So a year in the making Iceland, the trip of a lifetime with the woman I love, my teammate, my guardian, my hiking buddy, my culinary Guinean-pig, my fiance. What the hell do you pack for Iceland? What will we eat? What will we see? Is it cold? Is it hot? Do they speak English? How will we get around? What can we do there? Well, that among other things went through my mind over the last year of planning and preparing for this grand adventure. And we happen to be planning the trip from Summer of 2016 – Spring of 2017 and we have the amazing thing called the Internet!
My first idea was that we would hostel around, but by October my beloved had found Rent.is, a camper van company that would rent us a small van that had a bed, table, chairs, stove, cookware, fridge and water tank for what it would have cost us to rent a car and drive hostel to hostel. So that knocked out two birds with one stone and took a swing at a third as I now had my kitchen to cook in. And what does a couple with a gluten free member eat in Iceland while on the road? Well, that was the next question.
So food cost is a little more expensive than in the USA and we will be hiking almost every day we are there. We could take things like Mountain House meals, but that would be expensive, but I happen to be a food nerd anyway, so I had nine months of experiments to do. The mission was simple; the main meal of the day must be gluten-free, calorie dense, remotely healthy, tasty, and oh yeah…we can each only bring in six lbs of food without being taxed. Dehydrator to the rescue! My mother in law to be let us borrow her dehydrator for several months so whenever we planned to hike more than five miles I made us a meal to take with us. And so I got adept at taking the leftover veggies in the fridge and cutting them up for dinners and snacks.
What do you pack? LAYERS OF WOOL AND SYNTHETICS! Cotton kills! Okay…simple enough. We spent a year picking up base layers, wool socks, and polyester as we went through our year. As you will see my beloved and I went different routes. My fiance loves REI and Amazon, so from boots to base layers, to pants, coat, gloves and such, her gear is mainstream because that is what it is designed for. I am more eclectic; boots and hiking pants from the military surplus store, because the tactical grade is tough and is designed to work in many different environments. I got polyester sweatpants from Meijer, wool socks from Field and Stream, coat, scarf, and gloves were gifts from family, and base layers from Amazon and Dicks Sporting Goods.
And basically, from here most of the questions will be answered, with some recipes, pictures and just my own weird thoughts.
So here I sit in February trying to pound out a few ideas for the blog, that I really want to write, I have the dehydrator going with mushrooms and applesauce on it. I pulverized a batch of dry kale into powder and have a few meals ready and a notebook with the dinners I am planning with two meals checked off as in I have the bulk of it ready. I also have a Rubbermaid bin full of things we might need or use, first-aid/ emergency stuff, books, mini spice rack, spikes that slip over boots, print off of our plane tickets, passport and such. I’ve got my well-broken-in hiking boots sitting on the floor near my trekking poles and my day bag, and a laptop of ideas. I am so excited to go! Waterfalls, hot springs, hiking, Viking history, glaciers, horseback riding, whale watching and most of all carefree time with my beloved.
I am also pondering how I need to get some “camp suds” aka bio-degradable soap because as part of my research I am watching a crap ton of video’s about other peoples adventures and one person noted how they bathed in streams and then showed her shampoo that was clearly not eco-friendly. Come on if your going to bath in water that might end up in someone’s tap at least use stuff that breaks down. Another thing I need is another pair of polyester base-layer bottoms or as they are commonly called long-underwear and I should get another pair of hiking pants, I also need to get taco seasoning for trail taco’s, I need to dehydrate some applesauce for fruit leather, get and cook some lean pork for pulled pork night, and for pork stir-fry night, dehydrate a jar of pasta sauce and probably do some more ground meat for pasta night. As you can tell our dinners are going to be six to seven nights of dehydrator meals, plus I plan to pick up some lamb steaks for lamb night and I figure we will get cheese, and lunch and breakfast stuff that does not require much prep when we are there. I will put recipes later on in the blog. Would it be easier to do things like Mountain House or MRE’s? Probably, but my fiance is gluten free and dehydrating allows me to save stuff from the fridge that might go bad in a day or two anyway.
Less than 3 weeks to go til Iceland. Work is starting to aggravate me more. Boy, do I need this vacation! I love my regulars and getting to sling drinks, but the more excited I am for this trip the longer the days get. This will be the longest break from work I have taken in six years. So on this day as I toss a batch of jerky on the dehydrator to put with dried veggies and minute rice (boiled rice) and we weigh our food bag to meet the tax-free limit of what you can bring (3 kilograms or about 6 pounds each). I am put at ease by the fact that we are really doing this!
16 days till Iceland. Have I mentioned how much I am looking forward to this trip? I can’t wait to smell the air, drink the water, and leave my stress of work, wedding planning, and life behind and just absorb every moment of Iceland! And while we are talking about my “life” I guess it is a good time to talk about me.
I am a 31-year-old barista, degree in Psychology, wife to be to my “wife to be” who graduates grad school soon. We will be married in May, so this is actually our honeymoon. I was raised in a small town in the cornfields of Ohio. My culinary skills and work ethic have provided me with stable employment, but it is nice to know my spouse will provide the bread while I make toast and stuffing out of it. My fiance is gluten free so you will see that reflected in the coming recipes, I am a lover of wine and cocktails so you might read that to. We have spent the last year hiking local parks so we can build up our strength and refine and test our gear. I’ve actually got exercise induced asthma, but an inhaler helps with that and…hmm what else? I am a total nerd! I enjoy studying pre-Abrahamic European spirituality. I am 5’8, athletic build. I can read a map, but I can’t drive a stick-shift vehicle? Yeah, I think that is enough for now….
7 days to go. Tomorrow we do gear checks and will take some photo’s, hopefully, do a comparison of gear for the blog. Today before work (second job to pay for this trip and for our wedding) I am cleaning out my car so people are less likely to break into it while it is in long-term parking. I am getting it checked out for the 800-mile drive to Boston and I am starting to clean the house and wash what I have left to wash so we can pack it tomorrow.
Cleaned the house, mopped floors, vacuumed the living room. Laid out the gear I am taking and wow…I am taking a lot of stuff. But not as much as some.
My gear list for 9 days:
-2 pairs hiking pants
-all the wool socks I own
-gloves, scarf, hat
-3 base layer bottoms and tops
-laundry bag (mesh)
-9 days worth of undies and bra’s
-plastic tote for backpack to fly in
-insulated food jar
-swimwear (for hot springs)
-2 pairs of sweatpants
-spiked shoe covers (for hiking on ice)
-1 pair jeans
-2 water bottles
-duct tape, space blanket, para-cord, hand warmers
-no rinse shampoo
-quick dry towel
-sunglasses and string
-camera and memory card
-headlamp and batteries
-guidebook, map, and tickets for excursions
-1 quart TSA baggy (hand sanitizer, toothpaste, lip balm, and mini-alcohol)