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What to pack for winter camping in Iceland
It is often said that if you don‘t like the weather in Iceland, wait 15 minutes. It has some truth actually for the weather can change really fast, in any direction. Driving around Iceland in a camper van during winter requires warm clothes. Although the temp in most of Iceland doesn’t often get to be seriously cold but it does happen, especially in North Iceland so be prepared for the worst possible scenario. You have a camper van to store all your clothes in so you don‘t have to worry about having to carry it around at all times. So what are the necessities?
1. A sturdy jacket to keep you warm at all times. It has to be able to resist wind properly and keep you dry. A thick down jacket is the way to go.
2. Head protection. At the very least you need a proper cap to keep you warm. Something that covers your ears and again, think of the windchill, especially if you are planning hikes. You might even want to pack a balaclava. Your jacket should come with a hood too so you can protect yourself against any weather.
3. You will need decent thermal underwear, both for outdoor activities and for sleeping. Do not use the same ones for both sleeping and walking for the underwear will be moist after any outdoor activities.
4. Gloves or mittens is a must when you are outside, also for scraping off ice of the car when you are out on your adventures.
5. If you like to be active, you should have long johns, thicker insulating pants on that and on top of that, rugged wind pants to cover you from wind, snow and abrasion. Jeans should be avoided in very cold weather.
6. On your upper body, again, proper thermal underwear and build up your insulation with layers. It‘s way more easier to remove clothing if you get warm while being outdoor than to add on the sweater you left in the car.
7. Bring your favorite scarf.
8. Swimwear and a towel. Yes, you are highly recommended to take a swim in any of the many swimming pools, geothermal baths and spas you will pass. It‘s absolutely fantastic to swim around in heavy snowfall but remember, hailstorm are nothing but pain on your naked skin. If you would be surprised by a hailstorm while playing around in a pool, get inside and wait for a few minutes. They never last long.
Of course a camera is a must. If you can charge your camera with USB, you can do that in the car! If you prepare for the worst, you can enjoy the best! Very few things can destroy a winter vacation like being wet and cold. Bring extra clothes so you can change too and remember to enjoy, for you are int for a great, magical ride through the Icelandic winter landscape.