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09, Equipment and clothing

Good outdoor equipment is essential for all our volunteers. The list of equipment that participant must bring with them includes waterproofs, warm clothes, hiking boots, a warm sleeping-bag and a sturdy tent. Weather conditions in the mountains in Iceland can be extremely changeable and it is very important that all participants are well prepared. 

Essential equipment

  • Tent – All our volunteers need to bring a good quality tent that can cope strong winds and rain showers. It should be lightweight but make sure that it is big enough for both you and your equipment.
  • Backpack – You will need to bring a backpack with a capacity of 65-95 liters. This is required for moving between camps during the work projects. We often have to carry our equipment between camps and suitcases are simply not suitable. A backpack is also essential for all long-distance hiking in free time during your placement.
  • Day pack – This is essential for workdays so that you can carry food, personal equipment and tools. Make sure it is small enough to take as hand luggage on your flight. Your day pack will also be needed if you go hiking on days off.
  • Sleeping bag – A good quality ‘three or four season’ sleeping bag is required. Even in midsummer the nights can be cold and damp and occasionally frosty. A sleeping bag with a -5° to -10° comfort rating for cold weather would be ideal.
  • Sleeping mat – This is essential as it provides insulation from the cold ground and added comfort.
  • Hiking boots – Comfortable hiking boots are essential for all participants. Make sure you have the opportunity to wear them in before the placement starts. 
  • Work boots – Our volunteers can either work in sturdy hiking boots or bring additional protective work boots with them. If participants use soft fabric boots for hiking, it is necessary to also bring protective work boots. Soft fabric boots are not suitable for our work. 
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers – You will need to bring waterproofs and these need to be good quality to cope with Iceland’s summer showers! (Our volunteers are provided with waterproofs for work tasks, but these are not suitable for hiking with)
  • Work clothes – Bring warm clothes that you are happy to work in. Please note that jeans are not suitable for work as they become extremely cold when they are wet
  • River crossing shoes – These are important as it can take several days to dry out hiking boots onec they are wet. Something like sandals or lightweight trainers would be suitable to use for rivercrossing.
  • Head torch – Although very useful during much of our season, there is almost no darkness in June and July.
  • Lunchbox and water bottle and/or thermos flask
  • Sunhat, high factor sun cream, lip salve and sunglasses – The sun can be very strong during the summer months in Iceland, it is very important to be protected.
  • Toiletries – Please stock up before you arrive at Thórsmörk (this is especially important with things like contact lens cleaners).
  • Personal first aid / welfare kit – Full first aid cover is provided throughout the programme but personal kits are important during times when participants are away from our projects (e.g. travel and days off). Basic contents should include plasters, tape and sterile wipes.
  • Medication – It is important that you bring sufficient supplies of any prescribed medication to last you the duration of your visit to Iceland.

Hand-washing facilities for clothes are available at our camps (hot water and clothes washing detergent).
Your clothing should include the following…

  • Fleece top – Be prepared! Almost any weather is possible! Bring warm clothes and different layers.
  • Walking trousers Whatever you feel comfortable with, something quick drying is useful. Please note that jeans are not suitable for hiking or outdoor work as they will not keep you warm if they get wet.
  • Warm hat and gloves – Work gloves will be provided but warm (or ski-type) gloves may be very useful.
  • Walking socks – Woollen socks are recommended as they remain warn even when they are wet.

Additional Recommendations
Just I case you have any space left, we have included this list of additional items which you might find useful.

  • Work boots – Boots with protective toecaps are recommended for our practical work. They also help to save expensive hiking boots from damage on the work site.
  • Ground sheet (or tent footprint) – The ground at our Langidalur base-camp is soft but a groundsheet of tent footprint will help to keep your tent waterproof in rainy conditions. They are also very useful as you may well encounter stony ground on other sites away from our work projects. There is almost no vegetation on the main campsite at Landmannalaugar.
  • Camping stove and cooking equipment – We provide basic camp stoves and cooking equipment for long-range projects and for long-term volunteers joining our hiking week. However you may want to bring your own to use during the time before and after your placement. Please note that you cannot fly with stove fuel so don’t forget to buy some before joining us at the meeting point in Thórsmörk. Most large petrol stations in Iceland stock a variety of gas bottles and stove fuel during the summer months.
  • Backpack / day pack linersThe easiest way to ensure that your pack is waterproof is to line it with a thick polythene sack.
  • Sleeping-bag liner – Some volunteers use sleeping bag liners or fleece blankets for added warmth and comfort.
  • Towel and swimming costume – There may be opportunities to visit geothermal pools during your visit so you will need your swimming things.
  • Camera – Camera equipment is expensive in Iceland so make sure you bring everything you need including memory cards etc.
  • Solar charger – Access to electricity at our camps is limited so we recommend solar chargers as a simple way to recharge your electronic devices during your time with us on the programme.

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