The W Trek can be the perfect hike for all experience levels. However, to get the most out of the experience and make it as enjoyable as possible, it's definitely good to prepare. If you're already an avid hiker, the W shouldn't be too different from what you're used to. If not, you could benefit from a little bit of preparation.
On the trek, you'll be hiking through rugged terrain with a pack, something you may not be used to. To make the trek as enjoyable as possible, try a few practice hikes while wearing your pack. If you don't live close to any mountains, try out a stair-master or treadmill with an incline while wearing your pack. This will mimic the feeling of hiking and be good practice for the real thing! (Not sure how heavy your pack will be? If you're trekking with Venture Patagonia, there's no need to worry about the extra weight of camping gear, food or food utensils. VP provides you with housing and meals for the entire duration of your stay. Your pack will likely only include clothes, cosmetics and a packed lunch.)
Hiking can be hard on the body, so if you have knee or joint problems, swimming is a good way to build your strength and endurance in preparation for the hike - without the stress on your joints! It's also important to take a few days off when you're preparing for the trek (and when exercising in general!) - this will reduce the risk of injury and allow muscles to rebuild.
Though the idea of training may seem daunting - don't worry! These are just steps you can take to enjoy the experience as much as possible. The W Trek is enjoyed and loved by both novice and professional hikers!
Wear In Boots & Packs
One of the most essential steps in preparing to hike the W Trek is BUYING COMFORTABLE BOOTS. Nothing will ruin your trip like painful blisters that make hiking unenjoyable. Everyone has a different favorite hiking boot - it's all personal preference. The most important thing is that the boots are waterproof, as you'll likely be hiking through streams or wet ground. Learn more about how to pick the right hiking boots here.
Even after you've selected a pair of hiking boots, it's important to wear them in. This is also true for your packs and anything else you'll be wearing on a day-to-day basis. By making sure your kit's properly worn in, you can identify any uncomfortable spots that rub you the wrong way to make your trek more enjoyable.
Pack the Essentials
If you'd like to see a full list of recommended items to pack for the trek, see our previous blog post on How to Pack for Patagonia!
If there are any specific snacks you want for the trek, you may want to bring them with you. However, if you're traveling with Venture Patagonia, you'll be provided with boxed lunches that include all kinds of snacks in addition to your meal. If you do decide to bring extra, know that it could end up being additional weight that you don't need! We recommend bringing any specific snacks with you to Puerto Natales and asking VP staff before you start the hike. They'll help you decide whether or not your snack is necessary!
If you're traveling with Venture Patagonia and plan to stay in the refugios, we also recommend you bring shower shoes (a pair of old flip flops or sandals work perfectly), travel-size cosmetics (shampoo, conditioner, etc.) and a camping towel.
The W Trek is one of the most renowned hikes in the world for a reason - no matter how you prepare, the trek is sure to be an unforgettable and exciting experience!
If there's anything we forgot to add to the list or you have any more questions, comment below or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!