The Laugavegur Trail is one of the world’s most beautiful hiking trails. The landscape, terrain, and experience will leave you absolutely speechless. The trail transports you to another universe as you pass volcanoes, rhyolite mountains, and ancient glaciers.
Although the Laugavegur Trail is breathtaking, the weather conditions are one of the biggest challenges that hikers will face throughout the experience. Icelandic weather is unpredictable. The wind is erratic and you may find yourself experiencing all four seasons within an hour- seriously.
If you are smart and pack accordingly, you will be prepared for the spontaneous down pours and the Icelandic weather won’t stop you!
I have officially completed the Laugavegur Trail twice now and can say that I have had very different experiences both times. When I first completed the trail in June 2017, I had clear bluebird skies, sun, and warmth every day on the trail.
Alternatively, when I completed the trail July 2019, it was quite the opposite. For the most part, the temperatures were chillier and it was damp. I was prepared for all occasions and still managed to have a great time.
So, without further adieu,
Here’s your official Laugavegur Trail Packing Guide:
Quality baselayers will be key to staying warm and dry on the trail. The Laugavegur trail is only a few days long, so I personally recommend bringing one set of baselayers for hiking and one set for sleeping. I brought two long sleeve baselayers and 2 pairs of leggings.
If you’re in need of some help with baselayers, I recommend checking out BAM Bamboo clothing
They make amazing bamboo baselayers that are warm, sweat wicking, and fast drying.
As the Icelandic weather fluctuates, so do the temperatures which means that it’s important to not have to layer up/ down often. If you bring a couple of lightweight midlayers that are breathable, you’ll be all set.
I recommend packing an insulated vest, a lightweight midlayer, and a heavier midlayer.
For the lighter layer, Arc’teryx’s Atom LT is a great option.
For the heavier midlayer, a synthetic puffy jacket or a jacket like Arc’teryx’s Proton LT will be perfect to keep the heat in.
With the unpredictable weather, a waterproof, windproof, and breathable shell is a non-negotiable for completing the trail.
Your shell is essentially you lifeline and will allow you to keep moving through the sporadic elements. A solid GORE-TEX shell will protect you from the harsh Icelandic elements.
Arc’teryx’s Beta SL Hybrid is a fantastic choice for your outer layer.
Aside from your baselayers, one pair of trekking pants will do the trick. I loved wearing Arc’teryx’s Sabria Pant. They easily fit over a baselayer and they are extremely comfortable without anything underneath. Majority of the time, I prefer to hike in leggings but I really liked these for the Laugavegur Trail because they are durable and water resistant.
I recommend bringing a pair of emergency waterproof pants that you can toss on easily in the event of a storm. The Beta SL Pant is phenomenal. They are so lightweight, easily packable and easy to throw on in a pinch.
If you’re looking for something less heavy duty with a less expensive price point, Columbia’s Women Storm Surge Pant is a great alternative
For four days, two pairs of socks should be just enough! I know it might sounds gross, but I personally wear the same socks every day and save a clean pair of warm socks for sleeping in at night. There’s something really refreshing about putting on clean socks after a hard day of trekking!c
I absolutely love Darn Tough’s Coolmax® Vertex No Show Tab Ultra-Light. Not only are they great because they are synthetic and not made from wool, they are the best trekking socks. These socks are great because they are breathable and ventilate your feet to keep them cool. Additionally, the socks are ultra lightweight.
This one is completely personal preference! The boot/shoe debate can be challenging but both have their place. I’ve done the Laugavegur Trail twice and both times were in trail running shoes. I prefer trail shoes because they are simply lighter on the feet and just more comfortable.
Both times that I completed the trail, I wore the Salomon Speedcross shoes. I wore the Speedcross 5 during my most recent trek and they worked out perfectly.
The reason I don’t wear GORE-TEX trail shoes
GORE-TEX shoes sound great but when you factor in the breathability aspect, they are not so amazing. I prefer non GORE-TEX trail shoes because my feet can breathe during the dry periods and won’t over heat. I have GORE-TEX socks that I bring with me and pop them on when necessary.
Hats- A fleece hat or headband for sleeping and during cold sections like Hrafntinnusker to Alftavatn
Gloves- If you can swing it, a pair of waterproof gloves are a serious godsend on the Laugavegur trail. There’s nothing worse than freezing cold, wet hands while you’re trekking. Additionally, you should bring a light pair of gloves to wear underneath.
Hiking Poles- I would definitely recommend bringing some poles for the tough uphill slogs. I like using the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles. They fold up nicely and are incredibly lightweight so you can stow them easily on your pack when you aren’t using them.
River Crossing Shoes- Both times I did the Laugavegur Trail I opted to cross the rivers in bare feet, this was a mistake both times. I definitely think it’s worth the weight to bring something to cross the rivers in. I saw a couple wearing these shoes from Amazon and they looked perfect.
For a four day trek, you shouldn’t need a massive backpack. I witnessed so many hikers on the trail struggle with their huge 75 L packs. Lighter is always better. Aim for no more than a 50 L pack. If you pack accordingly, 50 L should be enough room. If you are trekking with someone, it’s easier to divvy up certain items to save space and weight.
I used the Osprey Tempest 40 L both times and it worked well for me. However, I carried the majority of our kitchen/ food and my partner carried the majority of our sleeping gear.
An MSR Pocket rocket and small pot for boiling water will be your best bet! You can purchase fuel in Landmannalauger at the Mountain Mall when you arrive. I highly suggest purchasing fuel somewhere in Reykjavik ahead of time to avoid the Mountain Mall prices. Bring 2 small cans just incase.
I enjoy using mugs that double as bowls so that I don’t have to carry both. Additionally I like using the long handled titanium sporks for eating with.
Waterproof matches are great to have on hand for backup incase your lighter fails. Additionally, you can bring a small flint.
There’s tons of fresh glacial water along the trail/ you can fill up at any of the huts so there’s really no need for water sanitation gadgets.
I like trekking with a 2L hydration reservoir that slides right into my pack and is accessible by a tube. It makes stopping less frequent as well.
I truly believe the best trekking tent on the market is the Nemo Hornet 2 pit’s an ultralight backpacking tent and is SO easy to set up. Its pack weight is 2 lbs 6 oz making it one of the lightest backpacking tents on the market.
Opt for a lightweight sleeping pad that packs well, will keep you comfortable and warm. I use the Nemo Astro Lite.
Thermarest also makes comfortable and cost effective pads!