Backpacking in South America definitely has a lot to offer. It is not just a case of going to visit the Amazon. There are 12 different countries in South America and each one is unique, having its own character. The people of South America live life to the full. They are passionate in what they do. You can just see by watching them watch a football match.


photo credit: Lisa Williams

Routes to follow

The routes you decide on depend on your time available. If you are only able to go for a week, then one country would be sufficient, but going for a month would be great because you could fit 3 countries into your itinerary.

Argentina is just one place that backpacking in South America is known for. Everyone who has visited this place comes back with only good reports. There are peaks and forests with trees you may not have seen before and glaciers surrounding the Pantagonian pueblo of El Glacier. The Igauzu Falls, which are located on the border of Argentina and Brazil are a magnificent sight and something you can’t afford to miss if you are in Argentina.

Igauzu Falls

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Machu Picchu is one of the most popular tourist destinations, dating back to 1450 AD. It seems like this is the place to be even if you are not backpacking South America. You will need a permit to follow the Inca trail, which is probably the most difficult thing about this destination so it is advisable to apply in advance.

Machu Picchu

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You have the option to go solo or with a few friends from your hiking club or to join up with a professional group. You could look for South America backpacking tours and they will provide guides that know the area back to front.

Some people enjoy going by themselves so that they can go at their own pace and just enjoy the experience whilst others feel more secure with a professional team as well as the luxury of having someone look after them. If you go alone you will definitely have to brush up on your Spanish or Portuguese because this will come to good use.

Backpacking Gear

It is a good idea to have a look at the time you are going backpacking around South America and take clothing that is suitable for that time of year. A good pair of hiking boots is essential and you will want to wear them in for a couple of weeks before you go to avoid blisters.

You will also be looking for a backpack if you don’t already have one. This depends on how long your trip is. If it is a week you will need a bigger stronger pack, but don’t buy anything bigger than you need and only take the essentials. Having something with side compartments is very useful.

Hi-Tec Men's Altitude IV WP Hiking Boot,Dark Chocolate,11 M
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(price as of Oct 13, 2013)

The Kelty Backpack

There are so many backpacks to choose from that it is difficult to know where to start. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, suitable for all occasions. You have to decide whether you are looking for something that will hold your books for school or something more durable for a big hiking trip up the mountain that will be used to carry your provisions. This is the question you have to ask yourself ultimately.

Firstly, Kelty has been around for a number of years now and earned itself a good reputation. Kelty backpacks go back to the 1950’s and they have been moving with the times ever since.

The structure of the Kelty backpack comes with an inside, light aluminum frame and pockets to keep you organized. The inner frame allows for more support, especially in uneven terrain. They also allow for free arm movement than the external frame did. Inside it is roomy, which is one of the features that makes it so popular.

You won’t have a problem choosing a Kelty backpack  for a shorter trip into the woods. There are many more backpacks to choose from that range from a day trip  in the countryside to a high class hip belt that you could use when you go snowboarding to keep your personals with you.

There are also many different sizes of Kelty backpacks. Obviously you wouldn’t take an overnighter pack on a day hike. You will always pack light and the bigger packs, which are suitable for a few days will weigh a lot more and will tire you out so it is a good idea to think small. For a day hike a pack within 3,000 cubic inches will be sufficient  and if you choose to do a week long hike don’t choose a pack with a size over 6,000 cubic inches. Take the bare essentials with you.

Kelty Coyote 80 Internal frame Backpack (Cypress, Small/Medium - 14.5 - 18.5-Inch Torso)
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The Kelty coyote backpack is a good size for a trail. There are two different sizes for men and one for women. These are excellent for a weekend trail.

The Kelty kids backpack is a great way to know that your child is safe and secure and within touching distance. This is suitable for any kids 30 lbs or less. The TC 1.1 is light and perfect for a family day out

Kelty has also come up with a fantastic way by creating the Kelty baby backpack so you can take the whole family on an adventure and not have to worry about a single thing. They come covered with a hood so your baby will be protected from the heat or the rain.