Hiking South America - Torres del Paine & other parks...

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Hiking South America - Torres del Paine & other parks...

1. Posted by shaunigus (Budding Member 32 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I'm planning my trip around SA and was looking for advice on appropriate packs for treks. I am definately treking through Torres del Paine - thats a must on my list. I reckon i'll head on about 4 - 6 decent hikes throughout my trip. At the moment i plan to take about an 80lt travel / hybrid pack for my year trip - seems most appropriate at this stage.

However, the question is whether just a day pack size bag (25lt) is big enough for hikes up to 10 days. For TDP i wouldnt think it is as layers are the key to comfort from what i've read - that means larger pack no?!!

I am not an experienced bushman as i'm sure you can tell, so this is all new to me. I would think carrying my 80lt bag on a 10 day hike would be a bit much - maybe i'm just being a souk!

Any advice as to appropriate bag size for hikes through SA would be greatly appreciated.



2. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

If you're not an experienced hiker, I'd advice against doing anything more ambitious than day hikes, which is not a problem, since the accessibility of the parks generally is such that you can find lodging outside, sleep there, and go back in again. In such case, a 25ltr pack should be sufficient.

3. Posted by shaunigus (Budding Member 32 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


Thanks for the heads up. hopefully i will either join a 'tour,' ive seen some that are actually reasonablly priced - otherwise i will hoopefully meet up with some people along the way whom are experienced.

What would your advice be for longer treks - as to pack size?

Thanks for you advice mate.


4. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

It all depends on how rough you'd like it to be. The absolute bare essentials (clothing, shelter, cooking utensils, medkit, spartan food rantions for about a week, water purification gear, but not the water itself) should fit in and on a 50ltr pack, but then it's pretty stuffed. On the other hand, carrying around more weight is not a very attractive option in my book... but that's just the skinny guy talking.

As soon as you also plan to do other things during your holiday (like going out, which means packing a set of clothes you're not ashamed to show yourself in), it's my experience that taking less gear and restricting yourself to day hikes is the best alternative.

5. Posted by shaunigus (Budding Member 32 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the advice mate. In terms of a pack for my trip what would you recommend between a travel pack and a hybrid pack. I reckon i will be doing a fair bit of walking with my pack, between destinations, looking for hostels, mostly in transit. For this reason i think that a hybrid pack would be best as they are modelled on tramping packs, of which i assume are more comfortable for long hauls.

What do you reckon?



6. Posted by bzakka (Budding Member 6 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Just so you know, Torres del Paine is perhaps the most spectacular place to hike on the planet. I was there last year and I will tell you that there are spots in that park that will strike you dumb with the sheer immensity of the landscape and the overwhelming natural splendor. It is a spiritual experience.

TDP is a heavy one, I'll give it that. There are options for all kinds of hikes...easy ones, rough ones, long ones, etc. If you get the chance, on your way down there take a stop in El Calafate, ARG and see the Glaciar Perito Moreno. I also recommend PN Tierra del Fuego. But TDP tops them all.


7. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Definitely invest in a pack that you can also hike with... btw the travel gear forum has some threads on packs, perhaps you should check those out. I've heard good stories about Tatonka packs, but I found that cheaper brands can be just as good, as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • adjustable 'back length'(so you can make sure that the weight is on your hips, while the shoulder straps are neither pressing you down or leaving a lot of space)
  • made of sturdy, water-resistant material (canvas is ideal; lighter fabrics are often too weak)
  • not too many zips (cords and flaps are much better since they don't rust)
  • a broad, well-padded hip belt with a sturdy buckle that can be easily replaced (without unsewing the strap itself; take spare buckles with you, since they have a habit of getting damaged during transportation)
  • ideally, shoulder straps that can be adjusted in two ways (horizontally to readjust the weight distribution, vertically to strap the pack tightly to your back)
  • as few bells and whistles as possible (all they can do is break down)
  • additional straps to fasten things (tent, water bottles, etc.) to the exterior of your pack

That should be about it. Let me know what you decided to buy, and whether you liked it; I'm always interested in these things.


8. Posted by shaunigus (Budding Member 32 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

G'day Niels,
Thanks again for the advice mate. I have 'pseudo' purchased a macpac Utopia (hybrid pack) for $550 Aussie (i can return it withing 30 days for full refund) - it says its 100lt but probably around 90lt with a 30-35lt day pack (with harness and 2lt bladder). Have a look on the web for it. Its pretty comfy - but i'm thinking i'm packing too much? I've read over the pack threads and see the average size pack is about 60lt -that seems pretty bloody small to me. I tried to pack up my 100lt tonight and found it pretty tight in sqeezing everything in - this is what i put in:
8 x undies
8 x socks
4 t-shirt
3 x collared shirts
1 x jeans
1 x light pants
2 x shorts
first aid kit
sleeping bag
sleeping pad
1 x towel
1 x boots
1 x spare shoes
1 x fleece
1 x tracksuit pants1 x hoodie
1 x waterproof jacket

Dosnt seem like too much to me - let me know your thoughts.



9. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

It looks like a decent enough pack to me, but the items on your packlist should imho easily fit in a 60ltr pack, probably even in a smaller one - although a sleeping mat takes up a lotta space, but you can easily attach it to the pack's exterior as well. If you ask me, a pack that large becomes rather uncomfortable to walk with for longer distances, but that's a matter of taste I guess. Btw I think you shouldn't pack less if you plan on being gone for a year.


10. Posted by shaunigus (Budding Member 32 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I rolled up everything and tried to seriously squash it all and it was pretty jammed full? any advice as to how to pack tighter? I cant see how everything that i stuffed into the 100lt pack would fit into a 60lt - i've read that rolling clothes tight is the only real trick but this didnt seem to help all that much. I'm gonna ditch my fleece for a fleece vest which should open up a decent amount of extra space. Any tricks to packing would be greatly appreciated. I also heard about ziplock bags which i'm gonna give a go as well.