Because it will be warm and you’ll be trekking in the sun you’ll need lightweight breathable shirts. You’ll probably want a minimum of two shirts, however, three wouldn’t hurt as you’ll also be trekking out. You may want to make one of your t-shirts long sleeve as some days may be cooler than others, especially in the late afternoon.
In terms of your trekking t-shirt, the shirt needs to be made of a high wicking fabric such as merino wool or polyester. In the summer months you will most likely sweat a fair amount on the trek in, you therefore want a shirt that allows the moisture to pass through. Please avoid just taking a standard cotton shirt as this will inhibit the moisture transfer. Fabrics like cotton don’t breathe anywhere near as well as the above mentioned fabrics and you’ll find you smell a lot more!
all make great trekking shirts that are affordable.
Like your shirts, your trousers should have the same high wicking qualities. Your legs are likely to sweat just as much which means that the right material will make a big difference.
We recommend purchasing trousers that can also be converted into shorts. These trousers offer you much more versatility and you’ll find they come in super handy in the hot parts of the day.
make fantastic convertible trousers that come in both male and female variations.
Just as the title says, basic sports underwear that breathes very well (i.e. not cotton).
You can either go for a specialist brand such as Icebreaker, or just get a cheaper non-brand alternative.
You will need 6-8 pairs for a 18 day trek.
SOFT SHELL LAYER
In addition to your fleece or hoody, you should also carry a water-resistant and wind-proof soft shell jacket.
The jacket should be very light, easily packable and durable. This is the jacket that needs to withstand any wind and rain you may encounter on your trek in.
We recommend the Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket or the Marmot Precip Jacket.
FLEECE OR HOODY
Having a fleece or hoody on the mountain and on the trek in is key. Although the trek in will be hot during the day, the nights can get very cold, especially when sat around camp.
We recommend a hoody made from synthetic mid-weight Polartec fleece materials. These are perfect for warmth and comfort, but also provide excellent breathability. Polartec fleece jackets come in three main weights: 100s, 200s and 300s. The 100s are very light but not warm enough, whereas the 300s provide exceptional warmth but are a little on the heavy side. We therefore suggest going for a 200 Polartec fleece jacket.
Note worthy brands that make great fleeces include: North Face Fleece, Patagonia Fleece and Patagonia Fleece.
An extra great feature to look out for in a fleece is one that comes with a hoody as this can double as an instant balaclava. See the Patagonia R1 Hoody or the Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody.
The sun will be beating down upon your head on the trek in. You should therefore bring a lightweight, easy-to-pack sun hat to protect your head and face from getting sun burnt. This will also lessen the chance of getting sun stroke.
Try and get a sun hat with neck protection like the one shown adjacent.
Avoid bringing large bulky hats.
In addition to a good sun hat we highly recommend bringing a few Buff headwear neck scarves. These are great for protecting your face and neck from the elements and keeping dust and particulates out of your lungs.
You can bring a lightweight version and a semi-fleeced version for higher up on the mountain.
HIGH ALTITUDE SUNGLASSES
UV intensity increases with altitude, therefore, you want a very good pair of trekking sunglasses to protect your eyes. Sunglasses are also very important on Aconcagua because of the snow. The light intensity created by the white snow can literally be blinding and normal sunglasses just wont cut it.
The undisputed market leader in high altitude sunglasses is Julbo Sunglasses.
All Julbo lenses offer 100% protection from UVA, B and C rays. Their category 4 lenses block up to 90% of visible light, making them ideal for Aconcagua. Whilst category 3 or lower is good for general use, you’ll need category 4 for Aconcagua.
The most versatile lens Julbo offer is the ‘Camel’. The Camel lens is essentially a transition lens and gets darker and lighter depending on the light intensity. For Aconcagua we also recommend the Julbo Explorer range. These provide a secure fit that will see you through any climbing and snow activities.