A Detailed W Trek Packing List: The Ultimate Patagonia Hike
May 24, 2023
If you’re planning to hike the W Trek in Patagonia, you’re in the right place! This blog has everything you should pack for an epic experience hiking the W Trek in Torres Del Paine National Park.
One of the great things about the W Trek is that you have the option to stay in hostel-style inns along the way. You can opt for full room and board so that you’ll be served breakfast, dinner and a packed lunch at each of the inns. This really can lighten your pack.. If you’ve done any backpacking trips, you know that the lighter your pack, the better!
This packing list is for you if you’ll be staying in the inns and purchasing the full room and board package, so it won’t include camping gear or food besides some snacks.
If you’re not familiar with the W Trek, it’s a multi-day route that is shaped like the letter W when viewed on a map. It takes place in Torres Del Paine National Park and is typically done in 4 nights and 5 days. The entire trail is about 50 miles. Along the way, you’ll enjoy endless mountain views, turquoise alpine lakes and more beauty.
For more information on the W Trek and how to book it yourself, check out my full guide!
- The weather changes quickly in Torres Del Paine National Park. Even though you’re hiking the W Trek in the summer, you may experience high winds, rain and even snowy conditions. Make sure to be prepared for all kinds of weather by packing layers.
- If you’re new to backpacking and/or if you’re purchasing a new backpack in preparation for this trip, then I highly recommend giving it a test run first. Try out a lengthy hike at home using the backpack and all the gear you plan to bring. This will help ensure that everything fits and you’re used to hiking with that amount of weight. Same goes for shoes!
Here is a detailed packing list for hiking the W Trek! For a shorter version, there’s a summary at the end of the page.
One of the first things you’ll need for a successful W Trek is a great backpack! If you’re buying a new one for this trip, make sure you try it on and pick a size that is comfortable.
A 35L - 40L backpack should be the perfect size to carry your essentials for 4 nights and 5 days. I carried the Osprey Tempest 40 Pack and loved that it was top loading, had a back panel that encouraged air flow and was very adjustable.
If possible, I recommend going in person to a store like REI to try on backpacks. Getting the right fit is important. The staff can make recommendations and add weight to the packs so you can get a feel for the bag on your own shoulders.
A more affordable backpack to consider is the REI Trail 40L pack. I recommend trying them on to see what style you prefer!
When it comes to what clothing to bring and wear for the W Trek, it is best to avoid cotton and prioritize items that are moisture wicking, stretchy and sturdy. To minimize weight, I recommend re-wearing most of your clothing items, especially tops and pants.
Here are some recommendations for great women’s hiking clothing:
Tip: Bring a packing cube or two to easily pack and store your clothing!
You can’t go wrong with non-cotton hiking tops that work for your body and budget. But one of my favorite products is the Capilene Cool Trail Shirt by Patagonia. It’s lightweight, wicks moisture well and tends not to wrinkle or shrink in the wash. It also comes in both short sleeve and long sleeve.
Another shirt I love is the Prana Alpenglow tee. This is a great item if you prefer a looser fit and it includes sun protection and moisture wicking. It’s one of my go-tos!
When it comes to hiking pants for hiking, comfort and quality are key. Whether you prefer leggings or more traditional hiking pants, make sure that it’s comfortable and can withstand some scratches.
When it comes to leggings, I love the REI Flash Hybrid Tights. The front of the leggings are a nylon soft shell fabric, while the sides are a soft, stretchy jersey. This allows you to get the feeling of the leggings with some extra sturdiness that you would get in a hiking pant. The best of both worlds!
For hiking pants that aren’t leggings, Prana is my favorite brand that I’ve found so far. Their Kanab Pants offer a reinforced knee, multiple pockets including a zipper pocket and a stretchy waistband.
For hiking socks on the W Trek, you’ll want to wear taller socks that are made with wool. Wool will help regulate temperature and keep your feet from getting too sweaty.
I personally love Darn Tough Vermont for their high quality socks and recommend their hiker micro crew midweight hiking sock.
There are some areas of W trek where the wind may blow a lot of dust into your face, so it’s really nice to have a buff or neck gaiter to protect yourself. They will also help keep you warm.
In addition to your hiking tops, bottoms and socks, make sure to bring underwear, sports bras and potentially pajamas to sleep in every night. You also may want something comfortable to wear around the inns in the evenings.
I recommend bringing however many undergarments that you feel comfortable with for the 4 nights and 5 days, and bringing something comfortable but lightweight to wear in the evenings and to sleep in.
You’ll be hiking on mountainous terrain and carrying a large pack, so you’ll really want to wear sturdy hiking boots. Hiking boots will fit differently for every foot, so make sure you try them on before buying and find something that fits your needs!
I love the Merrell Moab 3 hiking boots. They provide good support and are comfortable for hiking all day.
You also may want to bring a pair of lightweight shoes or sandals to walk around the inns at night and wear in the shower.
Here is a list of recommendations for hiking gear that you will need for hiking the W Trek.
Making sure you have plenty of water is a very important part of hiking! I love carrying a water bladder for long hikes and like the 3L water reservoir from Gregory.
