Packing List for the Inca Trail Trek
Inca Trail Trek Packing List
Luggage storage and load limits
During the Inca Trail Trek your main luggage will be stored in Cuzco and you will receive a small duffle bag at your Inca Trail briefing (which will be held the evening before you start the trek) to pack clothes and sleeping bag for 3-4 days. Your team of porters will carry these bags together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day as the porters will always be ahead of the group. You should therefore bring a day pack in which you can carry personal belongings such as your camera, water and sun screen etc. By Peruvian law the duffle bag must not weigh more than 5 kilograms (10lbs) which is to include your sleeping bag – this limit is set to protect the health of porters and animals. All bags will be weighed before being accepted. If you require more than 5 kilograms, it will then be your responsibility to carry the extra amount together with your day pack.
Passport: You MUST take your passport and a photocopy is not sufficient. (Keep it in a plastic bag in case of rain).
Sleeping bag: You will need a good warm sleeping bag for the Inca Trail trek. Where possible we recommend you bring your own sleeping bag, however adequate ones can be hired locally (for approx US$12) but we can take no responsibility for the standard. If you are planning to hire a bag it is a good idea to bring a silk sleeping bag liner to use inside for added warmth and comfort. A four season (or -10) bag is recommended for the winter months. At other times you will probably be fine in a 3 season (or -4/-5) bag although this depends on how much you feel the cold and is given as a guideline only. Roll mats are provided on the Inca Trail however for greater comfort and warmth, Thermorest style mattresses can also be hired in Cuzco for US$10. If you are travelling in winter and you do not wish to invest in a 4 season bag you may want to consider purchasing a 3 season bag plus a sleeping bag liner and bringing additional clothing.
Silk sleeping bag liner: Especially recommended if you plan to hire a sleeping bag but can also give your own bag added warmth
Waterproof, well worn-in walking boots: Good quality, comfortable footwear is essential. Whatever you wear on your feet the most important thing is comfort. It is vital to ensure your boots are well worn in and lightweight. Ankle support and waterproofing is recommended but if you already have something comfortable with good grip on rocks then don’t go rushing out to buy new boots – you are better off with your well worn in pair!
Waterproof clothing: – A plastic poncho is recommended and can be purchased locally for approximately US$1. Some trekkers also like to bring waterproof trousers, however a poncho will usually be sufficient if it covers your bag, body and most of your legs.
Small lightweight umbrella: Light umbrellas which pack away to almost nothing can be useful to keep away drizzle.
Plastic bags: to keep your belongings and clothes dry (wrap everything in plastic bags).
Toilet paper: Most important! Also small plastic bags for rubbish which can then be thrown in the main rubbish bag provided by the porters.
Small towel and basic personal toiletries: there is an opportunity for a shower at the campsite on the third night so bring travel size shampoo and shower gel if you would like to use it, plus wetwipes for the rest of the trek.
Water bottle: bring one large (1.5 litre) or two or three small water bottles that can be refilled on the trail with boiled water, which will be supplied when possible. Warm clothing for night time: Fleece, long pants, woollen hat, gloves
Thermal underwear: If trekking in winter or you feel the cold
Walking clothing in layers: e.g. zip off trousers, fleece, T-shirts
Personal medication and basic first aid kit: Bandaids, Imodium, Panadol, rehydration sachets Camera and spare batteries, memory cards or film – Please note: there are no electrical outlets on the Inca Trail so make sure you fully charge or/and have spare batteries!
Snacks: Chocolates, chips, biscuits, energy bars. Snacks are provided during the trek but you may like to bring one or two extras just in case.
Torch (flash-light): (Very Important) and spare batteries.
Sunscreen, sunglasses and sunhat
Tropical strength insect repellant
Antiseptic hand gel
Swimwear for Aguas Calientes hot pools: Towels can be hired there for 3 soles.
Flipflops / thongs / jandals: If you wish to have a shower on the third night.
