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Iceland(air) packing list: one week, one Aeronaut; many days, many bags

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    Iceland(air) packing list: one week, one Aeronaut; many days, many bags

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    I meant to write up this list a long time ago (I’ve been home for about two weeks), but better late than never. I spent 8 days, including travel, in and around Reykjavík—a week of many highlights, among which was meeting and spending time with @Ilkyway and @ceepee, who are a pair as delightful in person as you might expect (this is not to say they were horrible separately; but I digress).

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    In terms of packing, I knew I didn’t want to hassle with more than one bag, especially en route, but I did want the option to check a bag on the way back if necessary—which it ended up being, as I shall explain. I also knew I wanted to have a day pack available, and items to help me manage the small mountain of little things I tend to bring along with me.

    I turned, then, to the Aeronaut 45. To be honest, if I had had some less bulky, more versatile clothing items, I wouldn’t have needed this much space, but I wanted to do this trip without buying any new gear, or really anything at all, which is normally very hard for me to resist. This time, I was successful: the only things I bought were some gifts for Ilkyway and ceepee, some travel contact cleaner, and a stash of Clif Bars because they are tasty.

    On my person, I had a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, Scarpa light hiking boots, a Patagonia Better Sweater hoody, a hat, my wallet and phone.

    Here’s what I packed into my A45:
    Large Aeronaut 30 Aether packing cube: super high-tech and exclusive American Eagle Slim Straight jeans, three cotton t-shirts, Duofold wool shirt, Patagonia Cap 1 long-sleeved shirt, Patagonia Cap 3 bottoms
    Small Aeronaut 30 Aether packing cube: J. Crew merino sweater, 3 pairs of socks and underwear
    Travel stuff sacks (one of each size): 1: tissues and medications (I was suffering really bad allergies before I left home); 2) Marmot Precip rain jacket; 3) swim suit and PackTowl; 4) Patagonia Retro-X jacket
    Travel Tray: gifts and snacks
    3D Clear Organizer Cube: toiletries including contact case/cleaner/spares, toothbrush/paste/floss, nail clipper, moisturizer, hair product, comb, little mirror from the Spiff Kit, q-tips, Dr. Bronner’s soap, deodorant, tweezers, eye drops
    Organizer Pouch (sizes Small and Mini): Small: hand sanitizer, lip balm, mints, Advil; Mini: first aid including Hello Kitty band-aids, antiseptic wipes, neosporin packets, a safety pin, gauze, dramamine.
    Packing Cube Shoulder Bag: water bottle, a few ready-to-hand snacks, pocket guidebook, gloves, and the Side Effect and its contents
    Side Effect: phone charger/cable/plug adapter, Kindle Paperwhite, PPU Clip (camera battery charger), Field Notes, Hobonichi Techo, two pens, micro USB cable, Jackery Bar, Shure earbuds, lighter
    Daylight Backpack: packed it flat into the backpack strap compartment of the A45
    Other items tucked here and there: more Advil, an extra hat, Soft Star Roos, glasses and sunglasses, Olympus PEN with 20 mm lens, wet wipes, mints

    Here’s my bag all packed and chilling out at the airport.

    All in all, I think the bag weighed about 15-16 pounds. It definitely felt heavy carrying it around the airport the next morning before I had a chance to have coffee, but it was nice being able to have the PCSB on the plane and then just tuck it away to keep my hands free.

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    On the way home, we ended up having to check one Aeronaut because (surprise surprise) I had bought booze. Between Chicago and St. Louis, we gate checked the other one because, for some inscrutable reason, they wanted to check everything larger than a briefcase, even though the plane was only half full. I was too tired to argue with them and since we had to get the other bag in baggage claim anyway it was OK (they sent all the gate-checked baggage down to baggage claim on this flight).

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    I learn something about packing every time I travel, and I was happy on this trip that I basically used all the clothing I packed, which tells me I’ve pretty much hit the sweet spot in terms of quantity for travel in cool climates. I do wish that I could have cut bulk from my travel kit by using more wool and double-duty synthetics, but hey—I already owned all my current stuff, and it was fine. I was definitely glad I didn’t skimp on wind protection or on my feet. I didn’t need all the first aid, which was good, and this trip I ended up not really reading or writing much; this makes me think that I may just use the Kindle app on my phone and pack minimal stationery, but I’ll take it on a case-by-case basis. Hope this is helpful!

