Basic Kit List
When travelling to somewhere with weather as unpredictable as Patagonia, it is important to be prepared - having the right kit makes all the difference. Whatever kind of trip you are doing, it is important to pack the following items:
- Hiking boots
- Flip flops
- Vests & t-shirts
- Jumpers & fleeces
- Swimming wear
- Waterproof jacket
Other Important Items
- Toiletries (including bug spray & sun cream)
- Plug adaptor
- Towel (quick drying recommended)
If you would like to read more about the sockets in Chile and Argentina, and what kind of adaptor you will need, please see our webpage on Internet & Electricity.
- Passport & correct entry forms
- Driving licence (if hiring a car)
- Air tickets
- Swoop itinerary
- Cash & card
- Copy of insurance documents & passport
- Phrasebook & guidebook
If you would like to find out more information about the travel documentation you will be required to bring, please see our webpage on Passports & Travel Documentation. For more information about the type of insurance you will need, please see our webpage on Insurance.
I never leave home without my packable day sack - they are incredibly useful to whip out in a flash when you arrive at a hotel and you need an instant day bag for your water, map and camera. They are also really handy as an overnight bag if you are storing your main luggage elsewhere.
Sally Dodge Tailor-made trip & Lakes Specialist
Trekking Kit List
If you are doing a basic trek such as the W Trek or the Full Circuit, you will need to make sure you are extra prepared so you can keep warm and dry in the changeable Patagonian weather! As well as all of the Basic Kit, you should make sure you also pack:
Before you travel, you will need to have a good pair of waterproof hiking boots that have already been broken in. As you will be hiking for quite a few days, you want to make sure these will keep your feet dry and won't give you any blisters.
We would also recommend a good pair of wool blend hiking socks to keep your feet extra comfortable and warm.
If you are staying in refugios, bring a pair of sandals or flip flops for wearing inside so your feet can take a break from your hiking boots!
A pair of hiking trousers that are breathable and light are a must, as these will dry out quickly after rain and will keep you from getting too warm when hiking long distances. A few wicking tops and fleeces are important to stop you from getting too sweaty while hiking. Cotton does not dry as quickly, or keep you as warm during active days.
You will need to make sure you have a waterproof jacket and trousers, preferably gore-tex, to keep you dry in any downpours.
You will definitely appreciate packing a change of clothes for post hike around the hut or camp, so you're not stuck in your dirty hiking gear!
As Patagonia can be known to experience all 4 seasons in 1 day, even if you are visiting in summer it is worth packing a winter hat, gloves and a scarf or buff. Equally, you should make sure you have a sun hat and sunglasses packed for when the sun comes out!
Other Important Items
As you will be hiking all day, you will need to make sure you have a bag big enough for all of your day kit. We recommend a 35-40 litre backpack, although if you will be hiking for multiple days and carrying all of your kit, you should upgrade to a bigger bag - please see below.
As you will be trekking for a few days, trekking poles can be a good idea as these provide extra stability for anyone who has issues with their knees, and they can also be useful for providing an extra bit of balance. They are typically quite light and don't take up much space in your luggage.
A refillable water bottle or hydration system is extremely important. Water is refilled from the streams and taps in Torres del Paine National Park. These are clean sources and will not need to be filtered. However if you would prefer, you can bring your own filter or purification tablets, or purchase bottled water at Refugios.
A useful item to have with you is a headtorch, especially if you are camping. These can normally be picked up for around £15/$20 online.
If you will be staying at Refugio Torre Central, there are lockers available to store your valuables in, so make sure you bring a small lock if you wish to use these.
In Torres Del Paine, I wished I just had a Nalgene or similar water bottle - there was no need to carry lots of water, and it would have been easier to fill in streams.
I wish I had brought a microfiber quick dry towel for the trip - the other 2 guys said Swoop recommended a towel in their list but I missed that!
Camping Kit List
For treks staying at campsites instead of lodges, you will need a few extra things packed. Add the following to the trekking kit list:
If you are camping you will need enough room in your rucksack for a sleeping bag and sleeping mat, unless they are provided by the partner supporting your trek. We recommend a 40-60 litre mountain backpack, although this will depend on how much you pack and whether you are hiring porters.
If you do need to bring your own camping mattress, we recommend a Thermarest or similar. You should make sure that it is lightweight and compact so it is easy to carry. A 3-4 season sleeping bag is recommended with a comfort limit of -5 to -10 degrees celsius. It's important they have a compression stuff sack to save space within your bag.
If you're going to splash out on gear, you should invest your money in some hiking boots, a waterproof jacket and a good rucksack.
Harriet Pike Trekking, Mountaineering & Cycling Specialist
Winter Kit List
If you are hiking in Patagonian winter, there are a few extras you should make sure you have with you. Add the following to basic trekking kit list:
You will need to make sure that you have extra thick socks to deal with the cold - we recommend a few pairs of mid to heavy weight synthetic moisture wicking hiking socks. These will keep your feet warm and dry in the snow.
A pair of gaiters is also important if you will be hiking in the snow, as these will keep your socks from getting wet.
A good set of thermal underwear to wear underneath your hiking clothes is necessary to keep you warm in the winter months. It's also important to have a down or synthetic jacket that you can pop on whenever you stop for a break to stop you from cooling down too much.
In addition to the basic trekking kit, it is worth investing in a pair of warm mountain gloves. These will normally be waterproof and have an insulating layer to keep you extra warm.
Other Important Items
For a winter hike, a bigger rucksack will be needed for your extra winter gear. Typically we would recommend a 40-60 litre mountain backpack, although this will depend on how much you pack and whether you are hiring porters.
If you need to bring your own camping gear, you will need to make sure you have a 3-4 season down sleeping bag. The down will be important in keeping you warm in the cold, winter temperatures - these typically have a limit of -10 to -20 degrees celsius.
Pack light and make sure you have a good backpack! Follow the list as it's everything you need. There is wifi at the lodges but for a fee, and no good access to charging electronic devices to perhaps a solar charger or something of the sort would be handy.
Be very critical of how much and what you take on the track in your backpack. We took too much.
There are a few other items you might consider bringing, depending on your interests and preferences.If you are interested in birding and wildlife, you could pack a pair of binoculars. This will give you a better chance of seeing some Patagonian wildlife close up.
If you are a photographer, you should make sure you bring spare batteries and SD cards for your camera. There are charging sockets in all of the communal areas of refugios, so bring a camera charger too.
For those that are camping, pack a pair of ear plugs if you are a light sleeper, but also remember an alarm clock so you can wake up early to catch the sunrise on your treks!
Don't forget to keep domestic baggage allowances in mind when packing - these are 23kg for most airlines, and 15kg for Aerolineas flights.