What to Pack for the W Trek: A Complete Packing List for the Torres del Paine

What to pack for the W trek is determined by the kind of trip you’re taking. There are many ways to explore the Torres del Paine national park and which impacts the gear required. Do you plan to camp or stay in hostels? Would youprefer to take a self-guided trek or if you would like to walk the W trek as part of an organised tour?


Planning a trip to the Torres del Paine to hike the W trek? You may also be interested in:


refugio campsite day 4 Atlas Introspective

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What to Pack for the W trek: Camping

I hiked the W Trek without a guide, over 5 days, from West to East and camped at both free and paid campsites. Hiking in this direction leaves the highlight, the Torres del Paine, til the last day, and concludes your trek on a high note. The W Trek is well-sign posted and hikers with a reasonable amount of fitness and the appropriate gear, can complete a self-guided hike.

If solo hiking isn’t your thing and you want to take the stress out of your trip, there are lots of tour operators that offer guided tours throughout the park including both multi day hikes and day trips, as well as other activities, such as kayaking and horse riding.

day 1 gravel trail Atlas Introspective

What to Pack for the W trek: Self-Guided Hike

Below is a list of what to pack for the W trek during October, for a self guided hike and camping. We visited Chilean Patagonia in October and had one day of heavy rain and snow flurries but were otherwise lucky with the weather. But the evenings were very cold, we were camping near glaciers after all, and there was snow on the ground at the Torres del Paine. Pack with all weather conditions in mind as the weather can be unpredictable in the national park.

Expect to be hiking for approximately 7 hours per day, and ensure that whatever you pack can be comfortably carried for this length of time. Where possible, consider lightweight versions of hiking gear if it’s within your budget. The lighter the load, the more comfortable and enjoyable your trek will be.

For a more detailed review of my favourite travel gear and clothes for multi day hikes, you might enjoy Travel Gear for Multi Day Hikes.

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Documentation

Before entering the National Park, you must present your passport & sign a disclaimer that you consent to the park rules. Make sure you have it on you when you’re on the bus as there’s not much time to access your backpack from the bus storage area.

What to pack for the W trek: Clothing

When deciding what to pack for the W trek, where possible pack for warmth, but opt for lighter layers that can stand a few days of wear without needing to be laundered. My favourite hiking clothes are Icebreaker or merino garments. They can be worn for several days without holding odour and for temperature regulation and weight, you cant beat them. Less frequent washing, means you can pack significantly less clothes, reducing your pack weight. I have Icebreaker clothing that is over ten years old and still going strong because the quality is really good. So for a long term investment, they’re worth a look.

Wet Weather Gear

It’s rare that I hike without a rain jacket, but while I often pack wet weather pants, I rarely end up wearing them. But due to the cold, they were absolutely essential. Avoid getting wet and cold if you can, because it’s hard to warm up again before night fall if you’re camping and while a few of the refugio’s did have showers, the water wasn’t very warm.

Pack wet weather pants, rain jacket, gloves (preferably waterproof) and make sure your sleeping bag and clothes are protected in a dry sack. Keep your phone, camera, maps and guidebooks in zip lock bags to protect them from water damage.

Clothing checklist

  • Rain jacket & wet weather pants
  • 2 Icebreaker / merino t-shirts
  • Long sleeve merino shirt
  • Hiking pants
  • Shorts
  • Fleece
  • Down jacket
  • Warm outfit for camp / sleeping. (I slept in thermal pants and long sleeve top, down jacket, beanie, socks)
  • Hiking boots
  • Camp shoes (pref ones that can be worn with socks)
  • 2-4 pairs woollen socks
  • Underwear (not cotton)
  • Hat, beanie & / buff
  • Gloves (pref water resistant)
  • Watch
  • Sunglasses

What to pack for the W trek: Gear

What to pack for the W trek
  • Hiking pack (approx 40L capacity. Note: tent and cooking gear was shared between our group)
  • Jetboil cooking system & fuel
  • Bowl, cup and spork
  • Tent
  • Camera/ smart phone
  • Tissues & hand sanitiser
  • Headlamp
  • Solar tent lantern (ie LuminAID)
  • 1 water bottle or camelbak (I love the LifeStraw water bottles)
  • Duct tape / tenacious tape for repairs to jacket, sleeping bag, tent etc)
  • Hiking poles
  • Sea to Summit / travel pillow
  • Sleeping mat
  • 4 season sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Dry sack
  • Plastic bags
  • Zip lock bags
  • Spare batteries for torches
  • Quick dry towel
  • First Aid kit: thermal blanket, rock salt, triangular bandages (for use as a bandage, splint, sling, compressor), band aids, gauze, antiseptic, compeed (blister treatment), panadol, Imodium
  • Water purification tablets, & / Jetboil (to boil water) / Lifestraw filtration water bottle
  • & a few pegs to dry out your socks / clothes inside the tent overnight

Hiking Tent

Jarrad tent Atlas Introspective

We bought the Marmot Tungsten 2p tent for the W trek and it was perfect. It’s big enough to comfortably fit two adults with enough room to keep our packs inside and out of the elements. It can be set up quickly, which is a blessing on days when we had to pitch the tent after dark or in poor weather. We’ve since used it on several multi-day hikes in various climates and conditions from South America to Australia and it’s held up well.

