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Greater Patagonian Trail - Oliver's clothing
Marmot Arch Rock pants: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review
REI Screeline shirt: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review

Pants – Marmot Arch Rock (279g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

I’m very impressed with these pants. For me, they were ideal for the GPT – light fabric, yet reasonably thorn-proof, and very durable. The only holes I managed to accumulate were from barbed wire, and these didn’t grow, even with washing. These were my only pants on the hike (though I did have some shorts I used occasionally).

I’ve continued to use these pants regularly post-hike; they made it through near-daily use for two months in the Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan following the GPT, and I wear them often for outdoor trips and field work now that we’re home. After a year’s hard use, they’re just starting to wear out at the hems. I’ll replace them with the same, if I can.

In retrospect, though, I might have chosen a lighter colour than black for the GPT – I’d have been a little cooler.

2019 update: After a couple of years of very hard use, the original pair is thoroughly trashed; seams are coming undone, and the hems are worn through. These lasted remarkably well through all the abuse I put them through - it's not their fault they're toast. I ordered two more new pairs to replace these. These pants are great.

Shirt – REI Screeline  (245g)

Oliver’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: No

For warm-weather hiking, I prefer a quick-dry button-up shirt over a snug-fitting zip neck. Because they’re loose-fitting, I like being able to get air moving between my shirt and skin. I also chose a button-up as it’s a more familiar-looking outfit to folks we met along the trail; I felt ice-breaking was easier when I didn’t look like a spandexed weirdo.

This particular shirt was bugproof – this made a big difference in tábano country. Slight stretch in the fabric made it reasonably comfortable for being active. It did, though, prove impossible to wash; this shirt was irremediably grubby by the end of the hike. I chucked it.

Overall, this shirt was rather unremarkable – neither good nor bad. Doing it over again, I’d likely try something else.

Which of these guys would you trust more?

Patagonia Capilene 4 Zip-Neck Hoody: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review
Ex Officio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh 3" Boxers: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review
Arc'teryx Phase SL leggings: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review

Shirt – Patagonia Capilene 4 Zip-Neck Hoody - L (252g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

I liked this shirt a lot – hood and thumb loops made it very versatile (and warm when I needed it). This was generally an around-camp shirt – except for the coldest days, I usually hiked in my lighter REI Screeline button-up. I also used this shirt as part of my sleeping system.

I was pleased with this shirt’s durability (though it did tend to shred a bit when it interacted with the velcro strips on my pack – I quickly learned to fold the velcro side outward before rummaging around in my pack). A year later, it’s still going strong with semi-regular use.

I generally run pretty warm, and in retrospect could likely have used a slightly lighter shirt for the GPT. I don’t regret bringing this, though.

2019 update: With semi-regular use, this shirt's still going strong. Good durability, and I'm still pleased with it.

Facial expression does not reflect how pleased I was with this shirt.

Bottom base layer – Arc’teryx Phase SL – M (110g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

This was a comfy, light base layer. I mostly used this as part of my sleep system. These were a bit small initially, but nothing that the GPT on 2,700 Kcal/day couldn’t sort out.

Being so light, they’re not the most durable (though I’m impressed how well they lasted, for what they are). These got a pretty good run in the knee by the time we were through.

While I was never in this position, I can say unequivocally that these would be an unsuitably revealing choice for a town laundry day.

Underwear – Ex Officio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh 3” Boxer (64g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

I’m not one to wax poetic on underpants, but these are probably the best I’ve ever owned. Comfy, light and easy to wash/dry. I brought only one pair at a time on the trail, wearing them every day, washing them each evening, and drying them overnight (while I slept in my long johns). These were ideal for this hike. A year later, I’m still wearing them, and they’re still good underwear.

2019 update: These underwear are still my favourite, and have yet to show any sign of wearing out. I'm wearing a pair now. I feel like I should replace all of my other sub-par underwear with these. Top marks.

Darn Tough Light Crew socks: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review

Balega Second Skin Ultralight socks: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review

Socks – Darn Tough Light Crew (60g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★★

Bring it again?: No

I brought two pairs of socks at a time on the GPT. I’d put on a clean pair in the morning, then give them a quick wash (along with my feet) at lunch, switching over to my other pair while my first pair dried on my pack. Repeat the wash and swap in the evening.

