Patagonia packing list essentials | Tips for a perfect adventure

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Patagonia is, without doubt, where every adventure traveller wants to go right now. It isn’t really that much of a surprise why. 

Patagonia offers unparalleled adventures. Incredible landscapes, unique driving experiences and fantastic hiking opportunities. Enough to keep even the most intrepid traveller satisfied.

We’ve travelled through much of the southern half of South America. Our 5 months in Patagonia will forever be the highlight. So much so, we’re about to return for the autumn and winter period!

So, if you’re heading to Patagonia, you’re in for a real treat. Knowing what to pack will ensure you have a stress-free and unforgettable trip.

Here’s the only Patagonia packing list you need for a safe, dry and comfortable adventure.

This Patagonia packing list will help you pack exactly what you need so you can enjoy your adventure.The more you know, the less you need!

Who is this Patagonia packing list for?

What you need to pack for travel in Patagonia will depend on a few factors.

When will you visit? What will you do when you’re there? How will you travel around Patagonia?

Packing for a winter trip in Patagonia is completely different from a summer trip.

If you plan on taking multi-day hikes, you need more gear than if you only plan on shorter (equally epic) day hikes. 

And if you’re travelling around Patagonia in a camper van (totally the way to go), your carrying capacity is greater than if you’re backpacking.

We travelled through Patagonia in our camper van, Baloo during the summer and early autumn, doing some incredible day hikes along the way.

Pack exactly what you need for Patagonia so you can enjoy your adventure. This Patagonia packing list will help you prepare - the more you know, the less you need!

Our Patagonia packing list is designed for anyone planning to spend time in the region. Whether it be for a week, a fortnight, a month or more, your packing needs are the same.

What we haven’t covered is packing for the more adventurous and extreme activities like ice trekking or climbing. If you plan to do any of these, seek the advice of the organisers on anything you need to pack specifically.

Chances are, they’ll provide any specialised kit anyway.


Pack for the Patagonian weather

When packing for your Patagonian adventure, keep the weather in mind. 

If you’ve heard people say they’ve experienced all 4 seasons in 1 day in Patagonia, they’ve hit the nail on the head.

The proximity of the Andes mountains, the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and Antarctica combine to whip up a meteorologist’s worst nightmare for predicting the weather. 

Strong winds, rain, snow and clear blue skies are possible, all within a few hours of each other. 

A warning sign of the strong winds in the Patagonian Steppe

The austral summer season runs from December to February. The days are warm (not hot), the nights are cool (not cold), the winds ferocious and it can rain anytime, even snow at high altitudes.

Fall (autumn) runs from March to May and the Patagonian temperatures begin to decline. The winds tend to calm down a little, the days and nights become colder and more of the rain falls as snow at lower altitudes.

Winter in Patagonia is cold and snow storms, icy roads and low visibility are the norm. Even so, the winds are mild and some days offer up clear blue skies.

By late September, spring is warming the region once again, longer days welcome in the increasing winds once more.

The unpredictable conditions form part of the adventure of travelling to the end of the world. It also makes knowing how to pack for Patagonia less than straight forward.

Check out our definitive guide to the regional seasons to find the best time to visit Patagonia.

Patagonia packing list Snow in Torres del Paine

Patagonian horse flies or tábanos

Then there’s the infamous Patagonian horse flies or tábanos. They’re annoying, give a nasty bite and hang out in huge quantities. They don’t respond to being swatted away either.

Their numbers seem to peak around January and February around low altitude regions and they especially like water.

Dark and brightly coloured clothing seem to attract the pesky things too so try packing neutral colours like khaki and beige. And nope – insect repellent doesn’t deter them.


How to prepare for travelling in an extreme environment

Don’t be fooled by the beauty of the Patagonian landscape. This is a harsh environment with extreme conditions to test any unprepared travellers – and a few of those fully prepared too.

Not convinced? 

Chilean Patagonia has dozen of volcanoes, some active. A few have erupted violently and with little to no warning in the past few years.

Chaiten Volcano in Pumalin Park blew in 2008 after 9000 years, destroying the nearby town with volcanic ash.

Hiking in Pumalin Park

The mountains of Patagonia offer some of the most technically challenging climbing in the world and iconic hiking.

Injuries aren’t unheard of and remember, state of the art medical facilities are a long way away from these remote corners of our planet.

