Guide to Backpacking & Hiking in Patagonia

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Patagonia hut to hut hiking

If you’re looking for an adventure that’s both challenging and rewarding, hiking in Patagonia just might be the thing for you. While it’s not quite as popular as hiking in the Andes, hiking through Patagonia allows you to see some incredible views along your trip—and will give you bragging rights when people ask where you’ve been. Here you will get everything about backpacking and hut to hut hiking in Patagonia:

What is Patagonia?

Patagonia is a region in southern Chile and Argentina. It’s also the name of a clothing company that originated in this region, but let’s be honest: when you say “Patagonia”, it’s not the corporate soft-goods company that comes to mind.

For backpackers and hikers in search of pristine landscapes, Patagonia offers one of the most stunning environments on Earth. The remote mountain ranges offer hiking trails for all levels—from easy day hikes to multi-day backpacking routes where you’ll sleep under the stars.

Hiking in Patagonia

hiking in Patagonia

Hiking in Patagonia is an exciting experience. There are many different trails to choose from, so you can hike for days without seeing another human on the trail. You’ll be surrounded by breathtaking views and get your heart pumping as you climb up mountains, explore waterfalls and lakes or trek through forests.

When hiking in Patagonia, it’s best to go with a tour company that has experience with the area, knows all of the best sites to see and provides good equipment so that you don’t have any issues while out on the trail.

There are also many campsites available along these trails where you can stay overnight if you want some extra time exploring before heading back out into town (or getting back home).

Backpacking Patagonia

backpacking in Patagonia

Backpacking Patagonia is a great way to explore the region. You can spend a few days or weeks in the area, and there are many great hikes to choose from. The best time to go is between November and March, when most of the popular trails are still open.

How to get to Patagonia

While some people drive to Patagonia from neighboring countries, most travelers choose to fly into Chile. The easiest way to get from Santiago to Patagonia is by flying into Punta Arenas, then taking a bus down (or up) the Carretera Austral.

If you’re coming from Buenos Aires, you can fly directly into Puerto Natales or Punta Arenas on LAN Airlines or Sky Airline; two airlines that are particularly good for international travel because of their low baggage fees and frequent sales/discounts.

When to hike in Patagonia

For most people, the best time to hike in Patagonia is from December to March. During these months, there are fewer crowds since many consider it too cold or wet for hiking. However, they don’t realize that this is when the weather is at its best: warm days and cool nights (even in summer), little rain or snow during this time of year. This means you can hit the trails without freezing your butt off! That said, if you’re looking for a more remote experience then consider hiking between June and August—you’ll have less company but also face sweltering heat and possibly torrential rains (which may require an extra backpack).

If you want an even lower crowd count than what’s available during these shoulder seasons, then plan your trip around April or May before Easter weekend starts (which tends to bring many travelers looking for good deals on flights). However, if solitude isn’t important then avoid autumn as well as it’s usually too wet/muddy from previous winter precipitation combined with spring runoff from melting snowpack which makes trail clearing difficult—meaning fewer options when it comes down which route suits your needs best!

Where to hike in Patagonia

Patagonia is a long and wide region, so you have plenty of options when it comes to hiking destinations. Generally speaking, the most popular areas are Torres del Paine, El Chalten and El Calafate — but there are many other areas that you could explore as well.

There are also many different seasons in Patagonia: from late spring through summer all the way through fall and winter. If you’re interested in hiking during an off-season (winter), we recommend doing some research beforehand to make sure that you have proper gear for whatever climate your hike will take place in.

Where to stay in Patagonia – accommodation options for all budgets

In Patagonia, there are a lot of options when it comes to finding accommodations. Your choices will depend on your budget and how much you want to rough it.

  • Hostels: The cheapest option in Patagonia is a hostel. These are usually located around cities and towns, so they’re easy enough to find, but they tend to be pretty basic in terms of accommodation and facilities (think shared bathrooms). However, if you’re traveling on a budget or don’t mind staying in hostels, they can be an excellent choice because they offer an opportunity for meeting people from all over the world!
  • B&Bs: B&Bs are also pretty inexpensive compared with hotels; however, unlike hostels which often have dorm rooms or communal spaces where you’ll meet other travelers from all over the world (and make lifelong friends), staying at a bed & breakfast means having your own room with private bathroom so that everyone has their privacy while still getting familiar with others who live nearby too – which can come in handy when planning activities together later! Plus, there may be meals included during breakfast time each morning as well as coffee/tea anytime day or night – depending on which type of accommodation type being booked upon arrival 🙂

Camping in Patagonia

camping in Patagonia

Camping in Patagonia is a great way to spend time with friends, but there are some things you need to know before heading out on the trail.

