81 Places to (Wild!) Camp in Iceland (Stories & Advice for Future Hikers)

Iceland!

It’s everybody’s favourite and most coveted destination. Hot springs, waterfalls, Northern Lights, alien landscapes and Elf rocks. Plus a pretty liberal policy when it comes to wild camping. Who can say no? Not even the consistently bad weather deters people from visiting.

That includes me. Although I’m not much of a fan of the cold, I did spend 3.5 months hiking around the country, walking a continuous route of over 2,500 km around most of the island, mixing roads and hiking paths. I packed a good tent and vowed to only camp, as even sleeping bag accommodation (which is a hostel without the bed linen – the cheapest accommodation you can find) was going to get way too expensive for such a long trip.

My first night in Iceland ended at this stunning wild camping spot (if only I’d known how to properly set up my tent…)

And camp I did. Even though the start of the hike was marked by long days of persistent cold and rain which, well, continued throughout the entire trip, I camped. And you know what? It was amazing and it was safe. (Iceland is and feels safe, y’all. Yes, also for the solo ladies out there – I’m one too).

Better yet, I ended up wild camping half the time I was there. Before Iceland, I’d only truly wild camped alone once before, in Tasmania, and I was absolutely terrified! But once in Iceland I often had little choice and found myself pitching up all over the place. During the entire trip, I only stayed in other accommodation twice. Once at the house of a local girl, and once in an empty mountain hut because the wind was too strong to set up my tent.

All in all, I camped in 81 different spots during the 3.5 months I was there, so you could say I’ve camped in a lot of places. After another day and another 30 km down the road, I’d have to find a place to spend the night. Sometimes this was in a town or a paid campsite next to a mountain hut in a national park. Sometimes somewhere, anywhere, in the ‘bush’, which in Iceland means hiding from the road behind a big rock.

Quite literally hiding behind a big rock while wild camping close to the ring road.

Ever since finishing my hiking trip, I’ve really wanted to write a post about camping: what it’s like and where you can safely set up if you want to wild camp. Iceland is so popular and people love to camp all over the country, although not everyone is sure what’s allowed. With summer and hiking & camping season coming up again, I figured it’s a good time to write a little guide with stories and camping options that will hopefully help you organise your trip!

Since I’m writing from the point of view of a hiker, this post is therefore aimed mainly at other hikers (and cyclists!) I never drove around Iceland in a vehicle, and different rules apply to those in cars and any sort of motorised home (the latter for whom freedom camping is no longer allowed anywhere without permission). There’s a short guide by the Icelandic Department of Environment on the current (wild) camping regulations which is very comprehensive, so I will leave you with a link to read through:
May I Camp Anywhere?

Can you see the traffic barriers right above my tent? Believe it or not, this was the only spot where passing cars couldn’t see me!

When it comes to choosing where to camp or wild camp, I personally like to keep it simple: I wild camp only on uncultivated land (I would never jump gates or fences because that generally suggests you’re on somebody’s land), I camp at organised (paid) campsites when I’m passing through a town (also this means I can shower / charge electronics / actually contribute to the economy a little bit while roaming the country for months on end), and in national parks I try to camp next to mountain huts, if possible.

Wondering what this is all based on and where I spent my long, bright nights when I was on my hiking trip? Here’s a map highlighting every place I camped at during my time in Iceland!

(C.) official Campground – BLUE
(W.) Wild camping – GREEN
(H.) camping at Hut – PURPLE
(B.) Bed in home or hut – RED
(And ignore the brown, these relate to day hikes I did.)

