10 Must-Pack Items for a Winter Trip to Iceland

Visiting Iceland in the winter provides some of the most beautiful scenery and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. That being said, winter in Iceland can also be notoriously unpredictable and weather can change quicker than you can say, “wow, I should’ve brought that face mask.” During my recent trip to Iceland, I can honestly say that for the most part, I was prepared. But there were definitely a couple of items I wish I had thought about purchasing, that would’ve saved me from some missteps along the way.

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10 Must-Pack Items For a Winter Trip to Iceland | Iceland Packing List | Iceland Travel | #AGHBHOW | ww.agreatbighunkofworld.com

1. A Portable Charger

  • I’m personally super biased towards the EVOTech Labs 3-Port Charger. Not only does this charger hold 3-5 charges depending on the type of phone or device that you have, but since I was traveling with a group of six, being able to charge three phones at once was a huge time saver. I’d charge our EVOTech each night and by the next morning we were good to go on charge for most of our day. And since cold weather is the kryptonite of iPhones, this was one of the best items we purchased for our trip.

10 Must-Pack Items For a Winter Trip to Iceland | Iceland Packing List | Iceland Travel | #AGHBHOW | ww.agreatbighunkofworld.com

2. A Wireless Travel Router

  • A Wireless Travel Router is a definite must-have – whether you’re a die-hard Instagrammer trying to not to use up a week’s worth of data in an hour, or you’re lost and in need of some Google maps. We had actually purchased a portable hotspot with our car rental, but ended up carrying the little pod in one of our pocket’s everywhere where we went, giving us access to wi-fi for the entirety of our trip.
  • 10 Must-Pack Items For a Winter Trip to Iceland | Iceland Packing List | Iceland Travel | #AGHBHOW | ww.agreatbighunkofworld.com

3. A Balaclava

  • During high winds in Iceland, which you’ll most definitely experience especially if you head up north in the winter time, you’ll have to deal with what feels like a slap in the face from the wind if you don’t make an effort to keep it covered. On our day exploring most of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, my Self Pro Balaclava saved me from crazy wind burn and helped me power through the harsh weather. Since I frequently try to persuade those around me to visit cooler regions, I’m definitely going to put this to good use.

10 Must-Pack Items For a Winter Trip to Iceland | Iceland Packing List | Iceland Travel | #AGHBHOW | ww.agreatbighunkofworld.com

4. Crampons

  • Let me start off by saying that I chose not to purchase crampons or shoe chains before my winter trip to Iceland. Let me follow up by saying that I was about a foot from falling off of the Londrangar cliffs after slipping on black ice that I was unable to see. We laughed it off later, but it was actually a scary experience knowing that I could’ve ended up in the rough, freezing oceans below. For something so cheap and so potentially useful – be sure to purchase these before you go. Check out these OuterStar Traction Grips, at recommendation from the friend who stopped me from falling over the side of a cliff.

10 Must-Pack Items For a Winter Trip to Iceland | Iceland Packing List | Iceland Travel | #AGHBHOW | ww.agreatbighunkofworld.com

5. Under Layer Clothing

  • I did a decent size shopping at Uniqlo and Under Armour prior to our trip, and I’d definitely recommend these two brands for under-clothing when visiting any highly cold region. Uniqlo has some awesome thin but warm leggings for both men and women, that can fit under your pants without discomfort. I also grabbed some long sleeve shirts from both spots that were thin enough to go under all the sweaters I had packed without causing overheating. Since my go-to outwear in cold weather are my North Face Fleece and Spyder Jacket, I wanted something warm, but that was thin enough to put over my shirts – but would also fit comfortably under both jackets. I ended up coming across spotting the Under Armour Women’s Tech 1/2 Zip and ordered it in Carbon Heather. Pro Tip: Packing for Iceland is all about the layers.

10 Must-Pack Items For a Winter Trip to Iceland | Iceland Packing List | Iceland Travel | #AGHBHOW | ww.agreatbighunkofworld.com

6. Tech Gloves

  • Aside from your face and ears, exposing your fingers for even a few seconds can be unnecessarily painful. A couple of my friends experienced agony every time they took off their gloves to take photos on their phone. To avoid this, tech gloves are a great purchase. They allow you to use any touch screen as they’re designed with touch pads on the tip of each finger. Having had less-than-expected experiences with tech gloves in the past, I was a bit wary when ordering a new pair, but the OZERO Touchscreen Gloves worked like a charm. They’re listed as for men, but gloves are gloves and these had better reviews than some of the unisex pairs I had seen. Though, a guy friend of mine who purchased the same gloves suggests men order a size up.

