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Inca Trail Packing List For Machu Picchu

Feb 28, 2023 | Inca Trail | 0 comments

Inca Trail Packing List will make your adventure to Machu Picchu in Peru an unforgettable experience by taking the classic Inca Trail 4d/3N. As you traverse this centuries-old prehispanic ancient trail, explore small and big Inca ruins and stunning scenery until you reach the sun gate right as daybreak arrives.

Despite its beauty, make sure that you have proper Peru hiking gear with you. Due to the high elevation and risky terrain, it’s key for a safe journey in Peru!

How long is the hike to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu?

between 1.5 – 2 hours each

It takes approximately 1.5 – 2 hours each way and you’ll make up around 290 m (951 ft) in altitude. This is what the Sun Gate ruins look like. It’s more than just “a viewpoint of Machu Picchu”, it is the first viewpoint of Machu Picchu for all the people that do the classic 4-day Inca Trail

Classic Inca Trail Tours

Classic Inca Trail 4 Days

2 Days Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

Salkantya Trek and Inca Trail 7D

Salkantay Trek & Inca Trail 7D


Short Inca Trail And Lares Valley Trek 4D

My Experince As a Tour Guide on The Inca Trtail To Machu Picchu

As a Tour Guide in Peru, I ask customers at the briefing time before our Hike, what they have forgotten on their checklist. The Answer is so Many Things LOL.

I have trekked the Classic 4-Day/3-Night Inca Trail more than 500 times. This makes me an expert in backpacking along the Inca trail. I wish to meet you someday while hiking this wonderful hike in Peru. I have a lot of things to tell you about good experiences and bad moments on this tour.

If you want to chat with me you can Get FREE Information by joining our  Facebook Group and sharing Amazing Travel Destinations photos and asking for tips and tricks! 

Why I am Offering This Machu Picchu Travel Article To You?

The simple answer is I Am giving you a Short Cut and pack up Properly before hiking the Inca Trail. So. this is the reason why I can offer this tested Inca Trail packing list. Follow my advice Keep reading about what to wear and bring to Machu Picchu.

The Inca trail hiking gear to bring includes. The best backpack for hiking Machu Picchu and footwear advice, and exactly what should be packed for your Inca Trail hike every day!

During my stay as a Tour Guide in Peru: I had the remarkable experience of taking a hike to Machu Pichu with Blissful Travel Escapes. This Inca Trail packing list is not exclusive to treks with them. It works just as well whit other tour operators such as Tour Leaders Peru, Llama Path, Alpaca Expeditions, GAdventure, etc. Essentially any other Inca Trail Trek tour operator will find this helpful!

Related Packing List Tours in Peru

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Inca Trail Packing List Essential: ( Packing Preparation )

Before you start your preparation for packing for Inca Trail. It is essential to be aware of the details about the hike and climate conditions in Machu Picchu. Additionally, ask what supplies your tour company provides so that you don’t buy any unnecessary items.

Do some detailed research before purchasing hiking gear or signing up for particular Peru Tour packages. This Inca Trail Packing List will help ensure that all aspects are covered to have an amazing experience!

Logistics Packing List For The Inca Trail

When planning for your Inca Trail Trek, it is important to know how to divide up your Travel luggage. Especially if you intend on staying at the same hotel in Cusco City before and after your Trek.

Where can you Store your Suitcase:

  1. Your main suitcase or hiking backpack will be stored in Cusco’s hotel. While your small Hiking daypack should contain all essential items such as a camera, sunscreen, and water.
  2. For convenience purposes, most tour companies provide a duffle bag for the Inca Trail of no more than 7kg that can hold clothes and toiletries so that our porters will carry them around instead!

Do Not Make This Mistake!

Careful preparation and packing are crucial.

As you will only be able to access your Porter duffle bag each night when camp has been set up, then you will keek until the morning of your next trek. Additionally, there is a weight limitation that needs to be recorded for things to run smoothly during your adventure!

Note: After finishing the Inca trail trek and making it to Machu Picchu. You’ll be able to take advantage of restroom facilities located at the front gate. As trekking poles are not allowed in Machu Picchu. you need to store them before starting the guided tour in Machu Picchu.

You will repossess all your equipment. Including porters duffle bags before boarding the train that will lead you back to Cusco once your visit concludes!

