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What to bring on your volcano hike in Iceland during Summer or Spring

Move over Eyjafjallajökull – there’s a new volcano in town! Thousands of visitors flocked to Reykjanes in 2021 to watch the spectacular eruption of Fagradalsfjall volcano. The eruption’s over (for now at least), but it left behind a dramatic landscape of smoking cones and sulphur-stained lava. As a result, the volcano is still a must-see if you’re visiting Reykjanes. If you’re keen to head up there to get a closer look, here’s what to bring on your volcano hike in Iceland.

Sturdy shoes

The trail leading up to the volcano is steep in places and so a decent pair of walking boots is a must. Make sure they fit well and are worn in so you aren’t troubled by blisters. You should also make sure you’re wearing footwear that gives you good support, as the last thing you want to do is twist your ankle up there. Think carefully about your socks too, which should be comfortable enough that they don’t cause any rubbing as you head up or down.

Warm layers

It can get cold up there on the volcano, so you’ll need warm layers. You can always take something off if you’re too warm, which is likely once you get moving. Ideally, the clothing you choose should be specialist gear that wicks moisture off your skin, rather than a fabric such as cotton which once wet, stays wet. Choose a merino wool or synthetic base layer, for instance, and a fleece or wool jumper on top to keep you warm. The same goes for your trousers – this isn’t a place to give your jeans an airing. You don’t want to go to all that effort of hiking uphill just to turn around straightaway because you’re freezing in the wind.

Weatherproof clothing

Even in summer, conditions on the volcano can be unpredictable: this is Iceland, after all! It might be dry and sunny when you reach the car park but weather conditions can deteriorate quickly and you could find yourself dealing with cold temperatures and even sleet or snow by the time you get up there. So, it’s really important that you wear suitable clothing for your hike to the volcano. On top of those warm layers, don a weatherproof jacket and trousers to protect you from the wind as well as any rain. A hat, scarf and gloves are also recommended.

Specialist hiking gear

Don’t underestimate how helpful hiking poles will be as you clamber over the uneven terrain. They’ll help give you an extra push and take some of the pressure off your joints. Think carefully before you set out and plan for a descent in the dark just in case – a head lamp will give you the confidence to stride safely if the light’s fading. A close-fitting day pack large enough to carry any spare clothing and other essentials is also vital kit. And there’s one more thing you might want to consider. For now, the volcano’s dormant, but if it becomes more active again, it might give off poisonous gases as it did at times during the 2021 eruption. You’ll need to keep abreast of changing conditions just in case and consider if it’s sensible to head up there with a gas mask in your pack.

Food and drink

The hike up to the volcano is fairly long – certainly not a gentle stroll – so don’t underestimate the need to keep hydrated. Carry plenty of water in a suitable bottle and don’t forget to drink it at regular intervals. Pack some snacks to keep your energy levels up. Choose something like a protein bar or a bag of nuts as they will release energy more slowly than something with lots of sugar.

That’s pretty much it, but one final thing is essential. Make sure you take a fully charged phone or camera with you. That way, you can take lots of souvenir photos of this incredible place and prove to your friends that you visited a volcano.