 


 

Day 1 : Near Gjafakollur (W.)
Day 2 : Grundarfjordur (C.)
Day 3 : Olafsvik (C.)
Day 4 : Snaefellsjokull National Park (W.)
Day 5 : Arnastapi (C.)
Day 6 : Near Budir (W.)
Day 7 : Langaholt (C.)
Day 8 : Hotel Eldborg campsite (C.)
Day 9 : Along Snaefellsnesvegur (W.)
Day 10 : Borgarnes (C.)
Day 11 : Varmaland (C.)
Day 12 : Reykholt (W.)
Day 13-14 : Husafell (C.)
Day 15 : Along road 550 (W.)
Day 16 : Þingvellir (C.)
Day 17 : Dyradalur (W.)
Day 18 : Reykjadalur (W.)
Day 19 : Selfoss (C.)
Day 20 : Borg (C.)
Day 21 : Laugarvatn (C.)
Day 22 : Geysir (C.)
Day 23 : Gulfoss (W.)
Day 24 : River Fossa (W.)
Day 25 : Rjupnavellir (H.)
Day 26 : Afangagil (H.)
Day 27 : Landmannahellir (H.)
Day 28 : Landmannalaugar (H.)
Day 29 : Álftavatn (H.)
Day 30-31 : Þórsmörk (H.)
Day 32 : Skógar (C.)
Day 33 : Vík (C.)
Day 34 : Along Sathurlandsvegur (W.)
Day 35 : Along 208 (W.)
Day 36 : Laki / River Varmá (W.)
Day 37 : Laki / Galti (W.)
Day 38 : Kirjubæjarklaustur (C.)
Day 39 : Lómagnúpur (W.)
Day 40-41 : Skaftafell (C.)
Day 42 : Svinafell (C.)
Day 43 : Hnappavellir (W.)
Day 44 : Fjallsárlón (W.)
Day 45 : Hestgerði (W.)
Day 46 : Hornafjördur (W.)
Day 47 : Höfn (C.)
Day 48 : Beyond Skútafoss (W.)
Day 49 : Jökulsá í Lóni river footbridge (W.)
Day 50 : Mulaskali (H.)
Day 51 : Near Egilssel hut (W.)
Day 52 : Keldúa river (W.)
Day 53 : Snæfell (W.)
Day 54 : Sauðafell (W.)
Day 55 : Norðurdalur (W.)
Day 56 : Snæfellstofa visitor centre (B.)
Day 57 : Hafursá river / Hallormsstaður NP (W.)
Day 58 : Stóra-Sandfell (C.)
Day 59 : Eyvindará river / Route 953 (W.)
Day 60 : Mjóifjörður (W.)
Day 61 : Egilsstaðir (C.)
Day 62 : Seyðisfjörður (C.)
Day 63 : Loðmundarfjörður hut (H.)
Day 64 : Kollur / Kækjudalur (W.)
Day 65 : Setá river /Route 14 (W.)
Day 66 : Stórurð (W.)
Day 67 : Along Route 94 (W.)
Day 68 : Egilsstaðir (C.)
Day 69 : Route 1 / 944 (W.)
Day 70 : Skjöldólfsstaðir (C.)
Day 71 : Route 901 (W.)
Day 72 : Route F905 (W.)
Day 73 : Route F910 (W.)
Day 74 : Route F910 / Kreppa river (W.)
Day 75 : Dreki hut (Askja) (H.)
Day 76 : Dyngjufell hut (H.)
Day 77 : Botni hut (B.)
Day 78 : Kráká river (W.)
Day 79 : Myvatn (C.)
Day 80 : Krafla (W.)
Day 81 : Dettifoss (C.)
Day 82 : Vesturdalur (C.)
Day 83 : Ásbyrgi (C.)
Day 84 : Near Þríhyrningur (W.)
Day 85 : Along road 85 (W.)
Day 86 : Goðafoss (C.)

 


 

So, if you’re planning some epic hike or bikepacking tour, there will be a couple of different places you will be scouring for a place to sleep. I’m going to outline them below and share some personal stories to show your options for each place! They are:

• Towns

• Around the Ring Road

• In the Highlands

• In National Parks (and other hiking areas)

Towns

Let’s start with a story: I passed Þingvellir some two and a half weeks into my trip. I walked down the west side of Þingvallavatn lake in the pouring rain and entering the mountain area Hengill below, which also houses Nesjavellir power station. The mountains were deserted and the trails were unexpectedly tricky at times. It took me several days to hike through. I was heading south and looked forward to the Reykjadalur hot springs, which were just a few kilometres before the town of Hveragerði and the ring road.

