This Patagonia packing list has everything you need to take with you if you intend to hike in Patagonia.
I am (almost) a pro at packing – the “almost” being caused by the fact that there often is a little something I forget, and that I have to get as soon as I arrive at my destination. I generally manage to pack for any trip in under one hour, and I usually keep my backpack under 10 kg, even if it is for a long distance hiking trip.
Check out my post “The Perfect Hiking Packing List For A Long Distance Trek.”
A hiking trip to Patagonia is no different. There are certain items that shouldn’t be missing from your backpack, and others that you can probably do without and that would only end up being useless weight on your shoulders. This is why I have decided to put together what I think is the best Patagonia packing list.
Looking for the most incredible hikes in Patagonia? Check out my post “Hiking In Patagonia: 16 Incredible Trails.” Make sure to also read my in depth guides: “A Guide To Hiking Around Fitz Roy, In El Chalten,” “A Complete Guide To Hiking To Laguna Torre” and “A Complete Guide To Perito Moreno Glacier.”
My Patagonia packing list highlights all the essential gear you should take with you if you intend to go hiking, but keep in mind it is meant to be for an accommodated trip where you have the option to sleep at hostels or hotels.
5 Things To Consider When Packing For Patagonia
You should pack light
One thing to keep in mind when packing for Patagonia – or for anywhere in the world, really – is that you are better off packing light and keeping to the bare essentials. I have come to the conclusion that no matter how light I pack, I can always pack lighter. There are occasions when you may have to carry your backpack for longer than you may wish, and in any case the opportunities to dress up in a place like Patagonia are virtually non-existent: people walk into bars and pubs right after hiking, covered in mud and dirt!
You have to be prepared for rain, wind and snow – any time of the year
The weather tends to be unpredictable in Patagonia. You may be extremely lucky as I was when I hiked to Laguna Torre and Laguna de Los Tres, and get beautiful sunny day, or be caught up in the heavy rain and snow like I was in Ushuaia (yes, it was the middle of the summer!). This is to say: you have to be prepared for any weather condition, and make sure your Patagonia packing list includes rain gear and warm technical gear for colder conditions.
Traveling to El Calafate? Make sure to read my post “A Complete Guide To El Calafate, Argentina.”Going to El Chalten? Don’t skip “An Excellent Guide To El Chalten.” Going to Tierra del Fuego? Check out my post “Everything You Need To Know About Ushuaia, Patagonia.”
You should wear layers
This is actually true for any hiking trip, and even more so if you travel to Patagonia. Even if you go to Patagonia in the summer, make sure to wear layers, starting with a good technical tank top as the under layer, and then a thermal or quick dry shirt as a base layer. Add a good fleece and wear a wind and rain proof jacket as a top layer. You will likely get warm and sweat a bit on a sunny day and if you walk uphill, and you will have to take layers off. But as the weather changes rapidly the temperatures may drop again and you may need to layer up again.
You should wear quick dry clothes
A good Patagonia packing list should include items that dry quickly, and that you can easily wash at night in the sink of your hotel room and which will be dry by the morning, by the time you are hitting the trails again.
You need to consider your accommodation options
Do you intend to camp or to sleep in hostels or hotels during your trip to Patagonia? This is an important thing to consider when putting together your Patagonia packing list. If you are thinking of camping, you’ll inevitably have to bring a tent, a heavy duty sleeping bag and a camping mattress with you and keep the rest of the list even more to the bare essentials.
Please be advised that this Patagonia packing list is meant to be for travelers who are planning to stay at hostels and hotels, and who will have a bed to sleep and a bathroom to shower and wash their clothes.
What You Need To Include In Your Patagonia Packing List
Hiking Essentials And Trekking Gear For Your Patagonia Packing List
Choosing the right backpack is essential for any trip, and it should be no different for a trip to Patagonia. This is the first item you need to think when putting together your Patagonia packing list: its size and fit will determine the rest of what you carry.
No matter how long you are traveling for, I recommend keeping the weight you carry around down as much as possible. You shouldn’t carry a backpack that packs more than 40 liters for women, or 50 for men. Make sure your backpack is lightweight, but also sturdy and either waterproof or with a good cover that you quickly put on if it starts rain.
The best backpacks to me are those that have various compartments and that open from both the top and the bottom, and with side pockets where you can place items you want to easily get hold of, such as your water bottle.
I have used various backpacks throughout my traveling career, of various brands, and I have resolved that the best to me are Osprey packs. Other brands such as The Real Berghaus have some excellent ones too. The following are the best 40 and 50 liters backpacks that will fit everything you should include in your Patagonia packing list.
- Osprey Tempest – for women: a great 40 liters backpack.
- Osprey Stratos – for men: a good 50 liters option.
- Osprey Aura 50 – for women: it’s a bit bigger than what I would normally recommend, but the weight can be spread easily so it ends up being comfortable.
- Osprey Talon 44 – a perfect in-between option.
- Berghaus Freeflow – a good choice for both men and women.
Unless you are planning to hike long distance, you should include a daypack in your Patagonia packing list. A good daypack should be small enough so that you can carry it around easily, while at the same time able to fit an extra layer of clothes, enough food and water for the day, a basic first aid kit, your camera, smartphone and power bank. I have tried several daypacks and these are my favorite:
- Osprey Daylite Plus – it carries just about enough for a day out; the two side pockets are perfect to fit a bottle of water, the small front pocket allows you to keep small items such as a phone or tissues.
- Lowe Alpine 22l – nicely fits a camera, it has an adjustable waist strap and has a waterproof rain cover and lots of small pockets to fit items such as tissues, keys, lip balm and your smartphone.
