Finding the right clothes and gear for the modern adventurer, who climbs jagged peaks, kayaks down rapids and zip-lines through cloud forests by day and wines and dines in hip, local hot spots by night, can be difficult: versatility is critical. This is especially true, when completing a multi-day or multi-week adventure in several climates, environments and countries. With airline restrictions becoming ever more rigid, being able to pack light and compact is also necessary. Outlined below are six adventure trips in South America and six items that I highly recommend to maximize your travel experiences in each destination.
This past year I spent almost a collective month in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon. While hosting our travelers, working with local communities, tree climbing, caiman spotting and hiking I quickly became a fan of ExOfficio’s Bugs Away garments. Not only was the built-in Insect Shield essential for repelling mosquitoes and other not-so-friendly insects found in the Amazon, the fabric is so light, dries quickly and does not hold smell after tromping through the jungle and climbing 100-foot trees all day. Finally, the cut and overall look of their shirts is extremely flattering making their garments wonderful for heading right from the field straight to Manaus for dinner and a show (absolutely essential for adventure travelers on the go!).
Read more about my experience in Manaus and the Amazon:
In October, while traveling in the Atacama Desert, I had the chance to climb two volcanoes: Lascar and Toco. The wind, chill, and thin air at the summits of both volcanoes (each reaching above 18,000 ft) could be felt to the bone however, I was warm and cozy in my Outdoor Research Virtuoso Hoody! The temperatures in the Atacama Desert fluctuate drastically between day (average temperature in the 70s) and night (often freezing). This jacket was a lifesaver not only in the mountains but also when star gazing at night and sitting outside at local barbeques. Its pack-ability is also amazing: weighing only 17 oz and compressing down extremely small.
Read more about my experience in Atacama:
Flight weight restrictions got you down? How do you even begin to pack for a 10 day trip with every different climate? By choosing the right versatile clothes! For trekking in the high Andean deserts and canyonlands in the north of Argentina and Chile and along the snowy trails of Patagonia, I love my REI endeavor trekking pants. They are lightweight, water resistant, and as comfortable at pajamas with a sleek look. Jump from the trail to wine tasting right without having to change!
While making an attempt on the summit of the Osorno volcano in Chile’s Lakes District this October, my Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Jacket was really put to the test; it passed with flying colors! This is my ultimate favorite jacket and shell for everything from extreme alpine conditions in northern Patagonia to my morning runs in the drizzly grey Seattle weather. It is breathable yet cuts the chill when the famous Patagonian winds start blowing!
Following the ancient paths the Inca chasquis, or messangers, used to run along, over high verdant Andean passes and through lush, low valleys lined with some of Peru’s most beautiful cloud forests, and on to Machu Picchu, one does NOT want to be distracted by uncomfortable feet. Having comfortable and well supported feet is critical while on the multi-day Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu. My Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX boots that used while hiking the Inca Trail became my go-to hiking boots for any and all trekking onward! I have now hiked in these boots, throughout the Cascades, in Patagonia and in Brazil’s gorgeous Chapada Diamantia. Lightweight, waterproof and breathable, these boots are tough!
When traveling to Patagonia, it is often difficult to decide on and find the perfect size pack. After spending 30 days in Peru and Argentina in 2014, and fitting everything into my Black Diamond Speed 30, I knew that this was going to be the perfect pack for Patagonia; it did not disappoint. For only 30 liters (this is meant to be a day pack), this backpack contorts, and expands to accommodate so much! In turn, it can just as easily be compressed and shrunk for a comfortable fit to transport the few essentials needed while on a day hike. While completing the Torres del Paine W-trek this pack was essential!
Read more about our discounts our Torres del Paine Base Camp Trek:
Read more about my experiecne in Peru and Argentina:
Your friendly South America expert,