Updated: Sep 22, 2022
Iceland camper rental is one of the most popular ways to travel around our small, Nordic island. You’ve got the best of both worlds with your home on four wheels. The freedom and convenience of having your sleeping quarters with you at all times mean that you’re not bound to an itinerary or hotel reservations.
You also save tons of money as this is a much less expensive option than either renting a car and paying for accommodation or traveling around Iceland by motorhome. Whether you’ve got five days in Iceland or a longer Iceland Ring Road itinerary of 10 days, camper rental in Iceland is the way to go. But before you hit the road, there are some essential things to know about driving a camper in Iceland.
Tip # 1: Drive at Least Three Hours Per Day if You Don’t Want to Freeze at Night
Something most people know about campers is that they have a built-in heating system, normally a Webasto heater or something similar.
What many people may not realize is that the heater has a separate battery from the one powering the engine of the camper rental. It gets charged when you drive during the day and then you can turn it on at night while the campervan battery is off. Otherwise, you just might wake up with a dead battery. Make sure that you get in at least three hours of time on the road in order to charge your campervan heater battery.
Tip #2: Watch Out for the Sheep!
Ah...every motorist's worst enemy: Icelandic sheep. No, seriously! Icelandic sheep are notorious for dashing out into the road and surprising unsuspecting drivers. The animals are generally free to roam and graze, which sometimes means they or part of their flock need to cross the road. And if you end up colliding with a sheep, don’t think it will be a regular hit-and-run type of situation.
You’ll have to pay the farmer or the owner of the sheep the cost of the lost livestock if your fluffy little friend doesn’t survive the accident. So drive slowly and always keep your eyes on the road.
Tip #3: The Weather is Out to Get You
It’s not just the sheep who are plotting to ruin your trip around Iceland by campervan. Mother Nature has some tricks up her sleeve as well. Between sandstorms, ash storms, winter storms, and snowstorms in June, Icelandic weather is unpredictable (to say the least).
You’re much more likely to encounter nice conditions if you travel during the summer, but that’s still no guarantee. My best advice for when you get a camper rental in Iceland is to make sure that you constantly check the weather. The Icelandic Meteorological Office website will show you the most up-to-date forecast. Iceland is a small, stormy island that gets a lot of precipitation.
Always make sure that you’re not driving into a storm or inclement weather conditions. Otherwise, you might find yourself slipping and sliding on slick, icy roads or caught in the middle of a storm with no way of getting help.
Tip # 4: The Wind is Also Out to Get You
Iceland is a windy place. We’re talking gale-force winds (or higher). Many visitors who come here are surprised by the windiness. It’s not always super strong, but when it blows hard, it can sure be scary.
I feel the need to mention this because there have been Iceland campervan rentals where either the driver or passenger opened one of the side doors to momentarily exit the vehicle, and a strong gust just blew it clear off. And of course, campervan rental insurance does not cover this type of incident.
So if it’s extremely windy, stay in your vehicle. And if you must get out of your RV, hold the door steady using both hands and close it as quickly as possible. Never leave the doors ajar on your Iceland camper rental, even if it’s just for a split second to step out and take a photo.
Tip #5: Remember to Always Keep Your Headlights On
When you buck up your seatbelt before hitting the Ring Road in Iceland, be sure to also turn on your headlights! It’s the law that no matter what the weather is like, even if the sun is shining and it’s a clear day, you need to have your vehicle’s headlights on.
This is for safety reasons as the weather can change quickly and at any time. You’ll always want to know where oncoming drivers are. Just remember that if you’re driving in low visibility due to rain or fog, turn off your high beams. If you’re not driving on a clear night, many times, the light will be reflected back toward you, which reduces visibility even further. And of course, have the courtesy to turn off your high beams as other drivers approach.
5 Things to Know About Camper Rental in Iceland
These are just a few tips to help you have a great trip and avoid mishaps with your Iceland camper rental. Driving on Iceland’s Ring Road and Iceland's F-roads is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and a little preparation goes a long way. We hope you enjoy eating, sleeping, and seeing this beautiful island in your Iceland camper rental and that you have a safe trip. Learn more by checking out some of the articles featured on our campervan rental blog.