The Hengill mountain area, where I got stuck in a storm for a day.

When I got there I camped a few kilometres from the hot springs and got stuck in a furious storm for a day. When I finally emerged a day later I was hungry and cold, so I didn’t bother getting into the hot springs: the last thing I wanted to do was undress in front of strangers and leave my pack with all my belongings lying around. All I wanted was to get to a supermarket so I could buy food. I passed quickly and walked the now busy trail to town, all the tourists walking in the opposite direction to visit the hot springs for the day.

When I reached the parking lot it was busy. I continued down a small trail that wound around the road and saw a tent pitched right next to it on the grass, and a couple moving items between their car and their tent. At first I thought: cool, more people are wild camping around here. Then I realised the parking lot was on the edge of town. A town which has a campsite just a few kilometres away. They were not allowed to camp there.

It really bothered me. Iceland gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to wild camping, so it’s quite easy to go out and drive somewhere you’re allowed to set up your tent. If you are trying to cut costs: I also get it. Iceland is super expensive. But at the same time, you have chosen to travel to this country and explore what it has to offer. It should be part of your duty to also invest a little into their economy. Otherwise you should go somewhere else where you can afford to travel. It also worries me with regards to people leaving trash and toilet paper lying around – please don’t ever ever do that. Don’t leave rubbish wherever you go. Don’t camp illegally. You simply cannot take advantage of someone else’s country like that. It is incredibly selfish and disrespectful.

Long story short: if you are near a town with a camping ground: stay there! I had good experiences with the campsites. They are generally very clean, and come with a variety of amenities, which can be very useful.

The campsite in Borgarnes is basic but very pretty!

Price:

Price per person ranges. I paid mostly between 1,500 – 1,700 ISK, but have paid as little as 1,000 and as much as 2,200 (the campsite in Reykjavik).

Amenities:

From basic to everything!

Some campsites are very basic, and come with just with a toilet and a sink. The good thing is that more often then not, they’re hot water sinks. Showers are the tricky bit. If they have them, they aren’t always included in the price. You can’t always tell by the camping fees: the highly priced campsite in Arnastapi was 2,000 ISK but did not even have any showers, at all!

Showers often cost an additional 500 ISK, but sometimes they come a little cheaper. I quickly decided 500 ISK was too expensive for me. I would only pay extra for the showers if they were cheaper and if I was able to shower for an unlimited amount of time (because a five minute rinse is NOT adequate when you haven’t washed an entire week…!)

One thing to note is that a lot of the hot water at campsites is electrically heated. This means that you will find yourself with a limited amount of hot water that runs out quickly when a lot of people start taking showers. Basically you’d have to get in there before everyone else, and then stick to a five minute shower so that there’s hot water left for others. I often needed a lot longer to clean, so I would end up doing silly things like set my alarm at 2am or 5am, so I could take a long shower and properly clean, while still leaving enough time for water to reheat so that others could use it in the morning!

Grundarfjordur campsite has toilets and hot water, and a swimming pool next to it if you fancy a dip or a shower!

Then again, sometimes there wouldn’t be any showers at the campsites, but a nearby swimming pool would offer this service for a similar price. I only went to the pool twice, and both times they didn’t actually have a discount for those only wanting to shower, but I did enjoy the heated pools! The swimming pool in Borgarnes was great (900 ISK for a ticket).

As anywhere else, the bigger campsites would all come with kitchens and laundry facilities. Usually electrical outlets were free to use, although I had to pay 100 ISK to get my battery pack charged at reception in Myvatn. In Reykjavik they unplug and store any devices left out overnight, so don’t leave your electronics lying around! Some campsites like the one in Geysir conceal all their plugs so you can’t charge anything. You might be able to pay additionally for the service though, but I never asked.

A campsite with a view in Mývatn.

