Iceland Overlanding / Expeditions - Shared Experience

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Neil Q Smith

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I have driven a lot around Iceland over the last 15 years, and organised 2 Arctic Trucks Expeditions from Norway to Iceland during summer 2015 (www.ice2015.no) and summer 2017 (www.ice2017.no).

I have a lot of maps, tracking data, books, info, photos, videos, etc., etc.... from my extensive travels to Iceland (been travelling there since 1978).

Would be happy to share information about routes, roads, campsites, hostels, equipment, expectations, suggestions, requirements, etc., to anyone who is planning an Iceland adventure in the future.

I don't have a lot of winter driving experience there yet, just one winter season, but I hope to improve upon this in the near future.

Feel free to contact me - Happy to help & share.

Cheers
Neil :)

20287038_1207449606065860_9211801097558771561_o.jpg
 

Joey83

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Winter driving in our part of Norway is easy!

I've been doing it since 2003/2004 and have not had any problems when driving this far south.
 

Neil Q Smith

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Do you ship your vehicles there? Wife and I have wanted to go to Iceland for some time. Always figured we'd rent a car to explore.
Hei

Yes, we shipped them from Norway to Iceland on the Smyril Line Ferry, which operates from Faroe Islands, to Denmark and Iceland.
Had to take a separate ferry from Norway to Denmark to catch this...
It's a 2 day trip each way (Denmark-Faroes-Iceland), but it's nice to go with your own vehicle, and take whatever you wish and need.

You can of course also ship them via containers, which takes a few weeks to process, from hand-over to final collection.
I know a few friends who have done it from Norway to Iceland.
It's not that expensive, but they have experienced theft form the vehicle whilst in transit, which they find hard to make insurance claims for afterwards (word of warning).

Renting a quality 4x4 in Iceland is SUPER EXPENSIVE.
Be prepared to spend a lot of money if you plan a trip this way.
Iceland has become very expensive (even for Norwegians !!!)

But, if you do get to Iceland, and drive the F-Roads (Mountain Passes / Gravel Roads) the results can be significantly rewarding !!!
And the drives are also vey interesting and challenging at times, especially the multiple river crossings.......


DSC_0123-1024x681.jpg

Good Luck with your future Iceland Planning.

Feel free to contact me if you need any help or advice.
Cheers
Neil :)
 
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Neil Q Smith

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I belive he did, the silver truck has norwegian plates on it. :)

I want to visit Iceland myself someday.
Hei Joey
Thanks for helping with your reply :)
I have just sent him a full reply, explaining options and costs.
Iceland is a great place to visit, but very expensive....
Cheers
Neil :)
 

Neil Q Smith

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Hei Keith

Nice photo mate...….glad you are over there now and enjoying Iceland...…….and showing off the cool OB T-Shirt :)

Looking forward to more inspiration Iceland photos

Cheers
Neil :)
 

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This is what I've been searching for!! I'm headed to Iceland in july, Ive gotten some decent intel from a local friend who went, but the more info the better. My fiance and I normally take our Toyota everywhere, however driving across Canada and then shipping it just isn't feasible. We've rented a Subaru Forester with an rtt, they say it's f road approved, but I'm so used to rock crawling in the big toyota, I find it hard to believe. We have 15 days on the road, and then another 3 in town, we'd like to see as much as possible, however I'm finding it difficult to find stuff that's not a tour of some kind. We really like just doing our own thing and meeting other people out on our travels. I have a Garmin GPS I'm bringing that already has maps downloaded onto it. Any recommendations on papper maps or map books? Some off the track destinations would be spectacular, or as far off as the subie will get us lol.
 
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Defender 90 Keith

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This is what I've been searching for!! I'm headed to Iceland in july, Ive gotten some decent intel from a local friend who went, but the more info the better. My fiance and I normally take our Toyota everywhere, however driving across Canada and then shipping it just isn't feasible. We've rented a Subaru Forester with an rtt, they say it's f road approved, but I'm so used to rock crawling in the big toyota, I find it hard to believe. We have 15 days on the road, and then another 3 in town, we'd like to see as much as possible, however I'm finding it difficult to find stuff that's not a tour of some kind. We really like just doing our own thing and meeting other people out on our travels. I have a Garmin GPS I'm bringing that already has maps downloaded onto it. Any recommendations on papper maps or map books? Some off the track destinations would be spectacular, or as far off as the subie will get us lol.
I recently visited Iceland so have a limited albeit up to date knowledge of the place. I will point you in the direction of @Neil Q Smith who has spent ain the region of 300 years in Iceland (He's older than he looks) and has a vast knowledge of this stunning Country.