These socks were good, but I could have gone with something a bit thinner and quicker to dry. I destroyed two pairs (and most of another) over the course of 1,450 km.

Darn Tough promises to replace their worn-out socks (“Unconditionally Guaranteed for Life!” says their website!). Turns out, though, this is only true if there’s a hole in the sole, whereas my socks wore out first at the seam corners above my big and little toes. Nevertheless, two of my pairs also met the hole-in-the-sole criteria (‘What did you do to these?!’' they asked at the store when I returned them). One pair, though, they won’t replace, even though they’re legitimately shot, as they don’t have sole holes. Hmmph.

Nike 7" Challenger shorts: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review

Socks – Balega Second Skin Ultralight - L (26g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★★              Piia’s rating: ★★★★

Bring it again?: No                                  Bring it again?: Yes

Oliver: These socks are comfortable, very small, and very light. I brought these for sleeping in (and for putting over my feet when treating them overnight with NOK/Tiger Balm, to protect our sleeping bag). I quickly realized, though, that I was more comfortable sleeping without socks. I gave them to Piia.

Piia: No matter how hot it got during the days, the nights on the GPT trail could still get quite cool (down to -5 °C), to the point of previously wet shoes being totally frozen. I tend to bring an extra pair of socks that are only meant for the nights. That way I always have something dry and warm to wear and ensured better sleep. I quickly tossed out my old pair and adopted Oliver's socks when they became available. They worked perfectly for the purpose being incredible comfortable and soft. I think they could be excellent for hiking, too, but I don't see them being overly durable.

Arc'teryx Calvus cap: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review

Shorts – Nike 7” Challenger - M (136g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

I tried on a lot of different shorts before settling on these. I wanted something light, with a built-in mesh liner, and a low-profile waistband to reduce discomfort under a pack waist strap. I was entirely satisfied with these.

I only used my shorts on southern sections of the trail – it was much too sunny for shorts anywhere north of Lonquimay. Were I to do it again, I’d leave these in the encomienda box until the midway point, rather than carrying them unnecessarily.

Merino Wool Buff: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review

Cap – Arc’teryx Calvus L/XL (50g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

A good, functional cap; light and breathable. Were I to do it again, I’d consider adding built-in sun protection for my neck. As it was, I ended up fashioning a neck cover out of safety pins and a chunk of old arriero shirt I found along the trail. It worked, but looked silly.

I still use the cap. The neck protector, not so much.

Fancy yuppy cap, makeshift neck protector. Glad we packed safety pins in our First Aid kit.

Icebreaker Sierra gloves: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review
Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review

Hat – Merino Wool Buff (53g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

This was a warm, comfortable, multi-purpose piece of clothing. I've used the original polyester version, and much prefer the wool - the polyester was unpleasant and cold when damp, whereas the merino wool buff is entirely bearable under wet conditions.


I used this in place of a toque or beanie, and didn’t miss having them. I wore this on my head on early mornings, at camp as evening cooled, and as part of my sleeping system. It was occasionally a handkerchief, facecloth and towel as well. I had this long before the GPT, and I’m sure I’ll continue to use it long after.

High winds at Volcán Chillán call for daytime buff action.

Gloves – Icebreaker Sierra – L (26g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

I was very impressed by these gloves; warm, comfortable and surprisingly durable. These saw a lot of use on cool mornings while I was using hiking poles – a bit of a torture test for gloves – and held up admirably. A year later (including a couple of months of hard use in the Tien Shan Mountains after the GPT), and except for a bit of pilling, they’re still good as new.

Warmth was about perfect for our GPT hike – I never needed more, and I’d have been occasionally cold with less.

I’ve struggled to find warm gloves that I like, and these are the first ones that have done everything I’ve asked of them. I’ll replace these with the same again when (if?) they eventually wear out.

2019 update: Well, they wore out. I'd say these will last a season before blowing out the fingertips. They were still nice gloves, but maybe not quite as durable as I'd originally thought.

MEC Synergy jacket: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review

Jacket – Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody – L (382g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

This is a pretty standard down sweater hoody; plenty of lighter and more technically advanced options exist, but I like this jacket anyhow. This hit the right mix of warmth, weight, durability and cost (it was on sale) for me.

Having a hood was critical – this made the jacket much more versatile (and warmer) than a hoodless jacket.