Around the Ring Road

I have to say: camping around the ring road brings up feelings of both muted distress and excitement. While my days walking next to the ring road were the absolute worst, finding wild camping spots outside of the towns was often… how can I say it… adventurous. I can definitely say it wasn’t always the easiest!

I had quite a few days where I walked late into the night because I simply couldn’t find a spot that was actually hidden from the road. It’s my one requirement for wild camping: I don’t want anyone (especially people in cars) to spot me! If you are travelling with other people it probably wouldn’t be that much of a problem, but I hike solo, so I want to feel safe and stay out of sight.

I was pretty desperate when I found this late night camping spot along a bare section of the ring road – but it proved quite photogenic the next morning!

I had the worst experience during my first week: I wasn’t actually on the ring road, but was walking down Route 54, out of Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The entire day I only passed farmland. Whenever I spotted any uncultivated land, it was in plain view of the road.

I ended up walking deep into the night and it got icy cold. I thought I was going to have to walk all night. It was well after 10 pm when I’d walked over 50 km and I suddenly saw a sign pointing me to a campsite off road, completely unexpected. I’ve never been happier to see that little tent sign pop up next to the road!

Never happier to spot a camping sign!

Another difficult section was the ring road between Skaftafell / Svinafell and Höfn. There were no other roads so I was forced to walk the ring road for five days between those two points. For navigation I always use the Maps.me app, which is generally really good when it comes to finding shops, campsites and hiking paths, but during this stretch it showed a lot of camping grounds that weren’t actually there: the app seemed to use the campsite icon for other types of lodgings as well. Every time I though I’d reached a campsite, I hadn’t.

It was highly frustrating and demotivating for an already boring and long stretch of road walking! I had horrible weather and a wind that turned into a real storm. I was constantly hoping to set up at a safe site at the end of each day, but kept finding myself out of luck.

I remember that first night: I had just passed a fancy five star hotel before going off road and setting up somewhere far into a field, next to a dirty stream. The weather was horrible. At that point I felt pretty miserable and borderline homeless (and not in a refreshing way). From there on, I struggled almost every night to find a place to camp.

My spot in the grass next to a muddy stream, while a five star hotel sits elegantly in the distance.

A few nights later I found myself getting so desperate that I climbed up a steep slope right next to the road. I camped on top of a high plateau, chasing away some sheep as I approached. It was the only flat and somewhat hidden spot around.

The funny thing is that, while at the time nerve-wrecking, some of these places became my favourite camping spots in retrospect. I often felt anxious about walking around and trying to select a good spot so close to the road. I was always overly aware of any cars or houses in the near vicinity. Still, this apprehension would dissolve once I was safely tucked inside my tent. Once I was in, I didn’t care anymore: I was happy and dry.

Luckily, spotting landscapes with little hidden pockets for my wild camping became easier with time. While the landscape around the ring road often seems to spread out like a vast and endless flat, you will probably begin to recognise the rocky bits and small hills that roll up and down just high enough to hide behind. At the end of the day I would often find myself meandering through the grass and the roaming sheep to find a good spot. It’s quite a thrill.

Hiding up high!

Price:

Free! Just be careful not to camp on someone’s land and make sure to leave no trace of you having been there.

Amenities:

None. But you will begin to realise that you don’t need any, anyways. You will probably have phone signal, though.

Quiet morning view from my tent.

In the Highlands

The Highlands… the spacious, hidden gem of Iceland! A lot of people travel the Ring Road and a lot of cyclists like the challenge of cycling it – but if you don’t get into the Highlands, you’ve missed the best bit. This is where the landscape turns into a surrealistic painting and roads cut through plateaus devoid of life. It is barren and lonely and sometimes devastatingly beautiful.

It took me two weeks to first hit the Highlands, after walking from Snæfellsnes Peninsula towards Husafell. At that point I wasn’t enjoying myself. I was mostly walking the road and since walking is so slow, it was actually just really, really boring. I decided to improvise on my route and found myself walking route 550 (Kaldadalsvegur) down to Þingvellir. I immediately knew I was in the Highlands. Everything was black and empty. It was raining and cold and after an entire day of walking, a fog appeared. It was eerie but I loved it. Only a few cars and tourist buses passed me.

