Hello campers! Welcome back to our multi-part series focusing on everything you need to know about camping in Iceland. This is the fourth article in our series and today we tackle a fundamental question for those planning their vacation. We want to discuss whether you should rent your camping gear in Iceland or bring your own tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, stoves, coolers, GPS, maps, and other equipment when you fly into Keflavik International Airport. There are advantages and disadvantages to consider for each option when deciding what to pack. The pros and cons regarding price, convenience, comfort, familiarity, and peace of mind are all factors that need to be considered.

View of sunrise over snowy ground in Iceland rental tent

These are all of the sections in our Ultimate Guide to Camping in Iceland:

Advantages of Bringing Your Own Camping Gear

Everyone likes having their own stuff. I do, you do, we all do. It’s just human nature. And this is especially true in situations when we feel out of our element. Going to a foreign country and spending a week camping is definitely going to be a new experience. There will be plenty of surprises and many unexpected things that pop up. So it’s completely understandable that having your tried-and-true camping equipment is going to give you a sense of security and peace of mind.

When it’s your own gear, you know exactly what to expect. The tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and other camping equipment that you’ve taken with you on previous trips to the great outdoors have served you well. Your gear is comfortable, familiar, and “broken in” so to speak. If you have decided to go camping in Iceland, you are most likely an avid camper and have bought above-average gear. You did the research, read Amazon reviews, and made an informed decision when purchasing. You view your camping gear as an investment, so of course you want to bring it with you to Iceland. Any excess baggage fees that you’ll have to pay the airline for bringing your own equipment far outweigh the cost of using unfamiliar or inferior gear.

High quality camping stove and pots rented in Iceland

Another factor to consider is the length of stay. At a certain point, it becomes cheaper to bring your own gear with you then to rent it. Do some calculations with the cost of excess luggage for your airline versus the cost of the items you want to rent in Iceland.

Disadvantages of Bringing Your Own Camping Equipment to Iceland

There are three main disadvantages to keep in mind if you’re thinking about bringing your own camping gear to Iceland. The first and most obvious one is that you may end up paying quite a bit of money to fly your camping equipment here. It will vary depending on the airline, which items you plan on bringing, their dimensions, and weight. You could save money by renting from a local camping equipment store instead.

The second disadvantage to bringing your own stuff is logistics. Lugging a bunch of bulky bags (in addition to suitcases or backpacks) can be a logistical nightmare. Plus, what if the airline loses one of the more crucial items, like your tent or camping set? Most people who fly into Keflavik set off to explore the country within a day or two. You won’t have time to be waiting for your lost luggage to arrive at the hotel. Nobody wants to lose a day or two of their precious vacation time in Iceland due to the negligence of the airline. You’ll be too busy driving around and don’t want missing camping equipment to hold you back.

The third and most crucial element to consider is whether or not your camping equipment is designed to withstand the harsh elements in Iceland.  Our small Nordic island has been known to be quite rainy, snowy, and windy at times. If you do not come prepared with an all-season tent that can really get stuck into the ground, you are probably going to have a tough time.

Advantages of Renting Your Camping Equipment in Iceland

I have to say, this is probably my recommended way of camping in Iceland. You get the benefit of not having to schlep your camping gear to Iceland and back. Additionally, the camping equipment that you rent here was explicitly chosen with Icelandic weather and the country’s climate in mind. Outdoor equipment and camping rental stores in Reykjavik specialize in outfitting travelers for their trips every single day. Chat with the knowledgeable, helpful staff at these stores so they can help you pick the perfect rental items for whatever season you are traveling. They know their country inside and out and exactly what you need. When it comes to ease, convenience, quality, and choice, renting your camping gear in Iceland is definitely the best way to go. We’re such fans of this option, we even wrote a post about the best camping equipment rental stores in Reykjavik. You can read it here.

Camping gear rental store in Reykjavik

Trust the professionals at these stores to provide expert advice, outstanding customer service, and informed recommendations tailored to your needs.

Disadvantages of Renting Your Camping Gear in Iceland

Of course, renting your camping equipment in Iceland is not all puppies, sunshine, and rainbows. The obvious disadvantage is that it’s going to cost way more to rent a tent in Iceland then it is to bring one that you already own. And the longer you stay, the more expensive your camping trip gets. Additionally, while many people rave about their experiences with renting from camping equipment stores in Reykjavik, others may be wary of using untested or unfamiliar gear and have had bad experiences. This really shouldn’t be a worry of yours, but we understand if it is. If you’re still not convinced, read both positive and negative reviews online on forums like Reddit and Trip Advisor and contact a few different stores to talk about your trip, compare prices, quality of materials, etc. Lastly, be sure to take good care of your rental items so there are no issues when you return them to the store. You want everything to stay in top condition for the next person who rents it.

Renting Camping Equipment in Iceland versus Bringing Your Own

At the end of the day, what is best for you depends on a substantial number of factors from budget to length of stay to the type of camper you are and the gear you already have. If you are someone who goes camping frequently and has invested in high-quality camping equipment that’s suitable for Iceland, you’ll probably want to bring your own gear. On the other hand, if you don’t own any gear or if the equipment that you have is not designed to withstand Iceland’s extreme weather and elements, you’ll definitely want to rent from an outdoor equipment store in Reykjavik for short stays.

Travel gear for camping and hiking logo for Iceland mountains and woods

Finally, if you really have your heart set on bringing your own camping gear to Iceland, perhaps consider renting some items. For example, it doesn’t really make sense to haul a large cooking stove (and pay extra baggage fees) on your flight when you can easily rent one here. It might even come included in your campervan or motorhome rental. Check with your rental company. If you do decide to bring it, remember that you cannot fly with fuel for your camping stove. While we always recommend checking with the airline, you can usually travel with one as a carry-on item as long as it’s empty.


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