The Patagonian desert (or the Patagonian Steppe) is a dry and remote region with a combined population of not many. If you have an accident or get lost in this part of Patagonia, you’ll be in trouble.

And you best hope the success of the regional wildlife conservation efforts don’t come and bite you, in the guise of a wild puma!

Patagonia is an extreme environment so come prepared. Before leaving home make sure you have a few things in order.

Travel vaccines

Packing for extreme environments of Patagonia

Ask your doctor for the latest medical advice for travel vaccinations. At the time of writing, we don’t need vaccines unless we travelled from (or through) a country where yellow fever or cholera are a problem – like Brazil

It’s best to have the Hep A vaccine and be up-to-date with your Tetanus too. But we don’t offer medical advice so make sure you ask your doctor.

The site does not provide medical advice. This site is for information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Travel insurance

Patagonia packing list - epic landscapes

If you haven’t heard us mention it before, we’ll say it again: if you can’t afford a travel insurance policy, you can’t afford to travel. 

In a region where an unexpected injury may need medical evacuation, costs can spiral. Can you afford to pay tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for that level of care? 

Please, for heavens sake, buy a travel insurance policy. Take a look here at the 3 travel insurance providers we recommend.

If you’ve never bought travel insurance before, read this post to help buy the right policy for you.

Is your passport in order?

Most Patagonia itineraries involve crossing the border between Chile and Argentina multiple times. 

At best, the customs officials will use empty spaces in your passport so you can squeeze in 4 stamps per page. 

Make sure you have enough free pages in your passport for all the stamps you need.

Patagonia packing list - waterfalls in Patagonia

For us, at the time of writing, we need a minimum of 6 months left on our passports to enter Chile or Argentina. But this can change and differs for each nationality.

Make sure you check with your own foreign office for the current entry requirements.

Confirm bookings before you leave

As travel in Patagonia grows in popularity, so demand for accommodation and tours increases. 

Even out of season, booking accommodation can be a challenge because so few hotels, hostels or campsites remain open during the winter.

For anything you need to book, like car hire, flights, accommodation or organised tours, wherever possible, confirm your reservations in advance. Or be prepared to miss out or wait for the next available slots.

Car hire in Patagonia

Patagonia packing list - hire car

If you’ve hired a car or camper van intending to travel through both Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia, make sure you’ve informed your car rental company. 

You’ll need the necessary paperwork and insurance documents to allow you to take the vehicle across the borders.

Don’t accept the vehicle without it – the border officials will not allow you to leave. It’s a sure fire way to ruin your itinerary.


Patagonia packing list

So with all this in mind, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the Patagonia packing list so you can concentrate on the adventure ahead.

The list includes everything you need. We cover what clothes you need, footwear, rucksacks and day packs, electronics, toiletries and basic hiking & camping gear.

We’ll even cover a few essential accessories too! 

This Patagonia packing list will help you pack exactly what you need so you can enjoy your adventure.The more you know, the less you need!

Rucksacks, day packs & dry bags

Your rucksack, day pack and dry bag are some of the most important things you’ll bring to Patagonia. 

Suitcases just don’t cut it when it comes to travelling around the region. You need luggage you can count on not to split, disintegrate in a strong wind and is inherently light and comfortable. 

Rucksacks for travelling in Patagonia

If you’re backpacking your way round South America or planning a few multi-day hikes in Patagonia, you’re going to need a good quality rucksack.

Something you can carry comfortably and adjustable so it fits you well. It should be as light as you can afford so the bag doesn’t add unnecessary weight to your back. 

Hitch hiking Argentina Patagonia

When choosing your perfect rucksack consider the pockets and compartments. You want everything you need to be easily accessible so you don’t have to unpack everything each time you need something.

Around 55 – 65 litres should be plenty and plan to not even fill this. We know from living in a van that the more storage you have, the more you pack. 

Travel as light as possible and having a sensible sized rucksack will help you achieve this. Your back will thank you for it.

Make sure you have a waterproof rain cover – not splash proof or shower proof. You won’t be a happy hiker if all your worldly belongings are soaking wet after a long day hiking.

If your rucksack isn’t fitted with an integral rain cover, you can buy them separately.

Buy on Amazon


Back packs

We live and travel in a camper van – a pretty cool backpack we think. So far, we have no notion of doing a multi day hike so have little need for rucksacks. 

