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Inca Trail Packing List

Dec 22, 2020 | Peru Travel Blogs | 0 comments

Packing List For The Inca Trail To Machu Picchu in Peru, – what could be greater than that? With breathtaking views, ancient Inca ruins, and one of the world’s seven wonders. Peru is a fantastic choice for a holiday & Luxury destination. You have a Travel vacation that dreams are made of when you add to this one of the best-known hikes in the world. 

What is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and why it’s so important?

The Inca Trail Hike is without a doubt the most popular hike to the incredible Lost City of Machu Picchu, with thousands of visitors taking on the old mountain hiking every month. Authorities release only 250 tickets per day for the trek to prevent overcrowding, so Hiking the Inca Trail will require booking months in advance.  

The Inca Trail Hike is filled with beautiful nature views topped with many Inca ruins along the way. It crosses three high passes, the highest of which is the infamous Dead Woman’s Pass at 4212 m, before finally arriving at the ruins of Machu Picchu.  

How long does it take to walk the Inca Trail?

The Inca trail is one of the most famous hikes in the world and for good reason very competitive to get your Inca trail addition tickets. The trail itself is breathtaking, but the end of the trail is a spectacular sight as you reach the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu at sunrise. The classic Inca trail hike runs 26 miles (42 km) long, is usually hiked over 4 days and 3 nights, and is tucked away in the beautiful Andes mountains in Peru. 90 percent of the trail is still the original Inca constructed trail, a true testament to Incan engineering.

The scenery is breathtaking and offers a lot of variety of flora and fauna. The trail passes through several types of Andean landscapes (microclimates) including the lush cloud forest and alpine tundra. Hikers ascend two mountain passes over 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) and then drop down to where Machu Picchu sits at 7,982 feet (2,430 meters). There are other route options, but the Inca Trail is the most classic.

This how we consider the Inca Trail Day by Day and Miles

DAY 1: (7.8 miles or 12.5 km)

  • This first day is relatively easy walking ~ 6-7 hours.
  • We take our private Bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo to breakfast them to Kilometer 82 (9000 ft or 2750 m) where we begin the trek at about 10:00 AM.
  • Hike the first 3 miles (5 km) along the south bank of the River Urubamba to our lunch spot, near the ruins of Llactapata (8692 ft or 2650 m).
  • After lunch, continue south along the river Cusichaca, climbing gently. Camp at Huayllabamba (9691 ft or 2954 m) Sometimes Yuncaypata campsatite.
Llactapata Inca Ruins

DAY 2: (5.1 miles or 8.3 km) Dead Woman Pass

  • This is the most difficult day. After climbing Warmiwañusca (Dead Woman’s) pass on the morning of the second day, the rest of the hike is downhill which means a lot of Inca Trail starts.
  • Begin hiking about 7:00 AM and hike about 5 1/2 hours to our lunch spot. The trail follows the River Llullucha, climbing steeply nearly 4000 feet (1200 m) through forests and plains to the highest point on the trek, Warmiwañusca pass, Dead Women’s pass at (13,776 ft or 4200m). Lunch is provided after the pass Pacaymayo (11,833 ft or 3607m),
Dead Woman Pass 4200m

DAY 3: (4.5 miles or 7.3 km)

  • On the third day, the trail climbs gently up two passes.
  • Depart ~ 7:00 AM and hike about an hour to the rounded ruins of Runkuracay (12,470 ft or 3800 m). Continue up the second pass and back down to the ruins of Sayacmarca (11,742 ft or 3580 m). These ruins offer spectacular views in nearly every direction.
  • From here, climb gently up the third and final pass through lush cloud forests to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (“Cloud-Level Town”).
  • Camp at Phuyupatamarca (11,930 ft or 3640 m) or continue downhill to the ruins of Winay Wayna. This will be up to the discretion of your Tour Leader and the Peruvian National Park Service. Your Tour Leader will notify you locally of your camping itinerary.
Third Campsite along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

DAY 4: (6.9 miles or 11 km)

  • This day is mostly downhill along steep, stone steps.
  • Have an early breakfast and hike the remaining 6.9 miles (approx 5-7 hours) to Machu Picchu.
  • Arrive at Inti Punku, the Gate of the Sun, entrance to Machu Picchu at (7875 ft or 2400 m) in the afternoon for a guided tour. Hikers camping at Winay Wayna on Day 3 will reach the ruins in the early morning instead.
  • Short bus trip to Aguas Calientes for a hot shower in our hotel. All travelers will have the opportunity to return to Machu Picchu before dawn on the following day to watch the sunrise and spending the full morning exploring the glorious ruins of Machu Picchu!
Winay Huayna Inca Ruins

NOTE: The exact locations where you will have lunch and camp are subject to change depending on weather conditions, current Inca Trail regulations, and the group’s abilities.

What to Pack for the Inca Trail 

In preparation and for Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you should carefully consider what you pack for your Packing List For The Inca Trail. As with the other hiking trails to Machu Picchu, you will be able to load two bags. 

The first and bigger one or Duffle Bag

should contain clothes, vanities, and extras you will need for the four-day trek. The Inca trail porters in Peru will carry these bags, along with extra water and food. Things you will need throughout the day, such as snacks, meds and water should go in your day pack, which you will carry, so mind the weight. 

The two key features to keep in mind when you pack is diversity and weight. Make sure you can take on a diverse range of climatic conditions and that your backpack is not too heavy. Here is a detailed checklist of Inca Trail Clothes, snacks, first aid necessities, and Equipment for the Inca Trail that you will need. 

Tour Leaders Peru Duffle Blue Bag – INCLUDE IN EACH TOUR

What should I pack for the Inca Trail?:

Inca Trail Hiking Choltes

As with most hiking trips, layers are essential when packing your Packing List For The Inca Trail To Machu Picchu. Inca Trail clothes. A good tip when packing is to start at the bottom, as you would usually dress.  

