It’s always difficult to find that perfect balance of which gear you need to take on an adventure. Too much and you are lugging around useless stuff. Too little and you can find yourself in a difficult and potentially life dangering situation.
Before we can delve into exactly what should be taken and what should be left at home we need to consider the way in which you are planning on exploring Patagonia and in this instance Torres Del Paine. For example, there are 2 ways to hike the W trek these days – self-sufficient camper life or Refugio relaxation.
What’s the difference? Well mainly money. It costs a hell of a lot more to stay in a bed then a campsite.
You can work your butt off carrying everything that you need to enjoy the Torres. Or you can work your butt off to earn the money to stay in a refugio and enjoy someone else’s cooking while just carrying the basic clothing and snacks between refigios. This is an incredibly personal choice and there’s no judgemnt here if you decide to do one over the other. As we will be camping and exploring for nearly two months before we reach this part of the world we are going 100% self sufficient.
In the words of James – “You can work your butt off carrying everything that you need to enjoy the Torres. Or you can work your butt off to earn the money to stay in a refugio. Either way, your butt is going to get a good work out along the way”
How will this impact what I need to take?
Are you going to be carrying your own gear, including camping equipment? I’m calling this the Epic Adventurer package.
Splashing the cash and hire gear/bed along the way.
If you’re going to splash the cash you can at some expense hire gear at some of the campsites. If you are wanting to hire gear at the campsites and not carry it along the way you can pre-book this service with either Vertice or Fantasticosur. Prices really do vary from businesses and in between the campsites. Again this is one of those annoying things that you will need to pre-book and pay for in advance.
In all honesty, I’d suggest that if you are going to hire gear to do this before entering the national park. There are several places in Puerto Natales.
Where to hire gear from-
Just a note – gear hire is priced per day. So the initial prices may look appealing but it really will depend on how long you are planning on heading out for.
The Bare Basics
So this isn’t another the ultimate, take 20kgs worth of cool camping gear kind of list. No, this is a list which guides you on the absolute bare basics that you should take with you. A few of you had asked us what was the most important things we are taking and it was hard to say. Mainly because we have some super cool camping gear that we take along with us.
Summer? Winter? Patagonia weather doesn’t care. You’ll need to prepare for all four seasons. Dressing in layers that can be easily removed or added is the key. Choosing items that dry quick (for easy laundering or if you fall in a puddle – it happens to the best of us) and pack down small will make travel life oh so much easier.
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof pants (over pants)
- Thermal pants
- Thermal top
- Tee shirt
- Insulated Jacket (a down or synthetic puffer is ideal)
- Clean underwear
- Socks (beware of seams that could rub)
- Well worn hiking boots
- Beanie and warm gloves
- Water bottle
- Sleeping matt
- Sleeping bag
- Head torch
- Toilet paper
- Cooking equipment – stove, pot, plates, cutlery
- First aid kit
- Bag to carry it all!
Seriously though you’ll need a good backpack that suits your body. And there’s a lot to choice from!
Don’t forget these documents.
Passport. Campsite booking documents. Chile tourist card.
Booking documents? What? Yes that’s right. As we previously mentioned in stage one – Preparing for Patagonia – and numerous times above, you need to prebook ALL your campsites. It’s painful. I’m not going to lie. You’ll need to grab a bottle of wine and pencil out your desired campsites. Start off booking with the free campsites at Conaf. As you can change these dates for free. Then send off an email request to Vertice and or Fantastictosur. And then you wait. And wait until the booking requests come through, you pay and receive a booking confirmation.
Yes, the following booking sites supposedly have online booking platforms. We found that these open at very odd times of the year. So taking the advice from the team at Erratic Rock it’s best to email in your request.
Other things to consider
Snacks. Ain’t nobody got time to be hangry whilst out on the trail. Your budget and arrival city (ie where you’ve been before Puerto Natales) may dictate how much of your budget goes towards snacks. There are very limited chances to purchase food once you have entered the national park. Remember that someone has to physically get these delicious treats into the national park for you to buy. So you will be paying an extreme premium for this pleasure.
Personal needs – toiletries. Some people who have long blonde hair may require a few certain luxuries and be willing to sacrifice space and weight. Not that I’m pointing fingers at anyone but we all have different personal hygiene needs. Sunscreen, tooth brush & paste and maybe deoderant should be packed and taken with you.
Entry fee – At time of writing the entry fee to the national park is;
Foreign Adult: CLP $ 21,000 – please note that Chilean residents pay a lesser fee as their taxes go towards maintaining the park.
Have you been to Torres Del Paine?
Let us know in the comments below. Have any questions? Ask away and we’ll do our best to answer based on our current planning and research.
Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker
Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.
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