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Family winter camping

Winter Camping
in Iceland

What you need to know for your winter road trip in Iceland

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The Champions of Winter Camping

We are the champions of winter camping in Iceland. There are several reasons for that statement, but what makes us truly unique in our camper design is our Insulation and Heating approach. We put a lot of effort into making sure that our campers are warm, even during the coldest winter months. 

The Equipment

We use the world-leading Webasto heating system and remove the main bottleneck by fitting two large additional batteries in the rear cabin. Mixed with the more powerful alternator and a more powerful main engine battery, you are guaranteed 12+ hours of powerful heating. We insulate the campers properly and make sure none of that heat we‘ve worked so hard to produce, escapes the cabin via cold metals. A large portion of our NEW Easy Campervan line also has 220V plugs for use at campsites. We design the campers to be power independent and to charge your batteries as you drive. Combine all this with the extra mops, rags, floor mats for the wet, extensive safety and tracking equipment via the Easy Guide, and brand new winter tires, and you get the champion.

Explorer Training

Now you have the Winter Camper, next is the explorer training. When you arrive at Campeasy to pick up your winter camper, you get properly informed and fed with all the tips and tricks. The orientation takes up to an hour, and you are welcome to take your time and ask questions until you are confident you have what you need. We also design our campers so that you can do everything from the inside of the warm cabin. Cooking, cleaning, washing up, dining, etc. Even re-filling your water supply is done from the inside.

Travel with confidence

In addition to having the highest-rated, coziest, and best-equipped campervans in Iceland, CampEasy team members are available to chat directly via the Easy Guide tablet provided with each rental. Should you need advice, have questions, or need non-urgent assistance during business hours. The Easy Guide tablet will also send weather warnings based on the location of the campervan and allows you to check the Icelandic weather forecast and road conditions in live-time.

Outside of hours, we operate an emergency line and offer a 24-hour roadside assistance service.

 

Safety & Comfort

The Biggest Winter Differences CampEasy Offers

Give Way

All-Night Heating System

Webasto heating systems are dominant in this market. We only equip our campers with the best.

But the main bottleneck is actually the electrical charge needed to keep the system running for long hours. We’ve addressed that with multiple batteries in the rear, along with insulation like you wouldn’t believe, and special modifications to the heating system intake to account for snowstorms or any climate for that matter.

Roundabout Ahead

Triple Battery Setup

Power generation and power storage were the most significant challenges as we started designing campers made for any climate. We looked into solar panels and other solutions that did not yield good results. The combination that did the trick was a more powerful alternator, larger batteries, and more of them. We now have three large batteries in every camper. We can guarantee heating and functionality for 12 hours (or more) without having to start your engine or plugging the camper to campsite electricity.

Gravel Road Ahead

Fully Insulated

The full insulation approach has proven very effective in multiple ways. We discovered that a camper with thick plates of wool behind every carpet layer made the camper more comfortable in winter (obviously) but improved on it in multiple other ways. We reduced ambient noise at campsites, road noises became less noticeable, and condensation problems were less prevalent. Having carpets on every layer is also crucial, as any exposed metal becomes a popsicle during the winter, regardless of how powerful the heating is.

Built-in Easy Guide Tablet

No Entry

Tracking

Lost? No worries, we can tell you where you are.

No Traffic At All

Messaging

Chat directly with CampEasy staff during the day.

No Parking

Live Warnings

When we see trouble ahead, we warn you based on location.

No Stopping

ICE-SAR Connection

Icelandic Search and Rescue Network warnings appear directly.

Title

Weather Monitoring

Easy access to weather forecast and detailed weather information.

Bad Road

Road Monitoring

Easy access to road status and detailed road conditions.

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Wifi

Always connected via the Easy Guide wifi.

Blind Spot

Take Pictures

For easier communications, take or receive a picture from us.

Free Extras
For your Comfort

Multiple Curves, First One To The Left

Free Extra Duvet

Things are just better with an extra duvet on hand.

Sheep on Road

Free Blanket

The little things matter.

Open Campsites in Winter

CampEasy has been working to increase overnight locations for campers for some time now. We provide updated information about camping locations in the included tablet. We call everyone regularly and make sure our details on what campsites are open and what kind of facility access they provide in the winter months is correct.

We are Icelandic, we are experienced travelers around Iceland and know what you need for a road trip around our little island. Rent your winter camper with us. You won’t regret it.

More Maps

This map is excellent for research before you arrive, but you also get a full list of all open campsites in your included Easy Guide Tablet.

