Some useful tips for trekking in Iceland

Ásgeir Ingvarsson

Morgunblaðið

While Iceland is one of the safest places to visit, those who plan to explore the Icelandic wilderness should take certain precautions and be aware of the risks involved.

In a recent interview with the Morgunbladid Mr. Ólafur Örn Haraldsson, chairman of the Iceland Touring Association (FÍ), shared some key tips for inexperienced travellers who plan to enjoy the beauty of Iceland on foot.

First of all, aspiring hikers should start slowly with shorter treks through easy terrain. If they start the day early they can cross considerable distances in a day and return early enough to enjoy an evening in a nice restaurant or a moment or two of much-deserved relaxation in one of Iceland’s many swimming pools.

“It is important to have clothing that is well suited for hiking and shoes that have been worn in. People should wear a layer of warm wool closest to the skin, then a good fleece-sweater or an Icelandic wool sweater over that. The third layer should be a wind- and water resistant jacket. Using the three layer system people can either add or remove garments depending on the weather and any excess pieces can be tucked away in a small backpack,” he says. “It also makes walking much easier to have a pair of adjustable trekking poles.”

Hikers should also make sure that their mobile phone has plenty of charge that will last for the entire trip, and then some. “It is also a good rule to let someone know where you are headed, what route you plan to take, and then notify that same person when you have returned safely.”

A novice trekker can expect to traverse about 12-15 km in a day with frequent stops for resting and snacking and for most people the average walking speed in nature is about 3 km/hr but less when going uphill. “Before heading off people should read the weather forecast very carefully and keep in mind that the closer we get to the fall the more unpredictable the weather in Iceland gets. In the fall it can also get dark outside quite quickly,” he says and adds that all good trekkers are careful to treat nature with respect and never leave anything behind.

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