Planning on an Icelandic camping trip this summer? Pack a few of our pointers with you.
If you‘re travelling with a cooler you probably use ice packs to keep your food cool. Some gas stations will replace your thawed ice packs for frozen ones which can make all the difference in the world if you‘re camping for longer stretches at a time.
Straight from the farm (Farm Food Direct) www.beintfrabyli.is
You‘ve come all this way via plain or even that one ferry and now you‘ve rented a car and you‘re driving around rural Iceland, soaking in the fresh air of the untouched wilderness. To complete this experience you simply must stop by at one of the many farms in the Farm Food Direct association that sell their goods straight off the farm to passersby. This is as fresh as it gets and in this case that statement will probably hold true worldwide. With all this unpolluted water, air and nature, free-roaming grazers and ancient Viking livestock, this is where you‘ll find truly unique produce. It‘s also a chance to get a glimpse at what would be Iceland‘s elite if Iceland had a class system: the farmers. They usually know their sagas by heart and still remember quatrains and stanzas they heard at some hoedown when they were teenagers. The English version of their website is incomplete so just click on where it says „Býli“ and you‘ll get a map of the farms that sell their goods to visitors.
What’s not to love about camping? Bad campsites. I won’t lie, they’re usually not great in Iceland due to the lack of trees and therefore shelter and sometimes rocky soil. While I would personally pick a pitch relatively close to the toilets but away from the route to the toilets in say France, I prioritise shelter from the wind above everything else when choosing a pitch in Iceland. Try to find a good corner of bushes (trees if you’re lucky) and check the weather forecast for the direction and strength of wind before choosing how to place your tent.
Believe it or not, public toilets have been the cause of much controversy in Iceland in the past few years. Tourism has increased by a lot lately and the Icelandic government hasn‘t been able to keep up in terms of service, the most basic one being the toilets. Farmers tell horror stories on the news of tourists going to the bathroom in their backyard and hikers complain that toilet paper could be seen littered all along popular hiking paths in the highland. To keep our farmers friendly and our untouched nature untouched make sure you use the toilets at the gas stations whenever you stop and should you travel to more remote places, bring a small shovel or bags. We are working on improving the facilities but in the meantime don’t poop on our precious land.
Part of the attraction of travelling in rural Iceland is that remote and isolated feeling and how easily you can remove yourself from anything resembling modern society to breathe in the wilderness and natural wonders. This incredible advantage comes with the obvious disadvantage of little to no service in some areas. If you’re travelling via car, make sure you fill your gas tank when you come across a gas station in the more rural parts such as the south coast and northeast highland and as stated before, use every bathroom you come across while you’re at it.
This probably goes without saying but if you’re planning on camping outdoors in Iceland be prepared for unseasonable and unpredictable weather and take into account that this is a seismically active island with volcanoes. Keep your eye on weather site www.vedur.is for weather and earthquake reports and www.safetravel.is for general warnings for the great outdoors.