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Author Topic: Iceland off road question  (Read 2108 times)
cmburns
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« on: April 26, 2013, 01:52:31 AM »
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My wife and I are going to have 3 weeks in Iceland in late July early August. I was wondering if we rented a little econobox and did the ring road, dropped it off, then rented something beefier to hit some of the interior nearer Reykjavik would we be missing much? Basically are there any must photo locations that need a 4wd and that are a long way from Reykjavik? The rental price savings would be considerable splitting things up would be considerable.

Also how cold is it typically at "night." Yeah I can look up mean temp charts just wanting some real world experience from people that have done it that time of year. We're planning on bringing a tent, and some basic stuff but this is part of a bigger trip so we can't have tons of luggage and warmer clothes. We'll have to make do with typical Europe 20kg checked bag allowances.
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markadams99
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 05:12:00 AM »
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3 weeks is plenty of time and I think it's worth the extra to have 4wd as there's lots to explore.

For example the Latrabjarg and Raudisandur area in the NW fjords is really nice. Stony, dusty roads, do-able in 2wd going carefully, but a 4wd is much more relaxing. Also the lovely road by Mount Kaldbakur does need normal high clearance; you can see the road going over the pass below:



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« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 09:11:02 AM by markadams99 » Logged

IceMan
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 09:48:29 AM »
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H there
My recommendation after 2 trips to Iceland is this
www.js.is
4WD campers. They are reliable, go everywhere and the guys renting them out are very nice to do business with.
Highly recommended
Cheers
Peter
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Petrus
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2013, 11:23:52 AM »
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In 2001 we tried to get to Askja at the end of July (24:th?) and the road was just cleared the day before, 2 meter high snow banks on both sides of road, night temperature was near zero. So bring double mattresses for the tent and decent sleeping bags. It might not be a bad idea to split the trip into 2 parts, first "normal" ring road with cheap normal rental car, then selected tougher inland tracks with a good 4x4, as the rental fees for good 4x4s are high. We were 8 people (parents and 6 kids 8 to 15 years old) with our own Land Rover Defender shipped from Bergen, living in tents (mountaineering type recommended, as the wind velocities are high enough to rip family camping tents apart). I do not remember anybody being cold anywhere, but we are Scandinavians used to subzero camping... Several times onlookers commented on our campground performance, 10 minutes flat from unloading the roof rack to pitched tents without any shouting or commands from the adults... Iceland is a place I will go again (5 times so far), amazing photo opportunity, everywhere.
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cmburns
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2013, 09:03:30 AM »
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I priced the JS rentals. A lot more than I want to pay, though it would be nice to not have to mess with a tent, and also be out of the wind and rain.

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Daniel Bergmann
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2013, 02:07:54 PM »
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You don't need a 4x4 unless you're going deep into the highlands. Some of the highland gems can now be easily accessed without 4x4. You can drive Kjölur route (F35) in any car, although the road becomes unforgiving in late summer (washboard). Kjölur gives you access to Kerlingarfjöll, which is about 10 km off the main road. Worth a day or two. Then there is Hveravellir slightly further north. Landmannalaugar in Fjallabak Nature Reserve is also accessible from the north (Sigalda-Hrauneyjar) without 4x4. The only river to pass is the one right by the campsite and you can park before fording and walk across a footbridge. But anything else in the highlands requires a 4x4 and in some places you even need high clearance. Have a good trip!
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IceMan
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 04:31:07 AM »
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Yes rental cars are expensive in Iceland (as are most things). So, the 4x4 camper is about the same price as if you would stay in hotels (which you can't because there aren't any ;-) But by God is it nice to be inside (with Gas heating, flowing water and a fridge), enjoy a warm meal, and a glass of whisky (which you brought along for pricing reasons) after a couple of hours shooting outside in the wind (and I mean WIND) and possibly rain or sandstorms.

I'm not a camping person, so I may be biased, but we saw some guys in tents that I didn't want to trade places with. It's also nice to know your photo gear is dry and safe. We were in Iceland twice in August and the temperatures never fell below zero (celsius).

Another point to consider is that the days in Iceland are very long and the "golden light" lasts forever. So you'll be out a lot. I was so happy to crawl in the warm camper at night, not having to deal with a tent ... but that's just me.

So, you need to make your mind up what you want and what you are willing to cope with and of course how much you want to spend.

In any case it will be an unforgettable experience. I may just prefer it to be unforgettable for different reasons than others ;-)

By the way, keep in mind that their campers a good for max three adults, not more. And three only if you don't mind proximity.

Cheers
Peter
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Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 06:08:56 AM »
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Btw, apropos of the title of this post - off-road driving is illegal in Iceland. (I know you meant driving in the interior Highlands region.)
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cmburns
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2013, 07:11:40 PM »
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Update
We ditched the tent idea after doing a lot more reading of peoples trip journals. Even the pop up on top of a car tent would be a pain in bad weather, and not that warm during same.

We finally found a decently affordable 4wd van of a thing. Not high clearance so we won't be fording any deep water but I think we will have plenty to see in our three weeks without going for anything too extreme. Senor Bergmann's reassuring words about a few key spots was the final decider in going with a more affordable camper option.

I also agree with Iceman, I don't want to spend the whole time setting up camp especially in a place with variable weather. I want to be able to hop out when the weather clears, be onsite and taking pics. When the weather goes bad I don't want to be out in it dealing with a tent, or even in the tent freezing and getting wet. Besides the tent really really pushed our luggage allowance. Better to toss it and pack more warm clothes.

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Petrus
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2013, 11:18:17 PM »
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We finally found a decently affordable 4wd van of a thing. Not high clearance so we won't be fording any deep water but I think we will have plenty to see in our three weeks without going for anything too extreme.

Check with the rental company what the maximum fording depth of your chosen vehicle is. It is usually much more than the ground clearance. Usually it is just enough to keep the engine air intake above water. With our Defender we forded some streams where the water almost came to the hood/bonnet (Askja road). If I remember correctly the fording depth for our present Land Cruiser is 70 cm, even without a snorkel.
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Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 12:40:51 AM »
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My understanding is that no insurance in Iceland covers rental car damage incurred while crossing rivers.  So, be very careful.
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Petrus
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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 03:06:40 AM »
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And the fact remains that driving the inland roads is not possible without driving along the riverbeds in places and fording rivers. Most are shallow, only up to the axles, but there are also deeper ones. Sometimes it is better to wait for a local (or somebody more foolish) cross first...
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Robert-Peter Westphal
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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 06:44:45 AM »
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Hello,

as far as I know, when driving some special roads in Iceland, you will need a special permission t do so. In many cases, they mounted GPS devices into the rental cars to check whether you crossed not allowed roads, and if you did so, you will charged with heavy penalties.

Perhaps, one of the best source of information here is Daniel Bergmann.

Best wishes

Robert
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'visit my completly renewed gallery at http://www.naturfotografie-westphal.com '
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