Spaghetti Monster you ask some big logistics questions that as the owner of Pucon Kayak Hostel I answer for kayakers each year. Chile is not the easiest logistics destination so hopefully the links and resources provided here will help you make Chile happen.
Your big questions seem to be A. Buying a Vehicle, B. Kayaks, and C. Futa and Baker Logistics.
A. Buying a Vehicle in Chile -
I wrote a how to blog to help kayakers a few years back titled, "Buying your dream kayak vehicle in Chile."
I've bought no less than a dozen vehicles in Chile and this is comprehensive list of what you need to make it happen. An added must - I can not emphasize enough you must get a person to help you buy a vehicle. I pay my guy $US100/day and he has saved me thousands. He researches the vehicles and when I arrive we drive direct to look at them and negotiate. Then he takes care of all paperwork. Since, you will need a RUT number (equivalent to social security#) you will likely need an additional day. Expect minimum of 3 days to buy your wheels. I am happy to refer my guy to help you as he is reliable and he appreciates the work. He can also help you sell it when you have ragged it to Patagonia and back.
Link to Chile's version of Auto Trader- Chileautos.cl
Buying new kayak
Onefatdog pointed out the prices of buying a kayak in Pucon. Rivers, Lakes and Oceans ships containers of kayak gear to Chile and distributes to everyone. I am amazed that you can get kayaks in Chile same price as states. If you are buying retail I recommend pre-ordering your kayak as the post Christmas months may not have your model in stock and it takes RL&O shipping time to restock. Expect to be able to sell your new kayak used at end of trip for $US750-ish. If you buy new and want to sell used send me a message as I often buy first season boats.
Renting a kayak - Chile market rent rates is $US20/day. Pucon Kayak Hostel is proud to state we have the largest rental kayak fleet in South America. PKH annually sales all old and broken kayaks and replaces them with fresh designs. If you decide you want to rent a kayak I would be happy to offer you an extended stay rental. Link to PKH Kayak Rental Fleet.
Note- if you buy or rent a kayak in Pucon you are going to have a logistics challenge getting it south to the Futa. I'll try to demo logistics in a moment.
Renting kayaks at the Futa - I know Nate Mack has a hostel in town of Futa but when I asked him to rent to guests he preferred to just guide and not rent.
Does anyone know whom or what companies rent kayaks at the Futa? I think Cara del Indio has some old designs from back when Liquid Skills based there.
Buying a Used Kayak - Chile is a sellers market. Meaning if you have a kayak you can expect to be able to sell it at the end of your trip. But finding used kayaks is a challenge as guides, companies and kayakers buy them on the spot. PKH has a couple of used kayaks we are selling, see kayak list.
C. Futa and Baker Logistics
If you are just going to Futa then go direct to Puerto Montt or Esquiel Argentina and bus to Futa.
If you need to rent or buy a kayak in Pucon or buy a vehicle in Santiago then you are going to face the great kayaker dilemma to get from north to Futa. The challenge is because at Puerto Montt the Gulfo de Ancud circles up next to the steep walls of the Andes spine. In this short stretch around the gulf the roads do not connect the north to the south of Chile.
Kayakers getting from the north to the south has been the source of some of the greatest and worst roadtrips in kayaker history. Your options.
A. Drive through Argentina - You can not drive from Puerto Montt direct to Argentina. Most kayakers cross near Pucon or Osorno and drive to Bariloche to Esquiel to Futa. This is a big big single day or two day trip. Pointers-
1. Argentina charges a $US160 reciprocity fee. Some kayakers are now opting to spend that money on a ferry boat ride fee south.
2. Driving through Argentina requires some paperwork. At PKH I rent 4 door pickup trucks and each year have to sign notario papers giving permission to drivers to cross the border and you also have to buy an insurance policy covering Argentina. This will likely require you to hire or know someone to help you.
B. Puerto Montt to Chaiten Ferry - Link to ferry and schedules.
I personally like taking the ferries. You can drive from Pucon 4 hours south to Puerto Montt shop at the fish and crafts markets and stock up on food and gas supplies for Futa. The overnight ferry is relaxing a scenic. And you can drive 4 hours the next day from Chaiten to Futa. Downside is that it costs per vehicle and per person. Puerto Montt to Chaiten = 88,000 pesos/vehicle./700 pesos = $US125.71. That's cheaper than the $US160 Argentina reciprocity fee.
Other ferry options:
Drive and take 3 ferries around the Gulf for the roadtrip of a lifetime. PKH actually designed an all-inclusive guied trip called the Road to Futa
that cruises through this spectacular section of the world. I know you are not interested in our trip but feel free to look at the itinerary and use it for your own trip. After 15 years of exploring Chile I discovered it last year and will continue to do it every year.
Here is a link to the series of ferries and drive through Parque Pumalin around the gulf -
Hornopiren to Leptu to Fiordo Largo to Caleta Ganzalo Ferries/Drive
A third option that is most often used when kayakers are too late to book their ferry tickets is Puerto Montt to Chiloe (island) to Chaiten. Each of the ferry options tend to add up to about the same cost.
C. Fly Puerto Montt to Futa - this sounds awesome but I don't have experience with it. Does anyone know the cost to fly to Futa?
Can you bus to Futa from the north?
I think bussing from Chaiten to Futa would be a challenge as those are small buses typically jam packed. But if you tried even if the bus denied you I am sure you would eventually get there as it is a trekker hitch hiker rich area of the world. And I think a truck would give you and your kayak a ride. You should give yourself an extra day and food supply though.
Tips - Stock up in Puerto Montt or Esquiel on food supplies and gas/diesel. Futa petro is expensive. And food supplies in town of Futa are scarce due to heavy competition from locals and commercial outfitters. The mercados are small and limited. Staples like produce and bread may just be out of supply until the next truck arrives in 3 days.
Futa from Pucon -
PKH had about 6 groups head to the Futa last season. I think we had two groups of kayaker guests self-organize and rent one of our trucks for private Futa missions. Pucon can be a good spot to hop in on or get your kayak delivered to Futa.
Best times for Futa -
The past few years the Futa Fest has been the last weekend of February. This means lots of folks are driving south the 2 weeks prior to Futa Fest. I had no less than 10 kayakers ask if I could transport their kayak with our trailer for Futa Fest. January to February and even early March are idea months with best weather and great boating. December and early can be rugged weather and maybe too high for some of the play.
Of note- Pucon area has a remarkable creek season surrounding November.
Logistics to Baker -
If Pucon is the spot to catch a ride to the Futa then the Futa is the spot to catch a ride to the Baker. Estimate 12 to 15 hour rugged drive south of Futa. When I say rugged it is hard to understand how harsh these roads are on vehicles. A handful of Futa guides tend to goto the Baker after their Futa season. They've got a pocket full of guide cash and their big water skills are keen after a season on the Futa. I'd suggest getting to Futa in February and asking every guide and kayaker who is headed to the Baker. If you are good enough someone will likely let you pay gas for a seat.
You are awesome welcome to post on the PKH facebook page and offer to pay gas for a seat or whatever.
This is a lot of info and I hope it helps you plan your trip. Feel free to email me David(at)puconkayakhostel.com if you have specific questions.