Packing for the Torres del Paine Circuit

When Nate and I decided to hike the Torres del Paine Circuit (~10 day) instead of the much more popular W Trek (~5 Day), we knew we had a worthy challenge on our hands.

IMG_7564We got some packing advice from the “3pm Talk” at the Erratic Rock Hostel in Puerta Natales, which they host daily. At first, we balked at their suggestion: wear the same trekking clothes every day? Every? Day? But once we got on the trails we realized, yes, everyday our clothes will be rained on and sweat in. So why not just keep wearing those clothes over and over? And thus, we had only two sets of clothes and one really difficult moment each morning where, after breakfast, we shimmied out of our warm/dry clothes and into our stinky, freezing, likely wet from the day before trek clothes. We packed all our things in an intricate system of ZipLock and garbage bags within our packs, ensuring that most items actually did stay dry. Keeping sleeping bags and dry clothes dry was the ultimate goal and I’m proud to say, while we were often cold at night, we were never wet (and we had plenty of rainy days on the trail).

We packed well and were pretty pleased with how all our gear held up. We left about half the stuff we brought from Boston in a locker at our hostel. Our packs were around 35lbs each at the start of our trek. Here’s my packing list:

Danielle Trekking Clothes
Patagonia Women’s Tribune Hike Pants
Athleta Chi Tank
Boston Marathon Volunteer Zip-Up
Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket
Vasque Breeze Hiking Boots
DarnTough Hiking Socks (3)
Marmot Gloves + Burton Hat
Black Diamond Trekking Poles

Danielle Dry Clothes
Smartwool Thermal Leggings
Athleta La Viva Pants
Smartwool Thermal Half-Zip
Athleta Chi Tank
REI Revelcloud Jacket
Smartwool Socks*
Teva Numa Sandals*
*yes, tevas and wool socks is the JAM once you get to the campsite and get your boots off!

Nate Trekking Clothes
Kuhl Revolvr Pants
REI Sahara Convertible Pants
2x wicking Longsleeve Shirt (ie. Techwick from EMS)
3x DarnTough Hiking Socks (1 for trekking, 1 for keeping dry and 1 for fresher socks later in the week)
Marmot Spetra Rain Jacket
Vasque Breeze Hiking Boots (yes, we have the same boots)
SmartWool hat
Mountain Hardware Gloves (these are iphone gloves, not great for trekking, but they held up enough)
Black Diamond Trekking Poles

Nate Dry Clothes
Smartwool Thermal Underwear Tops and Bottoms
Prana Stretch Zion Pants (most comfortable pants ever)
Smartwool T-shirt
North Face ThermoBall Jacket
Boulder Beer Colorado Cotton Tee (especially relevant to bring the Boulder Flatirons to the Torres)
Cushe Slipper Shoes

Camping Gear
Gregory Backpacks (Nate – 75L, Danielle – 60L)
REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent + Footprint
Thermarest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad (Danielle)
Kelty TraiLogic SB 31 Sleeping Bag (Danielle)
REI Flash Insulated Sleeping Pad (Nate)
Mountain Hardwear Lamina 35 Sleeping Bag
Cocoon Silk Mummy Liner (2)
Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow (2)
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
Snow Peak Giga Power Manual Stove
+ Lighter
TOAKS Titanium 1100ml Pot with Pan
XL PackTowl (2)

Facewash, sunscreen, conditioner, bar soap, toilet paper, face wipes, contact lens cleaner, toothbrush + toothpaste. We both gave up on deodorant after the first day.

Sony a6000 Mirrorless Camera
Joby Gorillapod

Food x 10 days
Breakfast: Sopa Para Uno (Cup ‘o Soup) and/or oatmeal w/ raisins, tea
Lunch: Salami and Cheese, dried fruit and nuts, and/or granola bars
Dinner: AlpineAire freeze-dried meals and/or quick rice meals/soups, chocolate
We got water from whatever rivers we found along the way. All glacial run-off and all the most delicious, cold, fresh, clean water we’ve ever tasted.

We feel super lucky that we packed relatively well. We had a lot of conversations with other travelers in the days before our trek. Basically everyone we meet here in Puerta Natales is either going to or coming from Torres del Paine. Our gear never failed us and we loved everything we brought. Though the weather can go from summer sun to snow in an afternoon, we learned to layer up and accept that no matter what we dealt with, it was all temporary. Wet stuff does dry. Smelly stuff is eventually cleaned. Cold things turn warm once you get going. There are some things you can’t control, like mice eating a hole in your pack while you sleep (yep, that happened), but you control the things you can and seek joy and contentment as much as possible along the way.