There are only two possible outcomes for thee O Circuit in Torres del Paine. One is that the universe bestows upon you glorious weather and you spend each day basking in the sun. The other is that all meteorological hell breaks loose, and since you’re sitting at 50°S, there’s not much you can do about it. Needless to say, knowing what to pack for Torres del Paine is pretty important.
If you’ve got space in your backpack, you can start with this Patagonia Packing List. But everything you don’t bring with you, you can rent. There are lots of spots to rent camping gear in Puerto Natales. And you might just save yourself some weight and money by doing it.
Gear rental in Puerto Natales is both easy and affordable. The shops know what conditions in Torres del Paine are like, and they’re quick to recommend gear that will hold up. So if you’re planning on renting camping gear in Puerto Natales, here are a few of the best shops in town along with average prices for gear rental.
Where to Rent Camping Gear in Puerto Natales
Erratic Rock has one of the best reputations in town for all things trekking in Torres del Paine. They stock MSR, Thermarest, Marmot, North Face, and other major outdoor brands.
The best part about Erratic Rock is their free 3 o’clock trek talk that happens every day at 3 pm. In this one hour session, they’ll give you an overview of the trail along with advisories, suggested routes, and other recommendations. It’s a good place to meet other travelers and pick up things you forgot, but I found some of their prices to be slightly higher (>$1/day) than the other shops. Learn more about Erratic Rock’s hostel, equipment rental, and expeditions.
Where to Find It: Manuel Baquedano 719
Rental Natales looks a bit upscale, but their prices are on par with other shops in town. The shop is small, but they rent mostly name-brand gear. Their location away from the square ensures that their gear is a bit more lightly used than the gear at Erratic Rock, and they are super friendly. Check out Rental Natales here.
Where to Find It: Bernardo O’Higgins 662-A
Other Gear Rental Shops that Rent Camping Gear in Puerto Natales
Update for 2022: Unfortunately, Camaleon, Casa Cecilia, Chumango Hostel, and Gear Spot have gone out of business since this post was published
Feeling lazy? You can also rent your gear in the park! If you’re hiking the W-Trek, the FantasticoSur and Vertice sites will allow you to reserve a tent, mat, sleeping bag, etc. with your campsite booking. The prices can be a bit of a gouge, but it will save you from having to carry your gear which is definitely worth something. Renting gear for every day of the O Circuit is not currently possible.
Before You Go
Before heading into the backcountry, be sure you have everything you need. Set up your tent and check for holes. Test out your lighter. Check how ful your propane cans are. These things might seem obvious, but they’re totally important for a safe and comfortable trek. You can take a look at our Patagonia Packing List for everything you’ll need for your backcountry trip.
Cost of Gear Rental in Puerto Natales (2017)
Equipment rental in Puerto Natales was way more affordable than I expected it to be. Most shops had pricing tiers available for every type of product so you could choose something more or less technical, depending on your needs. Based on my hike in 2017, here’s what you can expect your average daily rental cost of gear to be.
- Tent for 3-4 ($7,000CLP – $10,000CLP)
- Tent for 2 ($4,500CLP – $5,000CLP)
- Backpack 30-70L ($3,000CLP – $3,500CLP)
- Sleeping Bag to -5°($2,500CLP – $3,000CLP)
- Sleeping Mat ($500CLP – $1,000CLP)
- Trekking Poles ($3,000CLP – $3,500CLP)
- Cook Stove ($1,000CLP – $1,500CLP)
- Gas ($3,000CLP – $4,000CLP)
My rental cost averaged $14,500CLP (~$22 USD/day). This is pretty damn good when you consider this included my accommodation**, activities, and cooking gear for a week. After factoring in food, transport, camp costs, and entry fees, I was still traveling in one of the world’s greatest national parks within my daily travel budget. For more information on what all this cost, check out this Outlandish Guide to the O Circuit.
**Private campsites range from $8 – $75 USD per night with a higher nightly rate for refugios.
Where to Stay in Puerto Natales
You’ve probably already sorted out your campsites in Torres del Paine, but if you need a place to stay before your trek, here are some of the best hotels in Puerto Natales.
Refugio Hoshken | Refugio Hoshken inexplicably brings cool people together. It’s a basic spot but the vibe is right, the staff is super friendly, and they’ll even let you leave your stuff in storage while you undertake your trek! Dorms from $14.
The Singing Lamb | The Singing Lamb is quite simple but spacious common areas and its location just five blocks from the bus station make it the go-to hostel in Puerto Natales. Double rooms start from €51.
Hotel Simple Patagonia | The Hotel Simple Patagonia is anything but simple. The architecture is sleek and you’ll enjoy stellar views of the Ultima Esperanza Sound, which well warrants its location 4km from the bus station. Double rooms from $158.