Camping in Iceland on a budget


Go Camping in Iceland on a budget

Camping vacations have always been a popular choice for families and tourists in Iceland. After the financial crash, family budgets of Icelanders are tighter than before, so camping is sometimes the only affordable means to get away on a vacation for a reasonable amount of money. This means that there is more traffic on all the camping spots in Iceland during the summer, but there is also more lively atmosphere.

However, it is still not free to camp. If you have a limited vacation budget, but you would still like to take on a nice camping trip, there are many ways apart from renting your own place out, to cut the expenses.

Can you borrow equipment from family or friends? 

If you happen to have friends or family who like to camp a lot, chances are that you can borrow some of their items for your adventure. If you are not camping few times each summer, there is really no need to buy a lot of camping equipment. Most people are more than willing to lend their camping gear. The advantage on their end is also that it gets used more often, which keeps the gear fromrusting or molding, so don’t be shy to ask.

You could borrow the following items from the generous relatives or friends: water jugs, camp stoves, coolers, heater, lantern and even camping dishes and cutlery. Many camping places have facilities like a grill etc., so you don’t need all those items. Of course, you’ll want to borrow the tents, as well as sleeping mattresses and sleeping bags, if possible. You can for a small investment though, buy your own sleeping bags, pillows etc. so you have your own personal items if you prefer.

Purchasing camping gear online

You find a special second hand camping sites like Outdoor Online or The Outdoor Gear Exchange. You can also search the classifieds like FreeSell, Kijiji and Craigslist for some great deals – it’s also a bonus to get this hassle out of the way before your trip.


Obviously, apart from the camping gear and supplies, you’ll need to plan which camping sites you will visit on your stay in Iceland.

You can find many spectacular sites and more info like prices, facilities and addresses at the website for camping in Iceland. You can also find a lot of reviews of the different camping sites on websites like Tripadvisor.

You could also search on Amazon for just the gear for your trip:

Did you know that you can actually camp in downtown Reykjavík for under $9 a person? True story, take a look at Reykjavík Campsite and see for yourself.


You could also ask the nearest tourist office if there are any promotions going on in any of the camping sites in Iceland while you are on your trip. Most camping sites offer good shower facilities and some activites. Apart from that, you can definately expect a fantastic nature show 24/7.

Buy second hand items before your trip in your town or in Reykjavík 

Any quality second hand store has a decent selection of used camping equipment, often very little used. There are always people who make the mistake of purchasing a tent or othe gear with the intent to devote their vacation time to the wonders of camping. They often find out that they should have borrowed or bought second hand, because the gear ends up in the attick. You can do it differently by buying camping gear for a fraction of the cost.

You could also visit yard sales and flea markets, for equipment that is very inexpensive. Tents may need to be aired and washed well, but the extra work  is quickly paid up toward the cost of a brand new tent. It is not as appealing to buy used sleeping bags, they could however be used for extra comfort underneath your air mattresses, or for sitting around the campfire.

Another possibility is renting a caravan or tents. sometimes has some ads from Icelanders that would like to rent their gear.

What are you going to eat on your camping trip?

As far as food choices go, camping goes in hand with easy meals. Don’t worry, there is a wide variety of food to consider. Fill your cooler with nuts, fruit, sandwiches and drinks. Also, taking some oatmeal to blend with hot water, is always a sure thing. You can also purchase meals and food to take on the road at most of the gas stations around Iceland.

Another idea is going to a camping shop to get some ideas for the perfect lightweight camping experience. Your decision likely depends on the gear and cooking setup you have available. Using a camp stove, you can make just about anything, as long as it can be cooked in a pot or skillet. Of course, the size of the stove and the amount of propane will limit your menu, but with creativity comes magic.


Then there are the campfires and grills. If you are fortunate enough to have a campsite with either, or both, your cooking experience could include a range of goodies.
It all depends on how much time you want to spend cooking, and the availability of food. Planning ahead is always a good rule of thumb.

Cleaning up is usually easy, as there are sinks on all campsites. Luckily Iceland has a great supply of clean and hot water, so cleaining will be a breeze. To avoid a mess though, try making all-in-one meals in heavy duty foil for the grill. A foil bundle hot off the grill filled with fish or meat and vegetables is a nice treat after a long day hiking. Kids always enjoy hotdogs on a stick over a campfire. Just plan each meal in advance and you won’t fail.

Learning by doing

Taking the family camping is a learning experience for all members. With each trip, you will learn how to do things better, and cheaper. Start small, and if it turns out that you are in love with the nature experience of camping, then go ahead and do it more often. Keep the camping basics in mind and enjoy the nature, it usually beats a room at the Hilton.

By the way, did you know that you can also do some glacier camping in Iceland? Check out Glacier Camps.

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