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Hiking in Torres del Paine: To Rent Kit or Not to Rent?

As your eyes drift over the lists of 10 Essentials for Hiking in Patagonia and 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?!

Unless you regularly take off on extended hikes in cold and wet weather, the chances are you won’t automatically have everything you need for hiking in Torres del Paine National Park. But before you remortgage the house and head down to the shops, take a look below and see if renting your Patagonia trekking kit might be the ideal solution for you!
 

hiking kitWhy rent kit?

  • You may not know that renting 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 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 kit from specialised 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?

hiking in patagoniaA camping stove - If you’re planning on taking on the multiday W Trek 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 specialised 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.
 

camping in torres del paineWhere to rent kit for Torres del Paine?

If you’re travelling on one of Cascada’s guided tours in Torres del Paine National Park any tents you need will be supplied so you don’t have to rent them. You can also arrange to rent hiking sticks and sleeping mats  through us, so all you have to worry about is getting to Patagonia and having the time of your life.
 
If you’re travelling independently or you want to rent extra clothing and equipment, the place to do so is the nearest large town, Puerto Natales. Most people heading to Torres del Paine head through Puerto Natales on their way, and it’s well set up for all of your hiking needs.
 
There are lots of camping shops and hiking outfitters in town, but we recommend Casa Cecilia on Tomás Roger street.
 
When travelling independently you can also choose to rent tents and sleeping mats from individual refugios as you make your way around the park. This has the added advantage that you won’t have to carry this kit with you from A to B. Just make sure to reserve well in advance, especially during the peak southern summer months of January and February as availability is very limited.
 

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!
 
Chloe Says
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Chloe Says: For more information on getting properly kitted out for hiking in Torres del Paine, check out our series of articles on essential hiking kit and equipment!  And if you need any more information, feel free to send me an email at .  Happy trekking!