Black rocks in the Highlands.

There was only one problem: where was I going to camp?

I wanted to hide from the road but everything was wide open. You could see miles away. The ground was covered in rocks and there was no water. I kept on walking and walking, until I spotted a small river, a little away from the road. I set up next to it, struggling in the cold.

The cars had stopped passing by then and even though you could see me from the road, it was a pretty good spot. The next cars didn’t show until 9 the next morning. It must’ve been a strange sight for those people driving around: a single tent miles and miles away from civilisation with no car or any other form of transportation in the near vicinity.

But that’s the great thing about the Highlands: there is nothing there, and you can camp wherever you like.

Wild camping in the Highlands: you could see my tent from the road, but there were no cars around to spot me anyways.

I was actually surprised to see so little fellow (freedom) campers throughout my time in Iceland, but I did spot a few groups of people driving up in their cars and setting up their tents next to the road when I hiked between Gulfoss and Rjupnavellir, on Linuvegur, which extends west from the 332 that leads to Háifoss waterfall.

The only problem with camping in the Highlands is that sometimes it’s tricky to know where the boundaries lie between National Park, where camping is regulated, and the public space of the Highlands. Askja was such an area. I walked from Egilsstaðir to Askja via the ring road and then the 901, F905 and F910 and even though only the immediate area around Askja is part of Vatnajökull National Park (and therefore not the roads leading to it) camping (for those in vehicles) was still restricted to the few official camping grounds in the area. It took me five days from the Ring Road to reach the Dreki hut and campground next to Askja, so I would’ve never been able to reach it without wild camping!

The roads to Askja ended up being my favourite (read: most extreme and harsh) places in the Highlands to camp. It felt so incredibly remote. Even though cars passed me every now and again, I really felt as though I was walking into a completely isolated area, so far away from everything I knew.

I’m not surprised this was the one place where I spotted an arctic fox late at night. It was howling near my tent, and somehow I though it was a giant bird until I looked outside. It freaked me out a little, but it was definitely a cool experience!

Camping along the long road to Askja.

Price:

For those hiking and cycling: Free! Go and enjoy the wild!

Amenities:

None. This will be your very quintessential Iceland experience. You won’t be able to wash yourself or meet people or see anything that’s, well, alive – but that’s really the beauty of it, don’t you think?

One thing to keep in mind with regards to camping is that the soil in the Highlands may be problematic to pitching your tent – I’d wanted to get a freestanding tent for this exact reason, but couldn’t find a suitable one. Luckily I managed, but did have to improvise: at Landmannalaugar and Dreki hut the ground was hard, and I tied my guy lines around rocks and used my thin titanium nail pegs to stake out the four tie-out points. On the way to Askja however, the soil was too soft and sandy and I had to put rocks in plastic bags to create anchors instead of staking out the tent! I’d read about this tip online and had made sure to always carry extra bin bags, which I used lots throughout the trip: either to help pitch my tent or tie around my feet to keep them dry!

Camping in Mordor is tricky: high winds and loose sand made for a very dramatic few days.

In National Parks (and other hiking areas)

Okay, now we get to the real interesting stuff! This is where we want to go hiking and explore and camp. The best thing is that you can end up in some very pretty places. Okay, some are very desolate, but sometimes you’ll find yourself setting up next to a waterfall. And that’s pretty cool, right?

I’m also including nature reserves and other hiking areas in this category, because Iceland actually only has three National Parks: Snæfellsjökull, Þingvellir and Vatnajökull, the largest. Vatnajökul is a bit of an odd one, it doesn’t just include the synonymous ice cap, but extends towards Lakagígar in the west and Askja in the north, and even includes some random patches of land in completely different areas of Iceland, like Jökulsárgljúfur canyon between Dettifoss and Ásbyrgi.

Camping along the Waterfall trail.

