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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  • 1 Post By Tony LEE
  • 1 Post By road spirit
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  #1  
Old 19 Feb 2015
c-m c-m is offline
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Camping conditions on the altiplano and southern patagonia

What are camping conditions like on the altiplano and in Patagonia?

I want to do some camping whilst I'm there and have a couple of tents. The lightest one is the best technically but isn't free standing. If the ground is pure rock that means taking a hammer which negates some of the 2kg weight advantage (though saves lots of bulk) it has over my more roomy tent which will cope just fine free standing (with the bike as a anchor).

Also conditions are likely to be cold at night In November are we talking -12c and the likes, or is that reserved for winter? -5c or so means I can take a lighter smaller bag.

Of course all of these is assuming that it's fine, and reasonably safe to just turn up and wild camp on in the isolated countryside.

Thanks
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Old 19 Feb 2015
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Don't forget the winds - although I guess once the bike has blown over off its stand, it will make an even better anchor for the tent.
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  #3  
Old 19 Feb 2015
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If you like camping and you are not just doing it to keep costs down, then by all means do not hesitate to camp at wild in altiplano and in patagonia. You will love it.

In altiplano, temperature at nights falls below zero (celcius) no matter if it is summer or winter. It is a gamble to try to tell if it is going to be closer to -5 or closer to -12, really. It will depend on altitude, and on current conditions. For example, it is one thing to camp at 3500 meters and a different thing to camp at 4500.

I believe that in November you will be mostly fine in altiplano. We camped in October (2012) and we did get below freezing temperatures. I didn't have an ambience temp gauge with me, but I know it was subfreezing because our water was... well, frozen, block of ice.

One night, a couple of kilometers past the border of Paso Sico, in the chilean side, we camped at 4000 meters. It was cold, but we were ok. Wearing thermal base layers, a light fleece, and our sleeping bags had a comfort rating of -12 (mountain equipment classic 750) and good sleeping pads. Made the mistake and did not leave enough ventilation, so woke up at around 6:00 in the dawn, to see a thin layer of ice covering everything inside the tent. Our sleeping bags, and everything we had inside.

Here is a pic from that spot, early in the morning:



In Patagonia, your main concern will be not the temperature but the winds.
I've read quite a few stories (true or exaggeration, I cannot know) about tents been torn apart, ripped away and other bad experiences. We did encounter very strong winds, but I guess we were lucky not to live it with their all galeforce potential. But they were strong enough sometimes, to not let us enjoy the camping.

I had watched a video in youtube showing an upscale model of marmot been hammered in Torres del Paine and almost being brought to the ground.
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Old 19 Feb 2015
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Thanks.

If it's one type of weather I hate it's wind. Saying that my old tent (semi geodesic) easily stood up to the bora in Croatia. My groundsheet was like a water bed though with all the rain and water rising up from the ground. Comfortable though.

I enjoy the freedom, isolation, and privacy of camping. I find it makes a good contrast to private rooms and hostels, which I tend to use in the city.

It would be a shame though to take all my gear then think nah, sod this, and not end up using it.
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Old 20 Feb 2015
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the best time for Patagonia on the motorbike is January. Other time is freezer, I live on the 35° latitud and tonight the temperture will are 15°C, the limit for me sleeping in tent. Enjoy Argentina !!!!
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Old 20 Feb 2015
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Thanks.
If it's one type of weather I hate it's wind. Saying that my old tent (semi geodesic) easily stood up to the bora in Croatia. My groundsheet was like a water bed though with all the rain and water rising up from the ground. Comfortable though.

I enjoy the freedom, isolation, and privacy of camping. I find it makes a good contrast to private rooms and hostels, which I tend to use in the city.

It would be a shame though to take all my gear then think nah, sod this, and not end up using it.
Road Spirit has got it exactly right!
Know that the Alti-Plano and Southern Patagonia are VERY different areas separated by HUNDREDS of miles, one is at sea level, the other up over 4000 meters. You may find more people around in seemingly remote places ... that seem to appear out of nowhere. "privacy"

The Alti-Plano IS HIGH ... as mentioned, often up over 4000 meters. Cold all year round. Some of the towns are a bit lower, but not La Paz, at 4K meters. Never camped there because rooms were so cheap.
Can be a harsh environment, cold, brutal Sun, rain and wind. Those Aymara are TOUGH people.

There are a few Jewels to be found if you do your homework to find them but tourism and development has ruined most.

