Planning a camping road trip is a fun way to experience our country’s wilderness’s natural beauty while escaping civilization. However, consider a few things before embarking on your off-road adventure.
Start by ensuring that your truck is in good condition and equipped for off-roading. Then, pack the right gear, plan your route, and follow safety guidelines.
Get Your Vehicle Ready
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for off-road camping in Iceland is to ensure your vehicle is in good condition. This includes ensuring all your fluids are topped off and you have a full gas tank. It also means ensuring you have the proper equipment to handle the terrain you will be camping in, such as high-quality tires designed for off-road use.
Traction is key in off-roading, and having the right tires can mean the difference between getting stuck in mud or powering through it to reach your campsite. You should also ensure that your ground clearance is high enough to navigate rough terrain.
Additionally, you should ensure your truck has the necessary communication and navigation equipment for long-term travel. This includes items like a CB radio and GPS device, which can help you stay in touch with your group and find your way through unfamiliar territory.
Plan Your Route
One of the most important things to do before a road trip camping adventure is to plan out your route. This will help you figure out how many days you can go on your trip, how far you want to travel each day, and if you’d like to make any attractions or scenic stops.
Planning your route will also help you determine which campsites to book beforehand, especially if you’re going during a popular season when national parks or other sites require reservations (or have strict hiking trails that require permits).
Pack the Right Gear
The right gear is essential for off-road camping, no matter how you choose to camp. If you’re sleeping in a tent, ensure it’s well-ventilated and comfortable, and bring plenty of blankets, pillows, and other creature comforts.
A good sleeping bag is also important for a restful night’s sleep. It’s best to layer up, even in the summer, as temperatures can drop at night. Invest in lightweight base layers made from merino wool and synthetic fabrics.
Other must-haves include a flashlight and extra batteries, an emergency first aid kit, a GPS locator beacon, jumper cables, and a folding saw or axe. A portable air compressor is also useful for repairs and airing up your tires for improved traction on off-road trails. A toolkit with Allen wrenches, a hex key set, and a knife is also handy for quick repairs.
Find the Right Campsite
Choosing the right campsite for your off-road camping trip ensures an enjoyable experience. It is best to do this in advance, while you have a cell phone signal, and before it gets too dark.
You can use apps to research the areas you plan to camp in. Additionally, asking for recommendations in online camping groups or calling local gear stores is also a good idea.
The right campsite is important because it will set the tone for your camping experience. If you’re looking for a wild experience, try to find a dispersed campground or a remote spot on public land. If you’re looking for something more comfortable, look for a campground in or near a national or state park with amenities like bathrooms and showers. You’ll also want to choose a location that is easy to get into and out of in your vehicle.
Pack a First Aid Kit
Whether you buy prepackaged first aid kits or make your own, they should be the most important item you pack for any camping trip. You want a comprehensive kit with everything you might need for an injury or illness. This includes painkillers, bandaids, antiseptic, and medical gloves for the inevitable bumps, scrapes, and cuts. You must also include some tools, especially if you plan to spend time in the backcountry.
Depending on your experience, you may need to tailor the contents of your first aid kit to your specific needs. For example, ultralight backpackers tend to have more compact first aid kits that focus on injuries specific to their outdoor activities.
Having the right gear and knowing how to use it is essential for any off-road adventure. However, it’s equally important to brush up on your safety skills and keep your first aid kit stocked with the necessary supplies.
Pack a GPS Locator Beacon
A GPS locator beacon is essential for anyone who spends extended time in remote areas without cell service or other amenities. These devices send out a signal that lets rescuers find your location, and most models have a secondary function that allows you to notify friends or family members that you are in a non-emergency situation (like a flat tire or running out of gas). Hence, they know to come to check on you.
While it is tempting to use a satellite messenger or personal locator beacon for non-emergency purposes, it’s important to remember that search and rescue groups are limited in resources, and frivolous calls can drain their capacity to respond to real emergencies. Be sure to carefully consider the features and costs of different GPS locator beacons before choosing the right one for your adventure.