Travelling across Iceland in an off-road vehicle isn’t for everyone, but for those of you who want to go on an adventure that will take you out of your comfort zone, strip things back to basics, challenge you to adapt to new surroundings, and see some of the world’s most natural, untouched wonders along the way, then read on…
Luckily, the women who undertook the Polaris Outlanding Project earlier this year have experienced first-hand what it’s like to go on an adventure across this landscape, so here are our top insider tips if you’re thinking of doing the same…
1) DON'T PACK TOO LIGHT
This doesn’t mean you should book yourself lots of excess baggage on your flight. All that extra baggage has got to be stored somewhere, and even though our SXS vehicles have cargo beds and a great payload capacity, the fewer bags you have to haul, the better.
What we mean is, it really pays off to have slightly more clothing and accessories than you might need. If the temperature drops lower than forecasted, it means you’ll always have a couple of extra layers to put underneath your waterproofs. If you hit a water crossing just a little too hard and get drenched, a spare pair of socks for each day or a dry pair of gloves are warmly welcome.
When packing for this type of adventure, it’s easy to cull the things that might be useful but aren’t necessarily required to save some space. Things like small dry bags for wet towels, waterproof phone pouches, backup power banks or even emergency chocolate – all things that require a little extra room, but you’ll be thankful you have in certain situations.
Don’t forget to pack everything in a good-quality waterproof duffle bag as it’ll likely be exposed to the elements!
2) GET OFF-ROAD TRAINING BEFORE YOU GO
You might be a seasoned off-roader, but when you’re in another country or on terrain that you’re not used to riding on, things can be very different, and it’s always good to have some new tricks up your sleeve to help you get out of tough situations.
In the UK, there are specialist off-road training programs such as EASi (European ATV Safety Institute) which provides training courses for ATV and UTV operators, as well as land-based certified training providers like Lantra, which offers specific courses for off-road vehicle operation.
The ladies of the Outlanding Project completed at least one of these courses before they went to Iceland, and even though they all considered themselves competent riders beforehand, they learnt invaluable skills that helped them to approach the harsh terrain of Iceland with confidence rather than hesitation.
This leads us nicely to…
3) PLAN YOUR ROUTE CAREFULLY
This goes without saying – ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ and all that – but the route is the biggest factor that will determine the success and enjoyment of your trip.
The Polaris Outlanding Project’s route changed several times before the final route was agreed upon. Originally, it was planned that the ladies would complete the famous ring road of Iceland, but after careful consideration, not only did it turn out to be too many miles to complete in six days, but it lacked the varied terrain that would test the vehicles’ capabilities. With the help of Stormur – Polaris’ distributor in Iceland – the team finally worked out a route that felt right: A mix of unpaved F-roads and mountain passes from the south to the north of the island and back, creating the perfect yet challenging route (and most importantly, legal) that passed a number of must-see tourist hotspots with a glorious mix of different terrain and backdrops along the way.
4) STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR GROUP
A small addition that had a HUGE impact: Cardo units. Allowing the team to communicate with each other – both drivers and passengers – the Cardo units elevated the whole experience. Not just for safety aspects from the lead vehicle, like “TRUCK COMING” around tight bends, or help with driving aspects like “WE NEED LOW RATIO FOR THIS CLIMB”, but also for the entertainment factor, laughs and encouragement along the way.
What’s so good about the Cardo Packtalk Edge that the ladies used in Iceland? Well, it’s wireless, hands-free, sand/mud/waterproof, toolless installation, and the innovative dynamic mesh communication allows up to 15 riders to be connected all together, with up to one mile of rider-to-rider range.
There’s no better way to feel like a team than being connected to enjoy the moments together.
5) PREP YOUR VEHICLE FOR ALL EVENTUALITIES
With hundreds of both Polaris-engineered and third-party accessories to choose from for each vehicle model, you’ll find it easier than ever to prepare your vehicle for this type of adventure.
For Iceland, the girls had a mix of Polaris and partner-supplied parts added to their vehicles. Firstly, and probably the most necessary: Storage racks and roof bars were added to the Polaris General. Rhino-Rack produces world-class, durable and easy-to-install roof racks and mounting systems specifically for the Polaris Ranger and General platform, whilst the team also had a custom-made multi-rack by Taubenreuther to ensure everything could be packed securely and maximise the payload capacity – including their IKamper 3.0 roof tent from Campwerk and Xobi outdoor kitchen.
For more information as to what parts and accessories are available for our off-road vehicles, check out our online brochures.
Read our TOP 10 VEHICLE MODIFICATIONS FOR AN OFF-ROAD ADVENTURE for more tips and tricks for how to prep your vehicle!
Whether you’re feeling inspired by the Polaris Outlanding Project and planning your next Icelandic getaway in an off-road vehicle, or if you’re looking at a slightly warmer destination in the dunes of Morocco or the Middle East, you can be sure that a heck of an adventure awaits you.