Other Amenities During the Winter Months

In the wintertime, you may be surprised to find that amenities are available throughout the entire island. Although not as numerous as the summertime, you will still be able to find restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities by using the Easy Guide tablet provided with each rental.

Campsites that are open during the winter generally have their facilities available and they are listed on the Easy Guide to make planning easy.

Gas stations around Iceland are open all year round and they have restrooms and almost every town in Iceland has a geothermal swimming pool or hot tub, which is a great place to soak and use the showers and changing rooms.

Winter – The Pros

You have more places to yourself as fewer tourists are visiting, which means undisturbed northern lights hunting. A lot of the waterfalls, scenic viewpoints, and points of interest will be deserted. The farm animals are not free-range during the winter and are not going to be standing on the roads; however, majestic Icelandic reindeers are roaming the East of Iceland in winter. Fiery pink sunsets that last for hours (toward the end of winter), quiet campsites, a beautiful white winter wonderland for photography lovers, and best of all- cheaper pricing due to the off-season!

Winter – The Cons

You will miss out on seeing the puffins who visit from May to July, and whales from April to October. The Icelandic Highlands will not be opened until the summertime, and the lambing season in Iceland doesn’t start until May. Daylight can be minimal depending on when exactly you decide to visit, and the winter weather can cause roads to be blocked, and storms may delay your trip. Check out the monthly weather averages below.

Planning Your Winter Trip

The best way to plan for a winter trip around Iceland is to not have a plan but to still have a good idea of what options lay ahead. We recommend taking two weeks or more if you want to do the whole Ring Road, and instead of a timeline- focus on points you want to reach. The Trip Planner allows for multiple plans to be waiting for you when you pick up your camper, so if you make a plan, make one for a clockwise route, and another counterclockwise. The weather can be temperamental and can cause delays, so you want to be prepared with plenty of time. Direction-wise, you need to be flexible, as the weather may be fantastic in the North of Iceland, and a storm may be brewing on the South, or vice-versa- and its best to make hay while the sun shines, so to speak. Take advantage of good weather when you see it.

We recommend checking the Icelandic weather forecast every day at www.vedur.is and the road webcams at www.road.is.

Your CampEasy Service Agent will be happy to give advice on your itinerary, and we are available to chat with during your journey should you have any questions.

How To Pack for the Icelandic Winter

It goes without saying- you will need to bring layers. Insulated water- and windproof jacket, warm fleece, and a thermal long-sleeved shirt to wear underneath. Waterproof pants with thermal tights, warm woolen socks and a good pair of boots, and of course, a cozy scarf, gloves and a warm hat. You should also consider using crampons, especially for icy days, and bring a swimsuit to enjoy the hot springs. You’ll need Sunglasses during the glary winter days. For more info on that, you can check out our Road Trip Packing List article.

Winter Activities and Winter Toys

A winter road trip in Iceland does not mean you will be confined to your campervan. There are a lot of activities around the ring road and a lot of things to see and do. Winter is the perfect time to visit the famous glaciers and ice caves of the Icelandic South Coast, where you can try a glacier walk or ice climbing. Wintertime is a great time to go on a snowmobiling tour, experience dogsledding, hunt for the northern lights, and soak in a natural hot tub or spring. Horse-riding is a year-round activity available all over Iceland. You can visit the waterfalls, with a dramatic frozen backdrop, and the black sand beaches, glacier lagoon, mountain peaks, and volcanoes are all the more breathtaking when dusted with snow. The Golden Circle and Ring Road 1 are all open for business during winter- weather dependent.

If you are up for something a bit more extreme and have the budget, we also offer a range of Toys that are well suited for some unique experiences during the winter months.

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Weather

Surprising to many is the fact that Iceland isn‘t very cold in the winter. The Gulf Stream evens out the temperature throughout the year, combined with the coastal nature of the island. Summer temperatures rarely rise above 17°C/63°F and winter temperatures don‘t often dip below -5°C/ 21°F. The snowfall is very unpredictable and varies a lot between seasons. We can have winters almost completely without snow in some areas and then there are the winters where the snow engulfs the entire country for months.

The wind is the most dangerous factor when driving on Icelandic roads. Although we do not really get hurricanes as they are defined, we have experienced wind speeds double the criterion for hurricane-force winds. What we experience is more accurately dubbed a „polar low“ or „Arctic depression“. These high-wind weather patterns are generally very short-lived, on average lasting no more than a day or two, and often only a few hours. The fact that it lasts for such a short time is a crucial factor and dampens the effect it will have on your trip, should you encounter it. But be warned, ignore the warnings or proceed without care, and gales can easily blow your camper clean off the road. The number one thing is regularly monitoring the reports and warnings in your tablet, and to slow down when the wind picks up.

