Packing Lists

Patagonia Packing List for Trekking & Camping

Patagonia Packing List for Trekking and Camping adventures in South America

This post is also available in: German

This Patagonia Packing List will help you to prepare for your outdoor adventure in one of the most stunning regions of South America.

I created this list based on my Patagonia trekking experiences in Chile as well as Argentina in the following regions: Torres del Paine, Los Glaciares, Carretera Austral, Esquel and Bariloche.

[box type=”info”]Before you go to Patagonia make sure to check out my Backpacking in South America section where you'll find loads of free guides, like trekking guides for Torres del Paine. I spent more than 7 months in South America, this list is an extension of my South America Packing List.[/box]

1) Backpack & Bags

Let's start with the essentials – a good trekking backpack is needed to carry all your stuff around. For this you should get one which is comfortable, adjustable to your body, spacious and durable.
 
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2) Clothes

Compared to city trips you need to pack more functional clothes due to the weather conditions which can change very quick in this region. Moreover you should invest into some good outdoor clothes which are comfortable but also easy to handle. I plan for only a few days, after or in between I wash my clothes – this ensures to pack lightweight.
 
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  • 4x underwear
  • 2x socks
  • 3x T-Shirts (mid layer) – I recommend using breathable sport shirts
  • 1x Hiking Pants, with the option to turn into a short pant (like this one from Columbia)
  • 1x Rain Pants (optional)
  • 1x Fleece Jacket (mid layer) – highly recommended for colder parts and the evenings! (e.g. from Columbia)
  • 1x breathable, waterproof Jacket as shell layer (overview on Amazon)
  • 1x Scarf – for cold and windy parts
  • 1x Hat/Beanie
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Consider: I focused on the summer season, for winter you should add at least one layer and exchange shirts for warmer clothes! If you don't mind getting wet you can also go without rain proof gear and take some spare dry clothes for the campsite (which you never use anywhere else than in dry surroundings!) .

 

3) Toiletries

As you are out in the nature most of the time we keep it simple here – when you're back to civilization you'll have all amenities in your Hotel or you can buy your favorite products in the next shop ;)
 
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  • 1x toothbrush and toothpaste
  • 1-2x soap (lightweight, easy to handle) – simply the best when you're in the nature
  • 1x basic skin cream
  • 1x sunscreen
  • 1x roll of toilet paper
  • 1x micro fiber towel, dries super fast, lightweight and small (e.g. Travel Towel)
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4) Trekking Gear

If you don't go trekking in Patagonia you'll miss out on something great – therefore following some items on this Patagonia Packing list for trekking adventures.
 
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5) Camping Gear & Cooking

Camping in Patagonia means to be prepared for rough weather conditions – your tent should be durable, due to the strong winds I recommend using one with aluminum poles as other materials tend to break more easily!
 
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  • 1x tent – the tents from MSR are high quality and come with aluminum poles, another cool option is this ultralight tent where you use your hiking poles!
  • 1x mat – to protect from hard and cold underground
  • 1x sleeping bag – preferably small, lightweight but still warm
  • 1x pair of flip-flop – to use in the camp after a long day in your hiking boots (e.g. Havaianas)
  • 1x head lamp – you will need it in the night! (e.g. top-rated models on Amazon)
  • 1x Stove – preferably for gas cans
  • 2x gas cans – you can mostly buy them in the town/village at the spot (Puerto Natales, Calafate, El Chalten, Bariloche, Punta Arenas)
  • 1x pot – you'll use it for everything: preparing meals and cooking water
  • 1x plate, fork, spoon, knife
  • 1x metal cup
  • 2x lighter & matches (as fallback option)
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6) Food

Basically it’s very individual what to take for a multi-day hike. My main focus was to pack as light as possible because food will be the heaviest part on the Patagonia Packing List and with this in your Backpack.
 
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  • Breakfast: porridge & dry fruits, tea bags / instant coffee
  • Lunch: cereal bars, nuts, dry fruits & Snickers
  • Dinner: rice / pasta plus sauce powder, salami and cheese to add flavor
  • Chocolate & Candies
  • a small plastic bottle of alcohol (evening and for celebrations) ;)
  • another option is to take lightweight prepared meals!
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7) Tools & Gadgets

All items here are optional – I used them on different treks and found them to be useful for my needs.
 
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8) Maps & Guide Books

If you want to come well prepared you'll find more information in my Backpacking in South America guides – for everything else the following are great resources for Patagonia:
 
backpacking in chile ebookBackpacking in Chile: my Chile Travel Guide
 
This is a clear and concise 100 page eBook based on my experience from 4 months traveling through Chile.
 