One to two pairs of hiking trousers and shorts; It is best if you can get two in one hiking pants with zippers to convert to shorts. 

AMAZON CHOICE: Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pants

Sports bras for comfort.  

Made for medium-impact activities, the bestselling Brooks Fiona sports bra blends comfort and support in a fit that works for nearly any body type.

Three to four short sleeve shirts 

REI Co-op Sahara Button-Up Long-Sleeve Shirt – Women’s

Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Lite Long Sleeve Shirt

Place To Place II Full-Zip Hoodie – Women’s

Built for town or trail, the women’s Columbia Place To Place II full-zip hoodie wicks moisture, offers UPF 50 sun protection and has hand pockets, thumbholes and soft comfort stretch fabric.

One warm jacket, preferably with a hoodie for cold nights  

REI: Avant Featherless Hoodie Insulated Jacket – Men’s

Food and Equipment for the Inca Trail Hike 

Although you will be provided with three meals while Hiking the Inca Trail, it is essential that you keep a couple of snacks and necessities with you to keep you hydrated and fueled up between meals. 

  • Bring energy bars and trail mixes for four days. Make sure to pack things that cannot melt or spoil, so even though that chocolate may be tempting, it is not a great idea. 
  • Bring a reusable water bottle. You will be able to refill this with every meal, so don’t pack too many. 
  • Bring wet wipes. 
  • Carry rehydration salts or powder to add to your water if needed. Something like Pectrolite will do. 
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen are vital for surviving the Inca Trail Tour. The days are hot, while the nights can be freezing, so it is essential that you prepare for both. 
  • Utilize a small first aid kit with band-aids, disinfectants, antihistamines, headache tablets, and the like. Make sure to pack in any prescription meds that you may need to take daily. 
  • Carry a camera and extra batteries. 
  • Bring a torch or a headlamp or both along with extra batteries. Even though you won’t be hiking at night, you will need it at camp. 
  • A sleeping bag and inflatable pillow are necessities 
  • Personal toiletries will be needed. 
  • A swimsuit and a small towel are handy. 
  • You will need a passport and proof of insurance in case of an emergency. 
  • Rain poncho 
  • Hat or cap 
  • Sunglasses

What size backpack do I need for Inca Trail?

Inca trail day pack size or day pack. I carried a 36-liter day pack for my Inca Trail Trek, although a 20 to 24-liter pack would be a good size for the hike. More detailed info below on choosing a daypack.
1.5 or 2L water reservoir – our tour Leaders were good about telling us how much water we needed to bring for the first day of the trip, and our cooks boiled water for us to carry after that.

Osprey Dyna 15 Hydration Pack – 2.5 Liters – Women’s

Inca Trail Packing List
Carry your day hike essentials and plenty of H2O in the men’s Osprey Manta 24 hydration pack, a comfortable gear-hauler made for days spent wandering in the foothills or soaking up summit views.

Osprey Hydraulics LT Reservoir

Recommendable: Osprey’s Hydraulics LT Reservoirs by Hydra Pak are made for light and fast activities where weight and balance are critical.

Osprey Hydraulics LT Reservoir – 1.5 Liters


Best women’s hiking boots for Machu Picchu 

A nice pair of Trekking shoes is one of the most important accessories you’ll wear during your Classic Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu. Please read this detailed and important article and consider our top detailed day-by-day recommendation such as Altitude sickness in Cusco – Peru. 

Hiking Shocks

Sandals or other comfortable shoes for camp 

Hiking Poles

Walking poles are almost essential Equipment for the Inca Trail as they can help you keep your balance on the hike. The trail is not excessively challenging, but it does cover uneven terrain, and after a day’s walk, you can get tired and trip. Hiking poles help you keep your feet level and can support you if you lose your balance. They also take some of the strain off your knees, which is excellent by day four! 

Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles – Pair

Machu Picchu Video

What can you not bring to Machu Picchu?

Prohibited objects inside the Inca City:

If you wish to enter Machu Picchu without problems, we recommend you do not carry any of the following objects

Tripods, brackets, or extensions for cameras or cell phones. It is not allowed to enter with a ‘selfie stick’.
Backpacks, bags, or bags that exceed 5 kilos of weight.
Food or luggage.
Illegal substances (drugs or their effects)
Alcoholic beverages (or under its effects).
Sprays or paints.
Musical instruments, megaphones, or speakers.
Heels with hard-plant shoes.
Baby cars (it is preferable to carry a baby carrier).
Sharp objects and/or weapons of any kind.
Banners, posters, and/or posters.
Clothing intended for advertising purposes.
Metal-tipped canes (older adults can carry a cane with a rubber tip).

Prohibited Behaviors in Machu Picchu

Generate tumult, jump, or cause disorder in the access and/or any point of the Inca City.
Climb or lean on the walls and/or structures.

Any kind of activity that distorts the sacred character of Machu Picchu.
Do obscene acts inappropriate in a public place and that threaten morals and good manners such as undressing, disguising, lying down, or running.
Smoking or ‘vaping’ an electronic cigarette.
Make flyovers in the airspace of the place with paragliders, drones, or any type of smaller ship.

Now all you have to do is make sure it all fits into your bags, and you are good to go! 

Final Day In Machu Picchu


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Cesar Conde

Cesar Conde

Position: Tour Leaders & Digital Creator

I’m Cesar Conde, Tour Leader In Peru and my other side job is Nomadic Digital. I share my own Hiking Tour Experiences, travel stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!


This post contains select links to products from our sponsors. When you click on these links, we may earn a commission. For more information about our Advertising Policy, please visit this page..

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