Camping in National Parks is a bit more regulated. There will generally be designated campsites (next to the mountain huts) which you are advised to use. In Þingvellir no other wild camping is allowed, in Snæfellsjökull only after receiving permission from a park ranger, and in Vatnajökull National Park you can pitch a traditional tent for one night in most places, apart from several protected areas where you are really not allowed to set up at all (you will find a list of these in the above link).

When I walked around the circular road of Lakagígar, there was only one campsite, which was just on the one small stretch of road that I wasn’t going to pass. I got to the area late, and it was getting dark when I began the walk around the circular road, the F207. The area I walked through was clearly something special: crazy rocks that reminded me of Mordor, grey moss covering everything and nowhere flat or dry enough to pitch a tent. It took a while to find a grassy area next to a river and it took even longer to find a spot big enough for my tent that was also hidden from the road.

Finding a grassy spot on the wrong side of Lakagígar.

The next day I continued to walk along the road and got stopped by park rangers who were very interested in where I’d been and where I was going. I was kind of shitting myself, but they were friendly. While camping is not allowed outside of the designated campground, they said that of course, for hikers it’s different. (Phew). They told me camping is absolutely not allowed on what they call the ‘crater side’ of Lakagígar (essentially the north side of the road, which is exactly where I subsequently realised I’d just camped), but for hikers it would be okay to camp along the other side of the circular road, closer to the F206 which leads back to the ring road. They said to look out for a more undulating landscape and insisted I pitch up out of sight from the road and not to step on any moss.

They also repeated their advice to always speak to the rangers about where to camp: they will be able to tell you what is and isn’t allowed. So I’ll leave you with the same advice when it comes to these protected areas and their surroundings: ask the rangers!

The crater side of Lakagígar: don’t camp here!

The same counts for hiking areas such as the Laugavegur trail. The land is part nature reserve, part private and part public. You won’t necessarily know where one stops and the other starts, so I would ask a hut warden or ranger where you are allowed to set up if you really want to move around independently from the designated campsites.

I personally mostly try to stay at the campsites, so as to limit any additional negative impact on the environment. Especially when it comes to these popular areas, I wouldn’t want to add to the erosion of any fragile surfaces! If you really want to wild camp, I’d actually suggest doing so in the lesser frequented areas.

Mountain hut and campsite at Álftavatn, along the Laugavegur trail.

One of those would be Lónsöræfi. This area is really interesting and there are some gorgeous bits for you to discover. There are several hiking trails leading into the mountains and then they stop: after that it’s up to you and your GPS. I spent my second night camping at the Mulaskali hut because I wanted to ask the hut warden for advice about the route to Snæfell, but other than that I wild camped.

Apart from the night at the hut, I only saw people in the far distance once! I have to say this area was pretty exciting: finding my own route, crossing rivers and subsequently hoping I was indeed on the right side and wouldn’t get into a sticky situation further on. The scariest moment was when I had to run across a snow bridge near Geldingafell hut to avoid a terrifying glacial river.

The only person in remote Lónsöræfi.

The East Fjords are not part of any national park, but the area is strewn with hiking routes. I wish I’d been able to explore the area a lot more than I did (and find the Elf communities that live there!)

I saw several signs urging people not to wild camp and use the huts and adjacent campsites instead. So I did, until one early evening when suddenly the sunny day got obscured by a thick fog and the weather turned to a cold rain with a miserable wind. I was nowhere near a hut (in fact, along some of the routes there weren’t any huts at all, so I’m not sure how you’d be able to get through without wild camping) and I found myself stuck in my tent for the most of two days. I camped next to the trail because I simply didn’t have a choice.

I guess that’s another thing to keep in mind: as a hiker it’s certainly possible to find yourself in a tricky situation. Weather conditions can change in a second and things can get dangerous. If you find yourself in a thick fog in a hiking area, it’s easy to get lost or to get hypothermic – I really hope you’ll have a tent with you so you can set it up, crawl inside your sleeping bag and get warm. You don’t have to die because you’re technically not allowed to erect a tent somewhere! (And ALWAYS bring an emergency GPS device or PBL so you can get help. People die out there. Be careful. Don’t take any risks.)