10 Must-Pack Items For a Winter Trip to Iceland | Iceland Packing List | Iceland Travel | #AGHBHOW | ww.agreatbighunkofworld.com

7. Hot Hands

  • When you forget your gloves or when you need something warm to stick in your pockets, HotHands are the perfect little sack of warmth. Growing up in New York, it wasn’t uncommon for our parents to purchase value packs of HotHands for us to carry on cold winter mornings, and naturally I had to bring some with me. Plus, I was able to be the hero for any of my friends who forgot their tech gloves.

10 Must-Pack Items For a Winter Trip to Iceland | Iceland Packing List | Iceland Travel | #AGHBHOW | ww.agreatbighunkofworld.com

8. Winter Boots

  • Please do not try to manage the winter snow of Iceland in a pair of Nike sneakers or leather boots that are made for appearance rather than practicality. If you only wear one pair of shoes your entire trip, and I actually did, you’ll want a pair of winter boots that are warm and that keep your feet dry. While the streets of Reykjavik weren’t much of a problem when we visited in February, we battled some semi-deep snow when hiking through Thingvellir National Park. My boots of choice were SOREL Women’s Winter Carnival Snow Boots, which managed to water out even when I was walking through slush puddles.

10 Must-Pack Items For a Winter Trip to Iceland | Iceland Packing List | Iceland Travel | #AGHBHOW | ww.agreatbighunkofworld.com

9. Hand Lotion

In general, I cannot stand when my hands are too dry, and this only worsens in winter time. Combine that with the cold, dry air of Iceland and I’d have been complaining non-stop if it weren’t for J.R. Watkins Hand Cream. For starters, ingredients include cocoa butters, aloe, and green tea which from experience, are some of the best ingredients when it comes to natural beauty products. But unlike many other hand creams, this one also doesn’t leave that semi-greasy residue that can be more irritating than dry hands.

10 Must-Pack Items For a Winter Trip to Iceland | Iceland Packing List | Iceland Travel | #AGHBHOW | ww.agreatbighunkofworld.com

10. Protein Bars

  • You’ll find that when traveling Iceland, more commonly when you leave Reykjavik and the surrounding area, that many restaurants are closed for the winter. While we were able to find a couple of spots that kept their doors open, having a box of protein bars in my bag was a huge savior especially during those long stretches of road. At one point, when we had to pull over due to a sudden close-to-zero-visibility snowstorm for a couple of hours, everyone was glad I had some Special K Meal bars to go around. Plus, if we’re being honest, food in Iceland isn’t cheap. Some protein bars and a pack of Skyr can you a decent amount on breakfasts.

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Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards

Let me start off by saying that I have drank boxed wine with the same satisfaction and enthusiasm as a $60 bottle, so to say that I am a wine connoisseur would be a ridiculous overstatement.

That being said, I do know things: what I like and pleasant experiences.

What stemmed from a brainstorming session between a friend and I when trying to decide where to spend a short weekend resulted in in, “why don’t we go drink wine in the Hamptons?” Southampton, specifically.

Southampton is primarily known for two things: It’s close proximity to several North Fork wineries and The Big Duck.

“What is the big duck?!”, you may have just exclaimed. Well, it’s literally a giant duck made of concrete. Built in 1913, the Big Duck was a shop that sold both ducks and duck eggs (not-so-ironically), but now stands as Southampton’s cutest souvenir shop and information center.

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Anyway, back to wine – Being that this was such a short trip, and we had essentially planned for just one full-day of winery hopping, we spent some time looking up various Long Island wineries and narrowed our choices down to two. Well, actually we narrowed it down to four but let’s just say, some of the wine was too good for just a sample.

While we knew right away which of the two wineries was the clear winner, we could definitely break down our reasoning it into four categories: atmosphere, hospitality, wine, and munchies.

Atmosphere

When you first pull up into the Paumanok Vineyards parking lot, you’re face-to-face with the vineyard from which they yield the grapes for their wine. As we were visiting in April, the actual vineyard was pretty bare, but it still provided a beautiful and relaxing view that got us excited for the remainder of the weekend.

Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World

The interior of Paumanok Winery gives off a very minimal, New England feel, boasting a blue and white color scheme along with wood finishes. But it’s the view from the outside deck that really makes Paumonok a complete experience.

With only two other small parties, we were able to have a seat anywhere we preferred and enjoy the beautiful weather while not having to scream over the loud chatter of others.

Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World

Alternatively, Jamesport Vineyards provides a more rustic, barn house atmosphere, which I adored. There is definitely more of a laid-back vibe when compared to Paumonak, and we noticed that the main crowd was a tad bit younger and close to our age. One thing that bothered me a bit was that despite the many windows, the interior could’ve used some artificial light. Sitting in the dark wasn’t too appealing.

Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards vs. Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World

Jamesport Vineyards seems like the type of place that may be a lot more vibrant and well-managed later in the season, but our experience at their outdoor seating area involved, an empty bar, unleveled seats, a door that kept locking everyone outside, and one too many loud parties (though that is not at fault of the winery). While we could’ve spent hours lounging at Paumonak, Jamesport just didn’t give us that warm feeling.

Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World

Atmosphere Score:

Paumonak: 5/5

Jamesport: 2.5/5

Hospitality

When we first entered Paumonak Winery, we were quickly greeted and passed a menu, which described the wines currently offered in tasting, glass, and bottle options as well as some choices of light fare. Our bartender was hospitable, and worked quickly getting us some tasting samples to share almost as soon as we had ordered.

Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World

The bartender at Jamesport was just as friendly and efficient despite dealing with a sizably larger crowd than that at Paumonak. We did have to shoulder our way passed a handful of groups once we were ready to go, but we were still able to make our purchases and close out our tab in under two minutes. Having worked in retail, I always appreciate those who are easily able to manage multiple parties without diminishing their efficiency.

Hospitality Score:

Paumonak: 5/5

Jamesport: 5/5

Wine

Not being huge fan of dry wines, we decided to sample Paumonak’s Vin Rose and Semi Dry Riesling. Both were delicious, not too acidic but full of vibrant flavor. In terms of wine quality, you could definitely taste how much time and effort went into making each one. Deciding that the Riesling was the winner of the two we sampled, we almost opted for two glasses before realizing that for almost the same price, we could get a whole bottle. And, honestly, that just seemed like the only option.

At Jamesport Vineyard, we decided to jump the gun and order a glass each of the East End Rose, which ” evokes flavors of peach, strawberry, honeysuckle and fresh flowers” and the Estate Demi-Sec Riesling 2013 with “aromas of orange blossom honey, elder, and cider” based on their amazing sounding descriptions alone. While the descriptions, at least for the latter, noted the acidity, these were both a bit too acidic for me. I could definitely pick up some of the flavor notes but due to the harsh aftertaste, we almost found ourselves having to force ourselves to finish each glass.

Wine Score:

Paumonak: 4.5/5

Jamesport: 3/5

Munchies

Since nothing pairs better with wine than cheese, we decided on Paumonak’s Cabot Cheddar for our small plate. We weren’t expecting anything mind-blowing, but for only twelve dollars we received some of the most perfectly-sliced, high quality cheddar I have ever tasted. It was rich, solid but creamy and when eaten with the crisp baguette was a perfect combination for our Riesling. Our cheddar was served on a wooden cutting board and was perfect for lovers of culinary presentation and of those who love a good food shot.

Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World

Already having had our fill of cheese, my friend suggested we order some prosciutto with our wine at Jamesport Vineyards. Let me start off by saying that while our prosciutto was smoky and delicious, and we definitely brought the remaining back with us to eat later in the night, the presentation was seriously lacking. As mentioned above, I’m a sucker for presentation, but we could’ve easily picked up a packet of Italian meats at a local grocery store on our own. A little effort or plating could have made this so much more than what it was.

Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World

Munchies Score:

Paumonak: 5/5

Jamesport: 3/5

Both wineries had little special touches not found at the other. Jamesport provided a small section of items to purchase, and we did end up grabbing some jarred garlic pickles. Paumonak on the other hand provided more than just wine, but an entire experience. We also felt that the value was more than worth it. A bottle of wine, a small cheese plate, and two samples only ran us about $40.

If the opportunity arose to just do just one, I would highly recommend Paumonak as your vineyard of choice. Despite the wine not being some of my personal favorite, and once again I would consider myself far from a wino, I do think Jamesport has the opportunity to at least be a more vibrant place to visit when the weather is on the warmer end. But based on our most recent experience, you can definitely find more worthwhile vineyards in the area.

But regardless of where you choose to spend your time and drink your wine, you’ll definitely want to stop by Main Road Biscuit Co. to cure your potential wine hangover the next day. In my experience any cafe with the word “biscuit” in it, usually knows what they’re doing. Upon entering the cafe, you’re greeted by a display case of various cakes, scones, and biscuits – but save the extra purchases until after breakfast.

Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World

My friend ended up ordering the Main Road Biscuit Breakfast, which comes with two eggs any style, a buttermilk biscuit, your choice of grits, hash browns, or local mixed greens, and your choice of bacon, sausage, or avocado. I ended up going with the Buttermilk Oat Pancakes with maple butter and topped with blueberry compote. Simple, classic, but so flavorful and perfectly cooked. Of course before we left, we were caught scanning the bakery display and asked if we’d like to add anything to our bill as if that were even a question. FYI, I had never had bread pudding in muffin form prior to this visit, but I’d like to eat it once a day.

Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World

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Wining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of WorldWining in Southampton: Paumanok Vineyards & Jamesport Vineyards | The Hamptons | Wine Travel | AGBHOW | A Great Big Hunk of World