The first question that comes up for every hiker is where to go and which hiking trail to choose. Is it a well-known marked trail or off the beaten path? Regardless of what is decided, proper trail selection and route planning are essential components to a successful hike.
To ensure a better hike keep this in mind:
- When choosing a hiking trail, hikers should always use themselves as a frame of reference, i.e. their level of fitness and their experience and knowledge of hiking.
- Don’t set out to do too much, plan reasonable distances each day. For most hikers around 3,5 km. pr. hour is enough.
- Keep in mind that even though a trail may have markers, visibility can be so poor that it is not possible to see from one mark to another.
- Compasses and GPS devices should be brought, alongside the knowledge of how to use them.
- A travel plan is an important aid for every hiker. With a route plan you can plot day trips, distance to hike each day, write down accommodation details, a contingency plan if that might be needed and other things that are important in making a good hike even better.
- The route plan should be left with a trustworthy person. He or she will then have exact information about the trip, in the event that a situation may arise in which it is needed.
Hikers should remember
- To keep an eye on their hiking companions; you never know when exhaustion or something else will kick in.
- If induced repetitive strain injuries begin to crop up, stop immediately and mend them as well as possible. Don’t delay as that only makes matters worse.
- Be prepared for sudden weather changes and check the daily weather forecast with the ranger or warden before you start your hike each day.
- Stick to the travel plan that was arranged before you left. If you change your travel plan, let the person who only has a copy of the original know about the alterations or write the changes down in guest books at lodges.
- Make a point to always write your name and the date in guest books for security reasons.
- Do remember to properly organise your backpack. The heaviest objects should be placed closest to the back. Ensure that the backpack is not too heavy (15-18 kg); if it is, it can ruin an otherwise pleasant hike.
Make sure to always check the weather forecast well before starting a hike. The weather in Iceland can change very quickly from calm to storm. Below is a list of some local online weather forecast and services.
Road conditions in Iceland can vary a lot depending on the season. Make sure to check road conditions and possible closed roads before heading out on the road. Vegagerðin (The Road and Coastal Administration) has an excellent online service with all the latest information about conditions of all roads in Iceland. The information is updated every day and sometimes several times a day. It´s also possible to see webcam views of roads all around the country through this website.