Below you’ll find a slider that categorizes every month by chances of northern lights, weather, daylight hours, and more. For detailed information on Northern Lights, check out the Northern Lights Guide.

October
in Iceland
The Photographers Favorite Aurora Month

October is an excellent month to hunt the Northern Lights, especially the first 2 weeks. In October, days are short, making it ideal for hunting the elusive lights. Most F-Roads are closing but normal roads are mostly accessible. Some years we get snow, but not much.

October:

Bring:
- Thermals and lots of socks.
- A thick coat.
- A tripod for Northern Lights photography.

Rent:
- Extra towels.

What To Read:
October
UPSIDES

Great Season for Northern Lights

Cheaper

Fewer Tourists

Winter Activities

October
DOWNSIDES

Chilly

All the Weather Types

Fewer Campsites

Reykjavík Average
Temperature
Thermometer Icon
High: 6.8 °C (44.2 °F)
Low: 2.2 °C (36.0 °F)
Northern Lights Icon
Darkness: 4/5
Aurora Season: 5/5
Min/Max
Daylight Hours
Sunshine Icon
Longest Day: 11h 17m
Shortest day: 8h 3m
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November
in Iceland
Back Again, The Long Night

Days are now short with intermittent snowfall. Some years there's plenty of snow, some there's little-to-none. Fluctuating weather, with plenty of both rough and calm days. Most roads are open, but none of the F-Roads. Northern lights aplenty and excellent opportunities for bargain deals and exciting activities to choose from.

November:

Bring:
- Thermals and lots of thick socks.
- A thick coat.

Rent:
- Shoe spikes at CampEasy. Or bring your own.
- Extra towels.

What To Read:
November
UPSIDES

Long Nights for Northern Lights

A Lot Cheaper

A Lot Fewer Tourists

Winter Activities

November
DOWNSIDES

Somewhat Cold

Somewhat Rough Weather

Very Short Days

Fewer Campsites

Reykjavík Average
Temperature
Thermometer Icon
High: 3.4 °C (38.1 °F)
Low: -1.3 °C (29.7 °F)
Northern Lights Icon
Darkness: 5/5
Aurora Season: 3/5
Min/Max
Daylight Hours
Sunshine Icon
Longest Day: 7h 56m
Shortest day: 5h 4m
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December
in Iceland
Join The Festivities

It is increasingly popular to combine a visit to Reykjavík with a few days out of town on a camper mixed in. Winter Solstice is on the 21st, with only 4 hours of daylight. Surprisingly, it's the month with the fewest visitors. Reykjavík lights up with decorations, with heavy use of Christmas lighting in most homes in Iceland. New-Years Eve is spectacular as Icelanders blow up their hard-earned cash with fireworks.

December:

Bring:
- Thermals and lots of thick socks.
- A thick coat. Maybe even two.

Rent:
- Shoe spikes at CampEasy. Or bring your own.
- Extra towels.

What To Read:
December
UPSIDES

Longest Night for Northern Lights

A Lot Cheaper

The Least Amount Of Tourists

Winter Activities

December
DOWNSIDES

Cold Month

Rough Weather

Shortest Days

Fewer Campsites

Reykjavík Average
Temperature
Thermometer Icon
High: 2.2 °C (36.0 °F)
Low: -2.8 °C (27.0 °F)
Northern Lights Icon
Darkness: 5/5
Aurora Season: 3/5
Min/Max
Daylight Hours
Sunshine Icon
Longest Day: 4h 59m
Shortest day: 4h 7m
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January
in Iceland
In Constant Twilight

The winter solstice has just passed, and every passing day lasts about 5-minutes longer than the last. The sunrise and sunset come and go, making for a short but beautiful days in constant twilight. An excellent time to find yourself at popular tourist destinations in complete solitude.

January:

Bring:
- Thermals and lots of thick socks.
- A thick coat. Maybe even two.

Rent:
- Shoe spikes at CampEasy. Or bring your own.
- Extra towels.

What To Read:
January
UPSIDES

Long Nights for Northern Lights

A lot Cheaper

A Lot Fewer Tourists

Winter Activities

January
DOWNSIDES

Coldest Month

Rough Weather

Very Short Days

Fewer Campsites

Reykjavík Average
Temperature
High: 1.9 °C (35.4 °F)
Low: -3 °C (26.6 °F)
Northern Lights Icon
Darkness: 5/5
Aurora Season: 3/5
Min/Max
Daylight Hours
Shortest day: 4h 22m
Longest day: 6h 57m
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February
in Iceland
Time To Strap On The Skis

February in Iceland offers some unique experiences with the highest number of opening days in the ski areas. If you are into any kind of snow-sports it's a good time to visit. Tourist season hasn't started, and February is a great time to find solitude on the Icelandic roads. Rent skis or snowboard for the trip, or bring your own and mount it on the roof.

