Iceland F-roads in a 4x4 camper van

The F-Roads

We understand that some of our readers may not be familiar with what F-roads are, so let us go over the F roads and the highlands of Iceland. In the highlands, you will experience one of the following: black sands, glistening white glaciers, rock formations, green mountain tops, brown or blue rivers, small waterfalls, big waterfalls, colorful hot springs, glaciers and black volcanoes.

The highlands can be found in the middle of the country and they are about 500 meters over the sea and are uninhabitable. You have the Vatnajokull glacier in the highlands among many other glaciers and most of the active volcanoes that are in Iceland can be found in the highlands. Doesn’t that sound nice, and scary at the same time?

There’re are mountain roads in the highlands and those are what we refer to as F-roads. You know it’s an “F-road” when you see the letter “F” in front of the number on the road map. In order to get down an F-road, you will need a 4x4.

F-roads have a tendency to be narrow gravel or dirt roads that do not have any bridges going over the water, making river crossing in Iceland impossible if you do not have a 4x4 vehicle.

Take note of the F-road opening times. The F-roads in Iceland will only be open during the summer months – summer in Iceland is short, about three months. The opening of each road will all depend on the amount of snow that is covering them. After the spring, the roads can be extremely wet and will not be open to traffic until they have dried up. Either way you go, if you plan on visiting Iceland and going down the F-roads, you are entering a different world. 

Rent a 4x4 camper in Iceland

If you plan on exploring everything and anything in Iceland, then you need to dive head-first in order to discover those magical places. For this reason, you’re going to want a vehicle that can offer some ground clearance and a good four-wheel-drive system that you will be able to turn on and off. While in Iceland, you will have the whole island to explore and there are a lot of amazing things just waiting to be seen, but you will need to drive on dirt and gravel roads, and up and down some mountains roads. So, first things, first, make sure you rent a good 4x4 for your 4x4 driving in Iceland adventure.

If you do not rent a 4x4, then you will not be allowed to drive down the F roads, which is what takes you to the remote parts of Iceland. However, if you plan on sticking to the Ring Road (that’s the road that circles around Iceland), then you will be fine sticking with a regular two wheel drive vehicle.

Manual or an automatic Transmission?

Maybe we’re the only one, but we like those 4x4’s with three pedals. We can give you three reasons to go for three pedals. For starts, they have cheaper rental rates on those with 3 pedals, they get better gas mileage and they are fun to drive. We also have a good selection of automatic transmission 4x4 camper vans if that is your preferred chioce.

River Crossing in Iceland

In the highlands, river crossing is something that you will need to learn to do. Successfully crossing over the river can be thrilling, but if something were to go wrong, you could ruin your 4x4 camper van, which in return is going to ruin your entire trip, so it is important that you prepare yourself. Here are some tips for river crossing in Island:

Study the River – When you first start out, study the entrance and the exit of the river crossing. Make sure you look in the riverbed for any big boulders that you need to avoid, and make sure the water isn’t flowing too fast. You also need to analyze the depth of the river and make sure it isn’t too deep for the vehicle.

Knee High – Knee high is the maximum height of the water level you should cross. When crossing a river, the greatest rule of thumb is if you do not feel comfortable walking across the river, then you cannot cross it in the vehicle.

The Gears- Make sure you take the vehicle out of “drive” and put it into a low gear. This will make it so that the gears do not automatically change when it’s dangerous. You should never switch gears when you’re in the water.

Angling – Angle yourself so that the front of the vehicle is pointing slightly downriver and drive into the river slowly but keep a steady movement. Don’t ever stop in the middle of the river.

Stay Slow – As you’re crossing, go with the pace of the water that isn’t rushing in front of the vehicle. Again, continue driving slow and steady. If you see the water splashing on your windshield, then this is an indication that you’re moving too fast.

Exiting – As you’re exiting the river, make sure you keep your momentum.

If you do not feel comfortable river crossing in Iceland, then you should wait for other travelers to come along and see what they do in order to cross the river. This way, if something were to happen, this means you’re not sitting there on your own.

Iceland F-roads can be a whole lot of fun, but it is important that you keep safety in mind. If you plan on doing some F-road traveling, then you need to rent a 4x4 – that is a must.  You can use the contact form here on our websites if you have any questions regarding our mountain roads.