Packing List for The Inca Trail

by | Dec 22, 2020 | Inca Trail | 0 comments

Salkantay Trek

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 and a 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.  

RELATED: When is the best time to visit 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 is 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.
Machu Picchu Packing List
Machu Picchu Packing List

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 at 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),
Inca Trail Elevation
Inca Trail Elevation Dead Woman Pass 13,000f

DAY 3: (4.5 miles or 7.3 km)

  • On the third day, the trail climbs gently up two passes.
  • Depart at ~ 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.
Packing List for The Inca Trail
Third Campsite along The Inca Trail

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 spend 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 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 are 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. 

Packing List for The Inca Trail
Packing List for The Inca Trail

What should I pack for the Inca Trail?:


To prepare your Machu Picchu packing list, you’ll need to understand some basics about the logistics of the hike, weather seasons by month, and what tour companies provide top-of-the-line equipment. Before you purchase any gear, research carefully and also find out what the tour you’ve booked (or are considering) includes.

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For your Machu Picchu Travel, it’s crucial to have a reliable daypack that will serve you throughout the entire trip. Remember, this doesn’t include the day of your stay.

The key is to bring a comfortable and secure day backpack. That will provide you with peace of mind while you tackle exciting hiking tours and explore stunning day tours around Cusco. Whether you’re visiting Machu Picchu, trekking the classic Inca trail, or exploring alternative trails that lead to Machu Picchu, having the right daypack is essential!

that must be small, light, and comfortable. For walking, backpacks should not be larger than 25 liters; Osprey Day Pack Amazon or DayPacks for Hiking REI.COM however, if yours is bigger is ok; you can make it look smaller or store it on the last day of your trip in Machu Picchu since its not allow to carry big backpacks into the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary.

Duffle Bags:

The Tour Leaders Peru office will have a special treat for you the day before your tour begins: a handy duffle bag. This bag is super convenient because you can keep all the essential equipment you’ll need during the exciting 4-day adventure.

And guess what? The amazing porters will carry these bags for you! Just remember, the weight limit is 6 kilos, which includes your cozy sleeping bags and comfy air mats.


On the epic Inca Trail 4-day adventure, don’t forget your original passport! Make sure it’s valid for at least 6 months from your visit to the country. And hey, if you’re booking as a student, remember to bring along your student card. Can’t wait to see you on this amazing journey

Bring a waterproof neck wallet travel pouch and passport holder

Sleeping bags:

Make sure to bring high-quality sleeping bags rated for temperatures as low as -10°C. During winter, mountain temperatures can drop to 0°C below. Don’t worry if you don’t have one; you can rent a sleeping bag from us for just $25 for the entire trip!

Our recommendation is to buy down sleeping bags 0 degree

Inflatable mattresses:

We provide foam mattresses for the Inca Trail; if you want more comfort, you can bring an inflatable mattress or rent it from the Tour Leaders Office for 20$ for the whole trip or buy your own inflatable mattress pad online

Inca Trail Trekking poles:

REI.COM Trekking poles are incredibly useful when conquering mountainous terrains—helping you tackle both ascents and descents with ease!

Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with them; our knowledgeable tour leader will provide a thorough explanation of how to use them effectively. You have the option to bring your own trekking poles for hiking Online or rent a pair from us for just $20 for the entire trip. So, gear up and get ready for an exhilarating hiking adventure on the Inca trail!

Hiking boots for the Inca Trail:

Appropriate waterproof hiking boots are a must-have for this hike. Prioritize their use before embarking on the Inca Trail, as they provide crucial ankle and toe support.

Hiking Socks:

Make sure to pack 4 – 5 pairs of hiking socks for your adventure! Opt for thick wool hiking socks to keep those blisters away and enjoy your hike to the fullest!

Sandals or sneakers:

After an exhausting day of hiking, it’s time to free your feet from the confines of your boots. Instead, slip into some comfortable, lightweight footwear as you wander around the campsite. Remember to bring along camp sandals or light Hiking shoes for both the camping and hotel in Aguas Calientes. Your tired feet will thank you!

Rain gear for the Inca Trail

You must always bring rain gear; even during the dry season, rain can occur anytime. We will provide you with rain plastic for your duffle bags during the Inca Trail.

We will do our best to protect all of your belongings during your hike, but please ensure that you bring all of the necessary hiking gear mentioned in our blog post titled “Complete Packing List for the Inca Trail”. Remember, while you are hiking, we cannot guarantee the safety of your items. Thank you for understanding.
1. Waterproof Jackets.
2. Gloves.
3. Rain Hiking Pants. You will need to get some waterproof bags to keep your clothes dry.