February:

Bring:
- Thermals and lots of thick socks.
- A thick coat. Maybe even two.

Rent:
- Shoe spikes at CampEasy. Or bring your own.
- Extra towels.

What To Read:
February
UPSIDES

Long Nights for Northern Lights

A lot Cheaper

A Lot Fewer Tourists

Winter Activities

February
DOWNSIDES

Cold Month

Rough Weather

Short Days

Fewer Campsites

Reykjavík Average
Temperature
High: 2.8 °C (37 °F)
Low: -2.1 °C (28.2 °F)
Northern Lights Icon
Darkness: 4/5
Aurora Season: 3/5
Min/Max
Daylight Hours
Shortest day: 7h 4m
Longest Day: 10h 7m
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March
in Iceland
Northern Lights Explorer

March is one of the best months to come and hunt the northern lights. The 2 "high-seasons" for the Aurora Borealis are in March/April on one end, and September/October on the other. And in March, it is still very dark during a relatively long night, making it ideal for hunting the elusive lights.

March:

Bring:
- Thermals and lots of thick socks.
- A thick coat. Maybe even two.
- A tripod for Northern Lights photography.

Rent:
- Shoe spikes at CampEasy. Or bring your own.
- Extra towels.

What To Read:
March
UPSIDES

Great Season for Northern Lights

A lot Cheaper

Fewer Tourists

Winter Activities

March
DOWNSIDES

Cold Month

Rough Weather

Fewer Campsites

Reykjavík Average
Temperature
High: 3.2 °C (37.8 °F)
Low: -2.0 °C (28.4 °F)
Darkness: 3/5
Aurora Season: 5/5
Min/Max
Daylight Hours
Shortest day: 10h 13m
Longest Day: 13h 29m
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April
in Iceland
Northern Lights, Oh Thy Glory

April is one of the best Northern Lights months, but the night time needed for Aurora Viewing is getting shorter. You are likely to get a more vibrant Northern Light show in early April. It gets a bit warmer, with temperatures rising to a 7°C average high at the end of the month. The Island is thawing and the environment changing, fast.

April:

Bring:
- Thermals and lots of socks.
- A thick coat.
- A tripod for Northern Lights photography.

Rent:
- Extra towels.

What To Read:
April
UPSIDES

Great Season for Northern Lights

A lot Cheaper

A Lot Fewer Tourists

Winter Activities

April
DOWNSIDES

Somewhat Cold

Somewhat Rough Weather

Fewer Campsites

Reykjavík Average
Temperature
Thermometer Icon
High: 5.7 °C (42.3 °F)
Low: 0.4 °C (32.7 °F)
Rain Icon
Darkness: 2/5
Aurora Season: 5/5
Min/Max
Daylight Hours
Sunshine Icon
Shortest day: 13h 36m
Longest Day: 16h 48m
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Events In Iceland in Winter

Iceland has several festivals during the wintertime.

In November, Iceland Airwaves is held and spans 4 days showcasing new music from Icelandic and international acts. One of the biggest music festivals held in Iceland since 1999.

December is Christmastime, and instead of Santa- Icelanders celebrate the 13 naughty Yule Lads who come from the mountains and leave gifts in children’s shoes.  Christmas starts from the 24th in Iceland and is probably the biggest national holiday. There are events all over the country from market stalls (Jolaportið) to concerts.

New Year’s Eve is a big celebration for Icelanders, who buy huge amounts of fireworks to light up the skies throughout the night.

In January, Dark Music Days, a music festival is held in the famous concert hall Harpa in downtown Reykjavik. This festival is held during the darkest part of winter and highlights contemporary Icelandic and international composers.

Reykjavik International Games is held in January. A mini-Olympics of sorts.

In February, the Winter Lights Festival is held in Reykjavik and features light and art installations all around the city.

In March we have the Annual Icelandic Beer Festival, which is a 4-day celebration of Icelandic beer, which was only made legal in 1985.

13 Tips On Winter Travel In Iceland

1. Rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle (4×4).
It increases your control of the vehicle, should you begin to slide or need to maneuver quickly. It also increases the weight of the vehicle, which results in better traction and reduces the wind’s impact. You’ll manage in a front-wheel driven camper, but the 4×4 makes things easier.

