Autumn in Iceland: The pants that saved my life

Autumn in Iceland has arrived with full force. We’ve seen the first northern lights of the season, the leaves are quickly turning (and blowing away), my guests have experienced short spells of sleet and we have officially survived our first autumn storm. Ahhh, autumn storms: An endless source of weather-related grumble from Icelanders on Facebook and the reason I’m writing this post. But first a bit of a back story.

Autumn in Reykjavík

Autumn in Reykjavík

I have never been much of a fashionista. Partly because I don’t care much about fashion trends but also because my body type doesn’t always agree with the things designers think we should wear. Who’s great idea was it anyway to reintroduce the crop top? Despite the previous statement I’ve also always been very particular about the way I dress. I don’t like it when my shoes don’t match my outfit. I don’t do well with loud color clashes (anymore – ten years ago I used to look like a color palette threw up all over me all the time). I despise showing cleavage. And up until recently I was allergic to outdoor clothing. We all have our vanities.

I have a dear friend from Australia that currently resides in London. The other week when the family and I went there for a visit I got a chance to catch up with him over a beer or two but we first met here in Reykjavík 10 years ago on his last night in Iceland. He had been traveling the ring road in a little Yaris with his friend for a week, attempting to climb Iceland’s tallest mountain Hvannadalshnjúkur and making friends with some puffins, and I dragged him along to a party with my friends in downtown Reykjavík. Apparently I made so much fun of him that night because of his Gore-Tex jacket that he’s still talking about it 10 years later. “Remember how much fun you made of my Gore-Tex?” he asked me last week. Yes, yes I do.

You see, back then it was more about being cool than warm. Quite literally. We made relentless fun of the flocks of tourists marching the streets in their outdoor jackets and hiking boots as we half froze to death wearing our little skirts, ballerina shoes and poor excuse for jackets. Now that I think about it, maybe those sensible foreigners should have been making fun of us.



Fast forward to 2014. A formerly snobbish (at least when it comes to outdoor clothing) blogger decides to change course in life and set up a little start up that forces her to be outside in all kinds of weather all day every day. In case you didn’t pick up on it, that blogger is me. I soon realized I would have to stock up on some weatherproof gear if I was going to be outside all summer but the 20 year old inside me, who associated sensible clothing with mom jeans and white sneakers from the 80s, turned out to provide more of a resistance than I had anticipated. “I can work with a black simple jacket”, she said with disgust, “but I put my foot down if you try to get anywhere near waterproof pants.”

So all summer long, the rainiest summer in recorded history, I marched the streets of Reykjavík wearing my black simple jacket, leggings and a skirt. Because of my supposed hatred of Gore-Tex the boyfriend sometimes had to meet me between tour with some dry socks because obviously I wasn’t going to wear ugly waterproof shoes that didn’t match the rest of my assemble.

Which brings me back to the autumn storms.

Super happy selfie from the storm on Monday

Storm selfie

On Monday we had a big storm. It rained a lot and it was quite windy. OK, super windy. The week before I had gone to the Cintamani store, my trusted provider of black simple non-ugly outdoor clothing, to pick up a PrimaLoft jacket to wear underneath said simple black jacket in the winter. I went wild (but not too wild) and bought it in army green. Since I was there, and because the ideas of the far more sensible boyfriend have started to rub off on me, I decided to pick up a pair of (gasp) weatherproof pants. “I will never use these”, I thought to myself, “but maybe the boyfriend will stop talking about me getting a pair if I buy them.”

The new goritex shoes

The new Gore-Tex shoes

When I looked out the window on Monday morning and saw the rain coming from every direction but down I thought this might be one of those rare occasions to wear the wretched pants. So I did, along with some new Gore-Tex shoes I also bought for the boyfriend and my doctor who apparently thinks the trouble I’ve been having with my knee has something to do with bad shoes. They are cute though, I made sure of that.

I wasn’t quite prepared for what happened next. I came home after two hours outside in a real Icelandic autumn storm and both my legs and feet were dry. Groundbreaking. I wore the pants again the next day.

The moral of the story is simple: You’re in Iceland. Dress accordingly. Warm is the new cool.

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10 thoughts on “Autumn in Iceland: The pants that saved my life”

  1. love this! I was in Iceland this summer, in the wettest summer on record, and was soooo thankful for the waterproof trousers I’d borrowed off friends for the trip. The one day I didn’t wear them, I got soaked through to my pants (I’m using UK English here…ie underwear!) But the terrible weather wasn’t going to stop me and my family from camping under canvas, hiking and exploring, thanks to our weatherproof clothing!!!

  2. H says:

    I moved to Iceland recently, and while I would NEVER do that back home (and let me tell you I come from a city where it rains all the time as well), I entertained the idea of buying rubber boots for the rain. To make things short, I ended up buying super-super cool boots (let’s say it’s a Finnish brand and we’ll leave it at that) and I’m just so happy with them because they’re cool and functional.
    Anyway, moral of the story: You can be warm and dry without losing your sense of style if you have one.

    1. mm Auður says:

      Oh I would wear cute rubber boots from the unmentionable Finnish brand all the time if they were better for my feet 🙂

  3. Wendy Busch says:

    Yup! Gotta love the Gortex;))

  4. Tom & Parisa says:

    We are waiting for our flight to leave Gatwick on our way to Iceland! We are both wearing ski jackets! We can’t wait to start the first leg of our Honeymoon in Reykjavik.

  5. Michael Burr says:

    Auður – Love this site. I’m going to share some of your stories on our Facebook, twitter, and blogger page. Take a look at our Iceland story – >a href=”” title= Iceland Garmin GPS map travel guide”>

    Kind Regards, Michael

  6. Danielle says:

    What is it with Yaris cars in Iceland? they seem to be everywhere. we had it as our rental car on our first visit and it was a horrible car (this may have been the rental companies maintenance rather than the car obviously) and now i notice them so much – even on trip last year there were loads of them.

    1. mm Auður says:

      Yaris is just a cheap economical car that is compact (easy to park and such) and Toyota in general is a trusted brand. Also great with fuel consumption I think. It’s a cheaper class though and if you want a better car I would aim for at least class B.

  7. Lisa says:

    The link to the waterproof pants doesn’t work. Can you please tell me which ones you have? I’m having a hard time deciding whether to buy waterproof pants or waterproof covers to wear over regular pants.

  8. Liz says:

    This made me laugh because I’m heading to London (through Iceland) in a few weeks, stopping in Iceland for a few days on my way home. I am what you call indoorsy so I own no attire suitable for Iceland. I even had to buy a raincoat, but you can be sure it’s stylish!!! Thank goodness for trip advisor forums and Amazon; today I ordered waterproof hiking shoes and the dreaded waterproof pants. For me it’s not so much how they look, but the cheap side of me hates to buy something I may never use again!

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