Hey, Team Iceland. We just got back from one amazing week in the Happy Camper van exploring all around the Ring Road. We had amazing weather. The camper van was awesome. It took us to some of the most beautiful places in Iceland. So I thought it would be fun to give you a tour around the van because a lot of you have been asking what it’s like inside and what they have and everything like that. So I just want to show you all around the van today so that you can know all about the Happy Campers and how they are really such a great way to travel through Iceland. I’m telling you, you’re going to love it. Let’s get into it.
Inside the Happy 3
Coming into the inside of the van, basically, the Happy 3 is so nice because it has this upper area here. So technically, this can sleep a family of five with maybe two or three on the bottom and then two or three on top, depending on the size of the kids. So you can see that there’s plenty of room here. This is actually a pretty good size bed. I know the Happy 1 bed is smaller because the kitchen is on the side. But here, tons and tons of room. So we ended up just leaving the bed folded down, and then kind of putting our stuff here throughout the drives. But this upper bed, if you’re using it, pulls down just like this, and now you can put the bedding in there and use that. And it’s easy. I mean, you just clip it in here. And this is really sturdy, so adults can sleep up there. I’ve definitely seen full-grown adults sleep up there or kids as well. I know it might not look like much, but trust me, I’m a little bit claustrophobic, and I would be okay sleeping up here. There’s plenty of room.
The vans come standard with these blankets, so there’s a mattress pad, and then it comes standard with pillows here and these blankets. There are also two fleece blankets that are included in the bedding set. With the heating system that’s inside the van, we were not cold, so we actually didn’t use all of this stuff. We just used these lightweight blankets, and we were perfectly fine. We did take the sleeping bags just in case, but actually we both never used that. With the heating system, I’m telling you, it’s really, really awesome to have in the van, so all we used was these blankets. All of the bedding comes in this handy bag, so basically all you have to do at the end of the sleeping night is just shove everything into this bag, which is really, really helpful for storage and just kind of getting everything in one place.
Room for the Whole Family
I’ve just cleaned up the bed. I’m going to set it back up to the seating. You can see it’s super easy. Everyone has seat belts, obviously, so it’s super safe back here, and so you can be riding in the van as you’re driving down the road with kids. You can just see that it’s super comfortable for riding back here. Oh, this is lovely. I’ve only sat in the front seat, but this is great.
One really nice thing about the Happy 3 is that I am literally just standing up in here. There’s so much room around me. This is really, really nice and convenient. So even my husband, who is 6’6″, is able to almost completely stand up inside. It’s really nice to have this for when you’re changing, when you’re cooking, when you’re trying to get around. Trust me, this is super, super nice. I’ve also used the Happy 2, and there’s quite a bit of space in there as well, so I really enjoyed that. Only seen inside the Happy 1, which is very cramped. I know it’s very common to use the Happy 1 for just two people, but if you can upgrade, the Happy 2 is really nice to have extra space. And then if you’re just wanting to be excessive, then go with the 3 for two people. But this for a family would be absolutely comfortable.
Camper Van Kitchen
All right. We’re going to do a tour of the kitchen, so you can see what’s exactly included in these drawers here and what you’ll have to cook, which is actually amazing. Happy Campers thought of so much. So let’s just start up here. Obviously, you have sink with running water. So there is a water tank here on the side that you can fill up throughout your trip. Holds a lot of water. We only had to fill up a couple of times within a week. So we were washing our dishes here, using the water for coffee, cooking, everything like that. It was really, really handy to have this right in the van. Happy Campers provides you with stuff for doing the dishes, so that’s really convenient.
And then you have the camp stove. This is a propane tank, sits right up here like this. They actually give you three extra canisters, so you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel for all of your cooking. This is really easy. Fuel canister is over here. This click it in, and then you have fire. And then you can, like I said, cook anything that you would need on the stove. So we were making definitely coffee, usually breakfast, and maybe 50/50 dinner. So we didn’t utilize this as much as you could, but it was so awesome. So awesome. I just loved that we didn’t have to think about which cafe would be open or when are we coming up to a restaurant. I love having this flexibility.
Also in here is a hot plate and a cutting board. In one of the drawers you’ll find things like plates, bowls, and cups. And like I said, this is for multiple people, so they have enough in here for everyone. In the other drawer is where you’ll find your cook gear, so there’s a nice big pot here, which you use to boil water for coffee, cook rice, cook pasta, cook all the things. Also, a skillet, so we were making eggs, bacon, toasting bread, all of that stuff on this guy.
