Update: This post was written before I hiked the Inca Trail for the first time some years ago. I’ve now visited Machu Picchu three times and I still believe this list is on point, plus I added a few more items based on my experience.
I will be spending the first half of my trip to Cuzco and the Inca Trail (on a G Adventures Tour) and the second half solo in the area of Huacachina, Nazca, Paracas, and Lima.
Curiously, these two Peruvian regions have very different climates. The former is a chilly mountainous rain forest while the latter is a pure dry desert.
Packing for a trip like this is a challenge. I want to take enough with me to be covered for the duration of the trip (roughly two weeks), but I want to be as light as possible for the hike.
I’ll be taking my 40 liters Gregory backpack (not full to capacity), which will have everything I don’t need during the Inca Trail hike but that I’ll use during the rest of the trip.
That backpack I will leave stored in a hotel during the hike. For the hike, I’ll use a 22 liters Gregory backpack with barely the essentials.
It’s kind of weird and challenging to pack for cold and warm weather on a single daypack and still manage to keep it “feather” light. This is what I’m carrying with me: (have in mind that I’ll have an extremely fit porter that will carry up to 6kg of my personal belongings throughout the Inca Trail.)
Packing for the Inca Trail on my 22 Liters Gregory Daypack
- Sea to Summit Sleeping bag Liner
- Petzl Headlamp
- 3 Liters Camelback
- Water Purification Tablets/Powder – I’ve heard too many “slight” diarrhea stories already…
- 1 Icebreaker base layer shirt (200g/m2) – to keep me warmer and less stinky… although I know we’ll all reek after a few non-shower days.
- Thin gloves – my hands get cold very fast…
- Hiking boots (with Gore-tex for the rain)
- Sunblock cream
- Purell hand sanitizer (we’ll never look at Purell the same way after Covid!)
- Baby/body wipes – apparently, the first shower will be available after the third day of hiking (…that was correct).
- Small First-aid Kit
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket and pants
- Thermals (for the chilly nights)
- 2 pair of shorts/swimwear
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 4 t-shirts
- 4 underwear
- 5 pairs of socks
- Laundry bag (mesh) for dirty clothes
- Camping towel
- A point-and-shoot camera or DSLR camera
- iPhone – for photos and entertainment/music
- A set of playing cards – you know, socializing is good.
- Reading/writing material (small)
- Impermeable bags – to keep daypack and clothes dry.
- Important documents (i.e. passport, tickets, permits)
I never thought I would be packing shorts/swimwear and sunblock along with scarves and thermals, and to be used on the same day… so surreal. Slap, slap… that’s a reality on this trek.
The Inca Trail tends to be warm enough during the day to make you sweat it all while you’re hiking but chilly enough during the night to make you want to stay hidden in your “warm” sleeping bag.
What I’m renting there before hiking the Inca Trail
- Sleeping Bag
- Hiking Pole (ended not renting it)
Update after the trip: Here are some of the things I forgot to take with me, so I either bought them there or borrowed them from fellow hikers.
- Jungle Mosquito Repellent (a must while at Machu Picchu… my experience: 107 mosquito bites, even with repellent. So wear long pants at Machu Picchu.)
- Hiking Pants (decided to buy “real” hiking pants instead of the ones I had)
- Lip Balm (the dry and cold weather will affect your lips)
Packing for the rest of the trip on my 40 Liters Gregory Backpack
(the previous 22 liters are also counted on the total space of the 40 liters, that way, I won’t carry two packs)
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of shorts (in addition to the 2 pairs I’ll have on the Trail)
- 1 pair of TropicFeel sneakers – Not planning to spend all the time using my hiking boots. I’ll just look ridiculous.
- 4 more undies/socks
- 4 more t-shirts
- Power adapter/converter
I won’t be taking my laptop on this trip since I have no intention of carrying its dead weight during the trail (hello, no plugs on trees…), and leaving it behind on my backpack is just asking for trouble.
Hmmm, am I missing something?
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