A camper van in Iceland is the key to a successful Ring Road trip. With any trip, the key is to pick the right provider, tour operator, hotel, and activity. For our trip we chose Happy Campers and could not have been happier. They have one of the best reputations for camper van rentals in Iceland and it’s easy to understand why after renting a from them.
Camper vans are something that should be simple. They’re an economical way to travel Iceland as they combine your transportation and accommodation. However, that doesn’t mean they’re cheap – just affordable! Iceland is one of the most expensive countries to travel and you want to make sure your dollars go as far as they can.
Happy Campers was one of the first companies to offer kitted rental vans in Iceland starting in 2009. It may not seem that long ago, but since 2009 a lot has changed. It’s brought about dozens of new companies including familiar faces like corporate car rental giants offering their own version of a camper van.
Happy Campers is still family run by Icelanders and you can find the whole family involved. We were checked out by the Sverrir or the “Happy Boss.” While his son was responsible for setting up our booking and another picked us up from the airport. They’re very much a family business and something we really appreciate.
The Happy 2
Our van came with everything we could need for a camping trip around Iceland. The Happy 2 is one of their larger model camper vans and can drive four people and sleep two. With only two of us on the trip we had plenty of space for our ten day trip around the Ring Road. If you plan on camping around Iceland like us these are our top Ring Road trip tips.
The Happy 2 is a manual transmission Renault Trafic which is a larger van, but it is manageable. I had no problems driving the vehicle. Music is important on any road trip and the vehicle has an MPS CD player with a USB/auxiliary input to hook up your phone so you can play all your travel music! A feature we loved is the flat rate WiFi for a €40 add on you receive WiFi in the vehicle for the entirety of your trip.
It’s equipped with a dual battery system that allows for you to have a running fridge and heater. The heater fan operates off of the battery while the heat is generated by burning diesel fuel in your tank. The vehicle is equipped with a solar panel on the top to ensure it stays charged.
A welcome feature to the vehicle is the inclusion of CDW insurance. This combined with the insurance our credit cards carry gave us some peace of mind while driving on Iceland’s roads.
Our Happy Kitchen
Our Happy Camper van came equipped with everything we needed to make a basic meal. The kitchen boxes were equipped with a pot, pan, and a full set of dishes for four. You’re also given a camping stove with four bottles of Butane (more than enough for our 10 days camping).
A large cubby system with drawers had enough room to store all of our dry food and cooking utensils. It offered enough cooking space to prep basic meals and cook, but in the summertime, I would opt for a table and chairs outside for more room. Each vehicle also includes a sink with running water. Water is easy to find in Iceland as almost every gas station has hoses to wash your vehicle and top up water tanks.
They offer a few extras such as a grill, picnic table, coffee press, and chairs. Since we traveled in the Fall with low temperatures and we’re not big meat eater we didn’t add the grill or picnic table. However, in the summer months I’m sure they’re an awesome addition to your trip.
A Happy Bedtime
The bed was more than large enough for the two of us! The bed converts from the back seats that fold flat. When not made it provides plenty of seating space to relax, eat dinner, and watch a movie. Come bedtime it’s easy to convert and takes less than a minute to setup your bed.
We found the bed to be a little firm and uncomfortable. So, it’s recommend you bring a camping pad and a cheap comforter to make the bed your own. A welcome feature is the heater at night, in the Fall and Spring temperatures often dip below freezing so a cozy van is amazing!
A Few Camper Van Tips
- If you haven’t yet head over to our comprehensive post about our time on the Ring Road and camping tips there.
- The WiFi only operates when the car is running. Once the van is switched off you get about 30 minutes of surfing. So, download some movies for the night or bring a great book! We streamed movies with a Tep wireless device.
- Don’t wear shoes in the back of the vehicle, it can get dirty fast. They provide a dust pan and brush so make sure to use it often.
- If you’re like us bring your favorite coffee roast and an aeropress
- Make sure to check the weather forecast and pack the right clothes for Iceland.
- Stick to simple one pot meals. It makes for an easy preparation and clean up and get all your food from the Icelandic grocery stores. Restaurants are really expensive in Iceland.
- Don’t fret over a shower! Icelandic swimming pools are affordable and a wonderful experience. Just be prepared for casual nudity!
Our Overall Experience
We had a great time with our Happy Camper and feel it really gave us the freedom we wanted to explore Iceland on our time. It’s something we all want when exploring the great outdoors.
They picked us up from the airport and had our vehicle ready and waiting. It was an easy pick up (and drop off) and we were on the road in less than an hour. A quick stop at an Icelandic grocery store and we were off to explore the country! Our journey around the country took 10 days and it felt like the perfect amount of time. Just enough time to fall into the rhythm of things, but not too long to curse living in a van!
Although, many are bummed to learn you can only stay in campsites we found a plethora around the country. In the low season months, many shut down, but leave their basic facilities open and allow for free camping. This took off some of the stress of making it to an open campsite by nightfall, as we don’t really like driving at night. Each day we’d wake up in a new spot and make our way on our own time. Some days we covered a lot of ground while other days we only drove 100km because we stopped so frequently to go for hikes, relax, or take photographs.
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The idea of a camper van is to disconnect and make some beautiful memories. Our memory had to be watching the Northern Lights from our “bedroom,” something we would not have experienced based in Reykjavik. What is going to be your memory in Iceland?
Happy Campers vs. Go Campers vs. Kuku Campers
The companies break down in three steps in our opinion. Happy Campers is likely the nicest company in Iceland, but their rentals also fetch the highest price than their closest competitor. Go Campers comes in right behind Happy Campers with a similar design and price point. They’ve clearly taken a close look at Happy Campers and emulated their design making use of fridges, heaters, and running sinks in their vehicles. Kuku Campers are extremely popular and the largest company in Iceland, but they’re also budget. Their cheaper models can be older cars with no heaters, kitchenware, or bedding.
Should You Book a Happy Camper?
Yes! Of course, we’re a little biased as we had a great time. However, the company is well run and they so clearly want their customers to have a great time. Above all, we only find glowing Happy Campers customer’s reviews online. This is how we know we’re not a fluke in having a good time in one of their camper vans. We even met two separate people in their vans who had booked for a second time because their first trip to Iceland was that great!
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