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HIKING IN ICELAND

Grétar Ingi Erlendsson
Hiking in Iceland

Iceland is the hiker’s paradise! The vast wilderness of the highlands, the rugged, lush valleys, and awe-inspiring fjords make up the perfect playground for those who choose to spend their free time trekking. Iceland boasts of literally hundreds of hiking trails so everyone should be able to find the perfect trek according to one’s ability. 

Hiking in Iceland
The Laugarvegur hiking trail is probably the most famous hiking trail in Iceland. It connects Landmannalaugar with Þórsmörk valley.

This extraordinary abundance of hiking opportunities results in the fact that guests choose to return to Iceland again and again to experience new adventures. After all, each trail is unique and offers something new and exciting to see.

Click here to book the ultimate Laugarvegur hiking tour!

Now before you book your flight and lace up your hiking boots, there are some things you need to keep in mind before heading out. Hiking in Iceland requires some pre-planning, especially if you are thinking of skipping a guide and leading your own way. You will also need to pack according to the route you plan to undertake. Below you’ll find a comprehensive packing list that you can use as general guidance.

hiking in the highlands of Iceland
Walking into the unknown in the highlands of Iceland

Essentials

  • Map & Compass – These might be the most important safety tools you can take with you on a hike anywhere.
  • GPS & fresh batteries – With a GPS you can easily make your way back to the starting point. Make sure you have fresh batteries with you in case of emergency.
  • Sturdy Hiking Boots – waterproof with good ankle support.
  • Long sleeve shirt (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic.
  • T-shirt (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic.
  • Light wool or fleece sweater (2nd layer).
  • Trousers – Strong and light material that dries quickly e.g. soft-shell.
  • Jacket with a good hood – windproof, waterproof and breathable, e.g. Gore-Tex or comparable.
  • Rain trousers – windproof, waterproof and breathable. Please note that full raingear is mandatory in Iceland.
  • Gloves – Wool or synthetic 2 pairs of different thickness.
  • Socks – Wool or synthetic. Two or three pairs.
  • Warm hat – Wool or synthetic.
packing list for Iceland
Weather conditions can change rapidly in Iceland so it’s crucial to be well prepared. Be smart when packing and don’t forget anything.

Other Gear

  • Backpack for extra clothes and food during the day. 25 – 40L (1500 – 2500 cu in)
  • River shoes – Walking sandals or old running shoes with a good grip are a good choice, along with a pair of warm socks or neoprene socks. Open sandals or flip-flops will not do the job.
  • Light Sleeping bag
  • Towel – light weight and pack-able.
  • Sunglasses & sun protection.
  • Water container – thermos flask or water bottle 0,5 – 1L.
  • Headlamp for reading and getting around the hut.
  • Personal first aid kit – including blister care.
  • Prescription medication and other personal health items.
  • Toiletries – Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap etc.
  • Earplugs
Need help planning your hiking tour in Iceland?
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Trekking in the Icelandic highlands
Neoprene socks come in handy in these circumstances. Many hiking trails have river crossings on the way.

Optional Gear

  • Walking pole(s) – recommended.
  • Gaiters
  • Neoprene socks – highly recommended for river crossings.
  • Pen knife.
  • Sun/rain Hat or a Cap.
  • Shorts
  • Thermal mat (for lunch breaks).
  • Puffy jacket (e.g. Primaloft or down) 
  • Camera, spare batteries and a memory card or films.
  • Dry-bags for electronics and extra clothing.
  • Aperitif or other heart-warming spirits.

Ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime? Choose from one of our self-drive tours or let us customize an itinerary for you that suits your specific travel goals and preferences. You can peruse your tour options here

About the author

Grétar Ingi Erlendsson