How to keep it safe.
I am planning on backpacking around Chile Argentina, and Brazil and most of the time I want to camp. What I am curious about is when I want to go explore the town is my stuff safe at campsites?
Of the three countries, Chile has the most campsites. Camping is extremely popular. Argentina would be next up but camper vans are more popular there. Paid campsites usually offer a controlled entrance and it is perfectly safe to leave your tent and gear there if you are off for the day sightseeing. You would not leave valuables in your tent: camera, money, iPod etc. There are also free campsites in national parks but it is usually safe to leave your tent etc there during the day. Many campsites are seasonal. They would mainly be open from December through Easter. National park campsites are open all year.
Many campsites here (Chile) charge by the space for up to a number of people, so it is not always the cheapest option for lodging if there are only one or two of you. You will have to bring your tent etc with you as they do not rent it (except in Torres del Paine national park or nearby Puerto Natales).
How are you planning to travel in between? if you rent a car and then do camping - there is no problem, you can just leave everything in your locked car (which is what we have done).
We have done great camping in both Chile and Argentina and I agree with Fiona, that there are beautiful camping locations in both countries. But in many cases the camping sites are slightly out of the towns and it is hard to get to them with public transportation.
Enjoy your adventure!
A New Era