With his Travel Lite truck camper, Bjarni Thor explores the fjords, geysers, glaciers, and waterfalls of the 18th largest island in the world, Iceland.
Located just south of the Arctic Circle, Iceland is not the first place that most of us would think of when it comes to truck camping. As it turns out, truck camping is alive and well in the land of fire and ice. Not only can you purchase a Travel Lite, Northstar, Lance, or Arctic Fox truck camper in Iceland, but you can rent truck campers too.
To tell us more about truck camping in Iceland, we talked with Bjarni Thor. Bjarni Thor recently returned from working as a chef at a fishing lodge. Naturally, he used his Travel Lite truck camper on the two-day drive from Reykjavik and turned his trip into a holiday.
TCM: How did you get into truck camping?
Bjarni Thor: I started camping many years ago. First I went camping in a tent, then in a tent trailer, and from there to a truck camper. We had a naval base in Iceland from 1949 until 2006. I saw my first truck camper there. From that moment on, it was just a truck camper for me.
I started in 2008 with a 2006 Toyota Hilux and 2008 Sunlite Skyhawk. Now, I have a 2005 Ford F-150 King Ranch with rear air bags and 2008 Travel Lite 800 SBX. I got my Travel Lite this year.
TCM: How did you decide to get a Travel Lite truck camper?
Bjarni Thor: I was driving around in Reykjavík, which is the capital of Iceland, and I saw about eight Travel Lite truck campers parked nearby a house. I stopped to look at them. After a few minutes a man came out and asked if he could help me. He invited me to look inside the campers and after that it was no turning back for me. I had to have one of those campers. I was very impressed with everything. The Travel Lite is light, beautiful, has a lot of space and storage capacity and it fit on my truck. The man that came out of the house was the dealer in Johannes for Travel Lite in Iceland.
TCM: Did you have to make any modifications to your camper to make it work properly or make it legal in Iceland?
Bjarni Thor: The dealer, Johannes, had to have the Travel Lite company in the United States make all the necessary modifications for the camper to make it legal in Iceland. For example, the electricity in Iceland is 220 volts. The gas heater and the gas stove in the truck camper have to be up to the European Community regulations. The people at Travel Lite did a beautiful job. I have made some modifications myself and will add some more in the future.
A modification I have made is that I put all my fishing rods on one of the walls in the bathroom. I exchanged the toilet out for a cassette toilet. I took out the black water tank, which is six gallons, and exchanged it for storage space for my fishing waders and more.
TCM: Could someone fly in and rent a truck camper in Iceland?
Bjarni Thor: Yes, they could. We have two companies that rent out truck campers in Iceland. If someone wants to come to Iceland for truck camping, they could contact J&S Camper Iceland or Sumarsæla Ehf Iceland. I can also help them get in contact with the companies that rent truck campers.
TCM: Do you see many truck campers in Iceland?
Bjarni Thor: Yes, there many truck campers. Numbers of truck campers have increased in the last three to five years. The brands I’ve seen are Travel Lite, Sunlite, Northstar, Lance, Arctic Fox, and Palomino.
TCM: Have you been anywhere else in your truck camper outside of Iceland?
Bjarni Thor: I’ve only used my truck camper in Iceland. In the future I would like to go truck camping in the United States. I always read all the articles in the TCM about truck camping in the USA looking to find out the best place to go.
TCM: Is Iceland truck camper friendly?
Bjarni Thor: Yes, Iceland is truck camper friendly. The campgrounds are very good. You can boondock in some places, especially near lakes that you are fishing in. I like to camp nearby a lake or river and fish and take photos.
TCM: What are some of the most amazing places that you would recommend others go to as they travel through Iceland?
Bjarni Thor: Hard to say. Iceland is beautiful wherever you go so long as the weather is alright. The weather in Iceland changes quickly, so one has to check on the weather report when planning to go camping.
TCM: What’s a funny or memorable experience you’ve had while truck camping?
Bjarni Thor: This summer I went along with some friends camping for few days. We were driving around and saw a very small museum out in the country and decided to go inside. The very first thing I saw was a photo of my great-grandmother. She looked exactly like my mother! I got to talk with the warden at this museum who told me that not far away there is a house built by my great-grandfather about 100 years ago, so we went there also. Both my grandparents and my great-grandmother and my great-grandmother died long before I was born, so this was quite a surprise for me. The house is partially just as my great-grandfather built!
TCM: Is there anything that we didn’t talk about that you’d like to add to your interview?
Bjarni Thor: Nothing I can think of, except if you need rescuing on a camping trip in Iceland, check the weather report. Also, keep in mind not to take off into the Icelandic wilderness without having someone with you who knows where it is safe to travel. If you get into trouble and need some assistance or a rescue, keep in mind the Icelandic emergency number is 112, not 911 as in the United States.