This past January, I took a trip to Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia. My hiking route, the W trek, was a great choice because we had all our room and board taken care of by staying at refugios along the way. This helped lighten our packs significantly compared to our trip to Yosemite! In addition to a big pack, follow this W trek packing list to make sure you have everything you need for your trip to Patagonia.
Gear for the W Trek
You don’t need any heavy-duty gear since you’ll be staying at the refugios, but here’s a list of things that are useful for the W trek.
1. Osprey Packs Women’s Tempest 30 Backpack
There are lots of opportunities to leave your big pack on the W trek so a day pack is necessary. I actually only carried this day pack for the whole trip since my boyfriend’s pack was pretty huge.
2. Osprey Hi-Visibility Raincover
It will rain on the W trek. Be prepared and bring a pack cover.
3. LED Headlamp
You’ll be sharing a room with strangers so once the light is out, it’s out for the night. Bring a headlamp in case you need to go to the bathroom or want to read. Some of the bunks are stacked three high so it’s dangerous without a light!
4. LED Tactical Flashlight
This is more necessary if you are camping any of the nights. Even if you aren’t, this flashlight is really good. We used it Yosemite and keep recommending it to whoever will listen.
Clothing for the W Trek
Even though we visited Torres del Paine in the summer, they say you can experience all four seasons in one day. We only experienced three of the four so I didn’t need my winter jacket, but I recommend being prepared just in case. I brought an outfit for each day which wasn’t really necessary because I kept wearing the same long sleeve shirt and leggings. Here’s what I brought for clothing:
1. Hiking pants of some sort
I wore workout leggings like these instead of hardcore zip-off pants
2. A long sleeve shirt(s)
I pretty much wore this the whole time.
3. Short sleeve shirts(s)
These shirts from Under Armour are good for wicking away sweat.
4. Winter jacket
I brought the inside layer of my ski coat but didn’t actually use it. If I didn’t have it, I probably would have needed it!
5. A fleece
I went with the classic North Face Denali.
6. L.L.Bean Women’s Gore-Tex Mountain Treads Hiking Boots
These boots were absolutely amazing. I stepped in a huge puddle of mud and it slipped right off the boot and they didn’t look dirty at all! It was actually really impressive. We had rain on two of the days of the trek and my feet stayed completely dry the whole time. I recommend hiking books for Patagonia rather than hiking shoes since the trails can get muddy.
7. SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks
If you’re prone to blisters like I am, the thicker the sock the better!
8. North Face Rain Jacket
You’ll likely experience rain at some point so a raincoat is a must. This one does a good job of preventing you from overheating thanks to the armpit vents.
9. Columbia Rain Pants
Rain pants will keep you from becoming a miserable drowned rat like I was the day I was too stubborn to take them out of my pack.
10. Havaianas Flip Flops
You’ll want these for the shower…trust me.
11. Packing Cubes
These are essential for staying organized since you’ll be pulling stuff out of your bag and repacking each night.
Packing tip: If you want to ensure that your clothes stay dry, put your packing cubes inside a trash bag and then put them in your pack.
Other Items for the W Trek
1. A book
There’s a fair share of downtime once you finish hiking each day so I highly recommend bringing a book.
2. Anker Compact Portable Charger
There are limited outlets at the refugios. If you need to charge your phone, you’ll have to leave it at the front desk in most instances. I recommend bringing a portable charger like this one that can fully charge your phone six times!
3. Raqpak Microfiber Travel Towel
You can rent a towel at most refugios but they sometimes run out (and that’s kind of gross). This towel dries super quickly so you can repack it soon after using it.
4. Band-Aid Blister Block for Heels and Band-Aid Blister Block for Toes
The W trek is decently long so you may end up with a blister or two. I used these for heels and for toes the moment I felt any rubbing. Stop the blister before it forms, you’ll thank me later!
Check out these articles for more information:
- How to Get to Torres del Paine from Santiago
- Hiking the W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park
- 5 Highlights of Torres del Paine National Park