Find Out Best Inca Trail Hiking Poles

Usually, the Tour Operators offer to rent Hiking Poles which is 20 to 25 USD for the whole trip

but if you don’t feel comfortable you can buy Your Hiking Poles in Your Country

Gear & Services that Trekking Companies Will Provide You

Before traveling, make sure you read through your trip details to guarantee that all of the necessary activities are included and accounted for.

Guides, Porters, and Cooks For Your Group 

  • As you traverse the Inca trail, our tour guides will keep you informed of what to anticipate each day and stay with your group. To ensure a quality experience for all visitors in Peru, we provide professional tour leaders for any group size of up to 10 people.
  • Our porters are incredible! They will transport all of your camping equipment, build a camp kitchen and dining tent for meals, and have the entire campsite ready by the time you arrive. Plus, they’ll make sure to guide you along quickly each morning so that you never fall behind on the trail.
  • Throughout the trek, you will be delighted with delicious culinary creations crafted by our expert chefs.
Camp kitchen and dining tent for meals

Camping Tents

The weight of the Half Dome REI tents and other supplies needed for your trip will generally be taken care of by our porters. Thus not included in your 7 kg maximum luggage allowance.

Our comfortable 4-person tents REI tents are also provided only for 2 hikers per tent to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Plus there is no need for you to worry about setting up camp as our dedicated staff will do it all for you!

Rei Tent Peru
Ancascocha Trek Camping Equipment

Duffel Bag For Your Belonggins

The porters will carry your personal belongings up to a maximum of 7kg (15 lbs, 3.6oz). You’ll only be able to access them at camp in the evening and overnight – so make sure that it’s included in your tour package as some may charge extra for this service.

How Much Water Do You Need to Carry on The Inca Trail?

To be fully prepared for the adventure, ensure that you have a 1.5 or 2L water reservoir and sleeping bag before setting off. Your guide will help to inform you of how much water you would need to bring on Day One, while your cook provided additional boiled water for the next 3 days.

After the first day of your trek, you don’t need to carry water. Most companies will provide you with boiled water to fill up bottles or reservoirs during mealtimes. To be sure, ask if purifying tablets are necessary and make sure a Steripen is also in tow!

Note: Please don’t forget your lightweight water bottles for Hiking – it’s not allowed water mineral bottles in the Inca trail.

Meals Per Day Along The Inca Trail

Your porters will carry everything to magically set up breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day – often with several courses for each meal! You might want a few small snacks for the third day because you will start getting hungry early before Lunch.

But even these are sometimes provided. After you reach Machu Picchu, meals are not included. But you can buy lunch at the restaurant there in Aguas Calientes.

Inca Trail Toilets

There are 2 different Inca Trails short Inca Trail and the classic Inca Trail and they each have toilets at various places: 4-Day Hike which also includes the 5-day hike. Squat pit toilets with water, are found at the following places: trailhead, lunch stop on Day 1, Camp on Day 1, and 2, and WinyaWayna camp on Day 3.

For Our Customers a private portable toilet: Our portable toilets will be set up at lunch and overnight in camp.

Train and Bus Transportation

Enjoy a comfortable bus transfer to kilometer 82, the starting point of your journey. We also provide you with Inca trail entrance passes for the trek and Machu Picchu as well as Peru rail train tickets from Machu Picchu town – Aguas Calientes – Cusco — all included in your fees!

Let us make this adventure unforgettable by taking care of these details so that you can focus on what’s important: making memories.

Do You Need a Sleeping Bag For Inca Trail?

Many people who trek the classic world hikes such as Mount Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp trek, and the Annapurna Circuit understand what to bring for hiking. So, the Inca Trail is a more challenging graduate trek; a lightweight, warm-down sleeping bag will serve you very well on most if not all classic high-altitude or winter treks for many years into the future.

Equipment For Rent

If you’re seeking to lighten your load, some tour operators offer or rent sleeping mats, hiking poles, and sleeping bags. Although most companies provide a mat for free which won’t count towards the weight limit, keep in mind that bringing your sleeping bag will always be taken into account as part of the total allowance.