Both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip. I will recommend however, that you take your life savings in order to get by. Iceland is generally nicknamed "Priceland"

Hope you enjoy your visit and I'll look forward to seeing some pics.
 
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I recently visited Iceland so have a limited albeit up to date knowledge of the place. I will point you in the direction of @Neil Q Smith who has spent ain the region of 300 years in Iceland (He's older than he looks) and has a vast knowledge of this stunning Country.

Both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip. I will recommend however, that you take your life savings in order to get by. Iceland is generally nicknamed "Priceland"

Hope you enjoy your visit and I'll look forward to seeing some pics.
Hahaha yaaa I think we're in the neighborhood of 10k on this trip, but it's one of those bucket list trips so we're all in. I've got a few penny pinching tricks up my sleeve, but I knew going in it was going to be quite pricey, cheers though ya any info is appreciated, this is our most ambitious trip to date, last year we did the U.S west coast made it as far as California city before heading back north. I've been super pumped about this coming trip for some time and it's getting close
 
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Neil Q Smith

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Hahaha yaaa I think we're in the neighborhood of 10k on this trip, but it's one of those bucket list trips so we're all in. I've got a few penny pinching tricks up my sleeve, but I knew going in it was going to be quite pricey, cheers though ya any info is appreciated, this is our most ambitious trip to date, last year we did the U.S west coast made it as far as California city before heading back north. I've been super pumped about this coming trip for some time and it's getting close
Hei there

First of all, thanks a lot @Defender 90 Keith for your kind recommendation of my Iceland knowledge & experience :) - I am older than I look....
Hope you had a great trip, and my advice proved useful in some small way.
Thank You for your trust.

Nice to hear from you @TheWanderingTaco
Hope I can help you out too.
I suggest you take a quick look at our last two ICE (Iceland Circumnavigation Expedition) websites, which are quite full of advice, links, maps, reviews, comments, etc.
The first one is www.ice2015.no (Summer 2015 - 4 week trip)
The second (and by far the most comprehensive) is www.2017.no (Summer 2017 - 6 weeks trip)
For these adventures, we build a website, populate over the 1-2 years before leaving, and publish a daily blog whilst there.
Quite a few folk have found these sites useful, in some small way or another.
Appologies if some articles or links are now out of date....
The Full Blog History page on our websites carry the most information

We also have a YouTube Channel called Circumnavigators where we post short films from our adventures.
This can be accessed via the Social Links YouTube button at the base of our websites Home Page.
Here is a short after-movie from our last adventure (ca.4 minutes): ICE2017 aftermovie - Highlights from Iceland Circumnavigation Expedition
Provides a quick visual taste of what you can expect - Hope you like it.

I suggest you prepare well, and have plenty Plan B / C options, is my first comment, when planning such a tour in Iceland
River levels rise and fall in hours, rock fall avalanches cut off roads, earthquakes are common, volcanoes sometimes decide to entertain....
It's as near you can get, to real adventure, with no fixed agenda.

River crossings are great fun, but easily messed up, and can quickly turn into very dangerous situations.
The vehicle must have a snorkel, or you stand a good chance of water ingress into the air intake, totally killing the engine.
Check out my article on this on our ICE2015 website: WaterProofing Expedition Vehicles - may provide a quick useful guide to get started.

Winch system is very highly recommended, which can be interchanged, to both front and rear of vehicle.
When you get stuck in a river, or down a bank, this will get you out.
We have a 5 Tonne winch for our trips, which can be used on both expedition vehicles, both front & back.

Food, clothing, usual survival stuff must be taken seriously.
Techinccaly speaking, you are never that far away from civilization in Iceland, when looking at the map.
However, if the river level rises, you cannot continue your journey, have to double back, etc, etc., you must have sufficient fuel, food & water to survive.
Iceland weather can change dramatically, all year around, and it catches many tourists out each year, with quite a few casualties and fatalities.
Plan your trip as if you are on Mars, and your journey to the next safe base camp is 2-3 days drive over unknow territory...