We do have an ultra cheap duffel bag we used to board a ship to Antartica and a flight to Easter Island though. It won’t last for many more trips though but it folds up to nothing and for 95% of our travels, it’s stored under our camper bed.

We figure we’ve already had our money’s worth.

We do use our back packs all the time though. 

35 litres is a good size bag for 1 day hikes. It’s big enough to carry our camera gear, lunch, water bottles and other essentials.

We even strap our tripods to it. Try to get one with a rain cover and if it doesn’t have one, buy one separately.

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Dry bags

Hopefully this one speaks for itself but in case you’re in any doubt if you need one….

I lost a camera to a torrential downpour a few years ago. The small price of a dry bag would have saved me thousands of pounds.

Dry bags come in durable, lightweight fabrics and fold up flat so take up little space. We always pack one in our day packs. We never know when an unexpected downpour is going to catch us out.

If you plan to use a dry bag on overnight camping trips or multi-day hikes for your electronics, make sure to double bag them as a precaution.

Avoid condensation on the inside of the bags by throwing a couple of silica-gel packs in along with the electronic items.

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What to wear in Patagonia

The key to surviving Patagonia’s weather is to wear layers. By layering clothes together you’ll keep comfortable during outdoor pursuits.

You can keep cosy in chilly conditions and easily peel off a layer at a time as you warm up.

Layer leggings with trousers, vests with long sleeve t-shirts and weather resistant coats and you’ll be set.

Try to avoid cotton clothing which get wet through sweating and doesn’t dry fast. This can be dangerous if you’re hiking in cold conditions so leave the jeans for happy hour and off the mountain. 

Instead, opt for synthetic materials designed to be breathable, moisture-wicking, light and fast drying.

Base layer tops x2

Merino wool is a good choice to wear against your skin because it naturally helps regulate your body temperature.

Lightweight, it keeps you warm in cold temperatures and holds moisture in the heat.

It’ll last a few days before you need to wash it and when you do, it dries super fast.

Long sleeves are great if you’re planning a trip to Antarctica or if visiting Patagonia in winter, early spring or late fall. Otherwise, consider a short sleeve base layer, topped with another layer with long sleeves.

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Base layer leggings x2

If you plan to travel in Patagonia during the winter months, or if you intend to camp, merino wool base layers will keep you cosy all night long.

If you only plan to do day hikes, we think base layers for hiking in the warmer months is a bit overboard.  

And you’ll get little to no privacy in the height of the hiking season to take them off.

They’re perfect for the chilly nights to wear as pyjamas though.

Buy on Amazon


Hiking pants x3

Invest in a couple of pairs of decent hiking pants. Look for quick drying, durable fabrics.

If you buy the kind that have zippers to remove the legs, they convert into shorts.

Saves on space and weight too although don’t let the fashion police catch you.

If you really want to push the boat out, you can get a pair of waterproof trousers too but we don’t think they’re essential unless you plan on taking multi day hikes.

Buy on Amazon


Short sleeve T-shirts x3

Some Patagonian days can be quite warm and a t-shirt is perfect for lounging around town or even some of the hikes.

But make sure to have your warm fleece layer within arms reach!

Of course, t-shirts are versatile too so perfect as a mid layer when it’s really cold, or underneath a fleece jumper when it’s not so cold.

You’ll need 3 or 4 depending on how long you plan to stay. Laundry in Patagonia is quite expensive!

Buy on Amazon


Long sleeve tops x2

Long sleeve tops helps protect your arms from the sun as well as biting insects. 

They’re also great when the weather isn’t quite cold enough for a fleece jumper, but not warm enough for a t-shirt.

Unless you’re travelling in the winter, it’s unlikely you’ll need a base layer, t-shirt and long sleeve top for day hiking though. If you’re camping out in a tent, you sure will!

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Shirts x2

This is as dressy as it gets in Patagonia.

Everyone, everywhere is dressed for the outdoors and casual attire is the norm.

Pack a shirt or 2 for walking around town and restaurants. If you don’t want to carry the extra weight though, don’t worry.

Your clean hiking gear is fine – you’ll fit right in.

Buy on Amazon


Fleece sweaters x2

Fleece sweaters are terrific for a Patagonian adventure.

Lightweight and breathable, they’ll fit into your backpack when you get too warm, without weighing you down.

