Hiking Across Iceland with Your Family… What Could Go Wrong? 

Who’s Bringing the Brennivín?

“So this tiny little blue squiggle is the river we have to ford, right?” It’s 1 a.m. and I’m still pouring over various maps of Iceland. Kyle, my boyfriend, is half asleep, stuffing 200,000 calories of ramen into ziplock bags. We’ve been packaging food for the last seven hours, trying to figure out exactly how much four people will eat for 350 miles. I need a break from distributing ramen and tuna into groups of four and have decided to lie down on the floor and look at the maps. I haven’t often had to truly rely on maps before for any of my hikes, so I feel like I’m learning a new language.



Poring over maps.


It’s safe to say this will be my first long-distance hike over 100 miles when I didn’t have the comfort of my favorite GPS app, Guthook. With amazing technology, smart phones and external battery packs, you can almost be considered a competent outdoors person without ever having to read a topographical map—a potential issue for me now. I’m trying to cross reference some suggested GPS waypoints with this paper map, highlighting our approximate route in yellow. We need more coffee.


packing food

Just starting…


I had first decided to hike across Iceland back in December 2018, thought it seemed like a pretty cool “little jaunt.” I had just finished the Pacific Crest Trail in November, and the idea of a 350-mile trail sounded, well, easy. I thought it would be a nice taste of trail life before I would get the chance to start the Continental Divide Trail in April 2020. The original plan had been to go solo, but when my younger brother Nathan offered to join me I jumped at the opportunity to make it a siblings trip. I had met a few sibling duos on the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, and they all seemed to be having a good time.



No nutritional value here.


“If I Promise to Behave Can I Come with You and Your Brother on Your Iceland Trek?”

This was the text I got from my dad about two weeks after my brother had finalized his plans to join me in Iceland. Now, I’m a firm believer that if your family wants to spend time with you, then you should. I’m pretty lucky I have a father cool enough to want to join me on a trip like this, so of course I told him yes.

It wasn’t too long before my boyfriend, Kyle, was feeling left out of the fun, and we made our way to the gear store to drop a small mortgage on a new pack and hiking boots for him.


gear shot

Who needs to buy things like a house when you can buy a tent?


“My Dad Is Going to Tell You to Sleep in Your Hiking Boots Just So You Know.”

I told Kyle this on our way home from Mountain Equipment Coop.

“What, why?” he asked, laughing.

“It’s his way of telling you to break in your new boots,” I said, shaking my head. I had a good laugh that afternoon when I heard my dad telling Kyle to wear his boots to bed tonight as they compared gear in the living room.

My mother is fairly accommodating of me exploding my gear and resupplies all over her beautifully decorated condo. It’s become a ritual for my mom. Before we have to say goodbye we order in sushi, put on Lord of the Rings, and compare the ounces of a titanium spork to plastic one. I wish she was coming, but alas it will be just me with the three hooligans.

As long as we grab a flask of Brennivín we’ll be fine?

gear shot



Follow along at:


Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?