Your Patagonia packing list should include the following clothes:
- 2 pairs of loose fitting, rain proof hiking pants. Loose fitting pants are necessary so you can wear a base layer underneath on the coldest days. I like by my new Kuhl Horizn Straight or my Kuhl Weekendr.
- 2 tank tops that you can wear as the under layer. I am a fan of Kuhl Harmony and Kuhl Aprira tank.
- 2 long and 2 short sleeves t-shirts. I usually pack my Kuhl Sora t-shirt, which I have in several colors, and the Kuhl Svenna shirt. Both of them are long sleeves.
- A thermal or technical shirt to wear on colder days. I have a Kuhl Alva Thermal.
- A comfortable cotton t-shirt – I like Kuhl W S Born Tee – it’s comfortable, lightweight, and good to either go out or to sleep in.
- A good fleece – I like Kuhl Alska. Take an extra one in case it gets extra cold: you may want to invest in a mycro-fleece, that keeps you warm despite being super lightweight.
- A good wind proof jacket. I am a fan of Kuhl Airstorm Rain.
- A warmer jacket for the colder days – Kuhl Firestorm down jacket is perfect if it snows. Another good option is Kuhl Spyfire Hoody.
- 3 pairs of underwear and the same amount of hiking socks – good hiking socks prevent you from getting blisters.
- 2 comfortable and quick dry sports bras for the ladies.
A Patagonia packing list must include a pair of excellent hiking boots. Good hiking boots will keep your feet warm and dry even when the terrain is wet and muddy (like in Laguna Esmeralda), or if it snows or rain. You also want to make sure that you have proper ankle support and a good grip when the terrain is uneven, rocky or slippery.
Check out my post “A Complete Guide To Hiking Laguna Esmeralda.”
These are some excellent hiking boots which you may want to include in your Patagonia packing list:
- Merrel Moab – in waterproof version.
- Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX –for both men and women, excellent on rough terrain.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX – thought to be the best overall hiking boot.
- Lowa Renegade GTX Mid – for both men and women.
- Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX – a good option if hiking on rough terrain.
Make sure to also add a pair of flip flops or light sandals in your Patagonia packing list. They are essential to give your feet a break after a long day of hiking.
Other Items To Add To Your Patagonia Packing List
The incredible landscape of Patagonia calls for photography and it would be a pity not to take pictures. Make sure to include a good camera and lenses to your Patagonia packing list, and if you are not a photography geek, go for a good smartphone with a great camera.
My camera gear typically consists of the following:
- A good DSLR camera. I use a Nikon D3300.
- A couple of good lenses. I generally carry a 18-105 millimeters, good for landscape photography, and a 70-300 millimeters one for wildlife photography (the guanacos and red foxes in Patagonia are perfect models).
- A smartphone with a good camera. Mine is a 6s Plus, which has a fairly good camera, but you can opt for newer models such as the iPhone X with double lens. It’s a good compromise if you don’t feel like carrying the weight of a DSLR.
- A power bank – to charge your phone on the go.
Alternatively, you can also use:
- A go pro – good for hiking, mountain biking and even for rafting or for those selfies with penguins you’ll take in Puerto Madryn.
- A compact camera – there are some great one that are nice and easy to use, and that pack very light. But honestly, if your smartphone has a good camera just stick to that!
Discover more about Puerto Madryn in my post “A Complete Guide To Puerto Madryn, Argentina.”
Beauty And Personal Care Items
A proper Patagonia packing list should include some personal hygiene items. If you are traveling carry on only make sure to pack the travel size version. You may even want to consider things such as solid shampoo and conditioner since they pack super light and obviate the issue of liquid restrictions.
Other than the obvious, this is what you should add to your Patagonia packing list:
- Sunscreen, best if high SPF – the sun can be very strong in Patagonia.
- Hand sanitizer.
- Very hydrating lip balm.
- All purpose biodegradable soap bar: you can use it as a laundry soap and even to shower or wash your hair.
- Tea tree oil: you can use it to medicate minor cuts, and can apply it on insect bites to ease the itch.
- Toilet paper or tissues.
First Aid Kit
A good Patagonia packing list must include a first aid kit and a few medications. Here are some essentials:
- basic pain relief medicines such as paracetamol.
- imodium or any other diarrhea medication.
- bandaids and other bandages.
- antiseptic wipes and cream.
- cortizone cream.
Miscellaneous stuff to add to your Patagonia packing list
Other things to include in your Patagonia packing list are:
- A hat to protect against the sun, and a beanie to keep you warm on cold days.
- Leggings or thermal underwear to wear under your hiking pants on the colder days. I love Kuhl Kaskade Bottom.
- Gloves – it can get really cold in the morning.
- Sunglasses – they protect from the sun and from the strong wind and dust of Patagonia.
- A power bank.
- A GPS device.
- A compass: it will help you navigate the trails, especially if all else fails.
- A water bottle that you can refill – the rivers in Patagonia are pristine and you can easily refill.
- A water filter – if you want to be extra safe.
- A head lamp or a torch – chances are you won’t need it if you travel to Patagonia in the summer, as the days are very long, but you never know!
- Snacks – to give you a quick energy boost till you make it to dinner.
- A pair of jeans and a shirt and extra sweater to wear when you are not hiking.
Check out my post “Ten Reasons I Always Get Travel Insurance.”
A trip to Patagonia is all about enjoying nature and the incredible views, and on challenging yourself to hike some more. This is to say: don’t worry about being pretty; just make sure to be comfortable, stay hydrated and healthy, and eat earthy food (carbs, vegetables and proteins) to give you lots of energy to hike.
To better prepare your Patagonia trip, make sure to read my post “30 Things You Should Consider Before Traveling To Patagonia.”
Traveling long term? Make sure to read my post “All The Useful Backpacking Essentials For Long Term Travel.”
What items would you add to a Patagonia packing list?