I struggled with the decision to go with down rather than synthetic – it wasn’t immediately clear whether I’d be likely to find myself on the trail in cold rain/snow with a wetted-out slug of useless down, slowly dying of hypothermia. In the end, I avoided using this jacket in downpours, relying instead on my shell, capilene thermal top, constant forward progress and metabolism to stay warm during those (mercifully infrequent) conditions. I think it was the right decision – conditions in which a synthetic jacket would have outperformed a down jacket were rare, and I powered through them with other options. This could well have been different if we’d ventured further south.

This jacket’s still kicking, after plenty of post-hike use. I’ll replace it with similar once it’s through.

2019 update: With regular use, this jacket's pretty worn out now. The fabric is getting thin, and it's sprouting down-poofing tears in high-wear areas (belly, lower arms, rear lower hem). I still use it, but it's getting pretty taped up. I'll replace it for next fall - maybe with something different this time.

OR Helium II rain pants: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review
DIY silnylon mittens: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review

Rain jacket – MEC Synergy – L (560g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

This is another case of bringing a somewhat-suited piece of gear I already owned, rather than springing for something new and perfect.

This is a pretty old shell (I bought it in 2010), with relatively standard features ( few pockets, big pit zips, somewhat functional GoreTex, nicely adjustable hood). It’s starting to show its age, but remains reliable. I redid the water repellent DWR layer before we began the hike.

I could have used a lighter (and newer) shell, but didn’t feel like paying for one. Overall, though, this meant that I could get away with less thermal layering than with a lighter shell, so as a component of my clothing system it worked well.

Also, using an older shell meant I was more comfortable being tough on it than I would a sparkly new Arc’teryx one.

2019 update: With occasional use, this jacket's still going strong. The waterproofing is slowly going - every time I re-waterproof, it lasts a little less before needing treatment again. Still a good jacket.

MEC 2010 Catalogue, here I come.

Rain pants – OR Helium II - L (164g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

These were light, but not particularly durable (I easily ripped a hole in the ankle the first time I wore them). They were pretty quick to put on and take off, but I had to train myself to put them on before getting thoroughly wet pants, rather than afterward.

While I’d planned to use these as a wind shell in cold conditions, I don’t think I ever did. I’m sure they would have worked.

I seldom needed to use these pants, but was happy to have them when it started to pour – this suggests the balance of weight v. durability was probably about right. I haven’t used these since the hike, either. Maybe I’m just not much of a rain pants kind of guy.

Salomon XA Pro 3D trail runner sshoes: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review
DIY silnylon socks: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review
Dirty Girl gaiters: Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Review

Waterproof mittens – DIY silnylon (13g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★★                         Piia’s rating: ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes (with modifications)        Bring it again?: Yes (with modifications)  

​Oliver's mom made us waterproof mitts, socks and gear bags out of 1.1oz 20D silnylon we ordered from Ripstop By The Roll. The concept was great – these were very cheap, and very light. Our seam-sealing job, however, failed pretty quickly, resulting in leaks. Still not bad for a wind shell and keeping out light rain, but not great for heavy downpour protection.

We’d try doing this again, but with a better seam-sealing job and slightly heavier fabric. If we could get the seal to work, having cheap, waterproof mitten covers would be great.

Piia is silnylon.

Waterproof socks – DIY silnylon (26g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★★                         Piia’s rating: ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes (with modifications)        Bring it again?: Yes (with modifications)  

As with the mittens, these were homemade waterproof socks of 1.1oz 20D silnylon from Ripstop By The Roll. If our seam-sealing had worked, these would have been extremely useful around camp in the evening – changing into dry socks and still being able to use wet shoes would have been amazing (keeping in mind we didn’t carry spare camp shoes).

We’ll try doing this again with better seam-sealing and heavier silnylon. This dream is worth chasing.

Shoes – Salomon XA Pro 3D 9.5 (840g/629g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★★          Piia’s rating: ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Maybe?                     Bring it again?: Maybe?

We had a complicated relationship with these shoes. They’re comfortable, light, fast shoes, but in the kind of terrain the GPT throws at you, they can be expected to last 400 – 500 km. We brought two pairs each, but could have used three. At ~$170CAD/pair, though, that’s getting into $10/day territory for shoe depreciation (that’s more than we spent on food!). As it was, we spent quite a bit of time sewing and gluing ours, to make them limp their way beyond their minimal off-the-shelf lifespan.

