Recommended Equipment List for Trekking in Patagonia
Try to go as light as possible and take only the essentials.
We ask that you bring one duffel bag for your gear with a lock. Make sure your duffel is sturdy and water-resistant. Daypack. It should have a capacity of 20 to 30 liters (1500 to 2000 cubic inches), and can double as your carry-on bag.
Spare roll-up duffel
Consider bringing a small, roll-up nylon duffel (lockable) to store your city clothes.
Trekking in Patagonia requires that you bring comfortable and adequate clothing to protect you from cold (and possibly wet) weather. We recommend that you layer with synthetic clothing (such as polypropylene, capilene, or pile). Synthetic fabrics are the most effective barriers against the cold. They provide the best insulation, they are light in weight, wick away perspiration, and dry quickly if wet. Wool and wool/synthetic blends are also suitable.
We discourage the use of cotton garments in cold or wet mountain conditions. When layering, the innermost layer should be long underwear. The middle layer can be a synthetic turtleneck or wool shirt, and pants. The outermost layer should be a synthetic or down jacket, and/or a good quality waterproof/windproof parka and over-pants. We have not included quantities for each item listed. Use your own judgment, based on the length of your trip and overall packing/weight restrictions for your luggage.
- Regular underwear (synthetics are easier to wash and dry)
- Synthetic thermal underwear (a lightweight long underwear top and bottom of a polyester-type fabric - wool and wool/synthetic blends are also suitable)
- Long-sleeved, synthetic or wool shirt
- Short-sleeved synthetic or cotton/synthetic T-shirts
- Medium-weight sweater or jacket of synthetic fabric, such as fleece
- Medium-weight down or synthetic-fill jacket
- Full-length pants, preferably of quick-drying synthetic fabric
- Hiking shorts, preferably of quick-drying synthetic fabric
- Pile/fleece pants, ideal for around camp
- Sun hat with wide brim (preferably with a chinstrap to keep it from blowing off)
- Bandanna (it will keep your neck from getting sunburned and can double as a hand towel)
- Wool or pile hat or ski cap
- Rainproof/windproof parka (must fit over bulky clothing)
- Rainproof/windproof pants, preferably with full-length side zipper (must fit over your other pants)
- Gloves or mitts (wool or pile)
- Waterproofed shell gloves or mitts
- (optional) Sturdy poncho to protect daypack and camera gear from rain
This is where the rubber meets the road—take care in your choice. Sturdy, properly fitting footwear can make your trip much more pleasurable. If you’re buying new boots for this trip, please break them in advance by wearing them as often as possible before the trip. Medium-weight, all leather, sturdy hiking boots with padded ankle, good arch support, and a lug sole traction. Your hiking boots should be waterproofed, well broken in, and suitable for prolonged walking on rocky terrain and possibly snow. Running shoes or Hiking shoes are NOT appropriate for this trip.
- Tennis shoes or Teva-type sandals to wear in camp (optional)
- Comfortable walking shoes to wear while in towns
- Medium weight synthetic socks
Torres del Paine Circuit Trek:
- Light or medium-weight sleeping bag (synthetic recommended with temperature rating of –15°C/5°F)
- Full or 3/4 length sleeping pad
- Sandals if we need to cross creeks
- Wide mouth water bottles, 1-liter capacity. Bring 2 and make sure they are leak-proof, heavy-duty plastic (preferably Nalgene brand).
- Toiletry kit—soap, toothbrush, etc.
- Moisturizing lotion (the air in Patagonia is very dry)
- Insect repellent
- Ace bandage or brace if you’re prone to sore knees or ankles
- Hiking poles (optional but highly recommended)
- Spare pair of prescription glasses, prescription sunglasses, or contact lenses (Attention contact lens wearers: parts of Patagonia are very dusty — plan to wear glasses some of the time.)
- Sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. The sun in Patagonia is much more intense than you probably imagine
- Sunscreen lipstick of SPF 15 or higher
- Small flashlight with spare batteries, or small headlamp with spare batteries
- Small padlocks or combination locks for your duffels
- Plastic bags of various sizes for keeping things sorted out in your duffel (Ziplock bags work well. Nylon stuff sacks to stash your bulky gear into)
- Heavyweight plastic garbage bag to use as a waterproofing liner inside your daypack, internal-frame backpack, or duffel
- Towel and washcloth. The campsites we use have hot water showers
- Personal first aid kit