November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Which tent for Iceland trek
Display Avatars Sort By:
Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Which tent for Iceland trek on 10/05/2009 09:29:40 MDT Print View

A friend of mine will be trekking around 400 miles solo across Iceland.
She is looking for advice on a suitable tent. A good percentage of the terrain will be lava field, so probably a free-standing shelter would be best. Good weather protection is needed too. Tarps aren't her thing. ;)
Anyone on here trekked in Iceland and have any suggestions?
Cheers. :)

Dewey Riesterer
(Kutenay) - F
FS Tent on 10/05/2009 09:36:50 MDT Print View

I would use a Hilleberg Soulo without question and I would also "doublepole" it. I would take sand anchors and pile loose lava on them to make sure I was not "blown away". I would take extra cord and a patching kit plus a "footprint".

This is a trek I would LOVE to go on, being of partial Norwegian Viking heritage and very "Nordic" in temperament and cultural interests.

Neil Johnstone
(nsjohnstone) - MLife
Iceland tent on 10/05/2009 10:12:46 MDT Print View

I've used both a Nammatj GT and an Akto without any problems, so a fully freestanding tent isn't necessary.
Even in the interior it's usually possible to find somewhere to get pegs in.

However, a Soulo would give added assurance - guyed out to big rocks! (The camp site at Landmannalaugar has lots of neat stone piles just for this).

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Some thoughts on 10/05/2009 11:45:08 MDT Print View

I don't know if she is going to loosely follow Jonathon Ley's route (, but that is what my wife and I did this last June/July. If she is, she can read my wife's trail journal for some good info ( Also, I have lots of map and general information that took forever to accumulate, so I could also help her out there if she is having problems.

That said, I agree that a freestanding tent is more or less mandatory. When it is raining hard for the entire day (or days), the loose saturated soil will not necessarily hold stakes well, even with giant rocks stacked on them. She will also probably want a vestibule to keep super wet/sandy/muddy items out of the tent, as well as add a place to cook. Justin Lichter (, aka Trauma, used a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 and said it worked well. Jonathon Ley used a non-freestanding tent and told me that it was just barely acceptable, but he also had pretty good weather for his hike. I used the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 and have pretty big reservations about that tent design (you can search for some threads I started about it here on BPL), but it worked for us and withstood the monster Icelandic winds (like 40mph sustained, 75 mph gusts).

I would stress to your friend: freestanding, light as possible, vestibule, wind worthy. Let me know if I can be of further help, especially if she is following Ley's route.

edit: to correct Jonathon Ley's website url.

Edited by on 10/06/2009 12:56:27 MDT.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : "Which tent for Iceland trek" on 10/05/2009 12:01:54 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies folks. Some great info.
She is actually out in the hills at the moment. I'll bring this thread to her attention when she gets back in a couple of days.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
free standing not mandatory on 10/05/2009 12:48:47 MDT Print View

i agree with that

my wife and i did 2 hikes in Iceland and we used an MSR twin sisters ( that was before we bought the kifaru para tipi )

I really loved having a no floor shelter, for sleeping we had each a 80ish cm x 2m10 silnylon sheet to put under our sleeping pad, and we were using the same silnylon piece to protect our backpack from the rain during the day.

Bart Kempny
(plasmation) - F - MLife
iceland tent on 04/01/2010 01:55:28 MDT Print View

Curious to know what tent you ended up with? I plan a Ley-like hike myself this June and after months of research I still did not decide on the tent. Considering Hilleberg Nallo 2 or MSR Hubba Hubba HP, but the first being non free standing and the former might have wind problems..

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Lightweight? on 04/01/2010 03:10:47 MDT Print View

While the Soulo is a great tent, its way too heavy. The Nallo 2 falls also in the heavy but good category, so for a UL forum strange suggestions imo.

Have a look at the Scarp 1, Bartosz, its a great tent which has the possibility for freestanding. I also have used the HUBBA HP (thus the solo) and it is sort of freestanding, able to be pegged with just two pegs. Great wind and rain shedding.

