As one of Chilean Patagonia’s top adventure travel destinations, Torres del Paine National Park attracts thousands of hikers each year. But despite its burgeoning popularity, it can be difficult to find all the information you need about what to pack for your trip.
It’s for this reason that I’ve compiled this Torres del Paine trekking equipment list to help you in your preparations for hiking the Circuit or ‘O’, Patagonia's most adventurous multi-day walking route.
This hiking equipment list is also a good guide for if you're planning on trekking the W, the shorter route around Torres del Paine. Find a complete guide to the W trek here or read up on the 14 essential things to know before embarking on the O Circuit.
Torres del Paine Trekking Equipment List
As I’ve written previously in my packing list for adventure travel in Patagonia, the quality of your camping equipment for Torres del Paine can mean the difference between a rucksack that weighs 16kg and one that’s well over 20kg. A bag as heavy as the latter is guaranteed to give you sore shoulders and make the whole experience of hiking in the stunning Torres del Paine National Park one you’ll remember for all the wrong reasons.
When we hiked the Circuit in March 2017, we planned carefully exactly what equipment we needed in terms of camping, clothing and food. This is a list of exactly what we carried in our rucksacks (with a handful of this I wish we’d had thrown in).
Want a free pdf download of the full gear list for trekking in Torres del Paine National Park? Scroll to the bottom to get access to the link!
Essential Equipment for Camping and Hiking in Torres del Paine National Park
3-4 season sleeping bag
Plate or bowl
Spork or similar
Between the four of us, we carried two lightweight tents:
- Big Agnes Copper Spur HVUL 2 Tent (1.4kg/3lb 1oz) – this was a two-man tent that we bought specifically for the Torres del Paine hike and it is seriously one of the best quality tents for backpacking on the market. Read my full review of the Big Agnes Copper Spur HVUL for more information.
- Terra Nova Superlite Solar 2 (no longer available to buy) – this two man tent is the predecessor to my Wild Country Zephyros 2 (1.81Kg/3lb 16oz), a tent I love because it’s both incredibly lightweight, very quick to erect and has kept me dry and warm during all my times camping in South America.
We had a range of sleeping equipment between the four of us, but this what I packed in my rucksack:
- Alpkit Cloud Base sleeping mat (395g/13oz) – this sleeping mat is not only super lightweight, it inflates to over 180cm and is the comfiest sleeping mat I’ve ever slept on.
- Rab Ascent 700 Women’s sleeping bag (1.24kg/2.7lb) – this is a very cosy 3-4 season sleeping bag that withstood even the coldest temperatures when we slept at Campamento Paso – directly next to the Southern Patagonian Icefield!
You can buy standard gas canisters in some of the campsites along the Circuit (we saw some in Refugio Chileno but don’t count on finding them everywhere) but it’s worth making sure you have enough fuel to keep you going. We brought:
- MSR Dragonfly Stove (396g/14oz) – we used this in Peru and also found it to be extremely efficient when camping in Torres del Paine National Park. It’s tiny and lightweight and uses unleaded petrol, which you can buy very easily from all fuel stations in Patagonia. It also has a metal shield that comes with the stove, which is very useful in windy conditions and allowed us to cook despite some fairly poor weather on the trail. You can also buy extra fuel bottles (we had two that lasted us between four people for the eight days).
- Quechua Camping Pots with Heat Diffuser (382g/13oz) – These are regular camping pots but with a twist: they have a heat diffuser underneath which means it allows the contents to heat far quicker than normal pots – while saving you fuel. This set includes a large pot suitable for boiling water or cooking a meal and a frying pan that doubles as a lid. We also had a smaller pan for cooking pasta and rice.
- Lifeventure Collapsible Bowl (181g/6oz) - with flexible silicone walls and a thicker nylon base, this bowl packs down flat when not in use, saving you precious space in your rucksack!
- Camping Mug (62g/2oz) – cheap, plastic and durable (like this one).
- Spork or Lhfoon (23g/0.8oz) – my dad (again) was a huge fan of this titanium spork with a long handle, as not only is it sturdier than a plastic spork (we actually broke one towards the end of the hike), but you can also use it to stir your food as it cooks.
Top Tip: For innovative new hiking and camping gadgets, check out Alpkit, a UK-based company who are coming up with some seriously useful gear that is ideal for your Torres del Paine trekking equipment list.
Clothing and footwear for hiking the Torres del Paine Circuit or ‘O’
Crocs or similar
2x Short sleeve tops & 2x long sleeve tops
2x Fleece jumper
2x Hiking trousers
Thermal underwear (top and bottoms) and/or leggings
Gore-Tex waterproof jacket & waterproof trousers
Scarf or buff
3x Inner hiking socks & 2x outer
4 x Underwear
Clothing and Footwear
We aimed to keep our clothing to a minimum for this Torres del Paine hike, while also making sure we stayed warm and dry; when we were there in March, temperatures reached as low as 5˚C (41˚F) and we just about avoided some of the worst rainstorms they've had in the park for the past 20 years! (Read more about the weather with this handy guide). I would recommend you pack the following for trekking the Circuit:
- Saloman Hiking Boots – I recommend Saloman hiking boots (I have the Saloman Quest boots); they are seriously comfortable, provide excellent ankle support and survived 2+ years of heavy wear (finally giving up as we were finishing the hike – but that’s another story!).
