Imagine waking up to the smell of lush, wet grass and the crisp morning sounds of birds chirping with a waterfall gushing off in the distance. That’s the ultimate dream image of a perfect Iceland vacation, right? Well if this is your idea of the ideal way to spend your holidays, you’re not alone. Thousands of people come to Iceland every year and decide to go camping as a way to experience the elements and get back into nature. That being said, camping in Iceland presents its own particular challenges as our small Nordic island is unlike anywhere on Earth. There are tons of things to consider. What is the weather like? Should I get a campervan or a tent? What’s the best tent for camping in Iceland? What equipment do I need? How do I reserve at campsites and is there any type of camping card or discount card?

Tents camping by Skógafoss waterfall with beautiful weather

Well, fear not dear readers. Your favorite blog about camping in Iceland has come to the rescue! We’ll answer these questions and more in our multi-part series on everything you’ve ever wanted to know about camping in Iceland. Here are all of the essentials that we’ll cover in our ultimate guide:

Everything you want to know about camping in Iceland: The weather and temperatures

There’s a famous saying here in Iceland:  If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes, and it will change. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, it’s definitely true that the only certainty about Icelandic weather is uncertainty.  The word “unpredictable” has been used to describe our climate and the rainy, snowy, icy conditions here more times than I can count. With that in mind, I’d like to give you some general guidelines along with temperatures and season-specific information about what to expect when you touch down on our small and sometimes very windy Island. I would also highly recommend you bookmark the website of the Iceland Meteorological Office to reference during your trip. You can get weather alerts and precipitation forecasts in order to steer clear of any storms headed your way. 

The Weather in Iceland by Season

If you’d like to know average temperatures with highs and lows along with daylight hours for the specific month that you are planning on visiting, be sure to check out the article that we wrote about that exact topic here.

Weather forecast with rain, lightning, clouds, temperature icons

Summer Weather in Iceland

As with most places, Iceland experiences some of its nicer, more pleasant weather during the summer months of June, July and August. Although “nice” is a pretty relative term. Temperatures typically hover between 50-60 °F (10-15 °C) during the day and around 45 °F (7 °C) at night. While the overcast summer of 2018 was an exception, the days tend to be sunny. It should, however, be noted that some travelers have experienced snowstorms in June. Come expecting anything, and you won’t be surprised.

The fall, winter, and spring give way to more extreme weather in Iceland. In addition to wind and rain, you may experience hailstorms, seasonal snowstorms, and depending on the time of year, sandstorms along the south coast.

Fall, Winter and Spring Weather in Iceland

Average temperatures in the fall start off relatively warm (highs of 50 °F or 10 °C) in September. By November they’ve dipped to highs of 38 °F (3 °C) during the days and lows below freezing at night. Brrr!

Winter continues with low temperatures, but thankfully the mercury never dips more than a few degrees below 32 °F (0 °C). You’ll need to dress warmly with plenty of layers in order to not freeze.

The spring thaw really doesn’t start until April. By May you’re well on your way to reaching summer temperatures again. Keep in mind, these temperatures do not take wind chill into account, and the gusts of wind you encounter in Iceland are sure to make you feel even colder.

Woman dressed in many layers for cold day by the lake

Everything you want to know about camping in Iceland: The weather and temperatures

This should give you a small taste of what to expect with the weather when camping in Iceland. Hopefully, this information will help you choose the right time of year for your camping trip and aid you in preparing to brave the elements. Next time we’ll cover the different types of camping you can do in Iceland and then after that delve into the equipment that you need to bring. We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of renting camping equipment in Iceland versus bringing your own gear. Hint: We HIGHLY recommend renting it from one of the many camping equipment rental stores in Reykjavik. See you next time!

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