Camping is a great way to get away from it all and enjoy nature’s beauty while being surrounded by friends or family. If you’re planning on camping in Patagonia, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A tent (or two) – You can find tents at any store around town or online if they don’t have them locally. Make sure that when choosing a tent that it has been tested for weight capacity and weather resistance by someone who knows their stuff! This will give your trip better odds at being comfortable throughout its duration!

You’ve found the perfect campsite, now it’s time to set up your tent. It’s important that you know how to do this properly so you can safely sleep through the night without worrying about falling out of bed or being too cold in the morning! Remember: You should be able to see everything inside from outside. If there are any holes or cracks, cover them with tape or duct tape before putting anything inside!

Gear list for hiking in Patagonia

Gear List for Hiking in Patagonia

  • Backpack (50-70 liters)
  • Trekking poles – optional, but very useful in Patagonia! I used them as walking sticks, tent poles and as a camera mount.
  • Sleeping bag – depends on the season. On my recent trip in July, I went with a 0deg F bag and was fine most nights. In December I would have needed something warmer like 10degF or 20degF. Based on the weather forecast of your trip, you may want to bring 2 bags to choose from so that you can always sleep comfortably without getting cold. You can do laundry at hostels along the way if necessary!
  • Sleeping mat (1/2″ thick closed cell foam pad). Caribou makes great ones for around $40 that pack down small enough for any backpacker’s needs. This will be one of your most important pieces of gear when camping because it helps keep warmth inside your sleeping bag which keeps heat loss down by conduction through cold ground rather than through radiation (heat loss). Without this item it’s possible to wake up frozen solid after hours of shivering. This mat isn’t included because it adds significant weight/volume which could be avoided by buying an inflatable mattress instead (which then becomes another piece of equipment).

Safety guidelines for hiking in Patagonia

It’s important to know the basics:

  • Bring enough food and water. Remember that you’ll be hiking in a remote area, so you’ll want to bring more than usual. Because of the cold temperatures, it’s also a good idea to include some protein bars or other snacks that will keep your energy levels high while you’re out exploring the trails.
  • Bring a map and compass. While GPS technology is getting better every day, it can still run into problems with batteries or signal loss depending on where you are and how much snow cover there may be at any given time (that is if your device still has power after all those miles). A physical paper map allows for greater flexibility when navigating around a new place without having to rely on batteries or reception from satellites overhead—and who knows if those things are working anyway?
  • Bring along plenty of first aid supplies like bandages, antiseptic wipes or ointments such as Neosporin®, tweezers, gauze pads (4×4), scissors and burn cream/antiseptic cream if needed for minor burns/cuts etcetera… The list goes on but suffice it say I’m sure this applies universally across most backpacking trips around the world!

Hiking in Southern Chile, near the town of Puerto Natales, is a great way to spend a week or two!

Patagonia is a great place to spend a week or two hiking. The best time to do so is during the southern hemisphere summer. The best area to hike in is near the town of Puerto Natales and on guided tours, as they will provide you with everything you need: food, water and shelter.

Hiking in this area during the summer months (January through March) will give you plenty of time to explore all that it has offer. There are many people who live here year-round, but only a small percentage of visitors make their way south from Santiago every year.


We hope this guide has helped you to plan a hiking trip in Patagonia. We recommend staying at least three or four days in each location, so that you can really soak up the scenery and get a feel for the place. Make sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast before setting out on any hikes – remember, these mountains are high enough that snow can fall at any time of year!

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Jonathon Smith

Jonathon, journalist and writer, who loved to write about his outdoor experiences, learned to write outdoorsy articles. He wrote about what he knew and loved that was his true passion. He enjoys exploring the world of writing and getting lost in the story worlds he creates.
He tries to share his thoughts on different topics related to personal development and creativity online.

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