Camping trips in Iceland have grown in popularity for couples, families, and solo travelers alike. They’re a great way to see the country. They’re also a cheap alternative to extremely pricey hotels on an already astronomically expensive island. But camping in Iceland is a blanket term that encompasses a wide range of activities and travel styles. Your preferences and the type of trip you want to take will influence which vehicle you rent when you hit the road. So let’s take a look at whether car, campervan, or motorhome is the best vehicle for your Iceland camping trip. We’ll also look at the best rental companies for each type of transportation.

Couple renting a motorhome for their Iceland camping trip

Renting a Car For Your Iceland Camping Trip

If you’ve decided to go tent camping in Iceland, then renting a car is your best bet. You simply pack up your tent and other camping equipment, drive from campsite to campsite, and set up shop for the night. It can be somewhere like Reykjavik campsite allows you to drive into town or the day, or Skógafoss campsite, where you’ll wake up to the sounds, sights, and smells of a stunning cascade. Renting a car is an easy and enjoyable way to see the island. It also gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore the inner parts of Iceland, namely the Highlands, that may not be accessible with a motorhome or some types of campervans. You need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to drive in these zones, so look for an SUV, Jeep, or another similar type of rental car.

One of the biggest disadvantages of renting a car for your Iceland camping trip is dealing with the weather. Because you’ll be using a tent, you’ll want to make sure you have a sturdy, all-season tent. A big downside of tent camping in Iceland is that you’ll be dealing with the wind, rain, sleet, hail, and snow face to face. It’s less problematic in the summer, but you never know when you’ll encounter extremely windy conditions or pelting hail. Strong gusts have also been known to bend the doors on rentals backward! So imagine trying to put up a tent. If you’ve rented a car, you’ll have to hunker down inside until the bad weather has passed.

Your vehicle also needs to be your backup plan in case you’re unable to sleep outside in a tent. Car rental is less expensive than campervan or motorhome rental, but you are more exposed to the elements.

Rental car driving on Iceland camping trip

Best Car Rental Companies in Iceland

You want to choose a company with both a stellar reputation and excellent customer service. Well-maintained vehicles along with a company that is attentive to your needs are the keys to an enjoyable Iceland trip. We love Cars Iceland, Reykjavik Cars, Blue Car Rental, Reykjavik Auto, and Lava Auto.

Renting a Camper For Your Iceland Camping Trip

Campervans are one of the most practical and fun ways to take a camping trip in Iceland. They’re also the most versatile. Models like the California and Marco Polo can navigate the country’s F-Roads and other kinds of mountainous terrain. You’re also driving around with your sleeping accommodations, so you don’t need to worry about setting up a tent in a storm when you pull into a campground and park. You’ve got a nice Webasto heater to keep you warm at night and cooking facilities right in the back. The campervan is probably the best of both worlds, as it offers the comfort and convenience of a motorhome combined with the flexibility and comfort of a car. It’s the perfect choice on four wheels.

The biggest disadvantage of renting a campervan in Iceland is that it’s slightly more expensive than renting a car. Daily rates usually cost around $30 and up more than a regular car rental. Of course, if you rent a larger vehicle or an SUV in order to have 4WD, then the prices are closer to those of campervans. Weigh your options and decide if you prefer to have your sleeping and cooking quarters close or if you are fine with traveling in a car and tent camping.

Best Campervan Rental Companies in Iceland

Our favorite companies that have a great reputation and outstanding customer service are Campervan Iceland, Campers Reykjavik, KuKu Campers, Campervan Reykjavik, and Go Campers.  

Couple enjoying the view outside their campervan during Iceland camping trip

Renting a Motorhome For Your Iceland Camping Trip

Motorhomes are the beasts of the road and are perfect for those wanting to travel in comfort and style. You’ve essentially got a hotel on wheels. The biggest advantage of renting a motorhome in Iceland is that you have everything you need. From beds to a full kitchen and dining area to a bathroom with a sink, toilet, and a hot shower, you’ll only need to search out a place to park and lay your head down for the night.

There are some downsides. Motorhomes are big and cumbersome, so you can’t take them everywhere. You’ll pretty much have to stick to driving around the Ring Road and going slowly. Don’t even think about taking them inland. Their larger capacity also requires more fuel, so you’ll be spending more money at the gas pump every time you fill up. And just to rent a motorhome in Iceland you’ll have to shell out more bucks that you would for a car or campervan rental. But if comfort and convenience are important to you, then it’s worth spending the extra money.

Best Motorhome Rental Companies in Iceland

Iceland has a robust and competitive campervan rental market. There are a lot of options, but they all tend to get booked rather quickly. I recommend making a reservation sooner rather than later. You can’t go wrong with Motorhome Iceland. Many of the campervan companies mentioned above also rent motorhomes.

Car, Campervan, or Motorhome – What’s the Best Vehicle for an Iceland Camping Trip?

At the end of the day, you’ve got to figure out which vehicle best suits your needs, preferences, budget, and travel style. A family of four will probably be seeking a different option than a young couple on a romantic honeymoon. Everyone is different, so your perfect rental in Iceland is completely up to you.

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