What to Pack for a Patagonia Adventure

We’ve been planning this trip for almost a year. Traveling to Patagonia is a bucket list item that we are grateful to experience. We had a wonderful travel agent, Colleen with Earthwalk Journeys, who mapped it all out for us based on our interests and budget. Her own experience in world travel gave us some insights on what sites and lodges we should visit.

Now that the trip is booked, it’s time to pack for drastically different weather and activity scenarios. Our itinerary:

  • Day 0.5 – Seven-hour layover in Panama City, where we plan to hail a taxi and visit the Panama Canal via the Miraflores Visitor Center. Temperature High 90° / Low 70° F.
  • Day 1 – 12:14 AM – Arrive in Santiago, Chile, where we will have a couple hours to sleep in a hotel room before quickly exploring Plaza de Armas in the few morning hours we have before catching our 10:20 AM transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Puerto Natales. Santiago temperature: High 88° / Low 58° F.
  • Day 1 – 3:48 PM – Arrive in Puerto Natales, Chile, where we’ll have a couple days of touring the glaciers in this region. Température: High 58° / Low 44° F with a 60% chance of rain.
  • Day 3 – 12:00 PM – Arrive in Torres Del Paine, Chile, where we have some major trekking planned, including one day where we’ll hike 11 miles with a 3,000 foot elevation change. We’ll also ride some horses and aside from visiting the infamous glaciers, experience the Lenga (forest) and waterfalls. Temperature: High 62° / Low 41° with a 50% chance of rain (and we’ve been told some extremely high winds, which can get upwards of 70 mph this time of year).
  • Day 6 – Arrive in El Calafate, Argentina, where we’ll visit more glaciers, hike and sail on some boats. We’ll also visit the Glaciarium & Ice Bar. Temperature: High 63° / Low 45° F with only a 20% chance of rain (yay!).
  • Day 9 – Arrive in Buenos Aires, where we’ll only have an evening to experience the night life and restaurants initially. We hope to get a lay of the land for when we return. Temperature: High 82° / Low 66° F.
  • Day 10 – Arrive in Puerto Iguazu, where we’ll visit the Iguazu Falls and are prepared to get very, very wet. Having been to Niagara and Victoria Falls, we kind of know what to expect. Rain gear will be mandatory, but unlike in Torres del Paine, it will be too hot to wear fleece rain pants. Temperature: High 78° / Low 65° F.
  • Day 11 – Back in Buenos Aires, where we’ll tour the city and experience more of the culture, including a wine-tasting and empanada-making class followed by dinner and dancing show.
  • Day 13 – Head home.

In other words, we’ll need to prepare for hot and humid, hot and wet, frigid and wet, frigid and windy and wet, and just plain frigid. In addition, we’ll need rigorous hiking, casual city site seeing, wet waterfall exploring, and fine dining in a fancy city sets of attire. Oh, and did I mention we’re photographers? So all of our photography equipment and accessories will be coming with us as well. All in one piece (er, plus a backpack) of luggage. Challenge accepted!

Here’s what I’ve packed (my husband has packed much of the same, except for the dress and sports bras):

  • 4 pairs of thermal under-shirts and pants
  • 4 pairs of hiking pants (2 zip-off for Panama/Santiago and Buenos Aires/Iguazu)
  • 1 pair waterproof fleece hiking pants
  • 2 fleece zip-up sweaters
  • 1 3-way waterproof/windproof jacket with hood (inner, outer, combo)
  • 1 pair high-top, waterproof hiking boots
  • 1 pair comfortable walking shoes w/ traction
  • 1 pair dressy-er flats (don’t take up much room)
  • 10 pairs wool socks (varying thicknesses)
  • 5 pairs regular socks
  • 2 neck gaitor scarfs
  • 1 beanie
  • 2 pairs gloves (1 thick waterproof/windproof, 1 thinner for photography)
  • 4 t-shirts/tank tops & 4 long-sleeve shirts
  • Sports bras and underwear
  • 1 dress
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 set pajamas
  • 1 pair sports sunglasses that are both 100% UV protection and polarized
  • 1 camera bag, with the following contents:
    • Nikon D7100
    • Lenses: 70-200mm & Wide-angle
    • Filters: Polarizer & Neutral Density
    • Plenty of memory and back-up batteries
    • Chargers
    • Remote control
    • Cleaning equipment (air, wet wipes, cloth)
    • Lightweight Tripod

As for toiletries, in addition to the usual suspects, we’ve also made sure to pack bandaids (for blisters), SPF 50 sunscreen (due to thinner ozone layer), SPF chapstick and bug repellant (for Iguazu Falls).

I’ll be sure to post our photos and adventure stories once we’re there!

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