If the cold gets to you, I suggest taking the "Death Road" from La Paz (new road is no longer dangerous) down to Coroico. A wonderful tropical town on the edge of the Amazon jungle. The ride down and back spectacular. Like going to a different planet. Think Avatar.

I only spent 3 months in Bolivia. The other MUST SEE place is the Salar. Also high and very cold. Try to go when the Salar is not flooded so you can safely ride across. Good camping out there if you shelter behind small hills or structures. The Alit-Plano encompasses Peru', Bolivia and a bit of Ecuador and Colombia. Huge area.


Once you go South a 1000 miles or so, everything changes, including weather patterns. Now you're in Patagonia. A massive area.

Patagonia is quite diverse. East coast on the Argentina side is very different than West coast Chilean side. I prefer the Chilean side but once in Tierra Del Fuego area there are wonderful places on BOTH sides. Mountains, Lakes, Forests, great coastal areas. Camping is good all over. NO PEOPLE ... but few services!

Torres Del Paine a highlight. And touring the Magellan Straits, another highlight. I spent weeks doing that on a US research boat.

I only camped at Perito Moreno Glacier (using borrowed gear), but worked at an Estancia near by. Also lived 3 months near San Martin De Los Andes (near Bariloche), beautiful place for camping with ten thousand lakes. I worked at a kind of "Dude Ranch". Bariloche is a high end Ski resort for rich Argentines and Euros. Most travelers avoid it. ($$$$$)

I can attest to the winds in the South. I flew all over the area with Argentine Air Force and in private planes. Serious wind. Pilots there, if they survive, are some of the best.

Riding bikes in such wind takes getting used to. Many of the roads are being paved, so it gets easier as more and more is paved. Go slow.

Summer in Patagonia/Tierra Del Fuego is November to March. The weather can be beautiful and warm ... but the wind can also B L O W like a Mother.
Weather patterns now are quite unpredictable and storms can come in FAST and catch you out. You could spend a few months exploring the area.

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Old 20 Feb 2015
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I won't be in Patagonia until some time in December and even then I'm going as far south as the Perito Moreno Glacier, well a little further into TDP national park, but I'm not heading to TDF for anything.

It's the Altiplano that's more concerning. I should reach it in early November, so I guess a bit of a shoulder season. I'll be coming up from the south towards Uyuni (which today at the hight of summer is -1c at 4am, i'm sure Nov is a fair bit colder) and the Salar, camping close to the salt flats has got to be spectacular right? Then when heading back south I plan on messing around near San Pedro de Atacama.

I read something about a free cabin on Isla Del Pescado on the salar but haven't found out any more. Either way I'll be taking a nice warm duck down sleeping bag.

I never camp in cities, there's no point. It's just on the way to those cities.
I want to camp in the atatcama to get involved in some astro photography
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Old 20 Feb 2015
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Ushuaia

C-M, You should get in touch with Helumi (Dominik) WWW.demoto.com

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...all-year-80506

I think Dominik is heading down there (Ushuaia) some time soon. If anyone can get there in tough conditions, Dominik can, and will!
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Old 20 Feb 2015
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.... and the Salar, camping close to the salt flats has got to be spectacular right?






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  #10  
Old 20 Feb 2015
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Don´t worry

Mollydog has said it truthfully: Patagonia and Altiplano are different.

Don´t worry; if you have a tent and a decent sleep gear, you will be comfortable. I slept in Uyuni, a few meters from Road Spirit´s pictures, with no tent, just a light sleeping bag. It was Christmas, not raining.

Dry and cold season is mid-year, winter in Southern hemisphere; day temperatures are around 10°C maximum, but much colder/freezing at night.

By the end of November/December, rains begin, sometimes just a shower, others down pouring; day temperatures are higher, around 20°C when it´s not raining, 10° or less in rain; but over freezing at night.

You´ll enjoy the silence.

Santiago
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Old 23 Feb 2015
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Camping conditions on the altiplano and southern patagonia

Not much to add here but I camped all over altiplano from November to end of January, the absolute coldest was at Laguna verde on the Bolivian SW circuit, at something like 4500. No idea how cold it was but felt like my -7 (comfort zone for men) was at its limit, I had all my clothes on, plus thermals and liner (another -5 to the bag rating) so maybe it was minus 10 to minus 15, no idea but was very cold. Everything else was OK and never felt cold, even on salt flats. Key is to get out of the wind, though in my experience wind builds up from around midday and blows a gale until sundown when it stops dead.
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