Speaking of pegging, on lava sand you might as well forget about it and just take longer guylines with you, which you can wrap around stones for pegging out. Saves you some weight and is easier.

Bart Kempny
(plasmation) - F - MLife
iceland tent on 04/01/2010 04:57:22 MDT Print View

Although my previous post may sound as if I was going solo, but actually there will be 2 of us

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Hilleberg on 04/01/2010 08:01:26 MDT Print View

"While the Soulo is a great tent, its way too heavy. The Nallo 2 falls also in the heavy but good category, so for a UL forum strange suggestions imo. "

I encourage you to do a search and see how many UL, and BPL staff included, have Hilleberg tents. For 4 season harsh conditions there really is no better choice.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Hilleberg on 04/01/2010 08:58:46 MDT Print View

I agree with David. I've never been to Iceland, but if it's windy enough to require double poling I'd rather be safe than sorry, even if it meant and extra few ounces. I'd take my Unna over my Scarp. Safety first.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Iceland is windy, but ... on 04/01/2010 09:20:49 MDT Print View

Iceland is too windy to consider not staking your shelter. So a freestanding tent does not give any advantage. The winds can carry away a tent full of gear if not attached to the ground.

I've never hiked there, but I do know that you are only allowed to hike on designated trails and camp sites and I'll bet they are packed ground.
The ground is too fragile otherwise.

The Hillebergs just seem too heavy to me.
One of the lighter, yet windproof tents I've ever used is the Montbell Crescent series.

I personally would use a Spinnshelter myself, as it is also good in extreme wind. But it doesn't have a floor which was one of her requirements. Add an SMD Meteor bivy and the combination is just over a pound. The Meteor provides the floor, bug protection and adds warmth.

Edited by brooklynkayak on 04/01/2010 09:22:04 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Which tent for Iceland trek on 04/01/2010 09:34:55 MDT Print View

Ever think about snow and your SpinShelter?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Which tent for Iceland trek on 04/01/2010 10:00:20 MDT Print View

Which season? Summer?

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Which tent for Iceland trek on 04/01/2010 10:25:57 MDT Print View

TarpTent Scarp 1 with crossover poles or a pyramid tent with inner. A mixture of thin titanium pins and wide angle pegs. That should cope with most conditions. My one trip to Iceland, many years ago, I used a North Face Westwind tunnel tent, which performed well in the strong winds and heavy rain. Any shelter needs to resist very strong winds and have space for cooking and storing gear under cover.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Which tent for Iceland trek on 04/01/2010 15:20:56 MDT Print View

Iceland was the code name for the Scarp...
(every shelter is given a temporary name till something better comes up)

Long Y stakes ?

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Which tent for Iceland trek on 04/01/2010 16:26:16 MDT Print View

Well, there's a coincidence!

Yes, long Y stakes for the soft gravel.

Bart Kempny
(plasmation) - F - MLife
Re: Iceland is windy, but ... on 04/07/2010 00:32:35 MDT Print View

Steven, I got this reply from ICE-SAR (search and rescue guys):

You are allowed to camp almost everywhere. The main rule is that if there is no sign which tells you „NO CAMPING“ you are allowed to camp. But note that there are some places during the main seoson in the highland where to have to pay.

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Everyman's right on 04/07/2010 01:12:51 MDT Print View

Iceland has the so-called Everyman's Right, or freedom to roam, which allows you to camp and walk pretty much wherever you want. You don't need to stick to trails or the like. Google Everyman's Right + Iceland and see the detailed rules that apply.

David, I am aware that a lot of folks here have Hilleberg shelters. That doesn't make them lighter, though.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Iceland on 04/09/2010 10:55:14 MDT Print View

David regarding:
"Ever think about snow and your SpinShelter?"

I was assuming a summer trip, but because of the steep roof on the Spinnshelter, I'd guess it would do alright in snow. Pyramids typically do pretty good in the snow. I know the "Hut 1", which is almost identical design, is reported to be very good in snow.

As far as the right to walk anywhere you want in Iceland, I was told that they would like people to stick to established trails and campsites. The ground is very fragile and besides it is very mushy so you would want to stick to packed or rocky ground anyway.