Before we get into the Inca Trail packing list, we wanted to talk about booking your trip. There is a restriction of the number of people allowed on the Inca trail every day, so they recommended booking at least 4 months in advance. Although we were flexible with our dates, we booked 4 months ahead and even then we saw that some of the dates were not available. We booked Info Cusco as our tour group and did the traditional Inca Trail hike for 4 days and 3 nights in early August. They were not the cheapest option or the most expensive, but overall we loved our experience. We also recently went to Patagonia with OneSeed and they now have the Classic Inca Trail hike.
Your Essential Inca Trail Packing List (what they recommended + additions of our own):
I updated the photo to look nicer and links below, but here’s the old one. :)
Inca Trail Packing List For Your 4-Day Hike:
- Backpack: We tried out pretty much every pack they had at REI. Jacob ended up with this backpack, and I used this youth backpack since I am petite and kids stuff is always cheaper. Go to REI and try them all on!
- Water! We use a 3L platypus big zip and an extra 0.5L soft bottle to mix in Powerade drops. Platypus >> Camelbaks. They’re easier to use and clean.
- Sleeping mat: Info Cusco had sleeping pads available, but we decided to bring our own since they are lighter, smaller, and warmer.
- Sleeping bag: REI Sub Kilo +15 sleeping bag. They say it sometimes goes below -10 degrees celsius, but it didn’t for us (early August). *Update: This is discontinued, but what you need is a warm bag that packs small and weighs under 2 pounds like this one.
- Walking poles: these babies saved our knees. I purchased the junior ones. Carbon fiber is pricier but investing in something lightweight was worth it since we were already carrying so much weight.
- Hiking shoes: Jacob brought his old hiking shoes, and I didn’t find any hiking shoes I liked at the time. Now we use Vasque Monoliths.
- Towel: We brought these lightweight fast drying towels in M and L
- Toiletries. Toilet paper (one roll per person), Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Sunblock, Chapstick with SPF, Travel soaps, Wipes, and medicine (for headaches, altitude sickness medicine, Imodium, & pepsid ac). It happened to be that time of the month for me, so I had my feminine products & midol. Also this! It might seem weird, but trust me.
- Flash light: Headlamps are much better than the handheld ones. If you’re a slow hiker, it’s possible that you may end up hiking in the dark, and you will need your hands on your walking poles.
- Six quick dry t-shirts: One per day + two extra in case we got drenched in rain. These are my current fave quick dry tees (I have 3). They’re great for hiking and day-to-day.
- Two zip-off hiking pants: I brought these two convertible hiking pants. Personally, the Columbia one is a fit better than the REI ones. Jacob brought these in the color blade.
- A light, warm jacket: We absolutely love these nano puff jackets from Patagonia. We wear them all the time.
- Layers! We brought Patagonia Capilene layers (2 each) in midweight and thermal weight and long underwear. It’s good to have options since the temps fluctuate so much. The long underwear is especially great to sleep in at night as it gets very cold.
- Socks: We wore these compression socks during the night to reduce muscle soreness.
- Undergarments: The exofficio ones are awesome! Jacob got the men’s boxer briefs. They stay really dry during the hike. I know their package says “17 countries, 6 weeks, One pair of underwear.” We brought one for every day. *shrug* If anyone has tried the 6 weeks in one pair of underwear, please tell us how it is!
- Gloves: It gets really cold in the mornings and at night. Preferably ones that have grip for morning hiking. And waterproof if you get rained on.
- Rain Jacket: We have these stretch rainshadow jackets (feels nicer on the inside than the vinyl) When we got to Peru, we were told that we also need long ponchos (when it rains, it pours), so we bought them for 5 soles (approx 2 USD) at Day 1’s breakfast stop. Again, it didn’t rain, so we didn’t end up using either. *Update: Ended up exchanging our North Face for Patagonia’s Torrentshells.
OPTIONAL ITEMS IN THE INCA TRAIL PACKING LIST
- Flip flops to give your feet a break during stops. These are the comfiest ones I’ve found.
- Lightweight hat to keep the sun off your face. I’ve done longer hikes both with a hike and without. Sometimes it feels like it’s in the way.
- Camera / Phone / Journal: to record all the beauty you’ll encounter. We carried a 5D mark II and 24-105mm f/4 lens.
- Earplugs (not shown): If you’re a light sleeper and you have snorers in your group, you’re going to need these.
- Bug spray: We used these. They recommended 2 bottles per person. We only used a total of one bottle between the two of us, but the amount of bugs probably differs for everyone depending on the season & weather. Recently we’ve switched to these sticks which feel and smell better but is only 30% DEET.
Now, as you can see below, I take my snacks very seriously… it ended up weighing over 10 pounds. If you’re an avid hiker, then you probably know this is a big mistake. The energy blasts & the bars were the most useful on our trip. We even had some extra to share with our guide and porter. If I had a do-over, I would have tossed were the haribo gummy bears. As much as I love them, they were so so SO ridiculously heavy. I felt like an idiot.
Now enjoy your hike!! Book your trip HERE.
If you blog about your hike, please feel free to leave a link your post in the comments section. We would love to see them!
Anything else I missed on our Inca Trail packing list that you would like to add?