Travel Advice: How to Pack for The Atacama & Patagonia In One Trip


Atacama Desert

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine, Patagonia


Chile is an overwhelmingly gorgeous landscape of contrasts: mountains and sea, urban and rural, and, most famously, the Atacama Desert and Patagonia. When planning an epic adventure that encompasses these famous juxtaposing sceneries it is important to know how to pack effectively without taking your entire winter and summer wardrobes with you. We have gone ahead and done your homework for you and put together the best list and tips for what you should consider when packing for the Atacama Desert and Patagonia.

The key to packing the right clothes for the Atacama Desert and Patagonia, though very different environments, is layers. Both places have dramatic temperature changes that can occur very quickly, often without warning.

Torres del Paine W-Trek

Gretchen on the W-Trek in Torres del Paine

Valle de la Luna Atacama

Gretchen trekking in Valle de la Luna, Atacama Desert

In Patagonia, having a good base layer with moisture wicking for trekking is an important start. You should always have a fleece and windbreaker/light rain jacket in your day pack as well for unexpected showers and the famous Patagonian winds. At night in Patagonia you will want a warmer jacket (such as a puffy) that you can layer on to stay warm if you go outside to look at the stars in Torres del Paine or to go into the small mountain towns in Argentina.

W-Trek Torres del Paine

Even when it’s cold, having layers to take off and put on is essential when you’re working hard

In the Atacama, though it is desert, you are at altitude. The days are usually warm but the nights are quite cold. Some of the typical excursions travelers do in the Atacama go to even higher altitudes (such as the Tatio Geysers) where you will definitely experience colder temperatures as well. I would recommend lightweight pants or shorts for your days in the Atacama (jean pants if you will be horseback riding) and lightweight long sleeve shirts for the days to protect your skin from the sun. For layering, I recommend a fleece and windbreaker as well. For excursions at higher altitudes, especially if done early in the morning, you will want an even warmer layer with you (such as a puffy).  At night, you will want long pants a warm base layer top and warmer outer layers.


For warm, lower altitude days, shorts and light long sleeve shirt are great


For cooler, high-altitude mornings lightweight trekking pants and a good base-layer long sleeve top are important

For both the Atacama and Patagonia, you will want to bring sturdy shoes for trekking (shoes with ankle support are best) and I highly recommend Smart Wool socks. Finally, make sure you have sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat of some sort for both destinations as well.

HERE is a link to our packing list for Chile (this same packing list goes for Argentina as well: Salta and Patagonia).

Want to start planning your next adventure to Chile? Contact us!

Your friendly Chile expert,



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2 Responses to Travel Advice: How to Pack for The Atacama & Patagonia In One Trip

  1. Pingback: The More You Know: Argentina Travel Tips | Adventures Within Reach Travel Blog

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