Iceland is expensive....that's why we call it Priceland
I live in Norway, so I am used to the high prices, but it can be a shock to many folk - still does shock me as an Englishman abroad.
It''s about 2 to 5 times as expensive as you are used to.
We take a lot of food and all necessary items with us in our vehicles - this keeps costs down to fuel, additional fresh food, campsites, admission fees, etc.
Guess you can't really do that if you are flying over.
Suggest you stock up at the local Bonus supermarket after collecting the hire vehicle - it's usually the cheapest in Iceland, and has a good selection.

You mentioned GPS, maps and books.
We have GPS, but we don't just rely on this.
We have bought the paper terrain maps as well - they work when your GPS breaks, or is out of power - never reply on modern technology without a real backup...
Have a real (Silva) compass with you too, to go with the map...
We have got lost in Iceland a number of times, especially in the interior - there are no signs, roads appear & disappear, its not always easy, especially in bad weather.

I suggest you buy the Lonely Planet guide at least, and read it at least once if not twice before you travel.
Have a full terrain map of Iceland out whilst reading.
Start planning sensible chucks of the trip.
Make a plan and route - then make 2-3 Plan's to make sure you can get out of trouble if required.
Make sure you are aware of ALL river crossings on each daily trip.

Tell Folk where you are and where you are going on a regular daily basis.
Download and use this free app: 112 Iceland App – Brilliant & Simple - This could save your life...

There is so much...…...I could keep going on for hours, days, weeks....
Don't want to bore you to death.
Hope this info is a good start for you.
Feel free to contact me and connect/follow me on OB
I will try to answer all your questions as honestly as possible

Enjoy your planning
Be safe
Look forward hearing from you sometime
Have a good May Day (01 May)
Cheers
Neil :)
 
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Hei there

First of all, thanks a lot @Defender 90 Keith for your kind recommendation of my Iceland knowledge & experience :) - I am older than I look....
Hope you had a great trip, and my advice proved useful in some small way.
Thank You for your trust.

Nice to hear from you @TheWanderingTaco
Hope I can help you out too.
I suggest you take a quick look at our last two ICE (Iceland Circumnavigation Expedition) websites, which are quite full of advice, links, maps, reviews, comments, etc.
The first one is www.ice2015.no (Summer 2015 - 4 week trip)
The second (and by far the most comprehensive) is www.2017.no (Summer 2017 - 6 weeks trip)
For these adventures, we build a website, populate over the 1-2 years before leaving, and publish a daily blog whilst there.
Quite a few folk have found these sites useful, in some small way or another.
Appologies if some articles or links are now out of date....
The Full Blog History page on our websites carry the most information

We also have a YouTube Channel called Circumnavigators where we post short films from our adventures.
This can be accessed via the Social Links YouTube button at the base of our websites Home Page.
Here is a short after-movie from our last adventure (ca.4 minutes): ICE2017 aftermovie - Highlights from Iceland Circumnavigation Expedition
Provides a quick visual taste of what you can expect - Hope you like it.

I suggest you prepare well, and have plenty Plan B / C options, is my first comment, when planning such a tour in Iceland
River levels rise and fall in hours, rock fall avalanches cut off roads, earthquakes are common, volcanoes sometimes decide to entertain....
It's as near you can get, to real adventure, with no fixed agenda.

River crossings are great fun, but easily messed up, and can quickly turn into very dangerous situations.
The vehicle must have a snorkel, or you stand a good chance of water ingress into the air intake, totally killing the engine.
Check out my article on this on our ICE2015 website: WaterProofing Expedition Vehicles - may provide a quick useful guide to get started.

Winch system is very highly recommended, which can be interchanged, to both front and rear of vehicle.
When you get stuck in a river, or down a bank, this will get you out.
We have a 5 Tonne winch for our trips, which can be used on both expedition vehicles, both front & back.