And then the utensil drawer. So there’s knives, forks, spoons for everyone. And then some people were asking about what cookware, cutlery is included. There’s a can opener, spatula, tongs, a spoon, and a knife. So what else could you need?
With that, there are two drawers that are completely empty. We use this drawer for our dry storage, so things like peanut butter and jelly, chips and popcorn, rice, bread, coffee, tea. Any kind of that stuff. Our final drawer, we actually used for our electronic equipment since we have a lot.
And then also the cooler that’s in here as well. This was super awesome because there’s plenty of room in here, and it is temperature controlled, so you can set the temperature that you want. This was obviously super handy to have to keep all of our foods cold.
This is the heating system, so all you have to do at night is turn this button on, and the heat starts pumping out. It’s so nice to have this on at night. The heat starts coming out down here underneath the bed, so it definitely keeps you plenty warm.
Camper Van Menu
Also, I know a lot of people were asking us what we were making for meals, what we were cooking in the van during our trip, and we kept it a really basic because we just didn’t want to be messing with too many things with cutting up and cleaning or anything super fancy. We would do things like eggs and bacon for breakfast or sometimes maybe just some skyr and granola on top. Obviously, coffee. We had cream. And that was it for breakfast. Super easy. Another option would be to do hard boiled eggs. Those would be great for breakfast if you don’t want to cook. For lunches also we kept it super easy. We did things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna roll-ups with a wrap, some sliced vegetables. Really, really easy stuff, you guys.
I’m a big snack person, so we always had things like protein bars, the best popcorn in the world, sparkling water, energy drinks. We just like to have that stuff to keep us going and keep yourselves full. For dinner, what I would maybe do is saute up some ground turkey or ground beef, maybe saute up some chicken, and then I would add to that. I would add rice or pasta, just something that is easy and we can all throw together. And we ended up doing this butter cream sauce on top of that, which was obviously delicious. You could also do a red sauce or just basic salt and pepper, olive oil. Just keep it really simple.
Most of the campgrounds had a kitchen area, but if not, there was usually some sort of sink or outdoor washing tub. We could do the dishes in the camper if we wanted to, but I found it very easy to just do that at the campground.
Well Designed With Storage
For the dash area, the nice thing, the windshield is so big. It’s really, really nice for all those road trip views. We had a GoPro set up in the middle, which was really good for road video or any video of us inside the van. Here you can see the inside in the dash. So lots of room up here. The front of the van is really, really spacious in the Happy 3. Lots of charging going on up here. So they have the USB, which is connected to the radio, which is nice to play your iPod or your phone music.
Wanted to point out here that the vans are manual at this time. However, I know that Happy Campers is upgrading those to some four-wheel drive vehicles for the 2019 season. One thing else I wanted to point out is this middle console here. So this does flip up to a seat where someone could sit up here, but we actually kept it laid down because it was just nice to have extra storage and just kind of set our cameras on there to grab really, really easy.
I also wanted to point out the extra storage that’s inside of the dash. Up here there’s a little ledge, here’s a little ledge, here is a little ledge, and then all these little pockets in here. So I was putting my cell phone and the GoPro. The water bottle storage. I mean, seriously. Also in here, in the cup storage in the front here. There’s so much storage, you guys. This area in the top pops up here. Let’s not forget about the storage up here because, obviously, Happy Campers thought about everything!
A couple of other things that I wanted to talk about that I thought would be really helpful for you guys to think about even before you come to Iceland. Think about bringing something like this, which is kind of like a chip clip. We use this for things like closing the coffee bag, chips, things like that that you just don’t want to spill all over. Another thing to consider is when you’re cooking in the vans, a lot of times you’re going to have some leftovers. And in that case, it’s really handy to have Tupperware containers. I would actually recommend bringing these directly from where you’re coming from because they’re actually a lot more expensive in Iceland than they should be.
One of my biggest tips that I’ve actually talked about before in my grocery store video is packing a soft sided cooler for your road trip. This is also something that came in handy on our Happy Camper road trip because we needed extra storage. So what I did was, other than the drawers and the refrigerator, I kept things in here that we would need to grab quick or anything else organizational-wise that we would need in here. As far as ice goes, if you’re wanting to keep this stuff cool, all you have to do is look at the grocery stores or the gas stations, and they’ll have small bags of ice for you to refill throughout your trip.
Paper towel is something also that I used a lot in the camper, whether it was to wipe off the counter or dry off our dishes. I did use the paper towel all lot. This usually comes in rolls of two at the grocery store. Pretty inexpensive. Really, really handy to have.
