Hiking the Quilotoa Loop was a tough but enjoyable and ultimately rewarding experience and is something I would definitely recommend for anyone visiting Ecuador who loves being outdoors and hiking. In this summary I will go through my packing list for the hike, what items I couldn’t have done without, what things I would change, and tips for those of you going to hike the loop.
- Hiking Clothes: Walking Trousers, Long-sleeved top, t-shirt, gilet, 2 x hiking socks, raincoat, hat, scarf.
- Hostel clothes: leggings, long-sleeved top, fleece, fluffy socks.
- Drybags and zip-lock bags
- Hydration Pack
- Hiking poles
- Deck of cards
- Basic toiletries
- Small towel
- First aid kit
- Head torch
- Watch and charger
Items I was most grateful for:
- Drybags and ziplock bags: these absolutely saved a lot of my stuff from getting soaked on the first day – would highly recommend these!
- My hostel clothes: being able to change into clean, dry, sweat-free clothes after several hours of hiking was just the best feeling.
- Hiking poles: I actually don’t know how I survived hiking without these before – they are immensely helpful going both uphill and downhill.
- My watch: this is purely for the ability to be able to track my distance and time and to have a record of the hike afterwards.
- Tablet: I sent the trek notes to myself and had them on the tablet which I kept in a ziplock bag to keep it dry. It meant I could check the notes regardless of the weather and didn’t have to worry about them getting torn or lost.
Items I would change:
- My backpack: at 20L it was just a little bit too small: I could fit all my stuff in but at a squeeze. I would much rather a 25/30L backpack so as to have a better way of organising my stuff.
- The raincover on my backpack. It did NOTHING to keep the rain out of my backpack on the first day; anything that wasn’t in a drybag was SOAKED, including my journal, which I then almost set on fire trying to dry it (it’s all good, just a little scorched on a few pages).
Massive shout out to:
- My coat (RIP – stolen on the way to Mindo by some thieving so-and-so) for keeping me dry and warm.
- My hiking shoes for doing their best to stay dry and for drying quickly when they got wet.
Tips for anyone looking to hike the loop:
- Take dry bags – have one big enough to fit everything you’re packing into it.
- Get good trail notes so that you don’t get lost.
- Bring snacks with you to munch on as you walk.
- Prepare for lots of sunshine in the morning and lots of rain in the afternoon.
- You can never have too many pairs of socks.
- Get chatting with people you meet along the trail – you can share tips, and end up making some friends to walk the trail with!
- Have fun, remember that the trail is tough but doable, and enjoy all the beautiful views and moments.
I hope you’ve found this guide and summary useful in preparation for the hike. If there’s anything you think I’ve missed please let me know!