Food, clothing, usual survival stuff must be taken seriously.
Techinccaly speaking, you are never that far away from civilization in Iceland, when looking at the map.
However, if the river level rises, you cannot continue your journey, have to double back, etc, etc., you must have sufficient fuel, food & water to survive.
Iceland weather can change dramatically, all year around, and it catches many tourists out each year, with quite a few casualties and fatalities.
Plan your trip as if you are on Mars, and your journey to the next safe base camp is 2-3 days drive over unknow territory...

Iceland is expensive....that's why we call it Priceland
I live in Norway, so I am used to the high prices, but it can be a shock to many folk - still does shock me as an Englishman abroad.
It''s about 2 to 5 times as expensive as you are used to.
We take a lot of food and all necessary items with us in our vehicles - this keeps costs down to fuel, additional fresh food, campsites, admission fees, etc.
Guess you can't really do that if you are flying over.
Suggest you stock up at the local Bonus supermarket after collecting the hire vehicle - it's usually the cheapest in Iceland, and has a good selection.

You mentioned GPS, maps and books.
We have GPS, but we don't just rely on this.
We have bought the paper terrain maps as well - they work when your GPS breaks, or is out of power - never reply on modern technology without a real backup...
Have a real (Silva) compass with you too, to go with the map...
We have got lost in Iceland a number of times, especially in the interior - there are no signs, roads appear & disappear, its not always easy, especially in bad weather.

I suggest you buy the Lonely Planet guide at least, and read it at least once if not twice before you travel.
Have a full terrain map of Iceland out whilst reading.
Start planning sensible chucks of the trip.
Make a plan and route - then make 2-3 Plan's to make sure you can get out of trouble if required.
Make sure you are aware of ALL river crossings on each daily trip.

Tell Folk where you are and where you are going on a regular daily basis.
Download and use this free app: 112 Iceland App – Brilliant & Simple - This could save your life...

There is so much...…...I could keep going on for hours, days, weeks....
Don't want to bore you to death.
Hope this info is a good start for you.
Feel free to contact me and connect/follow me on OB
I will try to answer all your questions as honestly as possible

Enjoy your planning
Be safe
Look forward hearing from you sometime
Have a good May Day (01 May)
Cheers
Neil :)
Thanks for the reply, really good stuff!! We're used to weather changing at a moment's notice, as well as Creek crossings, and being in the middle of nowhere without the possibility of rescue! The vast expanse that is British Columbia has that there are places where if you go off the road no one will ever find you. That being said I am very cautious about taking a car on a dirt road adventure, I'm used to the luxury of a Toyota pickup on 35s with dual lockers and all my recover gear. Definitely going to be extra cautious on this trip, as I won't have any of that. I've been reading through the last couple days when I get a moment thanks again for all the info
 
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Neil Q Smith

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Thanks for the reply, really good stuff!! We're used to weather changing at a moment's notice, as well as Creek crossings, and being in the middle of nowhere without the possibility of rescue! The vast expanse that is British Columbia has that there are places where if you go off the road no one will ever find you. That being said I am very cautious about taking a car on a dirt road adventure, I'm used to the luxury of a Toyota pickup on 35s with dual lockers and all my recover gear. Definitely going to be extra cautious on this trip, as I won't have any of that. I've been reading through the last couple days when I get a moment thanks again for all the info
Cool......just let me know if you need any help, or find something inteseting on our expedition websites, and want to know more about.
Enjoy the planning stage - it's half the fun.
Cheers
Neil :)
 

Itacal

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Hei there

First of all, thanks a lot @Defender 90 Keith for your kind recommendation of my Iceland knowledge & experience :) - I am older than I look....
Hope you had a great trip, and my advice proved useful in some small way.
Thank You for your trust.

Nice to hear from you @TheWanderingTaco
Hope I can help you out too.
I suggest you take a quick look at our last two ICE (Iceland Circumnavigation Expedition) websites, which are quite full of advice, links, maps, reviews, comments, etc.
The first one is www.ice2015.no (Summer 2015 - 4 week trip)
The second (and by far the most comprehensive) is www.2017.no (Summer 2017 - 6 weeks trip)
For these adventures, we build a website, populate over the 1-2 years before leaving, and publish a daily blog whilst there.
Quite a few folk have found these sites useful, in some small way or another.
Appologies if some articles or links are now out of date....
The Full Blog History page on our websites carry the most information

We also have a YouTube Channel called Circumnavigators where we post short films from our adventures.
This can be accessed via the Social Links YouTube button at the base of our websites Home Page.
Here is a short after-movie from our last adventure (ca.4 minutes): ICE2017 aftermovie - Highlights from Iceland Circumnavigation Expedition
Provides a quick visual taste of what you can expect - Hope you like it.

