Trekking in Iceland 2019

Just booked my flights for Iceland in July/August 2019. This will be my first time in Iceland, so I was wondering if anyone has more experience trekking and camping in Iceland? I would like to get off the beaten path if possible, but whatever I do must be easily accessed by bus (unless you know of a good alternative). I will take my MTR3b and Fuchskreis, as I usually do when trekking. However, I’m wondering if I should get a stronger tent due to the stronger winds one encounters in Iceland, I’m not sure I want to risk my (expensive) ultralight Cuben fibre mid there. Also, are there any locals reading this thread who would like to hook up for a joint activation? Nothing beats local knowledge. All advice greatfully received.
73 de OE6FEG/M0FEU

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Hi Matt,
That seems like a contradiction to me. Nevertheless, have fun in Iceland and share your story and pictures here!

73 Heinz

What I should have said is that I will use one of the local bus services into the highlands to take me to wherever I start. Easily accessed is not quite what I am looking for. Tourism has exploded in Iceland over the past few years, and the best known trails are quite busy now with campsites around huts very crowded. Certainly I want to get as far away from popular 4x4 campsites as humanly possible. On the map below I have marked some of my preliminary ideas:

Group 1 has a bus route running very close by. However, it is rather isolated and it would then take me at least 3 days to get to group 2, which runs through the famous Fjallabak nature reserve; a region I would definitely like to visit while I am there. So, an easy way to get from group 1 to group 2 is what is needed.

Hallo Matt,
Super wenn Du im Sommer Island Erkunden möchtest.
Ich war im Mai Juni im Nord Westen von Island da war noch Tiefster Winter auf den Bergen um Flateyri.
Im Norden ist es schwierig mit dem Buss weil nur einmal am Tag eine Verbindung ist.
Ich hatte ein Auto Gemietet.
Ich hatte mir immer die Kordinaten von den Bergen Eingegeben um diese auch zu finden.
Es gab dort auch keine Markierten Wege.
Wünsche Dir viel Spass beim Sota in Island.
73 Heinrich IW3AGO

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Hey Matt,
Great idea! i too am planning my first trip to Iceland during the same time frame (first week in August). I will be interested to hear what ideas come from the forum on this topic. Ive not finalized my SOTA plans as I will be traveling with my oldest daughter and we are currently working on the logistics. Our tentative plans are for the two of us to hike and climb a mountain in South Iceland on one day and visit Reykjavik for the remainder of our 4 day trip. I would like to find a 10 point summit that has reasonable access from a bus route. My daughter and I are in fairly good shape and may opt to camp out in the back country instead of spend time in the capital. Perhaps our signals will connect on a S2S! Thanks for asking this question of the forum.
de Mike NS1TA

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Hi Matt, I also was thinking about going to Iceland in the next year or two but as I only have a UK intermediate licence I won’t be playing SOTA.

When researching online about camping I found that there is a few different rules about camping outwith specific areas, worth double checking. Don’t remember off the top of my head what they are but found the info on the Welcome to Iceland - or similar website. Lots of info on it.

I have someone over there that is willing to loan me a motorcycle for my trip.

Best of luck with your venture.


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From what I have read, camping is not allowed in the nature reserves. However, it is allowed in the Vatnajökull national park (when the group is small and there is no hut nearby) and above 400m asl in other areas, to cater for mountaineers. I have maps coming in a few days, so I can hopefully plan a route round the edge of Fjallabak. I have decided to start with area 2 on my map. I can get a bus to the area and then head north east, almost to the ice cap, before heading back south west. I will then go back to Rekjavik to resupply and head out to area 1 on my map. There is a huge river separating the two areas and I cannot find a bridge, so tackling the two areas separately seems like the best option. I can’t wait to get the maps and have a closer look at the area.

Matt, it was only when I looked at the map I realised I’d read the title as “Trekking in Ireland” and didn’t understand why you were so concerned about the wind in Ireland when rain would be a bigger problem. Having now cleaned my glasses and read it again I can see why you were asking! :blush:

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I just finished my new stove today; the one I will take to Iceland:

The beer can keg was done last year, but the stove took a bit of experimentation to get the balance right between the inflow of air and outflow of the fuel/air mixture. I had to use a Red Bull can for the inner and the bottom of a coke can as a reducing collar for the outflow:

First test burn is tomorrow when the epoxy is dry. The weight is 27 grams, which is ok; that’s the trade-off for having a more robust burner. Next job is a new caldera windshield. I’ve got my grade 2 titanium sheet all ready, it’s just a matter of knocking up a few cardboard prototypes to get the dimensions just right. The previous model was much taller than it needed to be:

You can also see how flimsy the 1st generation burner was. I don’t recommend this kind of single wall chimney stove, it’s very fragile and the epoxy gets too hot and oxidises after a few day’s use.

