Bikepacking Iceland – A Week Long Adventure (Video)
With loose plans and a week at their disposal, Allen Boardman and Barry Godin traveled from the UK to Iceland last year, where they shot more than 20 hours of bikepacking footage and condensed it into a single video. Watch “Bikepacking Iceland” with a brief recap and photos from Allen here…
What started as a surprise birthday present from his wife and friend Barry slowly evolved into a week-long bikepacking trip to Iceland, a place that seemed slightly out of reach for Allen Boardman. Their route was loose, with a plan to get from Keflavik to Landmannalaugar and back, leaving time to visit some interesting points of interest they’d pinned on a map before their trip. The following trip video is the end result of more than 20 hours of footage captured between the pair. Watch it below, then scroll down for a quick summary of the trip and additional photos.
Words and photos by Allen Boardman
Iceland is a place I never thought I would see. Ooddly enough, it’s a place I didn’t spend too much time thinking about until the start of 2022. That was until one of the stranger phone calls from Barry came through. He was more keen than usual, wanting me to get a green card to head out on a trip with him. When I spoke to my wife to organise what I thought may have been a weekend away somewhere, she revealed that she was sending me to Iceland as a surprise as part of my birthday present. She’d been trying to organise a trip with Barry for me without telling me. Still, she quickly realised from the hours and hours I usually spend packing for each trip that it wasn’t possible to keep it a secret as I wouldn’t know to pack flip flops and sunscreen or my -15 sleeping bag and my warmest down coat.
There wasn’t a tremendous amount of planning that went into the trip other than an idea of getting to Landmannalaugar from Keflavik airport and back. We video chatted, sharing screens full of ideas, and pinned locations on various mapping sites of places that would be nice to see. Before we knew it, a route was born. I’d been saving for most of the year to get enough spending money together not to worry about the cost of food, campsites, pizza, and beer. The last thing to do was pack eight days’ worth of food, clothing, supplies, tools, and any spares for any eventuality I could ever think of.
The most stressful part of this trip was getting our bikes to Iceland from the UK safely because if a bike didn’t turn up or one of our hold bags had gone missing, we wouldn’t have had an adventure at all. We both had GPS tags in our bikes, we knew they were loaded on the airplane in the UK. When we landed, we were pleased to see them at the airport in Iceland.
It took us a while to build the bikes up from the dismantled state they were in, but soon after they were built, we were on our way. My Hunt 29er weighed just over 55 kilograms, the heaviest I’ve ever packed, but it was also one of the longest trips I’ve packed to be fully self-sufficient for. I knew shops and garages were going to be around, but I didn’t want to rely on them. The bike rode very well indeed—even with the brand new Aeroe Rack I’d bought less than a week before the trip—fully loaded with two huge drybags full of food, a camping chair, spares, and almost the kitchen sink.
The first day was the longest, but we absolutely had to make it to Reykjavik before the shops closed at 5 p.m. to get gas and then carry on to Þingvellir. We struggled to find the shop but eventually managed to find it less than a minute before closing time. I think it was the quickest transaction I’ve ever taken part in. A simple, “Can I please buy these two huge gas canisters?” swiftly followed by a pleading, “Otherwise, we can’t eat tonight. We flew in this afternoon.” Almost 3,000 ISK later (close to £20 with credit card transaction fee), we were then able to settle fully into our week-long adventure. There was a recurring theme of cost when going to the shop from this point, it appeared everything we bought was 3,000 ISK. Two coffees and a cheese toastie? You guessed it, 3,000 ISK.
The weather could make or break any trip, and I was warned about the wind in Iceland being some of the strongest I’m likely to witness. I just hoped that my choice of tent, an MSR Hubba Hubba NX, was going to stand up to what was going to be thrown at us. It was warm, cold, wet, windy, and everything else in between, all whilst the UK had the hottest summer on record.
I started to wonder if we would make it to Landmannalaugar with the time we had. Would we push on through the mountain, or make a tough decision to cut it out?
Barry and I shared our footage with each other with the idea of creating two films. We didn’t have any input on each other’s edits, so I’m just as excited to see our trip from his perspective. Iceland came at the right time for me as I made a decision to change careers after 18 years not long before we were due to set off. This trip will remind me of that forever.
You can find Barry’s video version of our trip here.
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