You’ll only need to pack a couple for a week if you buy good quality, fast dry fleece.

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Waterproof jacket

Did we mention it rains in Patagonia? And the wind is wild too.

You need a good waterproof, windproof jacket to protect you from the elements.

We have a couple of fantastic waterproof & windproof coats and since we’ve had them we wouldn’t want to hike in Patagonia without them.

They keep us completely dry, block all the wind so we don’t feel the frigid chill. The material breathes too so we don’t get sweaty underneath.

Buy a good quality to ensure the weather doesn’t ruin your trip.

I know they’re not cheap but they’re worth every penny for the comfort and peace of mind they give.

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Outer down jacket

Lightweight and cosy, a good quality down jacket will protect you from the wind and keep you warm. We even used ours often during the summer months in Patagonia. 

We’re about to spend autumn and early winter months down there and expect to use it a lot more then.

Perhaps underneath our waterproof coats if it gets so cold.

Buy on Amazon


A couple of buffs

A buff is basically a stretchy bandana in a cylinder shape.

You can use it as a scarf, head band or face mask so perfect for hiking in windy conditions.

And Patagonia is windy!

These buffs are so versatile, you’ll end up carrying a few in your back pack for emergencies!

Buy on Amazon


Hiking gloves

Cold fingers and hiking aren’t a great combination. In fact cold fingers are just awful and can ruin an otherwise fabulous day.

And you know how once you get your fingers cold it takes an age to get them warm again.

Invest in a good pair of hiking gloves for warmth and insulation in the mountains.

Buy on Amazon


Warm wooly hat

While the temperatures in Patagonia during the summer aren’t especially cold, once you start climbing altitude it can get pretty chilly.

When we hiked Torres del Paine in the height of summer, it was bitterly cold at the top with a lot of snow too.

A wooly hat is essential, even in summer. In winter, we’ll probably wear it over our buffs!

Buy on Amazon


Sun hat

A wooly hat AND a sun hat?

We did mention how temperamental the Patagonian weather is.

Not only that, but southern Patagonia is pretty close to the hole in our ozone layer making the sun particularly dangerous in the area.

So make sure you don’t get burnt with good protection. 

A sun hat will protect your head, face and ears and UV blocking sunglasses will protect your eyes.

If at all possible, get a sun hat with an attached mosquito net. When those horse flies come out to play they will drive even the most hardened hiker from the mountain!

Don’t be shy with the sun cream either. 30 SPF should be the minimum protection you use. 

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What footwear do you need for a trip to Patagonia?

So you’ve planned a trip to Patagonia so you probably intend to do some hiking. 

Some sensible hiking footwear is necessary but what else do you need to pack for you comfy feet?

Merino wool socks

A good pair of hiking socks can help protect your feet. 

Bear in mind though while thicker socks add more cushion, they’re also warmer so may cause your feet to sweat more too. 

Pack thick hiking socks and thinner ones too. 

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Compression socks

Never mind the fashion police. Compression socks help improve blood flow from your weary legs to your heart and reduce the chance of swelling.

Avid hikers swear compression socks improve performance and help you recover faster from a tough hike. 

Maybe you’re not in this to win any races but you sure as hell want to reach those iconic viewpoints. 

We’ll take anything that helps!

Buy on Amazon


Top tips to avoid getting blisters

  1. Wear good fitting socks so they don’t slip down into your boots or shoes.
  2. Make sure your boots fit well too and aren’t loose or too tight. And break them in before a big hike!
  3. Never walk in wet socks, so pack a spare pair in your day pack.
  4. Put plasters on problem areas before you start. Prevention is better than cure.

Hiking boots or walking shoes

Hiking boots or hiking shoes? Which do you prefer and which is best for hiking in Patagonia?

We have both hiking boots and walking shoes. The shoes are far lighter and so less tiring on long walks. We use our walking shoes in cities, towns and on relatively easy hikes or walking trails. For fair weather hiking they’re perfect.

But for anything more challenging, either long hikes, or where we expect to cross multiple terrain types, we’d never consider anything other than the boots.

They are a little heavier than the shoes but the ankle support far outweighs the disadvantages.

Crossing streams (and there’s plenty of them in Patagonia) doesn’t result in wet feet. 

Inadvertently landing in muddy puddles doesn’t lead to a trickle of sticky goo running into your socks.