There are opportunities along the W Trek where you can stow your larger pack for the steepest portions of the trail. This means you’ll want a smaller day pack to bring water, snacks and other essentials on this portion of the trail.
For something small and packable, I like the Eddie Bauer Stowaway bag. But any bag you already have and like will work.
We brought a filter on the trek but didn’t need it. We filled up our water at the inns and they all have drinkable water.
However, if you would rather fill up in streams (in order to carry less water), or if you’re worried about being sensitive to the water in the inns, you may want to bring one. It’s great to have just in case.
It’s so important to have a first aid kit for any hike, but especially for an adventure like the W Trek! I love the Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series kit.
You should always carry a knife while hiking and a multi-tool is a great way to do this with the bonus of other tools. The Leatherman Skeletool is lightweight and easy to use.
As an added safety measure, you may want to bring along a satellite emergency messenger. We have the Garmin InReach Messenger and love it. It allows you to send and receive messages without cell coverage. (the entire W Trek has no cell coverage)
It’s always smart to have a lightsource in case you find yourself hiking at night. I always bring my Petzl Tikka headlamp, which is compatible with a rechargeable battery or AAs.
You should always hike with an emergency shelter just in case. We carry emergency mylar thermal blankets and disposable ponchos, which are lightweight and affordable.
Due to the possibility of rain, it’s great to have a rain cover to put over your backpack. Just note that these can be easily carried away in the wind, so make sure to attach the retention strap in case it gets loose.
I had a hard time finding the perfect paper map to buy ahead of the trip and relied on my phone. While the trail is easy to follow, it’s very helpful to make sure you’re on the right track. You can download the W Trek map on All Trails (with All Trails Plus) ahead of your hike so you can follow along.
Each of the inns have outlets and power to charge your phone, but it’s always good to have a portable battery for the long days and emergencies, especially if you are using your phone for navigation.
If you purchase the full room and board package, each packed lunch comes with some snacks (such as nuts, trail mix and bars). However, you should carry some extra snacks in case you don’t like what they provide or you need extra. I recommend stocking up on some items ahead of the W trek in Puerto Natales so that you don’t need to worry about declaring food products at customs.
I didn’t come across mosquitoes on the trek, but I’ve heard they can be bad at other times of year. You should definitely carry insect repellant just in case.
I absolutely love my Kula Cloth for those times you need to pee while hiking. It uses an antimicrobial fabric so you can use it multiple times and it doesn’t smell.
When you’re hiking in the mountains and carrying a heavy pack, trekking poles are a huge help to stay balanced and better distribute the weight. I love my foldable poles because they’re easy to travel with.
As with any hike, make sure to wear sunscreen every day of the trek to protect your skin!
Here are items that you’ll need for your overnight stays in the inns.
Along the W Trek, you’ll need cash to pay for the return ferry and first shuttle. If you want to buy any alcohol or extra food at the inns, you can pay with a credit card. As you check into each of the inns, you’ll need to show your passport and the PDI form that you received when you entered Chile.
Make sure you bring your toothbrush, soap, contact lenses or anything else you need for a comfortable overnight stay. I brought reusable mini containers of shampoo, conditioner and body wash, cleanser and moisturizer. You’ll likely want a compact toiletry or makeup bag to store these things.
Most of the inns did offer towels to rent, but not all of them. It’s best to bring your own lightweight, packable towel for the showers.
All of the inns have outlets and power to charge your devices, so be sure to not forget your charger. Chile uses a Type C plug so you will need an adaptor if you’re coming from the United States.
Depending on your room placement, some of the inns may be loud overnight. Plus, you’re sharing the room with others. If noise will bother you, bring ear plugs just in case.
You’ll have some downtime in the evenings at the inns, so it may be nice to pack a book! The evenings are also a great chance to socialize with other hikers, so it just depends on your personality.
Another thing you might want is a camera! We certainly brought ours along to capture the stunning beauty of the landscape in Torres Del Paine.
- 40L backpack
- Smaller day pack
- 2-3 tops
- 2-3 bottoms
- A hat
- Hiking boots
- Lightweight shoes for the evening
- Pajamas or clothes for the evening
- Water bladder or bottle
- Water filter
- First aid kit
- Satellite Emergency Locator
- Light source
- Emergency shelter
- Rain cover
- Portable battery
- Insect repellant
- Kula cloth
- Trekking poles
- Passport, credit card, cash
- Phone charger
- Ear plugs
A lock for storing your things in lockers. Only one of the inns had lockers where you could use a lock, so it’s not really worth carrying. You’ll just have to trust the other hikers and not leave anything super valuable.
A sleeping bag or pillow for sleeping in the inns. All of the inns provided at least some kind of sleeping bag or bedding, so this shouldn't be necessary.
The W Trek in Patagonia is an incredible experience and I hope this list helps you arrive prepared and ready for a successful hike. With the right preparation, hiking the W Trek will be a rewarding experience that goes smoothly!
For more Patagonia guides, check out these blogs:
- The Ultimate Guide to Hiking the W Trek Self-Guided
- Epic Patagonia 2 Week Itinerary
- A Guide to Renting a Car and Driving in Patagonia
- 30 Tips for Hiking the W Trek
Thanks for Reading!
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