“Don’t spend money on things that you don’t need before you go. And don’t pack clothes that you don’t wear in your everyday life. You know what I mean? It’s so tempting to pull stuff out of the closet that you haven’t worn in months and jam it in your bag because… well, it’s a nice pair of pants and I never get to wear them! When the reality is that you almost always do much better with the tried and true stuff that you wear every day. Because NOBODY cares what you wear!”My son, Jason
If you go trekking in the Patagonian summer, November to March, be prepared for all kinds of weather & strong winds. You can start your day in glorious sunshine, be caught in a ferocious squall, battle a head wind, feel a snow flurry on your cheeks & emerge an hour later back to that glorious warming sun. So plan for layers.
Keep everything lightweight & either waterproof or fast drying. Instead of your heavy cotton t-shirts & your favourite jeans pack synthetic t’s & soft-shell trekking trousers.
You’re camping. This is not a fashion show. Hikers wear comfy, serviceable clothes. And they wear the same thing for days!
Lightweight layers will get you through this. You’ll want a next-to-skin base layer, a mid-weight insulating layer (fleece and/or puffy), and a weatherproof shell. All as lightweight as possible. Here’s what I took for 2 weeks, from the inside out:
- undies – 5 pr nylon briefs & 2 sports bras
- socks – 4 pr merino liners, 2 pr trekking socks, 2 pr slipons
- thin merino wool long sleeved top & tights
- t-shirts (not cotton) – 3 short sleeved & 1 long sleeved
- pants – 1 pr trekking, 1 pr yoga
- puffy jacket
- Gore-Tex waterproof jacket with hood
- Gore-Tex waterproof over pants
- gloves, buff* (use as a headband over your hat to keep it on in the wind)
- trekking boots, running shoes, flip flops
You need a bit of equipment. Here’s the list of required equipment from Serac with my comments:
• 40 litres backpack. You will also need a smaller daypack
• medium trekking/mountain boots, ideally with Gore-Tex
• trekking poles – rented them in El Chalten
• sun-glasses – I just took a ball cap
• headlamp – never used it. I did use a little flashlight from the dollar store
• 1-litre bottle. I gave it away & got a smaller one
• sunblock (35+ or more) – used Jenny’s!
• lips sunblock
• personal hygiene items. Remember, you’re wearing the same shirts for days!
• dry bags to protect your stuff. Covers flap in the wind – line your pack with a garbage bag
More Stuff I brought
- an old pair of glasses & hearing aids, hearing aid batteries
- meds (puffers, melatonin, Gravol, Tylenol, Advil, cold FX, echinacea, bandaids, moleskin)
- Kleenex (lots of little packs), face wipes, lysol wipes
- toothbrush & toothpaste pills (from Lush), flossers
- shampoo bar, moisturizer bar (from Lush)
And of course
- Passport! (make sure it’s good for 60 days after your trip)
- iPad & phone + chargers/connectors
- electrical convertor (South America uses the slanted prong one)
- money – USD will be fine almost anywhere & everyone prefers it for tips, credit cards are accepted but charge a hefty fee, pesos are needed for anything that has a menu like the ice cream place, & you need to stock up on them before you get to El Chalten (in Buenos Aries).