The Torres del Paine W Circuit is an excellent 4-5 day hiking opportunity to adventure through the park’s many highlights. On this hike, you will be able to see some of the most jaw-dropping Patagonian scenery while feeling apart of your surroundings. Kiss Instagram goodbye for a couple days and blaze that trail.
Before blazing that trail, however, some preparation is needed for the Torres del Paine W Circuit. Packing is often a dilemma for travelers, especially when planning outdoor activities and camping while still wanting to keep your load light.
To pack properly for any trip, you must first know what the weather and terrain is like. This part of the world is as beautiful as it is unpredictable. The Torres del Paine National Park opens up for trekking in late spring, summer and early fall.
During these seasons, be prepared for dramatic climate changes; in one day you might experience warm and beautiful sunshine, significant temperature drops, extremely strong winds, heavy rain, storms, snow, you name it. Although it is unlikely that the temps will drop below freezing, it’s very important to have clothes suitable for all seasons. So basically, layer your tush off.
Of course you’ll need comfortable, waterproof, good-quality trekking shoes/boots with rough soles. Make sure your boots are not brand new and if they are, break them in before the trek as much as you can, remembering that for some days, your feet will be your only transportation. If your feet feel happy and comfortable, they will take you long ways.
Here we have a list to help you pack, so you can have an idea of the basic gear needed. My recommendation is to get good equipment as it can make the biggest difference in the world, and also acts as an investment. With good care, your gear can last for years and even decades–I’ve had my Gorethex jacket for 20 years! Try and pack light, and within your backpack, organize your clothes and gear with plastic/waterproof bags.
Trekking Backpack (big enough to fit everything)
Hiking pants: roll up / zip-up
Yoga pants or athletic thermal tights
Thermal top (long sleeve)
Quick-dry button-up shirt
T-shirts (preferably one that is a quick-dry, athletic material)
Quick-dry socks suitable for hiking.
Hats (a cold-weather beanie and a sun/rain hat)
Quick-dry travel towel.
Wind-resistant fleece jacket
Rain jacket/outer shell
Hiking boots/sneakers (waterproof recommended)
Sunglasses with UV Filter
Sun block with + 30 UV Filter
First Aid Kit
Camera (Be prepared for some of the best shots of your life!)
CAMPING: (you can always rent camping gear)
Good tent (winds can be very strong)
Winter sleeping bag
Thermal insulated mat for the floor.
LED Flashlight / Headlamp + Batteries.
Personal toiletries (pack up in small bottles just for the days your trekking, Refugio Grey and Refugio Cuernos have shower facilitites)
Extra memory cards and bateries, and charger because there is possibilty of recharging devices in the Refugios.
If you want to cook: stove, gas, food, plates, cups, spoons. It is very likely that campsites have a food shelf, and there are also shops at Refugio Grey, Refugio Paine Grande, although the rest of Refugios have a more limited stock. Plan ahead.
Trekking poles (not necessary unless you are used to walking with them, rentable)
Flip flops/trekking sandals/crocs for hanging out in the campsite or for simply resting feet after long day hikes .
Phone (if you need one at all)
What are you waiting for? Break in those hiking boots and be prepared for the most amazing possibilities that the Torres del Paine W Circuit, and nature, has to offer.
Written by Patricia M. Wissar