It includes travel guides for each region of Chile as well as a complete trekking guide for Torres del Paine, plus route itineraries. Checklists are included to help make sure you don’t forget anything.
 
This eBook is designed to save you a lot of time & make your trip much easier. Download it now and take it with you!
 
more information >>


 
backpacking in argentina ebookBackpacking in Argentina: my Argentina Travel Guide
 
This is a clear and concise 100 page eBook based on my experience from 3 months traveling through Argentina.
 
The book includes travel guides for the several regions of Argentina as well as a tiny trekking guide for El Chaltén and Ushuaia. Checklists are included to help make sure you don’t forget anything.
 
This eBook is designed to save you a lot of time & make your trip much easier. Download it now and take it with you!
 
more information >>


 
torres del paine trekking mapTorres del Paine Trekking Map (waterproof)

I used this map to prepare my itinerary in Torres del Paine, Chile. As it is a waterproof map it is also great to use it on the trek!
 
buy it on Amazon >>

el chalten trekking mapEl Chaltén Trekking Map (Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre)

If you plan to hike around the argentinean trekking capital El Chaltén this is the right map to buy. It even covers the border crossing to get to the starting point of the chilean Carretera Austral in the north!
 
buy it on Amazon >>

lonely planet patagoniaTrekking Patagonia, Lonely Planet

This is a must if you plan to hike a few times in Patagonia as this guide has itineraries for several parts of Patagonia and even for Tierra del Fuego. It's a good resource for the popular spots like Torres del Paine and Chaltén as well as the lesser known parts. Highly recommended!
 
buy it on Amazon >>

lonely planet chileChile & Easter Island, Lonely Planet

The Lonely Planet for Chile covers also Patagonia and lines out the most popular things to do, comes with small maps of the covered cities/villages and gives recommendations on restaurants and places to stay.
 
buy it on Amazon >>

lonely planet chileArgentina, Lonely Planet

The travel guide for Argentina covers also Patagonia and lines out the most popular things to do, comes with small maps of the covered cities/villages and gives recommendations on restaurants and places to stay.
 
buy it on Amazon >>

 

9) Insurance

I highly recommend to get a good travel insurance as in almost every case your current health insurance won’t work in most of the countries. During my time I used the awarded Travel Insurance by WorldNomads which you can easily purchase online for the exact time needed:
 

 
 

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Disclaimer: This post contains Affiliate Links for services and products I’m using on my travels – therefore I can highly recommend using them. By using this links you won’t pay any additional fees but support me to keep this site running!
 
  • Mads

    I have a question! I’m planning a similar trip to yours, and I was wondering if you acquired all of this gear after you went to South America, and if not, how were you able to fit it all in a small backpack, as the ones you recommend on your SA packing guide?

    Regards,
    Mads

    • Hey,

      I got some of the stuff down in Patagonia but would recommend to buy it before. I used straps to attach my tent, mat and sleeping bag to the backpack. I bought cooking gear down in Chile and ditched it once I left Patagonia (I gave it fellow backpackers who were at the beginning of their Patagonia trip).

  • Diego

    Hi Steve – I’m planning my trip to El Calafate and El Chalten in January and I’m considering on buying all my equipment in Germany before heading there. But I was wondering if there’s anything worth considering to rent in there, specially bulky things (like sleeping mat and bag, etc).

    Also, any recommendations for the hiking boots? mid or high cut or maybe even good running shoes?

    Thanks!

  • Jelle Spierings

    Super advice all over, there is only one thing that you understate. Taking dried or freeeze food in Chile seems to have become merely impossible over the years after increasing border patrol.

    Therefore all stuff should be bought in Puerto Natales. We found this out after buying a 100 dollar worth of food.So food food food buy it IN Chile, not before.

  • Hi Jalal,

    good sleeping bags which are also lightweight will always end up costing a lot of money. For Patagonia I always recommend getting at least a sleeping bag which goes down to -5°C as the comfort zone is different (mostly only until 5-0°C). The max temperature printed on sleeping bags are the “extreme temperature” (which means you wouldn’t feel comfortable but you wouldn’t die).

    It always depends on the time of year and where you go. Patagonia is diverse – you can sleep in a valley where it is much warmer or you camp out next to a glacier. If you are limited with your budget you could consider renting a sleeping bag (e.g. Puerto Natales) for that specific hike or staying at refugios.

    For a 2 day hike I’d suggest getting sandwiches, müsli bars/nuts and fruits, no need to cook. But in your case you are doing the circuit, it could be nice to cook some warm meal – you can rent cooking gear in Pto. Natales as well.

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