Inca Trail Packing List: Everything You Need for Your Trek to Machu Picchu

Thousands of people hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu each year, and so there is a wealth of information to be found on the internet. Recommendations, guides, traveller’s tips, and reviews are all very useful when planning such a trip, but if you are thinking about what to pack, you should be prepared for some considerable research!

If you type ‘Inca Trail Packing List’ into Google, you will get over 505,000 results in just 0.55 seconds, and while some people will tell you to pack light, others will tell you to pack everything but the kitchen sink, and so it can be difficult to know where to start.

5 Day Inca Trail Weekly Departures

Do you really need a pair of flip-flops?  Should you pack your own toilet paper? Is a towel really necessary? Well, being the friendly globetrotting bloggers that we are, we decided to add to your confusion and create our own Inca Trail Packing List based on our recent experiences on the 5 Day Inca Trail, and so if you are planning a pilgrimage to Machu Picchu in 2017, here is what you need, and more importantly perhaps, what you don’t!

Packing for the Inca Trail

Your luggage allowance for the Inca Trail will depend on the company you book with.  Some limit loads to just 5kg, others allow 8kg per person, so it is important to find this out before booking your expedition. The best companies will also provide portable toilets and toilet roll.

Your porters will be carrying the bulk of your luggage, so spare a thought for these incredible men (and women!) when packing for your trip. On the 5 Day Inca Trail, you are going to spend 3 nights camping, and 1 night in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo), and so you really don’t need a huge amount of clothing.

The Essentials:

  • A pair of well worn-in hiking boots: Preferably with Gore-Tex protection
  • A pair of trainers for the evening: Some recommend sandals or flip-flops, but it gets freezing cold at night, so trainers are, in our option, a better option
  • 2 pairs of comfortable hiking trousers: Zip offs are a good idea for the changeable climate
  • 5 sweat-wicking t-shirts: Mix of long and short sleeves
  • Underwear and socks: Fresh for every day
  • A fleece jacket
  • A windproof jacket and/or lightweight down jacket
  • A full-length rain poncho: Lighter and easier than rain jackets and trousers
  • Cap, hat, scarf and gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Set of thermals or base layers for sleeping in
  • Toiletries: Don’t forget, there are no showers on the Inca Trail, so don’t bother carrying tons of toiletries. Baby wipes, toothbrush & toothpaste, sunscreen, insect repellent and deodorant are all you really need.
  • Sleeping bag: You can rent locally if preferred
  • Headlamp with spare batteries
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Passport, money, cameras and portable power bank
  • Daypack
  • Plastic bags for worn clothes

Optional Extras:

  • A pair of jeans and jumper to wear in Aguas Calientes
  • Walking poles
  • Gaiters
  • High altitude medicines such as Diamox (speak to your GP)
  • Snacks: If you book with a good company, these will be provided…

What You Don’t Need:

  • A towel: It’s going to get wet on day one, and it will never dry. Use baby wipes and hand sanitizer instead.
  • Swimwear: Unless you intend to visit the Hot Springs near Aguas Calientes, you don’t need it
  • Umbrella










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