Inca Trail Seasonal Hike And How is The Weather in Machu Picchu

Peru is 3trh country in South America, so their seasons are the opposite of those in the U.S. The Inca Trail is located in Our summer is their winter, but it’s also the dry season, so many trekkers plan a trip from March to September. 

Dry season: Hiking to Machu Picchu is ideal during the dry season, which runs from May through September. This time of year minimizes your chances of encountering rain while hiking in the Andes of Peru; however.

Be aware that this will also bring more crowds when you arrive at Machu Picchu due to only 500 people permitted per day hike along the Inca trail with many taking the train tours instead. Protect yourself by being mindful of sun exposure at high altitudes as it can be more drastic than expected.

Wet Season: October through April comprise the rainy season in Peru, with Machu Picchu being open throughout this time except for February when it’s closed the Inca Trail annually for maintenance. Although trekking during this period may be more strenuous due to slippery trails, there is an attractive trade-off: fewer visitors and lusher scenery that will make your photos stand out!

Don’t forget to pack the right essential items for each season – sunscreen and UPF clothing should be packed if you’re expecting dry weather, while extra hiking socks and quick-dry clothes are essential during rainy days. Having the appropriate items in tow will make all the difference!

The Best Time Of Year to Hike The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

To get the most out of your Inca Trail to Machu Picchu experience, I recommend hiking during the “shoulder seasons”; April and May or September, October, and early November.

Not only will you avoid peak tourist season but also benefit from lower prices on tours and hotels! Keep in mind though that these months are close to wet season changes, so prepare accordingly.

Gear Weight Limitation And Inca Trail Packing Tips

During your trek, the porters will carry a duffel bag with no more than 6-7 kg of weight (13 lbs 3.6oz). Your day pack should contain only essential items like water, a jacket, a camera, and sunscreen to reduce the load you need to carry during the hike. Of course, it can be tempting to take extra supplies so that they’re spread out but do try not to overload yourself!

Planning for your Excursion on The Renowned “Classic” Inca Trail?

I highly recommend booking an overnight stay in Ollantaytambo before the trek begins. To ensure that you are well-prepared, here is a comprehensive packing list with clothing and gear that should cover 4 days/3 and nights of hiking plus one night at Ollantaytambo – all amounting to no more than 7kg! Don’t forget: most of these items will be worn while trekking along the trail so don’t worry about too much bulkiness.

When you’re packing for your hike, the most important consideration should be to keep warm and protected from both sun and rain. It’s doubtful that anyone will remember what kind of outfit you wore during the trek, except maybe some judgmental llamas! However, one exception is when it comes to taking pictures at Machu Picchu—make sure to have something nice on hand so that your photos turn out great.

Inca Trail Packing List This is What You should Pack for the Machu Picchu trail?

  • Pants: 2-3 pairs. convertible (zip-off) pants
  • Tops: 3-4 short sleeve t-shirts and 1-2 long sleeves. Some blogs I read recommended wool, but I preferred quick-dry performance fabrics. I slept in that day’s shirt to save space in my pack.
  • A fleece pullover
  • A down vest (that doubled as a pillow)
  • 5-6 pairs of Hiking wool socks.  
  • 4-5 pairs of underwear Girls
  • 2 sports bras (one to wear and a spare) Girls
  • Waterproof Hiking pants
  • During the rainy season, waterproof hiking boots are an absolute necessity. I usually opt for higher ankle support and my feet remain dry even in downpours. Though I typically wear a size 9M (sometimes 8.5), this time around, I decided to go up to a 9.5 along with some insoles for extra cushioning – it was worth it! Of course depending on when you plan your travel as well as your skillset, Merrell or Salomon Hiking Boots might be better options too – so do check out our helpful guide below if you’re planning a trekking adventure on the Inca Trail any time soon!
  • Pack your camp gear with a pair of comfortable flip-flops or slip-on shoes. After an adventurous day hiking, you’ll be ready to take off those heavy boots and relax in comfort!
  • Wrap up in a cozy cap, warm hat, and comfy mittens – all of which you can purchase from local craftspeople. Knit hats and mittens are the perfect way to add a touch of authenticity and originality to your winter wardrobe!
  • During the wet season, a reliable rain poncho is an absolute must-have. Fortunately, you can purchase one in Ollantaytambo even if your backpack already has its cover!
  • If you travel in the dry season, I recommend a UPF headband, hat, or scarf.