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    Last edited by Badger; 12-16-2016, 05:31 AM.

    Cool pictures! 15-16 lbs is lighter than what I usually end up cramming in my Aeronaut 30, which never seems to weigh less than 22 pounds no matter how efficient I think I'm being. (Mine also includes some heavy stuff like my laptop, wacom, cables and chargers for all our electronic paraphernalia.)
    Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful. — Shaker Philosophy


      Thanks so much for this, Badger! Firstly - love your photos. A friend and I will be arriving in Reykjavik at the end of June and will spend a couple of days there before going on to drive all round the Ring Road for two weeks. I'm very excited! And very envious of your ability to pack so concisely - I keep mentally rearranging the contents of my suitcase and trying to decide if I can face lugging my camera tripod (3.3 lbs) on the trip. I'll be taking lots of TB bits and bobs - the Synapse 25, probably the DLBP too, plus organiser tray (invaluable for keeping items together in unfamiliar lodgings when you're tired and disoriented), snake charmer, maybe First Aid Kit pouch and Side Effect too. Hmmm. I'd be fascinated to hear any more about your stay in Iceland if you'd like to share.
      So many bags. And I love them all.


        I'm officially adding Mikkeller & Friends to my list of reasons to visit Reykjavík. That beer looks delish.

        Great photos and packing list--thanks for sharing @Badger!
        "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.” ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette


          @Badger Beautiful pictures (and helpful tips on the Blue Lagoon over on my thread!). My family and I are going to Reykjavik and along various places along the south coast for 4 days in June after 2.5 weeks in the UK, France, and the Berner Oberland region of Switzerland. Can't wait! Your list is definitely helpful. Like Amy, I think I am probably going to cram more weight in my A30, and I'll probably wind up carrying an extra purse, but I am still trying to pare down if possible. I think I am going to have to partake of that beer as well--looks pretty yummy!
          A30 Black Dyneema/Wasabi, PCSB Iberian, S19 Black Dyneema/Wasabi, SE Forest/UV, SCB Orange 152/Navy , A30 End Pocket PC Steel Dyneema, TSS in various sizes: Solar, Iberian, Wasabi, Steel, and Zest. 3D COC Orange 152, COP Cayenne, Small OP Solar, COW Wasabi, LSB Wasabi, SSB Zest, PCBP Steel, TT Zest,


            Digressing a bit, but how did you like Icelandair? I'm flying from Newark to Rejkjavik and then to Heathrow next month.


              Subbing to come back to this, as we are going to be in Iceland for four days later this year!!


                Me, too! 2-day stopover in May on my way to Germany. So tell us the cool places to go in Reykjavik! Pretty please :-)

                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                  Yes definitely tell us all the good places to go! We are there Jun 15 -19. If any of us are going to be there the same time, we should have a TB meet up.
                  A30 Black Dyneema/Wasabi, PCSB Iberian, S19 Black Dyneema/Wasabi, SE Forest/UV, SCB Orange 152/Navy , A30 End Pocket PC Steel Dyneema, TSS in various sizes: Solar, Iberian, Wasabi, Steel, and Zest. 3D COC Orange 152, COP Cayenne, Small OP Solar, COW Wasabi, LSB Wasabi, SSB Zest, PCBP Steel, TT Zest,


                    Originally posted by trailrunner View Post
                    Yes definitely tell us all the good places to go! We are there Jun 15 -19. If any of us are going to be there the same time, we should have a TB meet up.
                    I'll be there May 22-23 (only two days, alas, but I'm hoping to go back later if I like it). Sorry to miss you!


                      Thank you for the nice comments, everyone! I hope that @Ilkyway and @ceepee will feel free to post their insights as well, even though they were around for a much shorter time than I was (I was very sad when they left).

