Welcome back to our comprehensive guide to camping in Iceland. In parts one and two, we covered what to expect with the weather and the different types of camping in Iceland. In this installment, we’ll talk about the right equipment to bring for your camping trip. From the right tent to well-insulated sleeping pads to cooking stoves, makes sure you’ve packed all the right items on your Iceland camping trip checklist. Having the right gear can make all the difference when you’re enjoying the great outdoors.
If you’d like to take a look at the other sections of our comprehensive camping guide, here are the links for everything else you need to know:
What Equipment to Bring
Camping Equipment in Iceland: Best Tents
Your tent is the most important thing to take into consideration when deciding on camping gear. Iceland’s unpredictable and sometimes harsh weather means that your choice of shelter needs to protect you from the elements. We recommend all-season tents with heavy materials in order to provide a shield from the rain and wind. Brands like ALPS Mountaineering, REI, Marmot, and Hilleberg all offer sturdy options for your adventure. There are thousands of possibilities to choose from, and your perfect tent will change depending upon seasonality, your budget, desired tent capacity, how much weight you’re willing to carry, and how much time you will be spending in your tent. Whichever model you choose, just make sure the tent has strong aluminum poles and solid stakes that you can hammer deep into the ground to secure your tent.
The REI website has an excellent guide for choosing a tent for camping or backpacking here. We also recommend renting camping equipment in Reykjavik rather than bringing your own. The knowledgeable staff at these stores outfits campers every single day (it’s their job, after all). They will be able to answer any questions and guide you in picking out the perfect tent to meet your needs and withstand the elements.
Camping Equipment in Iceland: Sleeping Mats and Sleeping Bags
First of all, I won’t go too far into the topic of sleeping bags as I assume you already know you’re going to need one! All I will say is this: Iceland is cold, especially at night. Make sure you have a thermal sleeping bag made out of warm materials so you can be snug as a bug in a rug. It’s pretty simple.
In addition to a warm sleeping bag, something that I want to highly encourage you to get is an insulated sleeping mat or sleeping pad. Many campers use these mats for comfort, but in Iceland they also serve the very important purpose of keeping out the cold and damp of the ground below. You’ll be happy that you put an insulating layer beneath you to prevent the cold from creeping in. Having one for the entire floor of your tent isn’t such a bad idea either.
And of course, you’ll want to take the standard pillows, towels, earplugs, sleeping masks (especially in winter), and other sleeping necessities for the inside of your tent.
Camping Equipment in Iceland: Cooking Equipment and Utensils
When it comes to camping in Iceland, the general rule is to bring it with you if you think you’re going to need it. Some campsites have Wi-Fi, and some don’t. Some provide cooking facilities along with plates and forks while others don’t. Here’s a quick list of things you’ll need for cooking and preparing meals.
- A camping stove (check to see if your camper rental company provides one)
- Canned goods and other non-perishable foods
- A can opener, corkscrew, and/or a Swiss Army knife
- Plastic cups, bowls and plates, napkins
- Utensils. Many of the motorhome and campervan rental companies have these available. See what’s included to know if you need to add anything.
- Paper towels, hand wipes, plastic wrap or aluminum foil to cover food.
- A cooler for water, drinks, and perishable goods. Again, most campers and motorhomes come with this.
- Ziploc bags for storage
- Sticks for roasting food over a campfire. If you forget this, just clean some small branches and really embrace your inner Grizzly Man.
Camping Equipment in Iceland: Outdoor Necessities
You’ll need to be prepared with these outdoor items:
- A flashlight (US) or torch (UK). You can also use your phone for this or a headlamp
- A camping set with tables and chairs. Local camping gear rental companies usually have these. Folding ones the best choice because they are easiest to stack and store.
- A first aid kit.
- Waterproof matches, lighters, a cord for hanging laundry
- A small toolset
- A sewing kit
- Adhesive tape
Other Items to Bring While Camping in Iceland
Last but not least, make sure you bring toiletries and some sort of entertainment. Cards, board games, Mad Libs or some other fun, interactive way of spending time with your friends and family will make for plenty of laughs and lots of great memories. People somehow found a way to enjoy themselves before smartphones were invented and you can too. I believe in you.
Everything you want to know about camping in Iceland Part 3: Equipment
That should about cover everything you need to know about what gear to bring to Iceland for a camping trip. Next time we’ll talk about the pros and cons of renting camping equipment versus bringing your own. Until then, Happy Trails and Happy Camping!