We also struggled with sand – the open mesh above the toes was great for quick drying, but let in lots of sand (meaning we’d often have to stop to empty them in sandy areas).

For us, light and quick-drying trail runners are still a better option than heavy, slow-drying boots. We're not sure we’d bring the XA Pro 3Ds again, but we don’t yet know what we’d replace them with.

After 700 km; felt like these shoes should have been replaced 200 km ago.

One consideration is modification and reinforcement beforehand, to fend off inevitable self-destruction. Doing it again with the same shoes, we’d use Shoe Goo (or equivalent) and sewn-on patches of tough synthetic fabric to reinforce the areas over the big and little toes (as shown), as these were the first to go. We’d also carry some tape, and use it to cover the mesh from the inside of the shoe when we were crossing sandy areas.

Gaiters – Dirty Girl – L (35g)

Oliver’s rating: ★★★★★              Piia’s rating: ★★★★★ 

Bring it again?: Yes                                 Bring it again?: Yes

We’re converts; these are great gaiters. It’s apparent they’ve been designed by people who spend a lot of time on the trail in runners - they’re light, easy to use, dry quickly and kept all kinds of crap out of our shoes. Without them, we’d have been less comfortable, and our shoes and socks would have worn out faster.

They’re also surprisingly durable. We both ended up with tiny holes, and put these through a lot of abuse.

If you’re thinking of going the trail-runner route (which we’d recommend), then Dirty Girl gaiters ought to be a nearly automatic choice. There’s no reason not to use them.

We’ll replace these when they wear out.

What you get when you go gaiter-commando.

Piia's clothing - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews
Patagonia Quandary Pants - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Pants – Patagonia Quandary Pants (252g)

Piia’s rating: ★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

Very comfortable pair that feels light and dries fast. One zipper hip pocket secures small items and legs can be rolled and buttoned up. For light pants they perform well in conditions that are hard on any fabric (eg. bushwhacking and scree) but eventually they will show wear and tear (fabric getting thinner, holes forming). They don't provide great protection against thorns either, so walking through Cenchrus sandburs can feel like a mini acupuncture session. However, this was only a source of minor discomfort (partly because we managed to go through the most dense areas of thorny plants during the early season when the spikes were still soft).


I don't think I could find a better pair, as it's always a compromise between weight and durability. And this was what I had in my closet. Plus they are stylish enough for travelling, too (although maybe not after a few months of hiking).

Arc'teryx Phase SL zip-neck LS - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Shirt – Arc'teryx Phase SL zip-neck LS  (110g)

Piia’s rating ★★★

Bring it again?: No

This is a very well performing shirt. It's really light, breaths well and after getting wet, whether it's rain or sweat, it dries quickly. Because I tend to get cold easily I prefer hiking with a long sleeve even in hot conditions. When it's hot rolling the sleeves usually does the trick (and I can always strip to my bra if overheating). On the other hand long sleeves and the zip neck offer warmth in the mornings and evenings when air gets cooler. With 25 UPF rating it protects you from some of the harmful UV radiation. It's also very durable (didn't manage to put any holes in it, no matter where we went through).


The only reason I wouldn't bring it again to the GPT (although I would wear it for other hikes) is that the tábanos were able to bite through it. Being tired and hungry I value some peace when I sit down. And biting insects can drive me insane. Also, like any other synthetic fabric, eventually it becomes impossible to make it smell nice.

Patagonia Capilene Midweight zip-neck LS - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Shirt – Patagonia Capilene Midweight zip-neck LS (182g)

Piia’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

It was a really hard to choose which second shirt to carry. I usually bring two pieces that have overlapping functions (like being able to hike with both of them) but also have special features that the other one doesn't. Usually this means the other one being thinner and the other one being warmer.


This Patagonia shirt ended up being invaluable in the evenings. I simply loved the feeling of a dry shirt that I could change into while setting up the camp and cooking. Also the nights were more comfortable with warmer shirt (except for couple of times, nights were never too warm for me to be wearing something thicker than during the days) and the couple of times we were stuck in the tent in a storm. I appreciated having another shirt besides my regular hiking top. The Patagonia shirt gets extra points for the thumb loops at the end of the sleeves. 


The downside was that it was too warm to wear during the day (except for a couple of rainy days) so I was basically wearing the same shirt every day. At the end this system worked well for me though. If you're a warm sleeper I would bring thinner shirt so I could use it alternatively for hiking, too.