                      Re: weight. You're all correct that 15-16 lbs isn't too heavy, and I was grateful. I really wanted to make the Smart Alec or Aeronaut 30 work for this trip, but my clothes were just too bulky; I was too stubborn to buy any new stuff. If I had had to take a laptop, I would have left a pair of pants or something at home. This trip was sort of a litmus test for my camera, as well. It's not particularly heavy, but I've come to realize that I just don't care about taking photos all that much. I barely even turned the thing on, so now I know I can sell it with no regrets. @Antonia, it can be very windy, so if you are taking photos that require a long exposure time, you may want the tripod so the camera stays still. If you are driving yourselves (I highly recommend doing this, folks), maybe you could use a Gorillapod or something to affix your camera to your car to provide stability? Just a thought.

                      For those of you going in summer: it will still be colder than most places below the 64th parallel, but the weather to me was quite mild. If you are the type to wear convertible pants (that is, pants with zip-off legs, leaving you with shorts), that could be a way to kill two birds with one stone, since you might find it chilly or rainy at some points in the day and actually rather warm at other times. Still bring insulation and a rain jacket, though.

                      Places to go: I was only in town for a week, so I know I missed a lot. Here are some hints based on my experience.

                      Sit by the lake near Raðhús (City Hall). It's really gorgeous watching the sun reflect off the water, and the swans are of an impressive size.
                      Check out Reykjavík 871 +/- 2. This is a Viking settlement they found under the city; the museum was built around it and remains below street level.
                      Likewise, hit the Viking Settlement section of the National Museum. I found the rest of the museum a bit dull (i.e., the exhibit on Icelandic agriculture in the 1960s) but the Viking exhibit is pretty kick-ass. Don't mess with the lamps on the magnifying glasses because the docent will rush you like a bull moose and yell at you. Ask me how I know.
                      Make sure to find out if the Art Museum is between exhibits when you visit. If they're moving things around, there won't be anything to see except for one small floor that comprises the permanent collection.
                      Ride the elevator to the top of Hallgrímskirkja. 360 views of the city! Similarly, if you have the time, you can go to Perlan (the Pearl), which has a 4th-floor observation deck; there's also a rotating restaurant inside. We didn't make it even though it was within spitting distance of our hotel.
                      You kind of have to go to the Phallological Museum. It's not very large (ha!) but the concept is just so weird.
                      If you have very limited time, consider a hop-on, hop-off bus. I didn't do this, but I would have if I wanted to see as many sights as possible in one day. You'll see the Harpa concert hall, the aforementioned Hallgrímskirkja, the Old Marina, and I do think it's a good way to orientate yourself.

                      I was supposed to see the Whales of Iceland museum, the Saga Museum, and a couple of other galleries, but I kind of ended up blowing them off. There's always next time.

                      Some places I went and enjoyed:
                      Mikkeler and Friends. The only place I went to twice. They have a good selection of Mikkeler taps (duh), but also had Tøøl and a couple of small-scale Scandinavian breweries represented when I was there. They've also got Mikkeler spirits (gin, whiskey, etc.) if you are interested. It's above the Dill restaurant, which I could not afford on this trip but where I totally would have gone if I could; it's also above a pizza place that looked pretty solid. These establishments are all separate, though, as far as I can tell.
                      Ida Zimsen. It's a bookstore/cafe where I spent a very nice afternoon with Ilkyway and ceepee. They serve Illycaffe and had good cake. I went to a few other cafes in the area, and they were all right; this one happened to be my favorite. By the way: cake and coffee is totally a thing, so be a good sport and have cake and coffee. I totally ended up missing Reykjavík Roasters, which is supposed to be the #1 local roaster in the city.
                      Frederiksen Ale House. It's across from the Art Museum and they have a really good happy hour with buy one get one free beer. Trust me, this is a good deal.
                      Nepalese Kitchen. It seems weird recommending a Nepalese restaurant, but the people who run it are super nice, the food was good, and it was not insanely expensive.
                      Icelandic Fish and Chips. The word "Icelandic" is a clue that it's not British fish and chips, but go anyway because the fish was really high quality and they make good salads. Funny exchange:
                      ceepee: Did you notice that the pesto on the baked fish has olives? I didn't think you liked olives.
                      Ilkyway: I'll try it anyway!
                      Badger: Did you notice it also has prunes?
                      [discussion of what prunes are ensues, then...]
                      Ilkyway (to ceepee): I'll get it anyway, and if I don't like it, I'll give it to you!
                      [food arrives]
                      Ilkyway: oh, wow. I really don't like this.
                      [for the record: the rest of us agreed the weird olive-prune pesto was quite nice, if a tad bland.]