We recommend a pair of good quality, waterproof and lightweight walking boots.

Angela’s father recently joined us for a few days in Patagonia and he hiked a few easy trails in hiking shoes

If you arrive with only walking shoes and decide you’d like to take on one of the more challenging hikes, there are plenty of equipment hire shops to rent a pair of boots. 

Just pack a few pairs of liner socks just in case.

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Flip flops

After a 20 kilometre hike, you’ll be grateful for a pair of flip flops to lounge around your hostel or campsite in.

I don’t know about you, but once them hiking boots are off, there’s no way they’re going back on again in the same day after that kind of trek!

And if you make sure the flip flops are waterproof, you can wear them in the shower too.

Buy on Amazon


Basic hiking equipment

Don’t forget to pack your hiking equipment. It’s going to get a whole lot of use down here in Patagonia!

It’s not only those hiking the “W” trek or the 4 day Cerro Castillo route who need hiking gear.

You should plan to have some basic hiking equipment even if you only want to do the short half day or 1 day hikes in Patagonia.

This list of basic gear is perfect for day hiking in Patagonia. It’s inexpensive, small and lightweight enough to fit in your back pack and makes for a comfortable hiking experience.

Hiking poles 

Don’t think these are only for those not used to hiking. Virtually everyone uses them in Patagonia. 

They make for a far easier hike by giving a little extra stability and balance. They’re especially useful coming down hill or on uneven ground.

The best poles have an anti-shock mechanism and especially good for those with dodgy knees. But whichever you choose, make sure they have a comfortable grip. 

You hold them loosely and set the height so that your elbow is at 90° when holding the pole perpendicular to the floor.

If you plan to spend anything more than a week or 2 hiking here or will get more use out of them elsewhere, it’s worth investing in your own pair. 

Otherwise, you can rent a pair in the many outdoor equipment shops in El Chalten or Puerto Natales. We hired a pair for Angela’s Dad a few weeks ago in El Chalten and paid ARG $160 per day. That’s about GBP £1.60 or US $2.66 at today’s exchange rate.

A pair of decent hiking poles will cost between US $75-$100 so do the math to decide if buying or renting is right for you. 

Don’t forget to check out El Chalten tours and organised activities too – they may work out cheaper than renting or buying your gear.

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Reusable water bottle

Keep hydrated (you can drink the glacier water directly from most of the streams in Patagonia) and save the planet at the same time. 

There’s no excuse to buy water these days and certainly not in plastic bottles.

Drinking water from the streams in Patagonia is fine if you remember a few basic rules:

  • Only drink water upstream from towns.
  • If there are any signs of domesticated animals nearby, give it a miss and wait until you’re at a higher altitude. Cows and sheep are common in Patagonia and they don’t mind where they do their business!
  • If in doubt, use a lifestraw.
  • Enjoy – this is likely to be the purest most delicious water you’ve ever tasted!

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Solar charger

Even on day hikes, if you’re using your mobile phone’s camera, video or mapping software, you’ll drain your battery throughout the day.

With this lightweight solar charger, you can keep it topped up all day. Simply attach it to your back pack and it’ll harvest the sun’s energy as you hike!

If you’d prefer, you can also use a portable USB charger. They’re a little heavier but relatively compact and can charge anything with a USB. They’re not water resistant though so have a fairly limited use.

Buy on Amazon


Head torch

Summer in Patagonia doesn’t have many dark hours. You can expect daylight of up to 18 hours or so a day!

But if you’re camping and need to get up in the night, a head torch is perfect way to avoid trampling on other people’s gear.

Even if you don’t plan on staying out overnight, it’s always handy to have one. 

Buy a head torch on Amazon


Waste bags

Always, always carry some waste bags with you in Patagonia. The rule is to leave no trace so leave nothing behind. 

Any rubbish and trash you generate on your camping and hiking trips, bring back to town with you in your trash bags. 

Buy your trash bags anywhere, use old plastic bags or buy reusable ones here on Amazon.


Basic camping gear

If you plan on doing multi-day hikes or using campsites in Patagonia, you’re going to need some camping gear.

Now before you rush out and buy a tent, mess tins and an enamel mug take a moment to consider your options.

If you only ever plan to do 1 multi day hike – and let’s the “W” trek in Torres del Paine – you can arrange fully inclusive camping options. 