Terramar thermasilk - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Bottom base layer – Terramar thermasilk (77g)

Piia’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: No

I didn't expect to need a base layer to keep me warm during the day. So these bottoms were mainly for the nights, whether it was for warmth or absorbing sweat (sleeping with sweaty legs is my least favourite thing). Comfort is huge in sleeping arrangements and for that purpose Terramar bottoms weren't perfect. But I think this comes down to personal preference. I just didn't like the feel of the fabric. On the other hand they are extremely lightweight and enough to keep me warm when needed.

Arc'teryx Phase SL - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Bra – Arc'teryx Phase SL (27g)

Piia’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: No

I'm not sure what I think about this product. It's not like it performed badly. Or that it wasn't what I expected it to be, light and unobtrusive. But with light fabric comes certain looseness and eventually it becomes just a piece of useless fabric under your shirt. I'm not heavily built in front, so I don't necessarily need strong support, but even for me this bra became too loose to be effective. One thing I would do is to have a new one in the encomienda box and change it when the old one didn't work so well anymore. But I would say the biggest downside of this bra is the price. I think one can find as well performing piece with less money, and then afford to have two.

Movign Control - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Underwear – Moving Comfort Workout Bikini (23g)

Piia’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

Amazing underwear. It was important for me to have underwear without the cotton patch in the crotch, which was surprisingly hard to find. Some women feel it reduces breathability, but it has never been an issue with me. Fresh (odourless), comfortable feeling and quick-drying fabric are the main qualities for me and Moving Comfort delivers. I've worn mine for a few years and finally the waistband broke on the GPT. I think it speaks for the durability, too.

ExOfficio Give-N-Go String Bikini - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Underwear – ExOfficio Give-N-Go String Bikini (22g)

Piia’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

Another great underwear. Without any cotton it dries fast but also breathes well, and is easy to wash. I carried two new EO panties (altogether three) during the hike helping me feel as fresh as possible during extreme heat and humidity. I always had a clean and dry pair in the backpack while another was washed and drying (hanging outside the pack). If I had to list a con I would say it's not inconspicuous through pants (like Moving Comfort is) but to be honest, in the woods I really don't care.

Under Armour running - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Socks – Under Armour running (35g)

Piia’s rating ★★★

Bring it again?: No

I believe this is a good pair of socks but too thick for me and for this hike. The only time you might have cold feet during the day is when they are wet. And thick socks wouldn't help with that issue anyway (and would possibly make it worse). So you might as well go with thin and lighter ones. I thought I would appreciate the thin cushion on the toe and heel parts but that ended up being a mistake. Otherwise it's a durable sock that I'm still wearing today. My strategy was to bring two pairs of hiking socks, and while I was wearing the other pair, the other pair was washed and drying while I was walking.

Asics low cut running - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Shorts – Asics low cut running (78g)

Piia’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

Great basic pair of shorts that are lightweight and comfortable. They worked as tiny bottoms during hot days and as nice underwear during cold nights and cooler days. They are very simple and I wouldn't wear them in town. But for this hike I was glad to have them.

Outdoor research Echo - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Cap – Outdoor Research Echo (53g)

Piia’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

Great, lightweight cap to protect your head and face from the roasting sun. It can be adjusted to different sizes, folds and fits in tight spaces and comes in one of my favourite colours. The fabric is so light that when you soak it in water to try and cool your head, it won't hold much and will soon be dry again. It's also not warm headwear in strong winds. For the hottest days I wore a light towel under the cap to provide protection for my neck. To upgrade I might consider purchasing a cap with removable cape (eg. OR Sun Runner cap).

Buff - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Buff (40g)

Piia’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

I don't go hiking anywhere without a buff. On the GPT I wore a lightweight one with UV protection. I wear it as a headband, a hat, a head cover combined with the cap and as a balaclava. Occasionally I wrap it around my wrist and use it as a sweat towel and to blow my nose. So no doubt mine gets extremely gross. But then I wash it, quickly dry it and it's ready to go again. 

Icebreaker Chase beanie - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Hat – Icebreaker Chase beanie (27g)

Piia’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

Warm merino hat with minimal weight. Kept me plenty warm at the camp and during the coldest parts of the hike. Packs small and comes with bright colours. Usually I wouldn't root for merino clothes being very durable but the hat has been with me a few years and it's still in great shape.

