Patagonia and other adventure travel destinations

What to pack: Vacation clothes for Patagonia

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There is one key thing to remember when you’re picking vacation clothes for a trip to Patagonia: in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are the opposite way around. That means November–February is summer, which is when you’ll likely plan your trip. However, it doesn’t stop there – the weather in Patagonia is notoriously unpredictable. You can experience all four seasons in one day, from bright sunshine to howling wind and rain. Therefore, packing vacation clothes for Patagonia can be a bit of a challenge.

However, there is one key rule: layering, layering, layering. With the right combination of light layers, you can transition easily from a wet, windy morning to a hot and sunny afternoon. Below, we run you through the ultimate Patagonia packing list, taking you from the hiking trail to restaurants and bars, making sure you have all the essentials while keeping your bag light.

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Vacation clothes for Patagonia: Packing for all four seasons

vacation clothes

Hiking essentials

  • Water resistant hiking pants are probably the most essential item for your Patagonian adventure. Go for a lightweight, waterproof pair to ensure easy movement on tricky trails and maximum comfort in case you get caught in one of Patagonia’s unpredictable rain storms.
  • A lightweight waterproof windbreaker is another essential item. It can get very windy in Patagonia, so you want to make sure you’re shielded from the wind while making sure you’re not carrying around anything too bulky. Also, look for a design with a hood in case of any sudden rain showers.
  • Lightweight down jackets are super useful in Patagonia’s unpredictable climate. Light jackets like these are perfect for hiking as they’re cozy enough to keep you warm but not too bulky to tie around your waist or stuff in your bag.
  • A fleece jacket is a useful layer to pack, just in case it gets very chilly. Can’t hurt to pack an extra sweater as well.
  • Two or three lightweight long-sleeves are also another essential component of your layered hiking wardrobe.
  • Long underwear is important in unpredictable weather. Be sure to bring a lightweight pair so they’re comfortable under hiking pants.
  • Sun hats are essential vacation clothes in Patagonia – although it can feel chilly, the sun can be very intense. 
  • Sunglasses are important too, to stop you from squinting on the trail.
  • Gloves are also essential, even though it’s summer. Up in the Patagonian mountains and out in the icefields in can get pretty nippy, even if it is the height of summer.

Off the trail

vacation clothes

Packing for hiking can be pretty involved, so make sure you don’t forget the bits and pieces you’ll need for when you’re off the trail. In Patagonia, most bars, restaurants, and hotels are pretty casual, as they tend to be populated by your fellow explorers. However, it can be nice to change into something a little less rough and ready when you’re relaxing after an excursion. Here are our suggestions for the vacation clothes you’ll need for Chile’s towns and cities:

  • Regular underwear and pajamas, as your long sleeve thermals might be a bit hot when you’re not hiking.
  • Short sleeve T-shirts or vests are good if you’re planning to spend some time in Santiago, as it gets up to about 80°F in the summer months.
  • Jeans are useful if you want to dress casually for dinner or drinks.
  • A smart(ish) blouse or button down if you want to dress up a little.

Time to begin your adventure

And there you have it! Our complete capsule wardrobe for a holiday in Patagonia. However, this guide only covers vacation clothes. If you’re planning to go on a hike over several days, check out our complete guide to camping gear here.

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