I am not a strong hiker/backpacker by any means, so weight was of the essence when I packed for my trip to Patagonia. I packed and repacked many times and used a hand scale, literally weighing everything, down to the beanie I would choose to wear on the trek.
The contents of my backpack for a 5 day trek on the W circuit in Patagonia
Here was my packing list:
1) Food. While you can choose to buy food at the refugios, my friends and I chose to carry food with us and cook ourselves. For food I chose simple/easy meals like instant oatmeal, hot chocolate, pack tuna, and bars for breakfast/lunch and brought camping meals for dinner. And because I cannot live without tea, I also brought tea bags and Emergen C just in case.
2) Cookware and utensils. I brought a 20oz stainless steel cup that also doubled up as my pot so I could make hot water for my food. For utensil I brought a spork that was used for everything I ate. Note: my friends carried the stoves and gas for cooking so lucky me…I didn’t have to carry these items.
3) UV light pen. Water in Patagonia is super clean (lots of mineral so it looks cloudy) so there is not need to filter or treat water before drinking. However we used the UV pen just in case.
4) Head lamp/flash light. It is a must have for after dark activities. Even if you are staying in a refugio with power, some cut out power after a certain time.
5) Layers. The weather is crazy there. We experienced all sorts of weather conditions when we were hiking. Make sure you are prepared.
6) Waterproof everything. Jackets, pants, shoes, gaiters, rain coats, rain cover for your backpacks, gloves, etc. It rained on us. A lot.
7) Hiking gear. Hiking clothes, hats, poles, shoes, socks, etc.
8) Camping gear. We only camped one night at El Chileno so we ended up renting tents, sleeping bags and pads, but you can also bring your own if you wish.
9) Thermals. These double up as sleeping clothes.
10) Comfy sandals. After so many hours in hiking shoes give your feet a break!
11) Basic toiletries and personal items. I kept it very minimal and light!
12) Electronics. You can’t go a the way to Patagonia and not take pictures. The weight is worth it! And guess what? Refugios have power outlets, so bring your charging cables.
13) Wet wipes and sanitizers. Use during the trek. The facilities there are really good so you don’t even need to bring toilet paper unless you go on the trail. If you do remember it’s pack in pack out.
14) Ziplock bags. Useful for everything, including pack in/pack out needs. 🙂
15) Passport + tourist card. Make sure you bring both or else you get charged the extra local tax. They are really strict!
16) Money. There is beer and wine at the refugios. You can also buy food and snacks. All refugios accept credit cards. You do need cash for the ferry ride and the shuttle.
17) Swiss army knife. Just in case.
18) Extra Nalgene water bottle. For backup, hand washing, use as a cup for tea (you can use with hot water) or replacement of a bladder if you don’t want to use a bladder.
I think this covers the basics. If you have other suggestions, leave a message below!