My tickets are now booked and I will be in the region 1 area on the map above from about 19th of July. If you are a regular chaser and use an alert program like ve7cc, please consider adding TF/OE6FEG/P to the list of watched callsigns. As far as I know, I will have no way to post alerts while on the trail, and while I will have APRS, it looks like a fair way to the iGates from where I will be. Any and all help spotting will be much appreciated.

Next on my ‘to do’ list:

  • make caldera windshield
  • make carbon fibre trekking pole extender
  • mix and bag some muesli for breakfasts
  • sort out a snack for lunch
  • print maps (open topo)
  • make a 2m coax dipole
  • wash and reproof my Paramo gear
  • hire car for transfers in England
  • book more coach tickets to the airport and around Iceland.
  • everything else I haven’t thought of yet.

Physical training starts in earnest tomorrow with the Göseck OE/ST-059. With 1300m of ascent it should get the old legs moving.
73 de OE6FEG

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I fly to England, en route to Iceland, on Sunday, so preparations are now well underway. Having spoken to Robert DL5RT at the SOTA dinner during Friedrichshafen this year, I decided to make a few changes. Spotting will be via Iridium and a new Garmin inReach. That means I can leave the heavy 2m HT + dipole at home. That will save 212g. I have also added magnets to my flight deck for my Palm Paddle.

Leaving the Schurr SOTA Wabbler at home will save about 180g. I removed the net from my bug bivi, as I never use it, even in Austria. That has saved 109g. Getting the weight down is crucial, given the additional cold weather gear and heavier tent I need to carry. Other jobs completed include:

  • Paramo gear reproofed (in washing machine as I write this).
  • MTR3b CW memory programmed for TF/OE6FEG/P (not as easy as it sounds).
  • New insulating cosy for my cooking pouches (the old one was too small).
  • All tickets now booked and car hired for possible activations in England both before and after.
  • New headphones with in-line volume control tested.
  • Garmin inReach registered and tested (thanks Andy).

Still to do:

  • make carbon fibre trekking pole extender
  • mix and bag some muesli for breakfasts
  • make caldera windshield (printing the paper prototype tonight)
  • sort out a snack for lunch
  • print maps (open topo)
  • pack everything up

Physical training is just about complete. I will do the Hochschwab on Wednesday (1500m climb + 16km) and then hopefully carry the paraglider up the Schöckl on Thursday. There’s nothing like the excitement of a major SOTA expedition :sunglasses:.
73 de OE6FEG


I’ve set your default call when you spot on the InReach to TF/OE6FEG. You can just use a ! and it will spot you as TF/OE6FEG. Let me know if you want it setting back to just OE6FEG.

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The new stove is now finished:

Total weight of my cookset is 94g, which is a bit heavy, but compares well to commercially available solutions like the Caldera Keg (77g):

It boils 400ml of water in approx 8 minutes using <15ml of alcohol. I found out that neodymium magnets work perfectly as clasps to hold the titanium cone shut:

Please PM me if you would like the postscript used to create the caldera. OK, time for a trip to the DIY store to find a suitable caddy for the stove and get the things for the trekking pole extender.
73 de OE6FEG



currently up in Iceland and activating is proving difficult on SSB. 20m band is most successful so far.



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If I didn’t use CW, I would give serious consideration to FT8 for such an expedition.

Hi Matt

I have made an extender out of an old trekking pole by cutting the center piece to join two poles together, plan is to use it as a mast on my next activation.


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My extender is now finished:

It weighs just 41g and because I don’t need to join it to my other trekking pole I can use the other one to support the door. I’m lucky, in that the handles come off my Leki Wanderfreunde; it makes them very versatile. It was certainly not the cheapest option, however, a piece of 20mm plumbers plastic tubing would have worked fine.

Hi Colwyn,
I’ve spotted most if not all of your spots on Sotawatch from the different activations you’ve done in TF so far, but did hear nothing from you on any of them. Amazingly, I heard Manuel @EA2DT working you several times on 20m while I was copying absolutely nothing from you with my 3 elements yagi, not even a whisper.
Interestingly I have usually managed to copy and chase visitor activators in TF with my yagi (e g.TF/DK5WL, TF/HB9GKR, TF/W1DMH), as well as local activators (e.g. TF3DX, TF3EK, TF3Y). I’ve done it again this morning with @TF3EK.
I wonder what working conditions (output power and antenna) you’ve been using in these activations. Please, let us know when you get a chance between SOTAs, geysers and volcanos.
Thanks and 73,


Cell phone, using either data or sms, can be used for spotting on nearly all summits in Iceland, I do not know of any summits that do not have usable cellphone signal.


More than we can say for cell coverage on GM summits - Einar?