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Camper vans in Iceland: Heating System

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

Iceland’s unpredictable weather means that you’ll need to think about heating your camper van even if you plan to go traveling around Iceland in the summer. If your trip is for spring, autumn, or, especially, winter, then you’re definitely going to be better off relying on a camper van’s heating system to keep you warm inside the vehicle.

Iceland is a beautiful country in winter. Snow covers lava fields and dusts the black sand beaches. Under a blue sky, it’s a magical sight and one that’s sure to put a smile on your face. But there’s nothing like feeling cold to wipe that same grin off, so making smart choices when it comes to in-vehicle heating will be an essential part of your trip planning.

couple with a blanket staring at the views- camper van's heating system

How does the heating work in a camper?

Various heating systems exist, but if you rent a heating-equipped van from us you’ll be dealing with a Webasto heating system or something similar. Basically, how it works is this: campervans are well insulated but that doesn’t mean they can’t feel chilly when it’s cold outside. Diesel heaters draw in the cool air from the room or the cab compartment and pass it through a heat exchanger. This converts it to hot air.

You need to run the heater for a bit to warm up the interior of your campervan before you turn in at night. It’s one thing snuggling down inside a sleeping bag, but to keep really cozy you’re going to need a supplementary source of heat to get you started. So long as the doors and windows stay closed, the temperature inside the van will remain at a comfortable level.

The other thing you’ll need to be aware of is that the heating system works on a spare battery. This will obviously draw power and so it’s important that each time the heating system is used, you drive for at least three hours to allow sufficient time for the battery to be recharged. If you’re planning a road trip where you move on each day, this really shouldn’t be a problem.

Are there any particular models you’ll need to rent?

Many of our camper vans are fitted with heating systems. For instance, the Renault Trafic, VW Transporter, Nissan NV-200/Kangoo and Renault Master that we offer all have heating systems. If you’re planning to rent the VW Caddy Beach Minicamper from us, then you’d need to ensure you opt for the automatic version, as the heating system is not available on the manual model.

If you’re looking to arrange a camper rental and are not sure which of these vehicles best meets your needs, it’s a good idea to browse through the descriptions on the website or get in touch with one of our knowledgeable customer service agents. Sometimes when you have a lot of choices, it can be hard to figure out what type of camper van matches your requirements, but we have a lot of experienced staff who’ll be able to help you make the right decision if you get in touch.

What else do I need to think about in terms of amenities?

Your campervan is going to be your home away from home while you explore Iceland’s incredible landscapes. As such, it’s worth thinking about the features that will provide extra comfort and ensure you are happy. A fully equipped campervan can make all the difference to your vacation. Unlike car rental, hiring a van gives you not just a means of transport but accommodation as well. The amenities on offer at the campsites you book will add to the camping experience as well, of course, so prepare and plan with this in mind.

Couple inside of their camper, enjoying the heating system, by a wonderful waterfall

When it comes to sleeping, our rental packages offer sleeping bags as an option you can add in the extras section. The largest campervans we offer, such as the Renault Master, sleep five or six people. Having the option of a layout that is similar to the double beds you’re used to at home, rather than single or twins, can be something that adds to your comfort level. Remember, a good night’s sleep isn’t to be underestimated. No matter how great the scenery is, you won’t have a great time sightseeing if you have been deprived of a decent snooze the night before. Our bed linen package, an optional extra, includes a blanket, pillow, sheet and cover.

Other packages

Something else to consider is a gas stove. It’s not, strictly speaking, essential, as there are plenty of places you can grab a coffee or a hot meal. Many gas stations in Iceland, for example, have a restaurant or snack bar on site. But you don’t want to be on the road a long time searching for somewhere to stop and so the provision of a gas stove can be very convenient, or at least a backup if your Plan A doesn’t work out.

For that reason, we include a gas stove as standard with all our campervans, though note that it’s not available if you rent one of our 4x4s with a roof tent. Whether you just want to heat up some soup or plan to cook a meal, a gas stove can be very handy to have on board, although don’t forget that if you are staying at one of Iceland’s formal campsites, many of them will have a grill or barbeque for shared use. And, for safety’s sake, never use a gas stove inside a vehicle.

We are happy to provide pots and pans, cutlery, and dinnerware too. That’s going to save a whole lot of space when it comes to packing, making it a very popular option with those who rent from us. Choose our Essentials Package and everything that you might consider the vital equipment you will need for a comfortable trip is now offered at a reduced price: sleeping bags, camping set, kitchenware, GPS, WiFi, and unlimited extra drivers.

Separately, we can offer an inverter or converter for many of our vehicles. This changes your appliances and devices from 12V DC to 230V AC, meaning you can use your hairdryer, mobile phone chargers, and even laptops without worry. Please bear in mind that packages and options may change after this post was published. Do check with customer service if you have any doubts.

For travelers in the warmer months, there’s no better feeling than to throw open the doors to your campervan for an alfresco meal. Our table and chairs set is just the ticket, meaning you can set up in minutes and be eating in style in next to no time. With the right clothing, if the sun’s shining and the wind’s dropped, you might even be tempted to eat outside in the winter too.

Three young man enjoy the sun by their motorhome - camper van's heating system iceland

Camping in comfort

Camping in a campervan adds that extra bit of coziness compared to what you’d experience in a tent. The chance to experience a road trip in Iceland is one that many people have on their bucket list. With our packages, unlimited mileage, and transparency when it comes to service fees and insurance options, you can rent safe in the knowledge that there’ll be no nasty surprises to mar your trip. All you need is a credit card and that road trip dream can become a reality. What are you waiting for?


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