What to pack for a Trekking in Torres del Paine
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
We know how much the weather can be unpredictable in Patagonia and therefore many doubts arise when it comes to what to pack for a trekking in Torres del Paine. Well, the answer is in fact not that easy, since that means being prepared for all seasons, whether you’re going to hike Torres del Paine W Trek or the O Circuit the main thing to remember is that it’s all about layering, especially when you’re hiking in Patagonia.
Another rule of thumb to consider is the “wet & dry” rule: one set of clothing is for hiking during the day while the second one is to keep you dry during for the night. Having a wide variety of layers means you’ll be comfortable in any situation.
Here it’s our suggested packing list:
Backpack: let’s start with the most important item. You’ll be wearing this pack on your back every day therefore make sure that it is comfortable and suitable for your back length. If you’re travelling to Patagonia to hike with us we regularly suggest to bring a daypack of 35/40 litres since we’re using Moutain Lodges and we won’t need to carry the camping equipment.
Hiking Boots or Hiking shoes: this is the second most important item for trekking, we suggest high ankle support boots since they give more stability and are safer, however, if you have previous experience and you’re used to hike with hiking shoes the trails of Torre del Paine National Park won’t present any problems for that. Make always sure your boots’ waterproof layer is good enough to protect feet and socks from moisture and water; recently purchased hiking shoes are more likely to give you blisters.
Windproof & Waterproof Jacket: a lightweight and shell layer that you might want to wear when hiking raining or very windy conditions, but you’ll probably be too warm to wear it while working up a sweat.
Lightweight Synthethic or Down Jacket: this will be your best friend on the trek, therefore make sure it stays dry. You’ll see that temperature in Patagonia can oscillate very quickly between days and even during the same day, especially if your gaining elevation during your hike, like for instance at the Base of the Towers. It’s good to have quick access to this item, thus keep it on the top of your backpack.
Polartec or Lightweight Fleece: keep this dry in your backpack while hiking and get it out when you make long stop as for lunch or wear it in the night after a hot shower.
Shirts or T-Shirts: short-sleeved or long-sleeved. Thin, lightweight and quick-dry; you can bring with you a couple of them. One to wear when you’re trekking during the day and one at night, while you’ve washed the first one.
Thermal Base Layer: long-sleeved to wear if feeling cold after shower, during dinner or when going to bed.
Hiking Pants: a comfortable pair of hiking pants, preferably made of a stretching and quick-dry material.
Windproof/Waterproof Pants: get a pair that are large enough that you can just pull them over your hiking pants. They shouldn’t be tight and “fitted”, having zippers on the side to let in air is a plus.
Socks: special hiking socks are made of two layers which can rub onto each other and prevent from having blisters. It’s good to bring 2/3 pairs so that you can wash them in the night and use them the next day.
Beanie & Gloves: they turn useful when the weather worsen or when reaching higher elevation. Despite the fact during our programs we won’t climb higher than 1000-1200 meters, here in Patagonia at this elevation the temperature can drop below zero Celsius even during the summer months. It’s good to have a back-up then!
Neck Warmer or Buff: a handy and useful item. Pull it over your neck and mouth when it’s windy, rainy or cold; if it’s warm and sunny it protects your neck from the solar radiation.
Sunglasses: the radiation is quite high in Patagonia where there is no ozone layer, low humidity and no pollution at all.
Ball Cap / Fishing Hat: this should be fitting well on your head, sometimes heavy gusts blow hats away.
Trekking Poles: you may think that hiking poles are useless, but in the intense winds of Patagonia, you’ll want to have a pair to keep you sturdy on the mountain. Plus, they help to relieve some of the weight on your knees, and assist in crossing streams. If you’re going to trek the O-Circuit you’ll thank them after descending from John Garner pass.
Trekking towel: lightweight and microfiber. Remember that Mountain Lodges do not provide towels to guests.
Headlamp: useful if camping or in case the power generator is off during the nightime.
Water bottle: lightweight stainless steel / aluminum reusable flasks are the best. The water is clean and fresh enough to drink straight from the rivers; therefore a 1 liter bottle would be sufficient. If you’re accustomed to use purifying tablets bring them with you if they make you feel more relax.
Camera: to capture the incredible nature of Torres del Paine. Bring extra batteries, although you can charge your electronics at most of the refeugios and campsites.
Insider tip: when packing your backpack, divide your item and pack them into different dry bags (use different colours to sort them out quickly), placing the bags with the equipment you're going to use at the Mountain Lodge in the bottoms and the items you might need during the days like down jacket or waterproof layers on the top.
As an additional precaution, you might consider to place everything inside a big garbage bag which will be useful as a further protective layer.