12 Essential Items For Patagonia Travel
Patagonia offers some incredible wild adventures, with an endless offering of breathtaking landscapes for trekking, wildlife-spotting and embracing the great outdoors. But it’s also a land of extreme weather conditions, with four seasons in one day a frequent occurrence. Bright, sunny skies can quickly transform into howling winds and sleet, with your body being exposed to freezing temperatures, then warming rapidly under exertion.
So how do you prepare for every eventuality, with clothing that is not only practical but can easily be adjusted as the weather dictates? We’ve put together our essential Patagonia packing list, with 12 items that should be on every traveler’s list.
Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive packing list, just a snapshot of “must have” items for the most comfortable Patagonia experience.
1. Hiking Boots
Most Patagonia trips will involve some amount of trekking and a pair of sturdy and supportive hiking boots will make this a much more comfortable experience. Invest in waterproof boots if you’re planning on spending multiple days out in the wilds or doing any glacier trekking (where your boots will be strapped into crampons), ensuring your feet will stay warm and dry.
Thick socks that pull up over your ankles are an essential trekking item, as they’ll keep your feet warm and will offer protection against rubbing boots and nasty blisters. Merino wool is the go-to item for most high-quality outdoor socks, providing warmth and dryness. Hiking socks can be quite pricey, so you could opt to pack a couple of high-quality hiking socks and a few regular inner socks that can be changed more frequently.
3. Layering Pieces
Layering is the secret to being prepared for Patagonia’s unpredictable weather. A range of long and short-sleeved tops are a great idea, as well as long undergarments or thermals for when the mercury plummets. A combination of layers allows you to easily add or remove items in response to the changing temperatures, weather conditions and your level of activity.
4. Insulating Layer
Pack a couple of light fleeces or a jacket for extra insulation that can easily be removed in the heat of the day or after a strenuous uphill trek. This doesn’t need to be waterproof, just warm and lightweight so that you’re not carrying excess weight in your pack when it’s not required.
5. Rain Jacket
Even if you’re visiting Patagonia at the height of summer, don’t be surprised if the skies open and you’re subject to a good drenching. The weather here can be highly unpredictable and a rain jacket is necessary, not only if you’re out trekking but also for general sightseeing trips and exploring the Patagonian towns. Invest in a rain jacket that is breathable so you won’t overheat while trekking in wet conditions.
6. Rain Pants
Once your clothing gets wet in Patagonia, the cold will quickly seep through to your body and there’s nothing worse than being out in the elements and freezing! While most travelers pack a rain jacket without a second thought, waterproof pants are also worth their weight in gold in environments subject to extreme weather conditions. Bring rain pants that are completely waterproof (not water resistant), ensuring they’ll stave off the wet and provide an added layer of protection against strong winds.
Keep your fingers toasty warm with at least one set of woolen gloves and consider investing in a waterproof pair as well if you’re doing multi-day hikes or glacier trekking. Fingerless gloves with attached hoods are a practical solution for those that don’t like removing their gloves every time they want to take a photograph or grab something from their pack.
Polarized sunglasses that will protect your eyes from harmful UV rays are a “must”, particularly for those who plan on trekking at high elevation. Glaciers can create significant glare when the sun hits them in the middle of the day, while the high Patagonian winds will penetrate even your eyeballs. Opt for sunglasses with a wraparound design that are practical and protective, rather than being stylish.
The sun in Patagonia can be deceptively strong and although you might not feel its heat, it can still do your skin a lot of damage. So always wear a hat when you’re out and about in full sun, preferably a broad-rimmed one that will protect your neck too. A beanie is also a lifesaver on cold nights or when trekking in windy conditions as it will not only keep your head warm (and reduce excessive heat loss) but it will provide a much-needed respite for your ears.
10. Scarf or Buff
Keep your neck warm and protected from the elements with a scarf, bandana or buff - whichever you feel more comfortable wearing and suits your level of activity in Patagonia. Scarfs can be a bit bulky on long treks and outdoor pursuits, while a buff is lighter in weight and can double as a protective face shield against UV radiation and wind.
11. Hiking Pants
Pack one or two pairs of comfortable, lightweight hiking pants that give you the flexibility to move while being breathable at the same time. Some people love zip-off trousers that can be transformed into shorts and these are a practical alternative if you like to get a bit of sun on your legs when it does make an appearance.
12. Dry Bag
One or two small dry bags are an important addition to your Patagonia packing list to keep your personal items and valuables protected in wet conditions. One can be used to store electronics (such as cameras and lenses) in your day pack, while the other can protect items in your main luggage, just in case it’s left out in the elements.