This post will be about how I prepared for the 6 day hike from Landmannalaugar to Skógar and what kind of equipment I had with me. If you would like to read about the adventure itself, check out this post with the day to day report.
There are some different multi day hiking trails in Iceland but The Landmannalaugar to Skógar trail is probably the most famous one, so set your expectations accordingly. You will most likely not be hiking alone, but by hiking it early in the season I managed to avoid most of the crowds. In average I saw 5 people a day 😀
In my backbag:
I had decided that I wanted to be self sufficient and not stay at the huts on the trail, but that meant that I had to bring food for 6 days of hiking and carry camping equipment. I really tried to pack light. My initial hope was to fit everything into a 45 liter bag, but it turned out to be impossible, at least for me. In the end I carried my beloved 85 L bag which weighed 17 kg, without water :). During the days I was carrying a minimum of 3 liters of water so it’s fair to say that my bag was about 20 kg. Here is what I had with me:
The only thing i did not use was my rain pants, because I was extremely lucky with the weather. It barely rained during the days I was in Iceland. I also did not need my wool socks for sleeping, because the nights were really not cold – again I was extremely lucky with the weather. I had two sets of wool underwear with me, one for walking and one for sleeping. I found that to work out very well. I had also one pair of socks that I only used in the tent and a down jacket that wasn’t really necessary but it was nice to have in camp.
I also discovered that could have managed with less socks and underwear. It just does not matter so much when you don’t shower anyways :D. That brings me to the next topic: Personal Hygiene. so I did not shower for 6 days. Its ok, nobody has died from not showering 😀 I did have wet wipes with me and I strongly wish I would have had deodorant with me. I also wish I had some moisturizing cream with me so that I didn’t have to use sun block as foot cream. One other thing I was glad I had with me was a small 20*20 com towel for wiping off the water from my tent from inside/outside. It was really practical, because you want to back your tent as dry as possible.
Food: What did I bring with me?
I had dry soups and porridge for dinner and oatmeal with butter for breakfast. I had also two chocolates with me and a lot of licorice as I love licorice. For lunch I had crisp bread with caviar and boiled eggs ( I boiled a pack of eggs before setting off from Reykjavik). Oh, and I had two packs of chocolate chip cookies. That was that, but it turned out that was not enough food for 6 days, so I ended up buying a pack of cookies and one pack of dry noodles at Basar. The oatmeal I had mixed with dry milk back home and packed it into small bags so that I could just take one bag a day. That was really practical. For preparing dinners, breakfasts and coffee I had a small stove with me from Primus:
I wasn’t sure how much gas I needed but now I can say that 450g can was more than enough for me.
Transportation to and from the trail:
I took the bus from Reykjavik Excursions It’s expensive (like all public transportation in Iceland) but the nice thing was that the bus had WiFi and you can charge your phone/powerbank on the bus.
Power for the phone:
I had a 10 000 mAh power bank with me and that was enough power for my phone for 5 days. To save power I had me phone always in flight mode, and I only turned on GPS when I needed it. I used my phone for taking photos and for listening to podcasts and music in the tent.
Prior to my travel I bought myself a “proper” tent. My previous tent was too big and not made for camping in extreme conditions. I ended up with Exped Vela Extreme 1 and I am very happy with that tent. It took me some time to learn how to set it up fast and properly. But after two test nights in the alps I felt more or less comfortable with it. Nowadays I can set it up in 5 minutes if necessary 😀
My advice for the tent is that you should have something that can take strong winds. There is almost no forest in Iceland and you will always be exposed to wind. The winds in the highlands can get very strong, so do not go there with some crappy tent that is just meant for summer music festivals :D. I have read about hikers who got their tent destroyed in a sandstorm, so this is definitely something to take seriously.
Sleeping bag: I used a bag that had comfort -8C°. I was lucky with weather, but I would not go to Iceland with a colder sleeping bag.
Sleeping mat: My mat is also form Exped (no im not sponsored, but I wish I were :D)
I love the mat, it’s very comfortable, warm and soft. I have only tested it during summer for the time being but I’m looking forward to testing it in the winter.
I am still not quite sure how illegal wild camping in Iceland is, so do it on your own risk or stay at the camp sites next to the huts. I stayed at two campsites. I did that because it was practical. I stayed one extra day in Landmannalaugar and therefore it was practical to camp at the camping site there. Also that way I could use the hot springs in the evening. In Bàsar I camped because I wanted to get close to the start of the last part of trail which also is the highest and hardest part of the trail (Básar – Fimmvörðuskáli (10km,950m climb). The camping is quite expensive 2000 ISK per tent, per night, but do not worry, they take card EVERYWHERE in Iceland, so there is no need to brig cash.
I did not need to filter the water at any point. Honestly, there are no animals on this trail and the water is clean in most small rivers. I did not have any problem finding drinkable water on the trail, but if you are unsure you can always fill water at the huts.
I think all the things on my backing list are important must haves and I would not leave anything at home if I were to do the hike again. Especially I recommend river crossing shoes. I find old running shoes perfect for that and then you can use them later on the flight or in the city when you don’t want to walk around in heavy hiking boots.
One of the rivers was so cold that even with the shoes it felt like I was freezing my toes of. Something I did not pack was gaiters. I did not need them, but if you go earlier in the season you might find them use full.
I used this track: which I downloaded to OsmAnd App (OsmAnd has become my new favorite app for tracking hikes, it is reliable and lets you import gpx files, it also has trails, mountain peaks,huts and water sources marked on it.
That was the practical information if you have any questions that you did not get an answer for, feel free to ask them in the comment field 🙂