- Crocs – I loathe these shoes with a passion but, unlike my flip flops, they didn’t try and slip off my feet when fording a river in Torres del Paine National Park and were far more comfortable to wear with socks at night when you just wanted to have your feet out of your walking boots!
- Hiking poles – these are something I don’t normally carry, but with the mud, boggy ground and river crossings that we faced, they were indispensable.
- Basic short-sleeved or strappy top (x2) and long-sleeved top (x2) – with the weather extremely changeable in Patagonia, it’s worth having plenty of layers that you can put on or strip off in response to the weather.
- Fleece (x2) and down jacket – Again, keep the chill out (it gets cold at night, particularly around the back of the Circuit near all of the glaciers) by layering up with warm clothes.
- Hiking trousers, zip off at the knee (x2) – I love my zip off hiking trousers! Much more versatile than carrying a pair of shorts and trousers.
- Thermal trousers and top – I feel the cold, so my thermal underwear was essential at night time.
- Leggings (x1) – Again, excellent for layering purposes.
- Gore-Tex waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers – I almost didn’t take waterproof trousers but they were an excellent decision! I also love my Sprayway Gore-Tex jacket, although the exact model is no longer available to purchase, but the Sprayway Gore-Tex Women’s Outdoor Jacket should do the trick
- Warm hat, gloves and scarf or Buff
- Thin inner socks (x3) and thick outer socks (x2) – I wear two pairs of socks in my hiking boots to avoid getting blisters. If you only wear one pair, three pairs of socks should be sufficient – just remember to give them a wash every few days!
- Underwear (x4) – ditto with the underwear!
Top Tip: If hiking earlier or later in the season like we did (October/November or March/April), it is colder than you think in Torres del Paine. Pack more clothing than you'd planned so as to avoid being caught out. We found that at night it got very chilly and I was struggling to find enough layers to wear!
Other equipment for trekking the Circuit or ‘O’ in Torres del Paine
Pack of cards or book
First aid kit
Toiletries & towel
Washing powder, clothes pegs & washing line
Sunglasses, sun cream & inspect repellent
Plug socket converter, phone charger &/or camera charger
These are other essential items that you will need for hiking in Torres del Paine National Park:
- Lighter (x2) – matches run the risk of getting wet
- Headtorch – easier than a torch for when you’re getting up or going to bed in the dark
- Pen knife – I don’t go hiking without my Swiss Army Climber penknife.
- Pack of cards or even a book – We got to the campsites each day at no later than 4pm and while the camp shelters where you cook are great for meeting other hikers, a pack of cards or something to read would have been a good idea to soak up some of the free time.
- Cable ties – I carry these EVERYWHERE I go. They can fix anything, including my hiking boots!
- First aid kit – including plasters (and blister plasters), a bandage for sprains and a gauze dressing for wounds, hydrocortisone cream for insect bites, ibuprofen and paracetamol.
- Face or body wipes - you'll be going days without a shower.
- Toiletries – I’ve found that hard shampoo and conditioner have saved me plenty of weight in my rucksack. Check these ones out from Lush.
- Towel – microfibre or similar to reduce weight.
- Washing powder – a small plastic bag with washing powder is useful for giving your underwear and socks a good wash every few days (your feet – and friends – will thank you!)
- Washing pegs and washing line – used for hanging up clean socks at campsites overnight.
- Hand sanitizer – there’s not much soap to be found in toilets around the campsites and some of the toilets are grim.
- Toilet paper – we generally found this in most campsite toilets but better safe than sorry.
- Sun glasses, sun cream and insect repellent – when it’s sunny in Torres del Paine, it’s really sunny. During summer, you can also expect to be savaged by insects so bring some spray.
- Steripen or purifier for silt water – Our first night (at Refugio Serón) the water system had broken due to a huge storm that had basically drowned the park in rain. As a result, there was no clean water, except from some very silty stuff that you could take from the stream. We had my steripen, but this wasn’t hugely useful in the situation (although it has been perfectly good for all the other camping experiences I've had in South America). As a result, I would recommend you consider a water filter such as the Lifestraw Mission (we saw some guys using this on the trail) or the Sawyer Water Filter (the filter I had before I bought my Steripen adventurer). Remember that you can find clean water at all of the campsites along both the ‘O’ and ‘W’ Torre del Paine hikes so this is really just for emergencies.
- Plug socket convertor and phone or camera charger - we found that there are plug sockets in Paine Grande and Los Perros campsites.
- Portapow Slim USB Battery Pack - this is the newer version of the batter pack that I used to keep my phone charged and ready for taking photographs.
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