Warm Clothes For The Inca Trail

Please Make Sure to have warm clothes with you at all times in your daypack while hiking!
Don’t forget to bring
1. Down jacket
2. Hats for hiking.
3. Thermal hiking gear
As temperatures might drop below freezing at night ( June – Sep). Stay prepared and enjoy the winter season in Peru!

Toilet Paper:

Carry toilet paper in your daypack. Additionally, it’s advisable to bring wet wipes antibacterial or tissues for added convenience.

Water Container – Camelback

Ensure you bring water bottles, bladders (Camelbak water bladder), or any reusable containers with at least a 2-liter capacity. Kindly note that single-use plastic bottles are strictly prohibited on the Inca Trail and at Machu Picchu.

For Alternative Trail to Machu Pichcu: Highly recommendable to bring LifeStraw Water Safe to drink

Inca Trail Toiletries

Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, dry shampoo, moisturizers, small Travel towel

Personal medication:

Headache pills, pain killers, Pepto, Imodium, Diamox, band-aids, hand sanitizer, and a basic first aid kit travel.

Cameras for the best Inca trail Photos

Cellphones, GoPro, and travel cameras must be comfortable and not very heavy. Note that to use tripods need special permission. During The Inca Trail tour, we camp in the mountains, and at some campsites, we don’t have electricity; you need to bring extra batteries or a portable power bank.

Headlamp Hand free

Headlamps are essential for the Inca Trail; you will need them to go to the restrooms at night, during dinner time, and if you are late on the trail walking in the dark is always good to prevent always carry in your daypack.

Sun Protection For The Inca Trail

Sun hats, long sleeves for hiking, and sunscreen are always with you.

Insect repellent:

Don’t forget to pack bug spray for people – something with feet works wonders! If you’re hiking the Inca Trail between July and October, we highly recommend the mosquito net for head and face. Stay protected and enjoy your adventure to the fullest!

Snacks to survive the Inca trail

Pack energy bars, chocolates, candies, crackers, and granola. While we do provide daily snacks, it’s always great to have some extras on hand! Let’s keep the energy high and the snacking game strong!

Food on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Food on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is included, so visitors won’t need to carry kitchen supplies. The route spans 4 days and 3 nights, with all services providing 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners. However, lunch and dinner on day 4, are not included.

Who cooks the food along the Inca trail?

Experienced chefs specializing in hiking trails prepare the meals using light ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, and meats. These meals are transferred by porters to each camp, ensuring that visitors receive them hot and ready to eat.

The provided meals are designed to provide the high energy levels necessary for completing the walk.

It’s important to note that, one day before embarking on the Inca Trail, it is advisable to have a light diet due to the altitude of Cusco (3,400 meters above sea level). This altitude can affect individuals who are not accustomed to it, causing discomfort known as altitude sickness or mountain sickness.

If you have any food allergies, please inform us before starting the hike.

Extra Money:

Bring extra money in Soles to the Inca Trail; you will need them to buy water, use toilets during the first and last day, buy souvenirs, and also good to mention tips for all your crew.

Tipping on The Inca Trail

After their Tour leader’s tour, many hikers inquire about tipping. It is important to note that tipping is entirely voluntary and should only be considered if you believe your guide, porters, and chef have provided exceptional service. While we strive for every trip to be exceptional, if you do decide to give a tip, we have some general guidelines on the appropriate amount.

Typically, groups pool together tips that are shared among the cook and all porters, including the head porter. These tips are usually given on the final night of the trek. If the group combines their funds and each porter receives 70 soles, and the cook receives double that, 140 soles, it would be a generous tip for the entire trip. The tip for your guide is usually given individually, and it is customary to provide around 50 soles per traveler.

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.
Prohibited 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! 

Packing List for The Inca Trail
Machu Picchu Day 4 hike Inca Trail

Conclusion on Packing List for The Inca Trail

Overall, it is important to carefully consider and pack all necessary items for the Inca Trail hike. The proper gear, clothing, and documents are essential for a safe and enjoyable trip. It is also recommended to have extra money in case of emergencies or additional expenses.

Tipping is not mandatory as we said but appreciated if you feel your crew has provided exceptional service. With appropriate preparation and packing, you can fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking views and cultural experience of the Inca Trail. So make sure to use this guide as a reference for your upcoming adventure! Happy trekking! #End

Stay safe and happy hiking! Remember to respect the environment and follow all rules and regulations while on the trail. Enjoy the journey and take plenty of pictures



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Cesar Conde

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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