Camping in Iceland: the Do’s and Don’ts of a Freezing Adventure


If you’re planning to spend your holidays in Iceland you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience. Camping in Iceland, however, isn’t always easy because of the weather. There are also particular details about the country which make your stay a bit challenging. So if you want to enjoy your time Camping in Iceland to the max, here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you prepare.

Do get warm clothes

You should bring warm, insulating clothing. Forget about your sneakers and get ankle high (if not higher) hiking boots. They should have an insulating padding to keep your feet comfortable and warm, and a sturdy outsole that resists the rough Icelandic terrain.

In terms of clothes, you should pack a warm a windproof and snowproof jacket. Don’t forget a hat, a comforter, and waterproof gloves and layer up. To ensure heat remains trapped in your body, avoid cotton. This isn’t a moisture-wicking material, so perspiration isn’t absorbed into your clothes, cooling your body temperature and facilitating hypothermia.

Do bring the right gear

Camping in freezing cold weather can only be a fun activity if you have the right equipment. If you aren’t prepared with a cold weather tent, for instance, or the best sleeping bag on the market, you might get hypothermia. To avoid all accidents, you should take gear that withstands the elements. Snow, rain, hard winds – Iceland has them all. You should always consider adding a pad to your sleeping bag, so you’re more insulated and comfortable.

Do sleep at a camp

There are hundreds of camps all throughout Iceland, and each of them are clean and welcoming, filled with foreign tourists or even Icelanders who want to enjoy the beauty of their country. These camps can cover all tastes and budgets and are spread around the country and near the most prominent sites. Since the weather is so unpredictable and the terrain so treacherous, it’s best to sleep at these campsites. If you’re hiking, plan your trail so you can sleep each night at a different camp. In fact, wild camping isn’t allowed everywhere, and you might trespass without knowing it.

Apart from that, we love Iceland’s camps because they have lots of room and many have facilities. Also, booking a space isn’t mandatory. You’ll even rest in some camps with grills and stores.

Don’t trifle with the weather

Even if you read a certain forecast, remember that the weather in Iceland can change with little notice. Apart from being so unpredictable, it’s also rough with lots of storms and snow during the winter. The good news is that the warnings issued by the Meteorological Office in Iceland are trustworthy. The summer weather is much calmer but you still need to be prepared for the unexpected.

Don’t mess with the environment

The population of Iceland is barely a bit over that of Buffalo city, USA. That means its infrastructure isn’t always as developed to withstand the high influx of tourists, which reaches a million each year. Since a big part of Iceland is still a virgin territory, without much of the needed logistics, you might not find trash bins at every corner. Ensure you collect all your waste in garbage bags, which you can dispose of once you reach the camp. Also, don’t damage the vegetation by walking on moss or by throwing things in nearby water streams. Even off-road driving is illegal here, and you can get fined.

Don’t hesitate when it comes to a safe adventure

There are many activities you can do while camping in Iceland. In fact, there are lots of places near a camp where you can go snowboarding. That’s if you’ve taken our advice about the proper gear and packed the best snowboard helmet you could find. Iceland is a country with a terrific landscape and diverse vistas. You can take day hikes around your camp, or plan an entire hiking trip from camp to camp. The breathtaking sceneries include canyons and geysers, volcanoes and glaciers, crystal clear lakes, fast rivers, and waterfalls.

Don’t expect to see the Northern lights anywhere and everywhere

The most important thing to consider is when you’re planning your trip camping in Iceland is timing. If you’re doing it during the winter months, from November to February, your chances are much higher than in the summer. The weather should be favorable, though. To see the Northern Lights you require a clear sky. If your camping trip coincides with a snowy, stormy weather, you might be out of luck.

Another thing is how long you’re staying. The Aurora Borealis will explode in the sky, painting it with plenty of colors for a couple of nights, then pale in intensity for the next five nights or so. That means your trip should last at least a week to improve your chances.


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