Headtorch

Pack a head torch and back up batteries if you’re planning on hiking La Torres for sunrise. It’s a precarious trail and you have to hike it in the dark, so a head torch is essential.

Thermal Mat

One item of gear we didn’t take but I saw other hikers use, was a thermal mat. Chileans are more accustomed to hiking and camping in cooler temperatures than us Aussies and it’s not something I’ve ever considered or needed. It’s definitely something I’d invest in next time around for cooler destinations. A couple of nights on the trail were so cold that I was sleeping in a 4 season sleeping bag, wearing all of my clothes and with an emergency thermal blanket wrapped around us.

Hiking Poles

If you don’t usually hike with hiking poles, I’d highly suggest you try them for this hike. There are a lot of steep inclines and the poles take some of the weight off your back and joints and help keep you balanced. They can also be used to feel out the depth of water during river crossings or used as a splint in the event of an emergency. I’m still using a pair of cheap and cheerful hiking poles I bought over ten years ago, but my husband recently upgraded to Komperdell hiking poles and loves them.

What to pack for the W trek: shout outs

Campsite Day 2 Atlas Introspective

Over the course of many multi-day treks I’ve discovered specific hiking gear that I’ve loved and wouldn’t hike without. Below are some of my favourite pieces of travel gear that deserve a special mention.

LuminAid

The LuminAid solar lantern is a lightweight, inflatable solar lantern. It collapses flat and clips to the outside of your pack to charge during the day. Then at night you simply inflate it and it converts into a lantern. It’s a fantastic design and perfectly suited to hiking. It weighs next to nothing and you have a backup light source that’s not reliant on batteries.

Lifestraw

The Lifestraw Go water bottle is perfect for travel, camping and hiking. The internal filtration straw eliminates the need to purify or boil water prior to drinking. Not only is this useful on the hiking trail, but when you’re in cities where the tap water isn’t drinkable you can avoid purchasing bottled water.

Sea to Summit Inflatable Pillow

One of my favourite hiking luxury items is the Sea to Summit Aeros inflatable travel pillow. The cover is soft and comfortable and the two separate plugs means that it deflates quickly to the size of a fist.

Sea to Summit Bowl

The Sea to Summit bowl collapses to a flat disc to save you space in your pack. While not essential, (I wouldn’t say it’s lighter than a cheap tin / plastic bowl) after it’s collapsed it’s really compact and easy to pack. Anything that makes packing up in the morning easier, wins my vote.

Buff

The Buff neck gaiter is a tube of fabric, and unless you’ve used one it can be hard to see what all the fuss is about. It’s a sweatband, headband, beanie, scarf, bandana and balaclava. It can keep your ears warm, the sun off your neck, disguise a bad hair-day & keep the bugs out of your nose. If you’re determined you can find 13 ways to wear it. Beanies can be a nuisance if you have long hair, but a Buff keeps my ears warm and my hair from blowing in my face. Simple & ingenious. I use it more than any other item in my travel kit.

Day 5 TDP Fee Atlas Introspective

What to pack for the W trek: Toiletries

  • Tissues / toilet paper
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant (tropical strength)
  • Earplugs
  • Lip balm / chap stick
  • Wet wipes
  • Comb
  • Deoderant
  • Toothbrush / toothpaste

There are showers at some of the refugios but I wouldn’t bother with shampoo and conditioner. It was too cold to wash my hair & most of the time the hot water had run out by the time I arrived so showers were as quick as possible. A travel size bottle of body soap is all you need.

What to pack for the W trek: Food

The following quantities are for two people.

  • Dried fruit & nuts 500g
  • Muesli bars x24
  • Snickers/ chocolate (fun size) x24
  • Dehydrated soup meals (Continental Soup Sensations) x8
  • Dehydrated pasta / ramen (2 person serving) x4
  • Tea, coffee, sugar, powdered milk
  • Hydralyte
  • Jerky: Here’s my recipe to make your own
Fee crossing bridge Atlas Introspective

Breakfast was typically coffee and 1-2 muesli bars. Lunch was 1-2 muesli bars unless we were given a packed lunch at our refugio. Dinner was soup & / pasta, unless a meal was included with our reservation. We ate trail mix and mini chocolate bars through the day for extra energy and had a Hydralyte every day to help prevent dehydration.

Please note that you can only use your camp stove in designated areas throughout the park due to fire risk. There are serious fines for lighting fires outside of the designated areas so pack plenty of snacks that don’t require preparation.

What to pack for the W trek: Meals

horses TDP Atlas Introspective

If you are travelling on a budget, and deciding what to pack for the W trek, consider carrying all the food will you need for the duration of the hike. All food, including pantry food is significantly more expensive inside the national park due to the remote location.

What to pack for the W trek: what were your must-have items for hiking in the Torres del Paine national park?


Now you know what to pack for the W trek, read on for more info about hiking in Patagonia:

A Complete Guide to Hiking the W Trek Patagonia.

Getting to the Torres del Paine National Park