Your camping gear and all meals are included so you don’t need to carry your camping gear around. 

Although this option isn’t cheap, if you never plan to use your gear again (or at least not often), it could be a more budget friendly option for you.

There’s plenty of camping equipment rental stores in Puerto Natales and El Chalten.

If your Patagonian trip is centred around this area, renting could save you the hassle of lugging your gear on international flights and you’ll get some good quality stuff too.

If you plan to camp in towns, most campsites have a quincho, or equipped kitchen and dining rooms, so you may not need any cooking supplies. Check before you travel.

Mount Fitz Roy

Camping gear kit list

Here’s a list of the basic camping equipment you’ll need for multi-day hikes in Patagonia. 

While we’ve linked here to some reasonable quality products, do some research about the best product to suit your needs.

Tent | Ideally something lightweight, quick and easy to pitch and big enough for you and your ruck sacks!

Sleeping bags | We wouldn’t suggest anything other than a good quality four seasons sleeping bag for Patagonia, year round. Don’t scrimp on this.

Sleeping pad | Will soften the edges of the rocky, root-riddled ground you’re sleeping on and give you an extra layer of thermal protection too. While these are often bulky, they are an essential piece of kit for a good night’s sleep.

Pots & pans | The key here is to find something lightweight, versatile and non stick. Don’t plan to cook meals that need several saucepans – your looking for one pot wonder dishes. And pack a mug and decent cutlery – not plastic rubbish that’s likely to break.

Camping stove | It’s all about keeping weight to a minimum. Try to go for a product you can refuel easily. Gas ins’t always available but petrol and diesel is!


Apps, maps & gadgets

How much or how few electronics, gadgets and apps you take is as much about personal preference as anything else.

Here’s a few pointers from us you may find useful for your trip in Patagonia.

Camera gear

If you’re like us and into photography, you’ll need to consider what gear to take.

Even if you’re not a serious photographer, a smartphone with a great camera function can get some great some snaps. This photo was taken in El Chalten on an old Samsung S7!

It might not win any prizes for the quality of the file but it’s plenty good enough for sharing on social media and showing to friends and family.

We carry a couple of big DSLRs and they’re heavy. Even on day hikes, we wish we had something far lighter and our backs do too. Such is the price we pay for our hobbies!

If you want to bring a camera for photos that give you better quality than your smartphone without the weight we have to lug around, consider an entry level DSLR and kit lens like the Canon EOS Rebel T7i.

If you want some room to grow your photography, start out with the more expensive but feature packed, Canon EOS 90D.

Pack plenty of memory cards and a few spare batteries too.

Useful apps for a trip to Patagonia

We use Maps.Me for our mapping and GPS needs. It’s great for driving around South America but it also has loads of hiking trails marked too. Perfect to help you navigate during some of the less crowded Patagonian hikes.

iOverlander is one of the most widely used apps for people travelling in Patagonia. Not only is it a useful and up to date source of travel related information in the area, but you can use it offline too! It really is worth its weight in gold. Check here how to download the app and update your device so you can use iOverlander offline.

Make sure to check out our guide to driving in Argentina for lots of tips and advice.


Toiletries for your hiking trip to Patagonia

Toiletries are widely available in the all the towns. Finding environmentally friendly products seems impossible down there though. 

You can replace products if you run out on the road though so long as you’re not precious about brands.

