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Bug pressure in Iceland in July?
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Lachlan Fysh
(lachlanfysh) - M
Bug pressure in Iceland in July? on 04/08/2013 01:56:59 MDT Print View


Wasn't sure if this was the right place for this question, but I thought it was as good as anywhere else :)

I'm planning a trip to Iceland in July. Hiking most days and sleeping in a tent (cuben duomid) every night. I've ordered the duomid for the trip and also as a good load lightening investment for the future :)

I'm trying to work out what to use under the tent for bug protection - either a solo inner net or bivy. Bivy has many advantages (weight, price, warmth, maximum usable space in shelter), but my concern is that if the bugs are atrocious I wouldn't mind having a bit of space to escape to so I can eat/read/get changed in peace...

Has anyone spent time in Iceland in summer who can comment on how aggravating the bugs are?

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
very low on 04/08/2013 05:02:31 MDT Print View

My wife and i hiked there with an msr twin sisters, and didnt suffer from bugs.
We encountered a few ( but no bites ) in some fjord in Hornstrandir, but we never had to use our headnets to sleep.
We had no bivy or inner and didnt feel the need for them.
The only place in Iceland with mosquitoes i have heard of ( but didnt visit yet ) is lake Myvatn.

Edited by Fre49 on 04/08/2013 05:03:46 MDT.

Lachlan Fysh
(lachlanfysh) - M
Bivy it is then on 04/08/2013 06:30:28 MDT Print View

Good news. That might seal it for the bivy.. I am going to Myvatn, but I'm only really worried about midges - I'm from Australia and I've been bitten by so many mosquitos over the years that their bites don't really itch on my skin anymore, if they even raise to a bump...

Jan S
Re: Bivy it is then on 04/08/2013 06:49:52 MDT Print View

I haven't been there but Myvatn means midge lake.

Not sure if the mosquitos there are different then the Australian ones and the names assigned to flying things that might bite seem to vary wildly. Reports about the number of them around there vary also quite a bit.

I would ask at the national park administration what they recommend:

Lachlan Fysh
(lachlanfysh) - M
myvatn on 04/09/2013 04:42:16 MDT Print View

haha good research about myvatn.. might be something in that :)

Having said that, I only expect to spend a night or two there, and can retreat from the shores... plus it looks like I'll be intruded on regardless...

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
Not enough bugs to worry about on 04/09/2013 11:16:17 MDT Print View

I spent two weeks cycling a bit of Iceland in 2010. I’d love to go back!
We went in August and I wasn’t bitten by a single bug the whole time. I was amazed.
We had a full double wall tent but I slept outside – no bivy or anything - whenever the lack of rain permitted ( which wasn’t too often! ).

Don’t worry about bugs at all. I’d worry about good rain gear! You’re going to need it, along with good base layers that dry easily. Maybe an umbrella? I might recommend a free standing tent as well, with a vestibule you can cook in out of the wind and rain. I don’t know your itinerary but I found lots of high wind, sand and loose soil in the interior which would make setting up a tarp or non-free standing tent a bit of a challenge, but of course not impossible if you know your stuff and as always, look for sheltered spots.

What kind of stove are you using? At the camp ground in Reykjavik we came across a decent supply of half empty stove gas canisters and liquid fuel given away by campers leaving country.
White gas by the gallon and one pound propane canisters can be found in some N1 gas stations. I had a liquid fuel stove that could run on auto gas and used scrounged fuel the whole trip, my buddy ponied up 3,000Ikr for a one pound propane canister for his little “gassy”.

Ah, the food is very good up there, or at least I thought so, but I live on rabbit, venison roasts, goat stew and homemade cheese and home baked bread, so the local sheep stew, yogurt ( Skyr ) and so forth was right up my alley, but I didn’t go so far as to try the singed sheep head. Don’t forget to try the puffin! It is on the endangered species list most everywhere else so it’s probably the only place you’ll get to try it, and once you do you’ll know why it’s going extinct – It’s very good! Try the whale and other sea food, also very good indeed.
You can buy horse meat which is also very good, but I’ve butchered a horse or two in my time so that was nothing new. We bought local food and cooked fancy meals the whole time, it was great.
For fast food, go to the nearest N1 gas station, the food there is also surprisingly good, as is the coffee.

Do you fish? The fishing up there is about as good as it gets!
I wouldn’t worry about filtering or treating your water either, ( but then I never do ) the water up there is as pure and delicious as it gets.
Have a great trip!

Edited by Bawana on 04/09/2013 11:18:40 MDT.

Lachlan Fysh
(lachlanfysh) - M
Thanks Robert! on 04/10/2013 02:55:58 MDT Print View

Thanks for the insight Robert.

Sounds like I'll be fine with the bivy, and may even sleep with it open when the weather isn't freezing... Rain gear will definitely be on the packing list, I'm almost considering coughing up for some eVent, just because I expect to be wearing it a bit.

Tent-wise I'm going against your advice and taking a duomid. It's a tent I want to own for general use, so the investment seemed sound. Plus it's proven in wind... however, I will be taking a multitude of stakes to handle all terrain and putting them all in the ground whenever I can.

I normally use an alcohol stove, but I think I'll take a snowpeak gigapower, just because I expect I might need to cook a meal or two in the tent and they seem like a good robust, low carbon monoxide option. Plus it gives me an excuse to buy a new toy :).

And I hadn't even thought of it as a food location, but you sure make it sound like it :D definitely sounds like some things will be right up my alley...

One quick one - I had been planning on buying a 20f quilt/bag for the trip, but am hestitating because an overstuffed 32f would be much more useful in my home location - will I get by with that? (sleeping in the bivy and wearing long merino underwear, on an exped downmat UL)

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Thanks Robert! on 04/13/2013 06:01:27 MDT Print View

Also...bring something to cover your eyes for sleeping because it's pretty bright through the night. As others have suggested, bring rain gear and good shelter to get you out of the wind. I was up in the northern part of Iceland and did run into some bugs but the wind is strong enough to blow the suckers away. I totally loved the place. Not the food, though. Except Skyr....good eating.
I was up there in June and lots of the migrating turns were nesting and tons of them would attack if you even thought of getting close. Have a good trip!

Edited by leadfoot on 04/13/2013 06:03:41 MDT.