As your eyes drift over the lists of What to Wear for Your Patagonia Hike, they might start to water.
Two questions might spring to mind:
1) How on earth am I going to fit all of that in my suitcase? and
2) How much is this all going to cost?!
Why Rent a Kit?
- You may not know that renting a hiking kit can actually benefit the environment. By renting rather than buying something you’ll only use once and then relegate to the bottom of a forgotten drawer, you’re cutting down on waste.
- Paying for excess luggage on the plane is an expensive mistake to make. If you’re short on space, renting kit on site rather than bringing it with you can make more financial sense.
- If you’re visiting Torres del Paine National Park as part of an extended trip around Latin America you may not want to lug your hiking kit with you the whole way.
- Renting a kit can work out easier on the wallet than buying specialist kit such as gaiters and waterproof trousers that you may only ever wear once.
- By renting a kit from specialized outfitters rather than making do with what you already have in your wardrobe you’ll be sure to have the right clothes and equipment for specific challenges of hiking in Torres del Paine.
What Kit Can You Rent?
- A Camping Stove - If you’re planning on taking on the multiday W Trek (more info on that trek here) or Paine Circuit without a tour company and you’re not planning to live off trail mix for a week you’ll be needing a camping stove!
- A Mess Kit - This usually consists of bowls, cups, a cooking pot and spoons that pack together in a compact kit. Again, if hiking with an organised group this will likely be taken care of for you.
- Hiking Poles - Not essential, but many people find them useful. Find out more than you ever wished to know about hiking poles here.
- A Tent - If the refugios are all booked up or you’re looking for a cheaper option on the trail, consider renting a tent.
- A Sleeping Pad - A sleeping pad puts an extra layer between you and the cold, hard ground when you’re camping out on the trail.
- A Waterproof Jacket - When hiking in Torres del Paine you really need a good quality waterproof jacket and it needs to keep the weather out, so a lightweight showerproof jacket won’t cut it. If you’re unlikely to use a hiking-quality waterproof jacket again, consider renting one.
- A Fleece Jacket - A high-quality insulating layer is essential for hiking in Patagonia.
- Waterproof Trousers - This can seem like overkill when you’re packing, but if you get caught out in one of Patagonia’s legendary rain storms it will all start to make sense. These aren’t the sort of things that many people have at the back of their wardrobe, so it can make sense to rent them.
- A Backpack - For a multi-day hike where you’re not using porters you’ll need more than just a day pack. You may need anything up to 85 liters of capacity, depending on what you can physically carry.
- Gaiters - Gaiters protect the bottom of your trousers from getting muddy and the top of your boots from letting water in. This specialized bit of kit is usually fairly cheap to rent and can enhance your trekking experience.
What Not to Rent
- Boots - We harp on about boots a lot here at Cascada Expediciones, because if you’re counting on your feet to keep you going for a whole hiking holiday, you better be prepared to treat them right. That means choosing the right boots and wearing them in before the big trek. Your boots work best when they’ve had plenty of time to get to know your feet so picking up a pair of rental clodhoppers that you’ve never worn before the hike of your life is a recipe for disaster. Most hiking outfitters feel the same as we do on this point, which is why you’d struggle to find anywhere in Patagonia that would agree to rent you boots even if you wanted to. Don’t set off from home expecting to rent boots when you arrive or you might end up hiking in your socks!
- A Sleeping Bag - Nights in Patagonia can be bitterly cold and you'll need a bag with a -10°C comfort rating. Chances of renting a sleeping bag of this quality in Puerto Natales - or Torres del Paine itself - are slim, so your best idea is to come prepared! Even if you’re planning on staying at refugios, you’ll still need a sleeping bag.
Where to Rent a Kit in Torres del Paine?
How Much Will it Cost?
The costs of kit rental will vary depending on what you choose to rent and how long for. Some small items such as mess kits and gaiters should only set you back a couple of US dollars a day, whereas larger items including tents will inevitably be pricier.
One important point to bear in mind when renting equipment from Puerto Natales is that kit rental is charged by the day. So even if you’re planning to spend two nights of a five-night trek in a tent and the other three in a refugio (trail accommodation), you’ll still have to rent the tent and any other equipment for the whole five nights. Factor this into your budget at the planning stages to help you work out if it will be cheaper for you to rent or buy!