Hiking in Iceland is really dependent on the weather. The terrain is varied but the overall the elevation tends to be 3000 feet or less. I used several weather sources including:
- Iceland Weather Service: https://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/areas/
- Dial Up: For up-to-date weather information, visit the Icelandic Meteorological Office website or call +354 902-0600 and press ‘1’ to hear the weather forecast in English.
- Mountain Forecasts: https://www.mountain-forecast.com/countries/Iceland
- Weather Surface Maps: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/maps-and-charts/surface-pressure
- Iceland Road Conditions: http://www.road.is/
- Webcams: http://www.road.is/travel-info/web-cams/
I also created a custom Apple Shortcut that would load a variety of map sources on demand (when I had cell signal). I also had my InReach set up to pull weather data on my location but never really needed it. The one additional weather tool I would like to have is a way to monitor barometric trends throughout the day.
The winds in the summer tend to be out of the east depending on the lows coming out of the Artic.
Before the trip I made an extensive Conditions assessment:
We hiked both the Laugavegur Trail (2 days) and Fimmvörðuháls Trail (1 day). The total milage hiked was 50 miles with 12k elevation gain in 3 days. The trails each have huts every 7 to 10 miles that you can stay the night. We chose to camp out.
For information on navigation, see my post about Navigating in Iceland.
The signage for each hut and along the trail was well labeled. US trails should take notes on how they did this as it was very helpful. Another gear item you should bring are gaitors for shoes. As you hike, the soft fine volcanic sand has a tendency to collect in your shoes and cause blisters. By wearing gaitors, you can keep your feet clean. In the picture is a pair of my MYOG Hiker trash gaitors that I made last year for my Long Trail hike.
Temperatures in Iceland can range from freezing to 70 degrees with considerable rain, sleet or snow, even in the summer.
I have been using mittens and gloves in rainy 40 degree weather for the past several years but really needed rain shells to keep my gloves/mittens dry.
Getting cold hands is miserable so I bought two pairs of Mountain Laurel Designs 3-LAYER eVENT RAIN MITTS for both myself and my wife. I then dummy corded the mittens and rain mitts to prevent loss.
The main issue in hiking in Iceland is the weather. High winds with rain and cold temperatures can make hiking the trail difficult. One of the major issues is keeping your tent from blowing apart from gale force winds.
Using ultralight gear, in this case my Z-pack Duplex tent, you give up some durability for reducing weight. With that all said, from my research online, several people have used these tents with success. Setting up a correct pitch and weighing down your tent stakes with volcanic rocks apparently will help you out. There are also “rock walls” that have been constructed as a natural wind break. I have also added additional guylines and stakes to make it more stable.
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