REI - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Gloves – REI (65g)

Piia’s rating ★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

Pretty basic pair of gloves. They are fairly windproof but not waterproof (even with DIY silnylon mittens) and dry pretty slowly. They are also too hot to wear during the days so we bought cheap and light gardening gloves to prevent hands from burning (too badly). I would wear these gloves again (there were colder days up in the mountains that would have been miserable without any handwear) but I don't doubt there are better choices, too.

Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Hooded down jacket - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Jacket – Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Hooded down jacket (273g)

Piia’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

I love this jacket that is still rocking after several months of hiking and travelling, and being worn nearly every day. It packs very small and the style is simple. With 800 fill it was warm enough for the GPT, even during the coldest days on the highest passes and evenings with below freezing temperatures. I like a hooded jacket with increased thermal efficiency with little added weight. Even though conditions got fairly humid having a down jacket wasn't problematic. This piece was pretty essential. I wouldn't imagine doing the hike without having something warmer to wear, mostly during the passive parts.

Outdoor Research Helium II - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Rain jacket – Outdoor Research Helium II (157g)

Piia’s rating ★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

My summer hiking system involves packing a light shell for light rain and a poncho for the heavier storms. The advantages include having something more breathable for windy and light rain conditions and with poncho you have an extra backpack protection, too. It's not necessarily lighter strategy compared to just carrying a heavier, more waterproof jacket and a bag cover, but this has been the system that has worked for me.


The OR Helium II jacket worked fairly well, providing protection against anything but the most extreme conditions, with a reasonable price. The style is a bit angular (not fit) and the shape of the hood is awkward but I like the simple style in general. Lightweight 30D nylon isn't super durable so wearing and bushwhacking around with it requires caution. I would say this jacket lasts about one long-distance hike before the performance decreases significantly.


With waterproofness you always lose breathability and fabric quality plays a big role. OR's 2.5 layer Pertex® Shield is medium quality but comes with light weight. I haven't found a jacket, or a system, that keeps me totally dry in long lasting heavy rain (that you probably will encounter in GPT; we certainly did) or in windy, cold conditions when you're climbing a steep slope and getting sweaty. So I'll keep wearing this jacket until something better comes along. 

Outdoor research Helium - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Rain pants – Outdoor Research Helium (144g)

Piia’s rating ★★★

Bring it again?: Yes

I like these pants a great deal. With poncho I don't need heavy-duty rainpants so OR Heliums fit perfectly to my system. They protect well from light rain but don't prevent you from getting soaking wet under a storm. On the other hand no matter how wet they are, when the rain stops these pants dry really fast.

The same durability issue applies to the pants and the jacket. I managed to poke a hole by sitting on a rock so cautious handling is required. Style is also very simple (with only one (back) pocket) but I found the ankle zippers very useful. I feel the pants breathe better than the jacket (that is pressed against your back while hiking) and but they are windproof which helps keeping warm during cool days. The fabric is somewhat soft and I have worn these pants without other layer under them but I wouldn't say it was the most comfortable getup.

Integral Design poncho - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Poncho – Integral Design silnylon (223g)

Piia’s rating ★★★

Bring it again?: Maybe

This is another piece of gear that is difficult to review. I like the idea of a poncho and its functionality as a part of my raingear system (and shelter system on solo trips). Unfortunately I haven't found lightweight poncho that is actually waterproof when it really needs to be. It might be the way I wear it or the quality of the 30-denier nylon, I'm not really sure. So far I haven't found anything better so for that reason this poncho deserves high ranking. I would probably try cuben poncho next, although I consider the price of cuben products a bit off-putting. I would also consider making DIY poncho for my next adventure.

Superfeet Berry - Greater Patagonian Trail - Gear Reviews

Insoles – Superfeet Berry (80g)

Piia’s rating ★★★★★

Bring it again?: No

I don't think these insoles are bad in quality but they definitely didn't match with the shoes. I spent excruciating first days on the trail with these insoles not giving my toes enough space in the shoe and forming painful blisters. Luckily I figured out the cause and replaced them with Salomon's own insoles (that come with the shoe). Those worked out fine, although they were nothing but thin paper at the end of the hike. I have used Superfeet before and liked them, but I think after this experience I don't dare giving them another chance.

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