This Summer (August), my friend and I are setting out on a 12 day backpacking expedition to Iceland. We are going to be hiking around the majority of Iceland, mainly wild camping but 2-3 nights will be spent in a hostel. However, although experienced 'base' campers and short overnight hikers (as we are leaders at a scout troop) we are fairly unexperienced at backpacking. So on that basis I'm asking for your help and advice on gear and food. The main area I need advice in is how much and what clothing to bring and whether or not I should bring food (from the UK) or buy it there, but any help or gear advice would be hugely appreciated.
Loc: Portland, OR
I have no experience in Iceland, so I am speaking more generally.
It strikes me that bringing your food from UK would require you to take all of it with you everywhere, starting out your trip with 9 or 10 days worth of food (and food weight). If you will be staying in hostels mid-trip and the hostels are located in towns, you may be able to eat fresher food, or possibly carry less weight, by buying your food on the spot. Or you could mix the two strategies and bring only some of your food and buy the rest on the spot. The fewer days of food you must carry at a time, the better, in my opinion.
As for gear, the easiest way to make your pack too heavy is to carry too many clothes and in my experience beginners invariably take too much clothing. Also, avoid cotton. Synthetic fabrics can be washed by hand and air dried in a reasonable amount of time. Cotton takes forever to dry.
NB: I would love to do what you are doing.
Edited by aimless (05/29/1404:00 PM) Edit Reason: added a thought
I visited Iceland last year around the first week of September but only did day hikes and regular tourist stuff. I recall the travel agent telling us how lucky we were that we only had one day of unpleasant weather (high winds and rain). If you are going inland, and I assume you probably will be, be prepared to for cold, wet weather. As in it-might-snow cold. The coast is a bit more temperate.
Besides weather the only other thing I can tell you is that Iceland is a very expensive place to visit. Just about everything is imported and the prices reflect that. That said, you'll just about have to try to not like Iceland.
It's a beautiful country and I wish you a great trip!
Loc: Portland, OR
The least necessary item I saw on that list was the travel pillow. It is usually comfortable enough to use a stuff sack filled with clothes as a pillow.
I personally would reconsider if I needed to take 2 fleeces, 3 pairs of shorts, 6 pairs of underwear, or 2 t-shirts. That is far more redundancy than I would bring. My rule of thumb is to bring enough clothing that, if I were to wear every article I brought I would be warm enough at the coldest temperature I might encounter. For example, I would never wear 3 pairs of shorts simultaneously, and so would bring just one pair. To meet this requirement, I am prepared to be a bit dirty. This is seldom a bother when I am far from towns.
A multitool is generally not needed. If I did not know in advance what purpose it was going to serve, I would leave it home. A pocket knife with a very small blade is usually more than good enough.
I do not know what food you plan to eat, so it is unclear if you will need the full complement of knife, fork & spoon. I usually find a bowl is more suitable than a plate and that a spoon is the only utensil I need. But that accords with my way of eating.
Loc: Santa Cruz CA, Sierra Hiker
Jealous, but being a horsewoman as well as a backpacker I would be on an icelandic over there....:) BTW my granddaughter spent some time on an icelandic horse farm. One thing that stuck in my mind is she said she had strangers about bite her head off when she stopped to ask them directions or whatever...she was finally told it is extremely rude to approach strangers in iceland...big faux pas. Odd.