2. Have a Paper Map for backup.
If all else fails, you will still have a map. We do not recommend using only your GPS navigation (Garmin or the like), as it will often guide you towards the shortest route, which can as often as not be a mountain road.

3. Fill the tank when you see a gas station / Fill it when it reaches 50%.
Distances in Iceland aren’t very great by any stretch, but getting from A to B can take longer than expected, resulting in more fuel usage. The heating system is connected directly to your fuel tank and needs a bit during the night; it can cause problems even if the tank has less than 1/4 fuel. It’s best to fill up when it reaches 50%. We recommend you take more than one Credit Card with you and know the PIN for each one. Everywhere accepts cards (almost), but nearly all of them require a pin. You also receive a fuel discount card from us, which gives you a minimal discount on fuel and access to Wifi on N1 gas stations.
If you aren’t able to get a chip and pin card from your bank, you can always purchase pre-paid cards at N1 stations in Reykjavík
You should also keep in mind that if you choose the fill-up option on the pump, the machine will take a 25.000 ISK security deposit from your card and hold it for up to 48-72 hours, even though you pump gas for 10.000 ISK. That can be a problem if you have a daily withdrawal limit or limited funds.

4. Maximize daylight hours.
The days aren‘t very long in the winter this far north. At 66°N, during the winter solstice (shortest days), the full day is around 2 hours and 45 minutes. In Reykjavík (further south, about 64°N), the day lasts approximately 4 hours when it‘s the shortest. During the darkest months (December, January), you will only get a few hours of sun each day. The long twilight is a recipe for some fantastic photos, as the sunrise and sunsets last for a long time, but it also makes it trickier to navigate around the island.

5. Be flexible.
Flexibility is something we always recommend, summer or winter. The island is absolutely riddled with exciting things to see and do. We recommend you read up on what you want but keep your plans relaxed and follow the good weather. Don‘t get hung up in one place and get in trouble forcing a journey you can‘t handle. There will always be several fun alternatives. When using the Trip Planner, don’t hesitate to remove a location mid-trip, add a new one, or to alter your plans completely.

6. Don’t return to Reykjavík only a few hours before your flight leaves.
We recommend you spend your last night either in Reykjavík during high winter, or very close to it. As mentioned above, the weather comes in quickly, and it departs just as quickly. If your path is blocked, it usually isn’t for more than a day or two, as the roads will be cleared and the weather will settle. So be back in Reykjavík or no more than a 30-minute drive away from it. There are plenty of campsites to choose from, which is an excellent way to avoid potential stress. It will feel more comfortable, and Reykjavík is worth a stay for at least a night! The downtown Reykjavík campsite is open all year round.

7. Know how to change a flat tire.
Even though distances aren‘t that great in Iceland, getting road assistance for a flat tire between towns can be expensive. Check out Youtube videos and maybe practice once before you arrive. Our Easy Clever and Easy Viking come with a mounted rear spare tire on the back, which makes the tire change easier. All our other campers have a spare tire mounted underneath, in the rear. Note that if you blow a tire, you are required to have it fixed or replaced at your expense.

8. Drive slower than the speed limit.
Even if the speed limit is 90kph/56mph, you don‘t have to drive at 90kph/56mph. In fact, in some cases, that could be very dangerous. Don‘t let the local drivers push you to go faster. If you have a car tailing you, you can put on your blink light (turn signal) to the right to indicate that you want him to pass. Make sure you don‘t give such an indication when there is traffic coming in the opposite direction or any danger on the road ahead. The turn signal to the right is also a message to the tailing driver that it‘s safe to pass.

9. Clear all snow from every window and mirror before driving, as well as clearing the roof.
This is important. It may not seem like a big deal when it‘s bright out to have a rear window covered or rear side window, but full visibility makes the driving more comfortable. Not to mention when it gets darker, then you want to be able to see all that you possibly can.

10. Beware of black ice.
Ice on roads in winter isn‘t always visible. It can look clear but be covered with a thin layer of ice.

11. Find safe places to stop your vehicle.
Stopping on the side of the road or the road itself, especially when there‘s ice or snow, is dangerous. You might not be spotted by passing vehicles until too late due to the lack of traction. Stopping can take a while on icy roads.

12. Always wear your seatbelt and turn on your headlights.
In Iceland, it is illegal not to use seatbelts, both for the driver and passengers. We also require all vehicles to have their headlights turned on, any time of day. Buckle up and turn your lights on!

13. Don‘t cram too much into your schedule or be in a hurry.
The days are short, and you won‘t be able to see it all anyway. Take your time and enjoy the adventure. In a safe way 😉

So, Is Winter Camping Something for You?

Check out our prices for a winter rental. You’ll be surprised.