And then the last thing that I would highly recommend but actually we didn’t bring with us this time is having some sort of rope, bungee cord, something like that that you can easily tie in here or clip in here. You can see that there’s hooks along the ceiling, and this would be really, really nice to hang things like your wet towel after showering, your swimming suit after the hot springs. Or for those of you that want to do laundry, and then you don’t have time to sit at the campsite, you want to just keep going in the vans, then you’re going to want to bring some rope, bungee cords, or both.
A couple of other things that did not come standard in the van that I got extra were their coffee tumblers. The first time that I used the Happy Camper, they had French press, but this is a built-in French press and mug in one. So I thought this was amazing to have. You can see it has the plunger in here. So all you do is put your grounds in here, put on your top, push it after a few minutes, and then you have your coffee ready to drink right out of here. So these were really, really nice to have.
The other thing that I got that was extra was a table. This just folds up and stores on the side of the van. We used this when we were cooking just for some extra space. Or, obviously, when you’re eating, it’s nice to have a place to just set your plate and dishes and things like that. We also had two of these fold-up camp chairs. Also really nice to have when you’re just wanting to sit outside at the end of the night. We used these when we were watching the Northern Lights. Really nice also to have this. But what I found myself using a lot was this handy little stool. And I just loved using this when I was sitting to cook because the countertop is a little bit low, so I would sit and cook.
Another super handy thing to grab that I highly recommend is this inverter. Basically, there’s a plug in here with … You can see all of the different plug-in styles and two USB ports here. We were constantly using this to charge all of our devices. So between camera, drone, GoPro, phones, computers, all the time, we were plugged into this. Really, really handy to use, so I really suggest this.
Now that we’ve done the van tour, I want to talk a little bit about the campgrounds and the campsites because a lot of you have questions about this, and I wanted to make it pretty clear. The thing is, with camping in Iceland, whether you’re trying to park and just sleep in your car or you have a tent or you have a camper van or motorhome or anything like that, the law in Iceland is to park at a designated parking campground area. You will see signs on some places where people try to camp that say, “No camping.” Please, you guys, as always, respect the rules of the country. It’s so important to park in a designated area so that you’re not ruining the nature by utilizing that area. Because just think if you have to go to the bathroom or if the water from your vehicle is draining out of the sink, you’re dumping out your food. I mean, that should not just be happening anywhere in the country. So please, please, please, you can’t park anywhere. Always find a campsite to park in.
Another thing that people ask me about is, what if a campsite is closed? Iceland does have summer and year-round campsites, so some of the campsites are only open during the summer months. However, this does not mean that they completely close the campsite. Right? So they wouldn’t lock you out, you’re not able to go into that area. You’re still able to park in that area of the campsite. It’s just that the amenities would not be open. So the toilets, the showers, the kitchen, all of those facilities would not be open for you to use if it’s not open year-round. However, that just means that you don’t have to pay to park, to camp. So win-win, I think.
So if you do come across a facility where the toilets are locked up, and you’re like, “Well, what in the world,” again, that is the best place to park and camp for the night because that’s a designated area. In that case, just use a restroom that’s in the gas station or something else that’s around that area.
Campsites in Iceland can be found everywhere, you guys. Almost all, if not all, of the villages in Iceland have a camping area. So just look out for the signs, or Happy Campers has a really amazing Google map that they can share with you that shows you all of the campsites in Iceland. So you will not have trouble finding a campsite.
In terms of campsite quality and what’s available at each place, every campsite is different. Some of them have the kitchen facilities, some of them don’t. Some of them have really nice, clean bathrooms, some of them don’t. Every place is different. You just kind of have to roll with the punches and do the best you can.
All right, my friends, I hope you loved the Happy Camper van tour. I’m not kidding when I say that I think that a camper van is the best way to travel through Iceland. I’ve done a lot of traveling in Iceland. I’ve done hotels, guesthouses, hostels, tent camping, camper van camping, and I just love, love, love the flexibility of using the camper van.
If you haven’t already watched my video on why I think that camper van is the best way to travel through Iceland, make sure to watch that as well. And if you have any questions at all about the vans or camping in Iceland, feel free to let me know in the comments below. Thanks again to Happy Campers for another amazing trip around Iceland. We loved our time around the Ring Road.
That’s it for today, friends. Thanks so much for hanging out with me, and I will see you next time for another helpful Iceland planning video. Until then, happy planning.
P.S. Happy Campers is the original camper van company in Iceland and is owned and operated by a local family. Their vans are in HIGH demand, so if you are considering this for your trip to Iceland, make sure to reserve in advance!
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Also watch: 5 reasons to rent a camper van in Iceland
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