Laura Pattara | 9 September 2017
Find out what to pack for your Patagonia holidays.
Patagonia attracts a certain kind of discerning traveller and if you’re on the lookout for a comprehensive Patagonia packing list you obviously dream of dramatic landscapes that are unspoilt and blissfully remote; brimming with a mesmerising array of unique wildlife and nature-made treasures. Traveling to and through this remote southern region of South America is not without its logistical challenges, and if you want to conquer this awe-inspiring place like a pro then best you pack like one too.
Whether you pack all your essentials from home, or pick up a few genius additions along the way, your Patagonia Packing List will ensure your adventures to the end of the world are comfortable, safe and immensely convenient.
Following are some special factors you’ll need to consider, to help you thoroughly enjoy your journey:
Layered Clothing – Much like Shrek, you ought to think of yourself like an onion. At least as far as clothing is concerned. Patagonia is renowned for its unpredictable and at-times brutal change of climate so, no matter what time of year you visit, you should be prepared to keep up with the crazy weather. The only way to do that is to dress and pack in layers. Between the heated 4WDs and lodges, and the nipple-freezing winds, you may feel like you’re constantly putting on and taking off jackets, beanies, gloves and whatnot and, for the most part, you will be, But that’s the nature of the beast and as long as you come prepared, you’ll be just fine. The amount of clothing you bring will depend on how long you visit, of course, and how long your trip to South America will last. By and large, however, we recommend 3 changes per week, given laundry facilities are on offer. You should aim for warm, quick-dry and breathable fabrics. One dressy top or dinner shirt ought to cover you for fancy dinners if staying in one of the many luxury lodges in Patagonia.
Rainproof Outer Layers – Rain is a fickle business in Patagonia, much like wind and sun. Pack a thin waterproof jacket and separate pants (that’s the most practical when out and about, especially on cruises offering Zodiac excursions) rather than those flimsy disposable rain ponchos which seem to keep everything dry except the person actually wearing it. Same for your bags! Your main suitcase/bag will mostly be stored in vehicles and lodges yet your day-to-day bag should also have its own raincover. Given the high winds, we suggest you get a clip-on one or bring some longer elastics to hold it in place.
Day pack – Whether you’re planning full-day hikes or just day-long excursions, you’ll need a small and compact daypack to hold your camera gear, your bottle of water, some snacks, your sunscreen and, of course, those layers that you keep taking on and off!
Shoes – Even if you’re not planning any hikes at all, you’ll still want to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes with a good gripping sole. Some of the lookouts will still require a moderate or mild walk and as the terrain can be craggy and slippery you can avoid sprained ankles and tiredness but coming prepared. You’ll also want a pair of comfortable indoor shoes for when relaxing at your lodge of an evening.
High-factor sunscreen, hat & sunglasses– Everything is so vibrantly colourful in Patagonia that it will seem the sun shines brighter here than elsewhere. Well, it does, especially when hiking on glaciers. Sunburns are a common nuisance in Patagonia so pack – and wear – plenty of sunscreen, don a hat and bring sunglasses for the brightest days.
Dedicated activity gear – The wonderful thing about Patagonia is that it offers such an amazing array of different activities, so the rest of your packing ought to concentrate on the activities you’re planning to do. Hiking boots and walking poles if trekking, binoculars if bird-watching (actually, a great idea for everyone) a good quality sleeping bag and head-torch for camping out in the wilderness and so on. If planning a small group tour of Patagonia, then check with your trusted agent to let you know if there’s anything specific to your tour that you should bring along.
Patagonia may indeed be a rugged and remote place yet chances for picking up quality items, and even renting some for a few days, are certainly there. Whilst you may not want to rent bad-fitting hiking boots (hello, blisters!) you can rent sleeping bag, hiking poles and other items. Simply let us know what your preference is and we’ll direct you the best way forward.
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