Suggested Inca Trail packing list:
- 01. Backpack (65 litres should be quite sufficient).
- 02. Comfortable walking boots with good ankle support.
- 03. Sleeping bag (can be rented in Cusco)
- 04. Clothes 2 pairs long trousers (lightweight) 2 T-shirts 1 short-sleeved shirt 1 long-sleeved shirt 1 pair shorts Underwear and socks (thermal underwear is highly recommended, being light, warm and makes good nightwear on cold nights).
- 05. Fleece jacket
- 06. Rain jacket or poncho
- 07. Hat or cap to protect from the sun.
- 08. Toiletries: soap, toothbrush, toothpaste & toilet paper etc.
- 09. Sun cream, lip salve, sun glasses.
- 10. Flashlight
- 11. Basic first aid kit.
- 12. Insect repellent.
- 13. Money belt + passport + emergency money
- 14. Camera + film (film can easily be bought in Peru and is of excellent quality).
- 15. Water bottle (mineral water can be bought throughout Peru)
- 16. Water purification tablets (Micropur tablets can be bought in Cusco and are very efficient).
Optional extras include:
- – 17. Binoculars
Here’s what a Expert recommends to work well and what didn’t.
1 pair jeans – I ended up not packing these and wish I had. I tried saving space but there were times I would have liked to have a pair of jeans when heading out for the night in Cusco.
1 swimsuit – I actually brought two and used them both! I had a soaking tub in one of my cabanas and these worked out well. Plus I had enough water activities that it was nice to have a dry pair.
Flip flops – Really useful in the rainforest. I would have preferred to have my moccasins for the trek.
First aid kit – Yeah, bring one. The one day I didn’t have it on me, I needed it most. Otherwise, I used it every other day for someone else and it was appreciated.
Packtowel – These ultralight and quick drying towels are great!
Collapsible cup – I never used this and it should have been left behind. I used water out of my water bottle directly instead.
Hand towel – Made of same Packtowel material above, this smaller towel was great for scrubbing down after a day of trekking.
Soap (cut into small single use pieces) – I didn’t need these after all. I stayed in hostels and hotels that had soap.
3 8GB CF Cards – I didn’t use these
9-volt light – A very handy light I won’t travel without. It’s spendy, but useful. I handed it to others half the time when they forgot their lights.
Columbus V-900 Bluetooth GPS Voice Data Logger – This unit malfunctioned on me, probably due to my own misuse. It worked up to a point but then freaked out and kept beeping until the battery died. Which made me glad I had a….
Amod AGL3080 GPS Data Logger – This unit worked great, although my battery charger didn’t charge the batteries enough, leading to lost track points for part of the trek.
Spot Satellite Messenger with GPS Tracking – This unit seems to just keep on working. I kept it in tracking mode for the trek and it gave reliable information back to family at home, showing my location on the move. Otherwise I’d send out an OK message when I reached a location….much easier than finding and internet cafe or calling many people at once. I’d suggest getting this device if you have family back home who worry about you as you travel.
SteriPEN Adventurer Handheld Water Purifier – I have already written up a quick review of this wonderful tool for purifying water on the go. That post can be found here. Get one and say goodbye to plastic water bottles.
iPod Charger (for Columbus unit) – I think I fried the Columbus unit by using this charger. My bad. small travel inverter for plane – American Airline’s power ports didn’t work and Alaska Air didn’t have them. This was the largest waste of space in my pack and I lived without it.
Dana Design day pack – This pack is heaven on the trail and I’m so glad I made space for it. It’s funny carrying one pack inside another but I wouldn’t want to trek without it.
NUUN Active Hydration Tablets – These helped when the water taste was a bit off as well as adding back in needed electrolytes. Phrasebook – I purchased the Lonely Planet Phrasebooks Latin American Spanish book. It was handy and very easy to use. For a non-Spanish speaker, it was relevant and useful.