We are no professional trekkers, just two people who love trekking. Once in a while we want to try something challenging. Our last big adventure was a five-day-long trekking in Patagonia, Chile. We put together this post to help you get ready and not to underestimate anything.
We hope not to forget anything important and to answer all your questions. Your trekking in Patagonia will be unforgettable but avoid unpleasat surprises with a proper preparation.
If you are curious about our trip in Chile, here’s more details.
Our trekking in Patagonia
We chose to do the most popular trek in Chile, the so called W-trek. The recommended number of days for the trek is 5. However, we would have loved to stay more and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Torres del Paine National Park. If you have the luxury of time take one day just to relax or explore the surroundings of your shelter.
To find out the details of our itinerary check the post.
It all starts and ends with proper equipment. Remember that the Patagonian weather can be pretty unpredictable. We experienced everything from hot to cold weather, caught a little bit of rain and fought against the famous Patagonian wind. It also gets to be very chilly at night. You should be ready for all of it but not carry too much stuff at the same time. In the end, you’re gonna have to carry it all around for five days. These are the clothes that cannot miss in your backpack when trekking in Patagonia:
- windproof jacket that will keep you warm
- sweatproof T-shirts
- trekking pants
- trekking shoes
- warm sweatshirts or sweaters
- warm pyjamas or something to sleep in
- woolen cap or beanie
- shawl or something to cover your neck with
- polarized sunglasses
- waterproof jacket or poncho
- warm socks and underwear
Try to remember one important thing: trekking in Patagonia means that you have to carry out your trash out of the park. Therefore try to use as little plastic as possible. Go for package free products such as solid soaps and shampoos. There are plenty of them. If you cannot buy it in your local shops for sure you can find them on the internet.
There are a few other things that will make your trekking in Patagonia easier:
- trekking poles
- medium size trekking backpack – keep in mind that you’ll be carrying it 80% of time, don’t go for anything huge or uncomfortable
- knee braces
- water bottle
- vitamins and supplements
- basic medicine and a tiny first aid kit
We all like to be adventurous and not plan too much. It’s great to just book one day before and right at the arrival. However, with Patagonia it gets a little complicated. The reason is that accommodation facilities are very limited and you need to plan your stay in advance. The W-trek is super popular and all the lodges were literally packed.
So here is the list of all the lodges and camps we stayed at and a little description of what you can expect from them. Oh and by the way, when booking make sure you mention you have a special diet or allergy.
This lodge is quite small and offers shared rooms and bathrooms. Use your sleeping bag as the beds have no covers and it can get pretty chilly at night. There is a big common room connected to the dining hall. In case you are not lucky with the Grey Lodge there is a camping further ahead. One of the facilities is a small shop where you can find the most necessary stuff and an internet room. The food was alright, nothing exceptional, but the portions will feed even the biggest eaters.
This is actually the point where you start your trekking in Patagonia, but if you follow the W-trek, you will sleep there the second night. It is much bigger than Grey but make no mistake. It’s gonna be full of people, even those who just come to spend one or two days in Patagonia. We actually slept in a two-bed room and it was nice not to smell strangers’ feet. The dining hall is huge and you can also have a nice drink in the bar above.
The greatest advantage of this lodge is its location. It lies just a few metres from the place where the catamaran stops. Moreover, you will get an incredible view of the blue lagoon from one side and rocky hills from the other side.
Paine Grande was the last place we slept in a bed. Los Cuernos is actually a camping site with a main building and common bathrooms. Sleeping in a tent is an interesting experience: all tents are build on a wooden structure that prevents small animals such as mice to enter your tent. The nights in Patagonia are cool but you will be alright inside the sleeping bags that you will find in the tents. We were a little squeezed in the dining hall but the delicious dinner compensated all. We had a super tasty vegetarian version of Pastel de choclo.
The last place we slept at during our trekking in Patagonia was this camping site. We had a feeling that all was a little improvised and nobody was taking a lot of care about the facilities. There were just a few toilets and long queues to use them. Plus there were so many people that the staff probably didn’t really bother to clean them.
Anyway, we really enjoyed the dining hall and a small restaurant a few hundred metres from the camping. The food was the best we’d had in four days. It is even very close to the point from where buses take you to the entrance to the Torres del Paine. Apart from the sometimes horrifying bathrooms and showers we didn’t have a bad time at the Campamento Chile.
All the lodges and camping sites provide both breakfast and dinner. In case you don’t want to bring too much stuff with you they will also prepare a lunch bag for you (mostly a panino and some snacks).
3. General advice
To conclude our little guide on how to get ready for trekking in Patagonia we would like to offer you a piece of advice as a result of our own experience.
1. Don’t overestimate your strength. It is not an easy trek and it is ok to give up. If you feel something is wrong or your knees stop obeying take a break or terminate your trek.
2. Add one more day to your trekking. You might want to enjoy some of the places longer or recover after a particularly challenging day.
3. Be ready for any type of weather. We experienced everything from sunny and hot to windy, rainy and cold weather.
4. Don’t worry too much about water. Most streams in the mountains are perfectly fine to drink from. Avoid drinking from the streams that are close to the lodges, they might be poluted.
5. Use your phone as least as possible. There is internet in all the lodges but it’s not for free of course. The fee depends on how long you want to stay connected but unless you need to inform your parents that you’re alive – switch it off! Explore the surroundings of your lodge, read a book outside or get to know other trekkers!
This is basically it. Hopefully we have mentioned everything important. If not, feel free to ask any questions in the comments!