Inca Trail, Machu Picchu (Packing Guide)
When hiking the Inca Trail, you are limited to the amount of weight that you can take with you (6 kg, which is about 12 lbs). This is because a porter carries your bag, as donkeys are not allowed on the sacred trail. Whatever extra weight you have is your responsibility and trust me, you want to keep your day bag as light as possible for essentials only - snacks, camera, water. I did a ton of research prior to my trip on what to pack, but even that didn’t quite prepare me. So, after having learned the hard way, here is the advice I wish I had known…
- Base layers/thermals (1 top and 1 bottom)
- Rain/down jacket (1)
- Recommended: Ultra Light Down Jacket from UNIQLO
- Sweater (1)
- Winter hat (1)
- Gloves (1 pair)
- Quick dry T-shirts (3)
- Shorts (1 pair)
- Active leggings (1 pair)
- Recommended: Lululemon Wunder Under Pant
- Hiking pants (1 pair)
- Recommended: REI Co-op Activator Soft-Shell Pants
- Underwear (4 pairs)
- Pajamas (or a set of warm, clean clothes for sleeping)
- Socks (3 normal pairs, 1 thermal pair)
- Recommended: Smartwool Hiking Socks from REI
- Sports bra (3)
- Baseball hat
- Hiking shoes or boots
- Flip flops
- Camera (and extra batteries)
- iPhone + headphones (for your music, podcasts, audiobook etc.)
- Backup portable charger/power bank
- Toiletries: toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, Bandaids, sunblock, chapstick, bug repellant, altitude sickness pills, ibuprofen
- Water bottle + water and gatorade: You have the chance to fill your bottle every morning, but you'll need to bring enough extra bottles for the hike (the recommended amount is 1.5 L per day). Water and other drinks are provided at meals.
- Backpack/day bag: This is the bag that you will hike with everyday, so it's important you find something lightweight and comfortable.
- Sleeping bag: These can be rented, along with a mattress pad, but I brought my own because the quality of the rented ones aren't great and I knew I would freeze during the night. If you do decide to rent a sleeping bag, I suggest at least bringing a liner.
- Large Ziplock bag: This is to separate your dirty clothes from the clean ones.
- Disposable camera: In case you run out of camera/phone battery this is a good backup, plus I love the old school look of photos developed from a disposable.
- A book and/or journal: I was so tired after a day of hiking that I went straight to bed, but if you think you need something to pass the time, bring a book or your travel journal.
- Baby wipes: You won’t be showering for 4 days, but you will be sweating so bring a pack of wet wipes.
- Toilet paper
- Small local change On the first day of the hike there are pay-for-use bathrooms and vendors selling cold drinks and snacks.
- Hiking poles: These can be rented prior to your trek and they come in handy during the steep decent.
- Extra snacks: A bag of snacks is provided at the beginning of the trek (depending on which company you are hiking with), but I suggest buying your own. I took a lot of almonds and protein bars, which kept me full in between meals.
Hike with G Adventures: I definitely recommend doing the Inca Trail with G Adventures. They ensure the fair treatment of their porters, they offer quality equipment for rent and the every meal they served during the four days was amazing. They even baked us a cake on our final day! The guides are all super professional and they carry first aid kits and oxygen with them in case anyone needs it.