What to Wear: Packing Guide For Your Patagonia Holiday

by on 31st July, 2020


Patagonia, mythical land at the end of the earth. What a wonderful part of the world. This is one of my all time favourite places. Patagonia is remote and stunningly beautiful. It is a land of vast landscapes, with sharp granite spires such as Cerro Torre and Fitzroy, big mountain ranges, extensive ice-caps, masses of lakes, rivers and glaciers.

Villa O'Higgins to El Chalten, views of Mount Fitz Roy, Patagonia

Views of Mount Fitzroy

There are very few shops and little kit to be bought locally, so it is a good idea to think and plan carefully before you go to make sure you are properly equipped for all the weather Patagonia can throw at you. For those who are familiar with the outdoors and hill walking in Scotland I would say it is the same kit you need.

In Patagonia you can experience all extremes of weather: from hot sun to lashing rain, freezing cold and very high winds that can knock you off your feet. This wind blows straight off the ice caps and can add a wind chill factor that drops the temperature significantly.

Signeage, Glaciares National Park, Patagonias Argentina

Extremes of weather in Patagonia



What to Pack if going to Patagonia

Given the changing weather if you are heading to Patagonia I recommend you pack clothing that is going to cope with all conditions. It is always a good idea to go for light weight quick dry clothing and think layers and keeping warm.

A base layer that wicks away sweat will keep you warm, a warm light weight mid-layer is good to put on when you stop moving to retain body heat. An extra later such as a lightweight down jacket is useful too. Then top it all with an outer layer, ideally a breathable, wind-proof, waterproof jacket and over trousers to protect you when the elements are at their worst.


Dressed for Patagonia

As well as being prepared for potential cold wet, windy weather it is essential that you don’t underestimate the power of the sun and take adequate protection. Even in cold weather the sun can burn, so we recommend a hat, sunglasses and that you apply good quality sunblock every day.

If are going to visit Patagonia in winter you will need to pack more warmer layers (June, July, August), than if you are travelling from September to May (spring, summer, autumn).

Fitzroy Trailhead Patagonia Argentina

Dressed, briefed and ready to set off



Suggested detailed kit list of what to take on a Patagonia holiday

  • Walking socks
  • Trekking boots – should be well broken-in, waterproof and provide good ankle support.
  • Trainers/sandals for city-wear, evenings at lower camps & river crossings.
  • Trekking trousers
  • Base layer shirt
  • Mid-layer shirt – long-sleeves to protect against sun
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Warm jacket (down or synthetic).
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Broad-brimmed sunhat, essential.
  • Warm hat
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • Bandanna – to protect neck from strong sun.
  • Light gloves
  • Daypack (at least 30 litres). Comfortable and with waterproof lining or cover.
  • Pair of telescopic trekking poles (optional).
  • Water bottle (2 litres approx.) & purification tablets.
  • Personal first-aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Sunscreen (factor 30+) and lip salve.
  • Head-lamp (plus spare bulb and batteries).
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!)
  • Chargers for devices and adapters
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other for free time.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.

Miscellaneous others

  • Money belt.
  • Passport and photocopies of passport for hotels
  • US dollars cash, mixed-denomination notes, undamaged and unmarked.
  • ATM cash/credit card.
  • Personal & medical travel insurance contact numbers and certificates.
  • Comfortable clothes for travel, smartish clothes for night life.
Trekkers Torres del Paine Patagonia Chile

Pausing in Patagonia



Our top tips for on what we pack for Patagonia:

Kathy says “I wouldn’t visit Patagonia without some good quality light weight waterproofs and my trekking poles”.

Kathy worked for many years as a tour leader in Patagonia, guiding walking groups through Paine and Fitzroy. She has been lucky enough to trek the South Patagonia ice-cap and explore the Lake district, and most recently to take a road trip down the Carretera Austral to Villa O’Higgins.

Kathy dressed for Patagonia

Kathy on a boat in Patagonia

Alan adds “I always include a portable charger as you never know when you will need to charge your phone or camera in order to get that wonderful photo”

Alan lived in Chile and has had a connection to the country for much of his life and still has family and many friends there. He was recently in the area of Lake General Carrera in Chile’s Aysen region and the charger came in very handy. He missed out not having one on the Patagonia Highlights small group escorted trek. Alan has travelled extensively throughout the Southern Cone of South America.

Alan Lyall

Alan in the Torres del Paine

Kat on the other hand says “if travelling with kids I like to make sure I’ve taken a tablet to survive the long flight – if travelling without I’d leave the tablet at home and pack a book instead.  In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin is the obvious classic.”

Kat and her family love the great outdoors. Her last family holiday was to Ecuador where her girls enjoyed mixing with the local communities and hiking several mountain trails. Kat is an expert on Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru and Bolivia and she has her sights firmly set on Patagonia for her next trip in order to get to know the region better.

Kat on Cotopaxi

Kat dressed for mountaineering



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