I suggest you prepare well, and have plenty Plan B / C options, is my first comment, when planning such a tour in Iceland
River levels rise and fall in hours, rock fall avalanches cut off roads, earthquakes are common, volcanoes sometimes decide to entertain....
It's as near you can get, to real adventure, with no fixed agenda.

River crossings are great fun, but easily messed up, and can quickly turn into very dangerous situations.
The vehicle must have a snorkel, or you stand a good chance of water ingress into the air intake, totally killing the engine.
Check out my article on this on our ICE2015 website: WaterProofing Expedition Vehicles - may provide a quick useful guide to get started.

Winch system is very highly recommended, which can be interchanged, to both front and rear of vehicle.
When you get stuck in a river, or down a bank, this will get you out.
We have a 5 Tonne winch for our trips, which can be used on both expedition vehicles, both front & back.

Food, clothing, usual survival stuff must be taken seriously.
Techinccaly speaking, you are never that far away from civilization in Iceland, when looking at the map.
However, if the river level rises, you cannot continue your journey, have to double back, etc, etc., you must have sufficient fuel, food & water to survive.
Iceland weather can change dramatically, all year around, and it catches many tourists out each year, with quite a few casualties and fatalities.
Plan your trip as if you are on Mars, and your journey to the next safe base camp is 2-3 days drive over unknow territory...

Iceland is expensive....that's why we call it Priceland
I live in Norway, so I am used to the high prices, but it can be a shock to many folk - still does shock me as an Englishman abroad.
It''s about 2 to 5 times as expensive as you are used to.
We take a lot of food and all necessary items with us in our vehicles - this keeps costs down to fuel, additional fresh food, campsites, admission fees, etc.
Guess you can't really do that if you are flying over.
Suggest you stock up at the local Bonus supermarket after collecting the hire vehicle - it's usually the cheapest in Iceland, and has a good selection.

You mentioned GPS, maps and books.
We have GPS, but we don't just rely on this.
We have bought the paper terrain maps as well - they work when your GPS breaks, or is out of power - never reply on modern technology without a real backup...
Have a real (Silva) compass with you too, to go with the map...
We have got lost in Iceland a number of times, especially in the interior - there are no signs, roads appear & disappear, its not always easy, especially in bad weather.

I suggest you buy the Lonely Planet guide at least, and read it at least once if not twice before you travel.
Have a full terrain map of Iceland out whilst reading.
Start planning sensible chucks of the trip.
Make a plan and route - then make 2-3 Plan's to make sure you can get out of trouble if required.
Make sure you are aware of ALL river crossings on each daily trip.

Tell Folk where you are and where you are going on a regular daily basis.
Download and use this free app: 112 Iceland App – Brilliant & Simple - This could save your life...

There is so much...…...I could keep going on for hours, days, weeks....
Don't want to bore you to death.
Hope this info is a good start for you.
Feel free to contact me and connect/follow me on OB
I will try to answer all your questions as honestly as possible

Enjoy your planning
Be safe
Look forward hearing from you sometime
Have a good May Day (01 May)
Cheers
Neil :)

Wow! I would love to do those kinds of expeditions in Iceland. My wife and I were there in 2017 and 2019, for about two weeks each time. We have driven the Ring Road and the Western Ring Road, and many parts in between, some F-roads. We rented a small 4WD SUV both times, nothing I would be comfortable taking too far off the beaten path. Car rentals are so expensive in Iceland and, then, the price of fuel is insane, compared to what we pay in the United States. I wanted to rent something larger last trip, but it was too prohibitively expensive. Still, it is our favorite place on earth and, if I ever do win the lottery, I plan to overland Iceland for as long as possible, until they throw me out of the country. Then, I plan to buy as much Risbuff as I can fit in my bags and come home to the United States until they let me back in the country and I will do it all over again.
 
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