Torres del Paine hiking... what stuff do I need?
Hi, I´ll confess to being a bit of a geek when it comes to equipment...
Has anyone recently done the Torres del Paine W route? What did you take with you? Is it relatively easy to pick things up on the way?
Depends very much on how you are going to do it. Camp or refugio, cook your own meal or eat at refugios, etc! Do you have any more details on your trek so that we can advise better?
If you mean things other than clothes: hiking sticks are very useful, a good water bottle (you can refill as you go), sunglasses with UV protection, some dried fruit/nuts or energy bars, really good sunblock. The only thing you can pick up on the way is some overpriced snacks. It is important to keep your pack as light as possible.
www.torresdelpaine.com has a good list of proper clothing.
Thanks for the info... especially the link!
We were planning on camping, carrying our own food, but potentially just renting stove equipment on the way round. Is this feasable do you think, or would we be better off picking a stove in Puerto Natales and lugging it round?
We did it the way you did - camping and cooking for ourselves. We had a small "pocket" stove with us and we just bought the gas in Puerto Natales for it. I think that is the best way to do it. That way you can test your stove in Natales, make sure it works and then you are used to it for the whole time you are there. Make sure you take enough matches as we had so many blow out because of the wind! And cutlery of course.
Thanks Ruth, we´ll probably do the same...
One more question - did you need to book the campsites in advance, or did you just show up?
We just showed up at the campsites and there was never a problem. However, we did always try to make sure that we turned up early-ish in the evening. I can imagine that turning up at 10pm could be more problematic! However, we certainly didn´t rush, so I wouldn´t worry about it.
Ruth gives great advice. Beware of Glacier Grey camp, I was robbed in the middle of the night from my tent!! Im pretty sure its because I was travelling solo and obviously very tired and someone had their eye on me and I believe it was the guy who mans the tour booth- the camp is basically a big hosteria to stay, campsites scattered and this tour booth of some sort. Long story short- be careful!
How I was robbed:
I was wondering myself about backpacking gear, and I lugged mine all the way from california. Turns out the hostal I stayed at, Casa Cecilia
, rents all kinds of backpacking gear including great stoves, tents and more. Im sure they arent the only ones either, but they are super friendly and cheap and they know everything about the park! Plus they saved me when I came back from Torres minus credit cards, ID or any sort of cash....
we´re just back from the park and wanted to post a few bits of information that we hope might be helpful for anyone else on their way here.
1) at 3pm every day there is a talk at Erratic Rock hostel in Puerto Natales where someone will go through the standard route they recommend, answer questions about alternative routes etc. There was lots of good advice, although I think they made a bit much of the fact you will get warm while you´re hiking and don´t need too many clothes to walk in...this is probably true if you´re a very fast walker, but for the average person it gets very cold when the rain and wind arrive together! But all in all this talk is worth going to. These guys also hire equipment, it was all good quality although we heard afterwards that there are cheaper places to hire equipment in town.
2) the map that you get when you enter the park shows grocery shops at Cuernos and Chileno, but be aware these shops only sell (pricey) wine, beer, crisps, biscuits etc, not proper meals (although you can eat a cooked dinner there). Paine Grande has a very well stocked shop with rice, pasta, bread, cheese, gas, batteries etc, not sure about any of the other refugios.
3) take insect repellent, especially if you´re camping at any of the woodland sites like Campamento Torres. We got bitten a lot.
4) the climb up the boulder field to the base of the Torres is a bit hairy in parts, especially if like me you´re lacking in co-ordination...its definitely easier if you´re not carrying too much, and take gloves to protect your hands. If you´re going up for dawn, definitely take a torch, a headtorch if possible to keep your hands free.
I think that´s about it! Have fun if you´re going...I think its the most beautiful place I´ve ever been, and I loved the experience, blisters and all.