  • Toiletry bag(s) – by using 2 or 3 smaller toiletry bags, you can split the contents and keep them in different compartments in your rucksack.
  • First aid kit – or at least make sure one person in your hiking group is carrying one.
  • Microfibre towel – Compact, lightweight, highly absorbent and quick drying, microfibre towels are perfect for your Patagonia trip. Pack 2.
  • High factor sunscreen – as we said, you’re close to the hole in our ozone layer down here and the wind and sun can be brutal, even on cold days.
  • Insect repellent – it may not deter the horse flies but it’s effective on everything else. And in the forest in the foothills of the Patagonian mountains, mozzies can be rampant. You can usually buy this stuff pretty cheap in the local towns.
  • Soap with soap dish – far less weight to carry round, cheaper than shower gels and more friendly to our environment too.
  • Shampoo bar – saves loads of space and plastic waste too. Take an extra soap dish to carry it around.
  • Deodorant – consider an eco-friendly and plastic free deodorant bar.
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste – speaks for itself to maintain those pearly whites.
  • Lip balm – the combined effect of the sun and wind always leaves us with dry lips when in Patagonia. Avoid this with a good quality UV protecting lip balm.
  • Hand sanitiser – a small bottle of this stuff goes a long way and you’ll use it a lot.
  • Toilet paper – as an international traveller, you really don’t need to bring toilet paper with you from your home country. You can buy it here. But toilets in Argentina and Chile rarely have toilet paper provided. So pack some in your day packs or ruck sacks in case you get caught short.
  • Bin bags – within most of the national parks with Patagonia, you won’t find a rubbish bin. Instead, you need to bring our rubbish out of the park with you. So make sure you have a means of carrying your waste. Either bin liners or re-used plastic bags will do the job and are lightweight to carry.
  • Ear plugs and eye masks – anything to help you sleep if you’re using shared accommodation.
Laguna Nimez in El Calafate, Patagonia

Travel accessories & prep for your Patagonian adventure

Here’s a few non essential travel accessories you might find useful and especially inspiring for your Patagonian adventure.

Andes by Michael Jacobs | In this remarkable book, travel writer Michael Jacobs journeys across seven different countries, from the balmy Caribbean to the inhospitable islands of the Tierra del Fuego, through the relics of ancient civilizations and the remnants of colonial rule, retracing the footsteps of previous travellers.

His route begins in Venezuela, following the path of the great nineteenth-century revolutionary Simón Bolívar, but soon diverges to include accounts from sources as varied as Humboldt, the young Charles Darwin, and Bolívar’s extraordinary and courageous mistress, Manuela Saenz.

On his way, Jacobs uncovers the stories of those who have shared his fascination and discovers the secrets of a region steeped in history, science, and myth.

A must read for anyone travelling to South America.

Buy on Amazon


In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin | An exhilarating look at a place that still retains the exotic mystery of a far-off, unseen land, Bruce Chatwin’s exquisite account of his journey through Patagonia teems with evocative descriptions, remarkable bits of history, and unforgettable anecdotes.

You’ll read this over and over, especially once you’ve travelled in Patagonia.

Buy on Amazon


Patagonia travel guide | Pretty much the only travel guide dedicated to Patagonia.

We’ve not used this one, instead relying on a Lonely Planet book on the whole of South America.

It’s too light in respect of Patagonia though so we recommend giving this a go.

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Patagonia Travel Tips

Patagonia Travel Tips

Important tips and resources for planning an incredible trip to Patagonia, based on our extensive experience travelling through the entire region.

Instructions

  1. Find our the best time to go to Patagonia for the things you enjoy.
  2. Book a cheap flight to Patagonia with Skyscanner. Better still, if you’re planning a long term trip, ship your camper van to South America like we did! 
  3. Plan a rough itinerary with an idea of how long you’ll stay in each place. But be flexible - Patagonia will get under your skin and you’ll wish you had more time. Get a copy of the Moon Patagonia travel guide to help you plan your itinerary.
  4. If you want to explore Patagonia in a rental car, make sure to book in advance. Especially if you travel between December and February. Get free comparison quotes with rentalcars.com.
  5. Check out our extensive and still growing guides to Patagonia for more information on both Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia with places to go, things to do and see & loads more.
  6. Book your accommodation in advance, at least for the first destination. For hotels, use booking.com. For apartments use Airbnb and get a discount on your first booking. For free camping, use the iOverlander app offline.
  7. Try to learn Spanish or at the very least have some basic phrases. English is widely spoken in the major tourist towns in the south, like El Calafate, El Chalten and Puerto Natales. Everywhere else, you’ll need some basic language skills to get the most out of your trip.
  8. Reserve your tours and activities in advance with Viator and Get Your Guide.
  9. Get your rucksack ready with our definitive Patagonia packing list.
  10. Go have the adventure of a lifetime!

Notes

We hope this helps you plan your travels in Patagonia. It’s an enormous region and one we completely adore. Yet we found it difficult to planning our first trip, so we've written so extensively about it to help you out!

If you have any questions about Patagonia, travelling in your own vehicle or even building your own camper van for overlanding, send an email to us at [email protected]

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This Patagonia packing list will help you pack exactly what you need so you can enjoy your adventure.The more you know, the less you need!