Toiletries For The Inca Trail Packing List

The myth is that there are showers available along the Inca Trail, But the truth is, there is an eco-toilet and cold shower in each camp. Our porters will provide a large bowl of hot water for each person outside the tents each morning. (Keep this in mind when choosing your toiletries!)

  • As there are no showers available, I suggest that you bring body and face wipes or these biodegradable wipes (2-3 packs depending on your luggage capacity and how clean you wish to be). Not only do they help keep the environment safe, but you will feel refreshed as well.
  • Antibacterial hand wipes (1-2 packs)
  • Protect your skin from the sun’s rays by donning sunscreen, especially during dry months when temperatures may be cool in the day yet you are still at a high altitude. Remember to reapply often throughout the day!
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Make sure to include the essential toiletries in your bag such as deodorant, toothbrush & paste, lotion, and tampons (for women), or menstrual cups for extra safety.
  • Basic first aid items: pail reliever, diarrhea medication, sports tape if needed, blister bandaid
  • Pack some band-aids in your bag just in case you’re afflicted with blisters during your travels.
  • Toilet paper 
  • Pocket packs of tissues To avoid any surprises on the loo, it’s best to always come prepared with your stash of toilet paper.

Other Inca Trail packing list necessities

  • Giant Ziploc plastic bags. For those times when you plan to be outdoors during the rainy season, or if you simply want to keep everything neat, then Giant Ziploc plastic bags are your perfect solution. With their XL storage capacity, all of your belongings will fit inside both daily packs and porter bags while staying bone dry!
  • Sunglasses
  • Cell phone and battery pack. Tips: To save energy, set your smartphone into airplane mode and then nestle it in your sleeping bag for the night. Make sure you don’t forget about it or else you’ll remain without a phone until that evening!
  • Camera
  • A few snacks – Your tour group Will keep well-fed and provided snacks at some breaks, so you won’t need much.
  • Passport – A passport is an absolute necessity for hiking the Inca Trail as you’ll need it to gain access to the park. Additionally, visitors will receive stamps at both locations upon entry and exit of Machu Picchu.
  • Make sure to bring a generous amount of cash for gratuities, as your guides and porters are the keys to making your trekking experience an enjoyable one. Don’t forget to reward them with an appropriate tip!

Appropriate Hiking Shoes for The Inca Trail

A popular inquiry is which shoes you ought to wear while trekking the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu.

My suggestion is Waterproof hiking boots with ankle support. They will make your journey far more secure, comfortable, and enjoyable!

Back Pack For Hiking to Machu Picchu

Each hiker should have their daypack for the Inca Trail with a pouch for a hydration reservoir (water bladder). I recommend Osprey backpacks because of their durability, features, and excellent ratings.

Depending on the style, they are sized to fit women’s, men’s, or unisex torso sizes and come in different liter sizes. Many have a suspension system for weight distribution and ventilation so your back doesn’t get sweaty.

When hiking the Inca Trail, it is essential to pack a 20-liter or 24-liter backpack. I used an Osprey Sirrus 36-liter for my camera equipment and recommend taking a look at either the Women’s Osprey Sirrus 24 or Men’s Osprey Stratus 24, plus adding in a 2-liter water reservoir.

Keep in mind that these items can be pricey but are worth investing in! To ensure your investment lasts as long as possible, make sure you check out some tips on properly cleaning your backpack once you’ve completed your trek.

Machu Picchu Peru Travel Journal Ideas 

I’m thrilled you read my Inca Trail Packing List Blog and would like to extend an additional recommendation – check out the Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu from Doing In Business I Partner with BTE.

For more Peru reading for your flights, check out Fodor’s Essential Peru: with Machu Picchu & the Inca Trail or Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time. For info on Machu Picchu’s history, grab a copy of Turn Right at Machu Picchu or the Lost City of the Incas.

Haven’t yet booked your trek? Check out these itineraries from Tour Leaders Peru.


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Cesar Conde

Cesar Conde

Position: Tour Leaders & Digital Creator

I’m Cesar Conde, owner of Tour Leaders Peru & Travel Advisor and my other side job is Nomadic Digital. I share my own amazing Tour Experiences, travel stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!


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