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What Should I Pack For The Inca Trail?

Inca Trail

What Should I Pack For The Inca Trail? – Journeys to Peru can cover a lot of ground. This wildly dynamic South American nation traverses a wide range of ecosystems and landscapes from the tropical Amazonian lowlands to the windswept Pacific coast, crossing the mighty Andes mountains on the way. One of Peru’s national treasures that draws adventurers from every corner of the globe is Machu Picchu, built by the historic indigenous society of the Incas. Situated at 7,972 feet above sea level near the culturally rich city of Cusco, Machu Picchu is reached via several challenging trails ranging from 12 to 40 miles that endure as many a travelers’ dream. Success and enjoyment require planning ahead by choosing the experienced operators (Global Basecamps – check!) and personal preparation. Keep reading as we take the next step: choosing the right gear.

As the previous blog post we mentioned to elaborates on, two of the most important items there are for Machu Picchu tours on the Inca Trail (or any other trekking endeavor) are your mind and body. Ensuring you are in the mental and physical condition needed for your trek is essential, just like having the right gear! With that foundation, let’s explore the gear to make your trek awesome with categories and a packing list to get you on the right track, including luggage, clothing, other equipment, and personal care items.

inca trail

Having a large duffel bag (about 30L) that fits your trekking backpack (a backpacking pack of 20-35L) plus your extra gear is great to have. You’ll likely be stashing some gear at a pre-/post-trek accommodation or having porters carry extra gear for you, so having a larger bag that fits everything is very convenient.

Multipurpose, comfortable clothing made for travel and outdoor activities is best. Breathable, abrasion-resistant synthetic fabrics that dry quickly and are suitable for a variety of weather conditions are the way to go. Dressing in layers – having more, lighter weight items rather than fewer, heavier weight ones – allows you to add or shed layers depending on weather and level of physical activity. Wise choices in well broken-in footwear are particularly important, as your feet will be put to the test on a daily basis. Hats for cold and sun are also critical.

Start Planning A handful of other pieces of equipment (like trekking poles, brought from home or rented) have come commonplace on Machu Picchu tours and other trekking excursions. These and other miscellaneous gear, along with well-chosen personal care items, are important to consider as you plan and pack.

Getting your gear together before your trip can be both fun and a challenge, and using the guidelines here will help you with this process. Inca Trail tours can be a peak life experience – we wish you the best and are here to help as you prepare!

Helpful Packing List – What Should i Pack For The Inca Trail?


You MUST take your passport (the original, not a photocopy). Keep it in a ziplock bag, in case it rains.

A sleeping bag:
A four season (-10) bag is suggested during winter, otherwise a three season (-5) bag should be fine (depending on how much you feel the cold). You have the option of hiring a sleeping bag – just let your leader know at the pre-trek briefing. Hiring a bag will set you back about USD25.

A water bottle:
You need to carry at least two litres with you each day. We suggest buying two x one-litre bottles (or a hydration bladder) that you can refill each day on the trek (cooled boiled water will be supplied daily).

Waterproof, worn-in hiking boots:
This is important. PLEASE PACK COMFORTABLE, WORN-IN, WATERPROOF HIKING BOOTS!! Your boots should be lightweight, and have good ankle support and grip. There are a LOT of rocks and steps along the trail, and you don’t want to be slipping and sliding your way to Machu Picchu! Also, ill-fitting shoes can result in lost toenails. Just saying.

Day clothes:
No matter the temperature, trekking definitely warms you up. It’s good to pack layers; clothes that you can easily take off and put on.

– Two pairs of long walking trousers (zip offs are handy, but not a necessity) or exercise tights
– Two t-shirts
– Two long-sleeved t-shirts
– A lightweight rain-jacket or waterproof poncho
– Five pairs of thick socks
– Underwear

Night clothes:
Keep these packed in your duffel bag, so there’s no chance of them getting wet during the day.

– One fleece jumper/sweater
– A pair of long pants
– Woollen hat and gloves
– Thermal underwear
– Flip flops/thongs (to wear around camp in the evening and give your feet a break from boots)

This is just as important as good shoes. One or two rolls should be enough. You should also pack some plastic bags, so you can bag up your paper and rubbish along the way (the porters carry rubbish in large bags). Many trekkers leave their paper on the trail after they relieve themselves, which is very uncool.

Basic personal toiletries:
Prepare to embrace your grimy side – you won’t have access to a shower on the Inca Trail until day three, and the facilities aren’t particularly glamourous (you’re unlikely to have any hot water either).   We suggest packing a small towel, deodorant, and a packet of wet wipes – very handy in lieu of a shower.

A basic first aid kit: Consisting of bandaids, Imodium, Panadol, rehydration sachets, antiseptic hand gel, insect repellent, and any personal medication you may need along the way. Your leader will have a first aid kit, but it’s good to include a few personal items (just in case).

Sunscreen, sunglasses and sunhat

A standard torch/flashlight (a head torch is even better):
Why? Because when you crawl out of your tent to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, you want to be able to see where you’re going. A head torch negates the need to awkwardly balance your torch on the ground. Also, spare batteries.

A small amount of cash: (USD100-65 in small denominations) to tip your guides and porters

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