I’m always wary of people not bringing a tent and solely relying on the hut system. Going into a remote area I would always bring a tent. It’s just too dangerous not to. Don’t underestimate the weather!

Staying out of bad weather in the East Fjords.

Price:

Free if you can wild camp! Camping at the huts is unfortunately not cheap. It was generally 2000 ISK on the most popular trails, and in the less frequented areas they were sometimes a little cheaper. For example, the cheapest huts on the Hellismannaleið trail were 1000 ISK. To put this in perspective, staying at the huts themselves would cost you about 5000 ISK, so it could be worse! If there were showers and you wanted to use them, it would cost you another 500 ISK for 5 minutes. On the Laugavegur trail I saw queues of people waiting for their five minutes every night. I just decided not to.

Not the prettiest campsite at Landmannalaugar, but the hot water in the toilet block was amazing.

Amenities:

Very few! Just remember that the money you pay goes back into preserving these beautiful areas, so in that way it’s a price worth paying.

Some campgrounds just had a patch of grass or dirt to pitch up and then flush toilets with cold water taps. Campers are not allowed to use the indoor hut facilities, so keep that in mind. You’ll be out cooking next to your tent! Some campsites had hot water and showers at an extra charge. Hot water is bliss when you’ve been hiking in the cold all day. Other than that you need to be self-sufficient. There is no food for sale at the huts, but Landmannalaugar has a bus with some provisions (some can food, biscuits, couscous and pasta) and there is a tiny shop at Þórsmörk where you can buy snacks like crisps and biscuits.

Another busy site at Þórsmörk.

One other service that the huts along the Laugavegur trail sometimes offer is to charge your phone! This is all dependent on the sun though – they have solar panels and if the sun’s been out, you can leave your phone at reception to change overnight for a 1000 ISK fee. I left my battery pack at Álftavatn but came back the next morning to find it hadn’t charged at all. I was pretty annoyed when I was subsequently told battery packs require too much power for these solar panels, I wish someone had told me the night before. They refunded me though, and I guess if they offer the service when you are there – just stick to charging your phone.

These bigger and more popular huts had a lot going on, but on the less populated trails many huts were unmanned. The huts on the Askja trail required you to leave money in the honesty box, while the unmanned huts around Lónsöræfi were locked – you’d have to book and pay for them in advance to receive a code so you could open the key box to get inside. These smaller huts wouldn’t have any other amenities like showers either.

A deserted hut along the Askja trail.

 

Excited to (wild) camp around Iceland now? I hope you are! It’s a great place to be a bit more adventurous and go wild, be free. Just make sure to bring the right gear so you are fully equipped to face any type of weather – sandstorms, gale force winds, fog and freezing conditions happen year-round, so come prepared and have fun!

 


 

Leave No Trace

This leaves me with possibly the most important part of this post: the LEAVE NO TRACE philosophy which is vital to follow, especially when camping wild! Don’t forget it’s crucial never to leave a mark, wherever you camp. And specifically to Iceland, it’s important not to step on any precious moss or move rocks.

What is Leave No Trace?

Leave No Trace is a set of outdoor ethics promoting conservation in the outdoors. It consists of seven principles:

• Plan ahead and prepare

• Travel and camp on durable surfaces

• Dispose of waste properly

• Leave what you find

• Minimise campfire impacts

• Respect wildlife

• Be considerate of other visitors

The most important thing I want to highlight is: carry out what you carry in and dispose of your waste properly. Most importantly: don’t leave your toilet paper lying around!!! I was disgusted when I visited waterfalls and found endless amounts of toilet paper strewn around the bushes. Take responsibility for your trash. Trust me, leaving toilet paper lying around nature (mind you, this is someone else’s country) is more disgusting than putting it on a ziplock bag and carrying it out. Just get over yourself and bring plastic bags for ALL your trash.

Happy camping!!

Entering Lónsöræfi: a sunny and scenic view before the storm.

(If I have given any information that is incorrect or dated – please let me know and I will update accordingly! Thank you!)