tours?  Keep reading…

Ever-Changing and Always Moving

Additionally, glaciers are always moving under their weight and spreading out.  When a glacier spreads out a part of the glacier pushes down into a valley and if it’s massive, then that it becomes a glacier on its own.  Hello gorgeous outlet glacier!  In fact, outlet glaciers are also called “crawling glaciers” in Icelandic. How freaking fun is that?

But wait, let’s talk about our favorite glacier for a bit before we give into showing you what to wear for glacier tours…

Vatnajökull glacier covers about 8% of our tiny island in the North Atlantic and is more than 8 times larger than the second biggest glacier in the country.  Meanwhile, it has about 30 outlet glaciers, including Breiðamerkurjökull which feeds the famed glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón with icebergs.  Fun Fact, our ice cave tours are on this amazing outlet glacier!

Did you know Iceland is also known for its volcanic systems?  Furthermore, many of Iceland’s glaciers are located on top of active volcanoes.  For example, underneath Vatnajökull are several volcanoes.  To illustrate, one of which had a large eruption in 1996 causing a massive glacier flood (or a jökulhlaup), on the nearby sands of Skeiðarársandur on the South Coast.  Additionally, visitors driving the South Coast of Iceland can see the remnants of a bridge that was destroyed in the flood and has been turned into a picnic stop.  Check it out on the way to do an Iceland glacier tour with us! 

Alright, let’s gear up and see what to wear for glacier tours with our Ice Pic Journeys team!

What to Wear for Glacier Tours

When you’re packing for a trip to Iceland and planning what to wear for glacier tours, there are a lot of factors to consider.  For instance, season, weather forecast, and preparing for unexpected weather.  Why the last one?  Because glaciers often have their own weather patterns.  Therefore, a common mistake that people tend to overdress, or underdress for glacier tours.  Just because you’re going to a glacier, doesn’t mean you should wear all of your warmest clothes combined.  But it also means that a simple jeans and a T-shirt combo are not going to cut it.

Glacier Base Layers

First, the most important thing to think about is layering, and wearing items of clothing made out of wool and / or fleece.  Additionally, stay away from denim and cotton materials.  Because, when you go hiking you will sweat, and if you’re wearing those items of clothing they will get wet and take a long time to dry.  Which leads to rapid body heat loss and you feeling like you’re freezing!

Second, it will vary a little bit on what you should wear depending on which tour you are going on.  For example, for all of them, make sure that you have good and strong hiking boots that support your ankle.  Which are necessary to fit crampons onto. Furthermore, please don’t wear or bring boots with a heel (high or not).  Third, it’s always good to have a warm base layer, such as merino wool thermal underwear.  Here are a few of our favorites when you think about stocking up on base layers to wear for our glacier tours!

Iceland glacier base layer example    Mens Glacier Base Layer

Wool socks for Iceland Glacier Tours   Gray Wool Neck Gaitor

Dressing for Glacier Hiking or Iceland Ice Climbing

If you are going glacier hiking, or ice climbing you will find yourself getting warm from the hike.  Therefore, you don’t need to overdress.  However, do put on some water-resistant but breathable hiking paints, plus a fleece or wool sweater and a thin waterproof jacket.  Next, add to that some warm gloves and a hat and you’re good to go!

It’s always good to bring an extra layer along in a backpack.  For instance, a warm down jacket can do the trick, in case you are standing around admiring the view and you find yourself cooling down.  Also, if you are going Iceland ice caving there may be less walking involved.  However, the ice caves might be wet if there’s a waterfall or a river going through it, so a waterproof warm jacket is advisable and gaiters if you want to be extra protected.  In our Amazon Storefront, we give you all kinds of ideas for what to wear for glacier tours.  But here are a few of our faves for ease of referencing quickly…

What to Wear for Glacier Tours in Iceland Waterproof Coat 

What to Wear on our Glacier Zip Line Tour

For our Glacier Zip Line tour there is a bit of waiting around whilst the zipline is being prepared.  Meanwhile, this is where layering up may come in handy!  For example, a warm jacket (or an extra wool sweater) is a good thing to grab from your backpack so you don’t cool down in the meantime.

What to Wear for Ice Pic Journeys Northern Light Tours

Finally, if you’re going on an Aurora tour with us from Reykjavik, you’ll spend quite a bit of time inside a car, but also a long time standing and potentially waiting for the Northern Lights in the dark.  Additionally, you’ll want to have a thick and warm jacket for this tour as well as warm insulated pants.  Maybe lined with fleece?  Also, thin finger gloves are good for working your camera or phone settings, but thicker ski gloves on top for when you don’t need to push any buttons.

   

Adventures on Icelandic Glaciers

Icelandic glaciers are accessible all year round and offer various tour options.  To illustrate, you can choose between a walking exploration, adrenaline-filled adventures or simply getting that perfect Instagram winter wonderland photo by a natural ice cave!

Glaciers in Iceland are incredible to visit, and home to an incredible adventure playground and many different activities.  For instance, imagine choosing to go glacier hiking, ice climbing, explore natural ice caves, go dog sledding, go on an expedition across the glacier, heli-skiing or even go ziplining across the ice over a crevasse! 

Our Ice Pic Journeys offer glacier hiking tours, ice climbing tours, ice cave tours and even glacier zip-lining tours to choose from!  All of these are accompanied by a driver-guide who is also a professional photographer.  That way, you walk away with amazing keepsakes after!

Ready to Embark on a Glacier in Iceland?

Now there’s nothing left to do but choose which adventure suits you best!  Take a look at the various tours on offer in our adventure portfolio and book your favorite today!!  In conclusion, we hope this post on educating you on what to wear for glacier tours has been helpful to you!  If any doubt, we encourage you to check out our Amazone Storefront

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