“Wayfarer, there is no path, you make the path as you go.”
Robert & Daisy Kunstaetter
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- Why Ecuador?
- Slide Show
- Foreword
- Preface
- Acknowledgments
- Table of Contents
- Trek Summaries
- Index
- About the Authors
- About the Publisher
- Overview
- Route Description
- Topographic Map
- Elevation Profile

- The Authors
- The Publisher
© 2002-07 Kunstaetter
Clothing and Equipment
(From Chapter 4)

Some trekking gear can be purchased or rented in Quito. See Appendix A for a list of Quito camping stores as well as trekking agencies in other cities that may have rentals available. Consider bringing as much of your own clothing and equipment as possible, however, so you know what you have and can rely on it. Furthermore, because of customs regulations, it is expensive and time-consuming to have anything sent to you once you are in Ecuador. If you buy or rent equipment here, check it thoroughly before you head out on the trail. Our suggested gear checklist (see book) is just that—a suggestion—and experienced trekkers will have their own variations. A few items, however, merit additional comment.

Adequate clothing for rain, wind, and cold is critically important to prevent hypothermia. A set of separate light sleeping clothes, which can be kept dry in a waterproof stuff- sack during the day, is likewise required.

Boots are obviously fundamental for trekking. While options abound, in our experience the simplest is the best. Calf- to knee-length rubber boots are sold economically throughout Ecuador, although very large sizes may be hard to find. They are universally worn by all campesinos and, when combined with a pair of warm wool socks, make for surprisingly versatile and comfortable footwear. They are a blessing on frequently muddy trails and also offer some protection against snakes. Synthetic or leather hiking boots are recommended for those treks involving ice and snow, dry rocky trails, and extensive road walking. New footwear of any kind should always be tried first on day walks; your boots and feet need time to get used to each other.

A reliable camping stove is very important; many treks are above tree line, and the existing forests should not be turned into firewood. Sealed Camping Gaz canisters are the most commonly available form of camping fuel in Ecuador, but such stoves do not perform well in the cold or at high altitude. White gas can be hard to find; try the Kywi chain of hardware stores in Quito, and ask for combustible para lámparas Coleman. Kerosene is available but not common. Although somewhat dirty, all gasoline (petrol) in Ecuador is unleaded and can be burnt in a pinch by some stoves. The authors have used a simple Optimus 123 stove for many years, while others prefer more sophisticated multi-fuel models.

A machete (easily purchased throughout Ecuador) is also used by all campesinos but is not necessarily recommended for trekkers. If you have experience using a machete, then it can be useful in dense brush. Otherwise, the risk of serious injury and the inconvenience of additional weight may far exceed the benefits of this implement. A small pair of garden pruning shears make a safe, light, and innovative alternative to a machete.