                      More to come, but these things take a while to write...


                        Re: Icelandair

                        For the question about Icelandair:

                        It was fine, not horrible or fantastic. You aren't going to get British Airways or JAL amenities, but if you know to expect that, it's fine.

                        Pretty reasonable in price
                        On both my flights, I had a nice USB port!
                        Everyone got a bottle of water on my return flight
                        Very nice flight attendants
                        Ambient lighting that mimics the Aurora Borealis
                        Icelandic TV and movies on the entertainment selection
                        Nonalcoholic drinks are complimentary and they'll bring you more if you ask

                        You have to buy food and it is a bit weird; however, there are Pringles
                        The seats are a bit narrow
                        Both flights seemed to be quite warm—especially the night flight. I was overdressed and just felt ill and hot, and there was nothing I could do (had the air all the way up, etc.). I would definitely suggest dressing lightly and having a layer on hand if you get cold. On the way back I wore jeans and a T-shirt the whole way and was much more comfortable. (NB: in general, I found interior spaces everywhere in Iceland to be too warm for me. It's very cheap to heat buildings there, and man, they go for it. YMMV.)

                        BTW: the arrivals area of Keflavík (right before you exit to the Gray Line bus) has this hot dog stand/shop that sells all manner of drinks, including energy drinks, drinkable skyr, electrolyte water, etc. And "Cool American" flavored Doritos, which I really shouldn't have passed up. I'm telling you this because if you are heading straight to the Blue Lagoon on the bus, buy a bunch of drinks there and chug them on the way so you don't get all desiccated in the hot water.


                          Badger got to see way more of this unique country than ceepee and I partly because we had way kess time and oartly because a sore back I sported kind of slowed everybody down.
                          BUT we got to meet with Couple Badger and that was the main purpose of the hole travle for us Europeans.
                          We laughed a lot, talked about differences in food (mainly chocolat bars ;-), compilmented each others great taste in bags and got to see some AMAZING northerl lights!!

                          I did not take a hole lot of pictures and nothing as breathtakeing as Badger. But here is what I have:

                          Me on my way to the airport:

                          Very first impressions of Iceland: SNOW

                          Money is a bit fishy there:

                          Me all exited as I am a HUGE Pirets of the Caribian fan. (Though to me it is a single film and NOT part of some sort of serios)

                          ceepee and I on the way home at London Luton:

                          And me and my trusted Smart Alec just before boarding for my flight back to Germany.

                          That last picture: I was pritty sad to leave this wonderfull meetup, bit that sugar-bomb os to bribe my girls to let me go to the next meetup with brendabethman and ceepee in may 8-0


                          Sent from my phone
                          “Ankh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.”

                          By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth


                            I had heard about the planes being a bit on the warm side, so I shall dress accordingly!

                            As a woman of a certain age, I tend toward being warm all the time anyway.


                              Originally posted by Ilkyway View Post
                              Funny dialogue, slightly abbreviated, involving the pack of potato chips/crisps in that photo.

                              ceepee (to Ilkyway): The next time I have you round I'll have to do a big shop. Or bring in some pizzas. It was like I had nothing to feed you.
                              Ilkyway: All you gave me was a packet of chips.
                              ceepee: You could have had more!
                              Ilkyway (to Badger): the bag was so small. What is a normal size bag to you? (shows photo as above)
                              Badger: That's a family sized bag.
                              Ilkyway: No, that is for me, and I might maybe let you have some.
                              ceepee: With the size of your children, your grocery bill must be through the roof.

                              Ask @ceepee to relay the story about the mozzarella salad...