Solo Hiking or Hiking With a Friend: Which One is For You?
How to Choose Between Solo Hiking and Group Hiking Trips to Iceland
February 20, 2020
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, it should come as no surprise that hiking solo is an adventure like no other. Walking through nature by yourself gives you the chance to soak in the surrounding beauty without feeling the need to speak or focus on others.
On the flip side, hiking with a friend or group of people can create memories that last a lifetime. It can also be a lot of fun. Feeling tired during your walk? A friend can cheer you forward. Need to finish that jumbo pack of trail mix you bought? Your pal can help with that.
Whether it be a solo walk or a group hike, either option will be filled with lasting memories — it’s just up to you to decide which one is for you. To help you decide, we’ve created the ultimate guide to solo hiking and hiking with friends in Iceland.
Top Reasons to Go Solo Hiking
Connect With Nature in a Unique Way
If you’ve ever hiked alone, you know it gives you the chance to get up close to nature in a special way. When solo hiking in Iceland, there are endless opportunities to find yourself completely surrounded by nature with no one else in sight.
During such times, solo hikers have the opportunity to be present and feel deeply connected to the unmatched beauty of Iceland in a way that isn’t possible when surrounded by people. Without the distraction of others, you have the chance to completely focus on Earth’s majestic natural beauty.
Plan Your Trip The Way You Want
One big perk of hiking solo is that you can decide where, when, and how you want to hike. Though hiking with friends can be a blast, it can also require a lot of planning, discussion, and, at times, compromise.
Looking for inspiration for your next solo adventure? Take a look at our wide selection of hiking tours! With everything from day hikes at Landmannalaugar to multi-day glacier walks, the options are endless. Also, our guided hikes are especially great for solo travelers who don’t want to travel with friends but still want to hike in a group environment.
Meet New People
Solo travel is one of the best ways to meet people. In fact, having the chance to cross paths with other like-minded people is one of the top reasons to solo travel. Whether you’re solo hiking on a guided tour or are doing an epic solo hike across Iceland, you’ll rarely be in total solitude.
Traveling to Iceland alone and worried you won’t meet new people? Not to worry — it’s easy to put yourself in direct contact with other traveling hikers. For example, organized group hiking trips are a great way to meet people who also love to travel on foot.
One of the best solo travel tours in Iceland is the guided Laugavegur Trek for Solo Travelers. This tour isn’t only great because it’s on one of the world’s best trails, the Laugavegur Trail. It’s also popular with solo travelers who want to meet new people while enjoying the best nature Iceland has on offer.
Walk At Your Own Pace
One of the biggest advantages of solo trekking is having the freedom to walk at whatever pace you please. Aiming to beat yesterday’s personal best? Why not! Want to take a photo break every five minutes? Go for it!
Otherwise, if you’re hiking with friends, you may be obliged to keep pace with that friend who likes to take 100 photos of the same view, or that really fit relative who runs marathons regularly. Walking at your own pace is also a great way to build up a healthy endurance without pushing your limits too far.
Top Reasons to Take Group Hiking Trips With Friends
Never A Dull Moment
The top reason people choose to hike with a friend or join group hiking trips is because it’s a lot of fun to share the experience with others. Hiking with other people can make memories that last a lifetime and build special bonds with your family and friends.
In fact, sharing the experience of hiking together is often what motivates many people to hike in the first place. As you look out at a beautiful landscape during a hike, that moment can become even better when you have people to share that memory with later on.
Hiking with friends is also a really good form of entertainment. You can eat, laugh, sleep, exercise, and sometimes even cry together, all in the span of one day! Plus, it can be a lot of fun to chat and keep each other company during longer stretches.
Shed Your Backpack Weight
From cooking supplies to extra socks, hiking with friends or a group is a great way to lighten your load. When solo hiking, it can be difficult to pack all you need without weighing yourself down. However, hiking with friends gives you the chance to split all the hiking essentials amongst yourselves in order to shed some of your travel pack weight.
The benefits of hiking with friends are especially apparent during long, multi-day hikes that require overnight camping. If you’ve ever traveled alone on a hike, you’ll know the weight from food, camping gear, and clothes can add up quickly. With friends, it’s a lot easier to manage. One person can carry the tent and cooking pots while another can carry the communal food.
Want to hike with friends but don’t want to deal with carrying a heavy pack? To make things light and easy, many friends opt to join hiking and walking trips with all-inclusive luggage transport. These guided trips are a great way to bring all the necessities and extras without having to worry about lifting your heavy backpack every day.
Many Hands Make Light Work
Another great reason to hike with friends is that you can divide the day-to-day responsibilities that come with day and multi-day hiking. When you’re with a group of friends, you can divide these daily responsibilities by who likes to do what best.
For example, it's likely you’ll have one person in the group who loves to navigate and another who loves to deal with tent set-up. Or possibly, you have that one friend who can make a gourmet meal out of a can of beans. Ultimately, hiking with friends provides you with the chance to lean on each other when it comes to tackling daily tasks.
Great Photo Opportunities
For many people, hiking isn’t just about enjoying beautiful scenery — it’s also about taking beautiful photos. When you’re in a group, there’s no need to stand at awkward angles to take that perfect selfie or ask a passing stranger to take your photo mid-hike.
With friends, you can take as many group and individual photos as you’d like. Plus, more often than not there’s one person in the group who brought that extra nice lens just for the occasion.
Can’t Decide? Try Both!
Can't decide whether to hike solo in Iceland or go hiking with a group? No need to fret — you can do both! Many people decide to travel solo in Iceland with the intention of joining a group hiking trip upon arrival. Alternatively, some solo hikers initially plan to hike by themselves only to end up finding a hiking partner along the way.
If you’d like to hike solo but are still open to being part of a group, expert-guided tours are an excellent option for individuals looking to join group walking adventures. Guided tours such as the Grand Laugavegur Trek or the Thorsmork Volcano Hike give solo hikers the chance to walk at their own pace while also being part of a small group led by experienced hiking guides.