As discussed in our Iceland Planning post, we decided to rent a 4×4 camper in Iceland from Kuku Campers. So, what was our experience?
Was renting a 4×4 camper in Iceland worth the extra cost?
In our Iceland Trip Objectives, our top priority was to immerse ourselves in the Icelandic outdoors. We wanted to explore destinations located on F-roads and travel through areas only accessible with a 4×4 high-clearance vehicle.
We eventually decided on a 4×4 camper (Category D) from Kuku Campers with a price tag of 2786 EUR for a 2 week rental (199 EUR per day).
TIP: We used the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, available to U.S. consumers, to pay for the camper rental in Iceland. This credit card offers primary rental car coverage which allows you to decline the insurance (including the sand, gravel, and ash insurance) from Kuku Campers. This will save you money.
Kuku Campers Pick-Up
We opted for airport pick-up by Kuku Campers at an extra cost of 60 EUR per rental (see Iceland Planning post for details). Therefore, our first encounter was in the airport arrivals area. A Kuku Campers representative was holding a sign with our names. Easy. We then waited for a few other passengers and drove in a passenger van to the Kuku Campers office.
The Kuku Campers check-in process was a bit disjointed and it was clear that the employee assisting us at check-in was a seasonal employee without a ton of first-hand experience. Not a big deal but not the greatest first impression.
Kuku Campers Drop-Off
Due to our schedule, we opted for airport drop-off in the Kuku Campers parking lot for the (steep) extra cost of 100 EUR per rental. Before the return, we gave Mitzi one final wash and vacuum (available for free at most petrol stations). We also took photos of her condition and emailed Kuku Campers that she was returned.
Iceland is basically a cashless country. Gas stations are no exception. You MUST use a credit card with a PIN. Furthermore, most U.S. credit cards do NOT have a PIN configured. Contact your credit card company well in advance to request a PIN; they will mail the PIN via snail-mail. The only other payment option for U.S. citizens will be to use a VISA debit card with your debit card PIN.
Details and Photos
Let’s see this 4×4 camper!
Meet Mitzi, our 4×4 camper from Kuku Campers. We named her Mitzi because she was a Mitsubishi Pajero. Obviously, we’re super creative.
More photos please.
Check out those tires. Pretty sweet, eh? As you can see, we got around.
The Mitsubishi Pajero has its rear seats removed. The rear is outfitted with a sink, cooler, and heater on one side. There’s limited storage in the surrounding cabinet as it mainly contains the goodies that Kuku Campers provides with the rental (camping burner, pot, pan, bowls, utensils, cutting board, can opener, dish towel, dish soap, etc.). A flip-up table serves as a dining area. The remainder of the rear consists of a water tank located under the two cushioned platforms on which you’ll sleep. Curtains can be closed to separate the front seats from the rear. Curtains are also located around the side and rear windows. That’s basically all there is to it.
Pros and Cons
- 4×4 vehicle: The big ass tires and high clearance are the biggest assets by far. We could go everywhere we wanted to and, furthermore, we didn’t have to crawl along at a snail’s pace on rough roads. This alone was worth the extra cost.
- Time savings: In addition to being able to drive faster on rough roads, we didn’t have to pitch a tent every night or break down a tent every morning. Consequently we had more time to explore Iceland!
- Warmth: We saw people with roof-top tents sitting in their running vehicles at night to stay warm. It gets cold at night in Iceland in September; they were not sleeping but we were.
- Cooler: The cooler is wired into the vehicle such that it turns on automatically when the vehicle is started. Smart. It kept our Skyr yogurt, cheese, and other Icelandic goodies nice and cold.
- Sink and water tank: The sink drains on the ground so be careful about what you wash. Having a sink doesn’t seem like a big deal but not having to leave the camper to wash up keeps you nice and cozy.
- Layout and configuration: Many of the campers for rent in Iceland are vans. Therefore the body of the van is accessed by a side door and the kitchen is configured to be accessed from outside via the back doors. In Mitzi everything was inside her 4×4 vehicle body. We ended up enjoying this contained configuration.
- Rear door stop: It’s windy in Iceland so, although we still had to hold onto the passenger doors, the rear door stop took away the worry of the back door blowing away.
- Unlimited mileage and multiple drivers: We did not consider any companies that didn’t include unlimited mileage and multiple drivers.
- Extras: The extras that Kuku Campers includes will have you covered. Simply purchase groceries, camping gas, paper products, and be on your way. You may be able to snag some of these items from the leftovers in the Kuku Campers office when you check-in.
TIP: There are a few items that we would have rented from Kuku Campers if we hadn’t planned ahead and brought them from home to save money. Specifically: sleeping bags, towels, water bottles, headlamps / flashlight, an extra battery big enough to charge a camera, and a USB charger with multiple ports. Other notable and useful items we brought from home included: non-perishable groceries (soups, peanut butter, granola bars), reusable bags (to purchase and store groceries), Ziploc storage bags (to store leftover food, snacks, etc.), binder clips / rubber bands (to close and keep fresh packaged food), and trash bags. We used our experience living in a van and our Ultimate Road Trip Packing List as a guide.
- No tent photos: We don’t have any cutesy tent photos. But, we do have sweet-ass photos from river crossings and 4×4 vehicle only locations in Iceland.
- Size and comfort: The benefit of a regular size 4×4 vehicle can become a detriment when it comes time to store your belongings alongside your sleeping bodies. Be reasonable and don’t pack an elephant. You’ll likely need to move your baggage to the front seats every night to sleep so pack smart.
- Nitpicking: The heater is pretty loud and clanky. You’ll probably be judicious in its use so as to not disturb your cold tent neighbors. And, since the curtains don’t close super well so you might have to save the nude photo shoot for another day. Hang up your towel or bring some velcro or binder clips.
Iceland 4×4 Camper Summary
Mitzi, our 4×4 camper and home for 2 weeks in Iceland, was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Kuku Campers delivered a quality vehicle at the best price.
Stay tuned for a post on our actual itinerary, with tons of suggestions and tips, derived from our Iceland Map with Points of Interest in the Iceland Planning post.
September 2 – 16, 2018