Benjamin Hardman

What to wear to the volcano

PhotosBenjamin Hardman
TextBenjamin Hardman

Iceland is called the land of fire and ice for a reason. On the 3rd of August, after a wave of earthquakes, an eruption occurred on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland. To be more exact, in the Meradalir valley. With this spectacular natural phenomenon being truly a unique experience, many have made their way towards the eruption site.

Benjamin Hardman

What to wear to the volcano

Be prepared for anything

Hiking to the eruption site is a true adventure. You’re exposed to the elements and need to be prepared for anything. The weather can change very fast as you’re hiking on top of a mountain for most of the way, meaning that you can very quickly end up in fog, rain and wind. There are a few essential items that can keep you safe up there no matter the weather. Start your hike cold and prepare to overheat as you climb the first hill on the trail, it is really important to layer down before you get too hot, consider it preventative maintenance to avoid sweating, which can be a real vibe killer if the wind picks up.


Merino wool base layers give you an essential layer of moisture wicking warmth. Lightweight mid layer zip up fleece. This will be your main upper layer for hiking if the weather is on the nicer side. Straumnes for warmer days, Tinder or Esja fleece for colder or windier days. Lightweight hiking pants. I opt for the Reykjavik pants as they have a durable material and cargo pockets for storage. Goretex shell and pants. The most essential items to keep you dry. I like to use a heavier Goretex Pro shell as an upper layer for all windy and rainy conditions, and the lightweight paclite pants which I would only put on once it starts to rain so needs to be able to pack easily into my bag.

In the hiking bag

In my hiking bag I also pack an insulated down jacket which I put on as soon as I stop hiking. You can put it over your shell for quick stops on the way, or rearrange your layers to have it under your shell once you arrive to the eruption site where you won’t be moving as much and will cool down.

Other essential items

A head torch and hiking poles are also essential items for this trail. Once the darkness sets in you will be relying on your head torch to find the trail markers. It is especially necessary if there is fog on the mountain, which is quite common up there. Apps like GAIA can help you to track the trail as you hike, meaning you will be able to find your way back if you lose sight of the trail markers.