Iceland Backpacking Tours

Go Off the Beaten Path with Local Guides on our Iceland Backpacking Trips

Want to lace up your hiking boots and backpack Iceland? We’ve got a trip to make your backpacking holiday one you'll never forget. Our top guided backpacking tour takes you to Hornstrandir, Iceland's northernmost peninsula. Together with our hiking guides — the best in the country — explore nature that's almost entirely unpopulated by humans. Put on your favorite backpack and let the ultimate hiking challenge begin!

Top Iceland Backpacking Tour

Check out our ultimate backpacking hike in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Located in the far north, Hornstrandir nearly touches the Arctic Circle and is home to the most pristine backpacking trails in Iceland. 

Explore Other Iceland Trekking Tours

Looking for some gentler backpacking options? See our selection of supported trekking tours where we go on daily hikes from a basecamp or have a support vehicle that drives all the gear between huts and campsites.

Backpacking Iceland Tour - What to Expect?

Traveler goes down the road with backpack

Backpacking gets you closer to nature than anything else in Iceland.

Backpacking is an outdoor activity that combines hiking and backcountry camping. On our backpacking tours, we comfortably carry everything we need for several days on our backs and follow a pre-planned itinerary.

Put differently, we’ll trek in a small group with nothing but a backpack full of life’s necessities. When backpacking, you should expect to carry your clothing, personal items, and sleeping bag/pad. We provide backpacking equipment such as tents and cooking gear.

However, if you don’t want to carry everything on your back, we also offer supported trekking tours where an assistance vehicle transports all the gear between huts or camping grounds. This means that you’ll only need to carry your lightweight backpack during the day.

Our multi-day backpacking treks are expertly designed to quench your thirst for vast skies, new adventures, and unspoiled places.

We’ll Take Care of Your Iceland Backpacking Itinerary

Man standing on the shore of glacier lagoon in Iceland

Creating your own backpacking itinerary can be tiring and time-consuming, especially if you’re planning to venture into untapped destinations. On our backpacking treks, you don’t need to worry about planning the route and finding places to camp.

We’ve tested and chosen routes that ensure the greatest backpacking experiences.

During the daytime, we explore Iceland’s natural wonders — like craggy mountains, thundering waterfalls, and towering sea cliffs. We camp at night in the pristine backcountry. Above the horizon see the glory of the Midnight Sun.

All you need to do is choose the itinerary, pack your backpack, and start exploring. We take care of all the rest.

Iceland Backpacking Trails

Traveler Man going towards Hengifoss Waterfall

With its vast patches of pristine wilderness, Iceland is simply a paradise for backpackers. You’ll find tons of hiking and trekking routes, which are typically clearly marked and well-maintained.

In very remote areas, however, most hiking trails are unmarked. We don’t recommend tackling Iceland’s unmarked trails unguided, even if you have a lot of hiking experience.

But isn’t it the world’s wildest corners that attract us most?

Lucky for you, Trek Iceland has an exclusive wilderness backpacking tour that takes you to Hornstrandir, located in the Westfjords, in the far north of Iceland. There you can enjoy the country’s most dramatic landscapes with no tourists in sight.

Backpack Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Arctic Fox in Iceland

Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, the best place to go off the beaten path in Iceland

Almost touching the Arctic Circle, Hornstrandir is Iceland’s northernmost peninsula where you can backpack for an entire day without seeing another person. This wild area can only be reached by boat and there have been no permanent residents since the 1950s.

In addition, Hornstrandir is one of Iceland’s digital-free zones, meaning that you can get in touch with the outside world only via satellite phones.

Backpackers from around the world flock here to enjoy Icelandic wilderness in all its glory. Some travel here to feel deeply free. Whatever the case, Hornstrandir is a fantastic destination for backpacking with remarkable views all around.

There you’ll find challenging terrain and excellent opportunities for spotting Arctic foxes, seals, and countless seabirds. The stunning coastline is a great bonus too.

If trekking Hornstrandir sounds too good to pass up, venture there with a company of superb hiking guides on our Hornstrandir 6 Day Backpacking Tour.

Don’t want to carry your backpack the whole day? Check out our Hornstrandir tours where we do day hikes from the basecamp, so you’ll only need to carry a light day pack.

Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals Trek

Happy woman on a Backpack Tour in Iceland

Want to backpack with the opportunity to also enjoy hot springs? Discover Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals, two of Iceland’s (and the world’s) most famous hiking routes.

Named one of the world’s best hiking trails by National Geographic, Laugavegur trek starts in Landmannalaugar, a geothermal area, and leads you to Thorsmork (literally Thor’s wood), an emerald green valley. Starting from Thorsmork, Fimmvorduhals trail goes between two glaciers, Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull.

Be inspired. These routes follow glistening ice caps, colorful rhyolite mountains, lava fields, volcanic craters, and natural hot springs.

We offer a unique opportunity to conquer these passes on our 6-Day Laugavegur & Fimmvorduhals Tour. We’ll spend nights in the backcountry huts or traditional camping tents. We’ll also have a support vehicle that transports our gear between huts and campsites.

The only advice that really matters: be prepared for mind-bending views and serious exercise.

For more trekking tours, browse our collection of Laugavegur tours

Iceland Backpacking Trip: Getting Ready

Man sitting on a rock in Hornstrandir, Iceland

Good preparation is key to a great backpacking trip in Iceland. You have to prepare yourself not only physically, but also mentally. Depending on the route you choose, some trails might be challenging and require you to push your limits.

For the best possible backpacking experience, you’ll need to pack the right clothes, gear, and hiking shoes.

To make your life easier, we’ve gathered helpful information on what to pack and when to go.

Backpacking in Iceland in Summer

The best time to go backpacking in Iceland is summer, when the days are the warmest and longest. Besides, Iceland revels in the Midnight Sun in summer. Daylight lasts up to 24 hours a day, so you’ll have all the time you need for hiking.

Most of our backpacking tours run from June to September, so plan your trip accordingly.

Backpacking in Iceland in Winter

Backpacking in winter in Iceland is extreme and requires careful planning. The days are short and cold, meaning you’ll need to pack your bulkiest winter clothes. Also bring plenty of food, since your body needs more calories in cold weather.

But the Northern Lights, snow-covered mountainsides, and magical wintry landscapes are well worth the effort. However, backpacking in Iceland in winter unguided is not recommended.

For incredible winter adventures, check out our collection of glacier hiking and ice caving tours.

What Clothes Do I Need for Backpacking?

Smiling girl near rocks in Iceland

When packing for your backpacking trip in Iceland, make sure to bring multiple layers. Iceland’s weather is notoriously unpredictable and you might experience all four seasons in just one day! Dressing in layers will make your hiking in Iceland adventure so much easier.

Here is a handy clothing packing list:

  • Thermal underwear (long sleeve top and bottom long Johns Pants)
  • Wool or fleece mid-layer (no cotton) 
  • Waterproof pants (made with Gore-Tex fabric or similar)
  • Waterproof jacket (preferably with a hood)
  • A warm hat and a scarf
  • Good gloves (waterproof over gloves may come in handy too!)
  • At least 2-3 pairs of socks (wool or synthetic)
  • Waterproof hiking boots (make sure it has robust sole)
  • River crossing shoes (quick drying trail runners, sandals or neoprene shoes)

What Gear Should I Bring Backpacking?

Man with red backpack in Iceland

Since we provide tents and cooking gear on our backpacking tours, all you need to bring is your personal gear. Find a useful gear packing list below.

  • 50-60 L backpack 
  • 1-2 liter water bottle
  • A sleeping bag (down bags are the best) 
  • A sleeping mattress (with an R-value of at least 3)
  • Biodegradable soap/shampoo 
  • Towel
  • Personal medical kit (and prescription medicine if needed)
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Penknife
  • Small binoculars for wildlife viewing
  • A camera for taking epic pictures! (don’t forget extra batteries)

What are the Best Shoes for Backpacking?

Hiking shoes and view to a beach in Iceland

When preparing for a hiking trip in Iceland, you might find yourself searching Google for the best hiking/backpacking shoes.

With so many options out there, it can be tough to find the right pair of hiking boots.

Our advice is to look for shoes with a vibram sole and high on the ankle for support. But make sure to break in your shoes before your trip!

Feeling inspired to backpack Iceland? Take the journey of a lifetime on our ultimate Hornstrandir 6 Day Backpacking Tour!