A Beginner’s Guide to Planning a 4×4 Camper Van Adventure in Iceland

Optimal for an Icelandic adventure is the summer season, granting you the opportunity to secure a rental car in Reykjavik, affording you the autonomy to traverse the island at your leisure and savor its myriad attractions!

You’ll be able to hike between geological fault lines, tour glittering ice caves, and visit the highest waterfall in the country. Just remember that the weather can be unpredictable.

What to Pack

Taking the time to pack for your Iceland campervan adventure properly is essential. Contrary to traditional tent camping, embarking on a campervan expedition offers you unparalleled liberty as you are freed from the burden of lugging cumbersome gear. Your campervan journey through Iceland not only provides a unique insight into the country’s terrain, culture, and its warm-hearted populace but also ensures your road trip remains comfortable, enjoyable, and worry-free.

In the arsenal of essentials for your Icelandic road odyssey, a top-notch pair of hiking shoes or sturdy boots holds a position of paramount importance. Many hikes and excursions in Iceland involve walking around to see different waterfalls or hiking coastal trails. Equipping yourself with a trusty set of waterproof footwear is your shield against the discomfort of mud, moisture, and chill that might assail you during your adventures in Iceland.

Moreover, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience, consider stowing a daypack for your hikes and a dependable headlamp or flashlight for those moments when the Icelandic twilight dances with your curiosity. This will be useful if you visit Iceland during the summer when it gets dark at midnight. The additional illumination will grant you the freedom to delve deeper into the nocturnal mysteries, unveiling iconic sites that come to life under the cloak of night, long after the daytime crowd has dispersed.

Furthermore, as you journey through Iceland’s winter wonderland, consider arming yourself with a waterproof jacket. In this land of capricious weather, the ability to adapt to the whims of Mother Nature proves invaluable, ensuring you’re ready to face whatever atmospheric surprises she may have in store.

Where to Stay

The beauty of traveling by 4x4 camper van rental in Iceland is that you can explore the country’s stunning landscapes at your own pace. With no set itinerary, you can take time to see the famous sites and discover hidden gems.

The country’s ring road is a great place to start; plenty of campgrounds are along the route. Just be sure to read the rules carefully – wild camping isn’t allowed in Iceland, and it’s best to stay at official campsites rather than park on the roadside.

When choosing a company to rent from, ensure the price includes everything you need for your trip. Ask about the inclusions in the package, such as a portable stove and cooking equipment, and how much mileage you can drive daily to accommodate the plethora of gear you’ll require for your expedition, selecting a provider that extends the luxury of limitless mileage proves to be the most judicious choice.

Yet another pivotal factor to ponder is the capricious Icelandic weather. The island is prone to wild storms, and the conditions can change instantly. If you’re traveling during the shoulder seasons or winter, having a 4×4 camper van is essential so you can get around even if conditions turn bad. With strong winds and blizzards, it’s only safe to travel by car with the right vehicle.

Driving Tips

Embracing the RV lifestyle while traversing Iceland not only unlocks significant savings compared to hotel expenses but also epitomizes the ideal approach for those adventurers yearning to unravel the wonders of this exquisite nation on their own timetable and according to their unique rhythms. There are no set tour schedules, and you can take breaks.

As you embark on the quest for the ideal camper van to enhance your road expedition, ponder the composition of your fellow travelers. Equally important, you’ll confront a pivotal crossroads: the selection between a two-wheel or four-wheel-drive conveyance, a choice that pivots on the ever-changing whims of weather awaiting your journey.

Should your Icelandic adventure align with the winter months, opting for a 4-wheel drive camper van stands as the wisest course of action. Equip yourself with winter tires and essential provisions in case you find yourself in a bind. Keeping a shovel and a trusty torch on hand is a prudent precaution.

Yet, in the grand tapestry of Icelandic road etiquette, there are cardinal rules to uphold. Never venture off-road, especially during the winter months. Instead, maintain a keen awareness of your designated campsites, always seeking refuge in marked campgrounds. Straying off the beaten path can inflict harm upon the delicate mossy terrain and render roads impassable for others.


The majority of rental vehicles in Iceland sport two-wheel drive, perfectly suitable for meandering along the country’s immaculately kept thoroughfares during the summertime. However, for those seeking the road less traveled, certain breathtaking byways beckon the rugged prowess of a 4×4 chariot. When booking your van rental, ask about additional insurance and waivers. Most companies offer insurance add-ons, like damage waivers and gravel road coverage. These are highly recommended and cover any damages you might make to the vehicle.

You must also check the van’s deductibles for each day you are on the road. This is important because most deductibles in Iceland are very high. This is because of the gravel roads in the Icelandic Highlands and the extreme weather conditions. It’s not unusual for a rental car to get dents or scratches in these areas, and any marks made will take decades to heal.

Driving in rural Iceland is an experience you and your traveling companions will remember for a while. The moss, waterfalls, glaciers, and mountains will leave a lasting impression on you. 

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