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The Inca Trail Packing List: Top 10 Items

Written by: Kevin Groh

Gear laid out on a table (boot, camera, passport) with title 10 Must Haves for the Inca Trail Packing List

We get asked all the time, “What should I pack or plan on bringing with me on the Inca Trail?”

We’ve created a comprehensive list in order of importance on what you should be bringing below. Note that this is all based on opinion and experience except for things marked with an asterisk, those are 100% required. Let’s dig in.

For the Ultimate Inca Trail Packing List of EVERYTHING you need, such as wool socks, rather than cotton socks, for the Inca Trail download here! This list can certainly work for the Salkantay Trek or Lares Trek as well.

Inca Trail Packing List Necessities

  • Passport*
    That’s right. You can’t get onto the Inca Trail without a passport. NO questions asked you MUST bring your passport.
  • Cash
    Cash is king, right? On the Inca Trail, there are no credit card machines and while you might not want a Cusquena after your first day of hiking, you may want some candy along the trail or a soda. These require cash. Also, it’s important to carry cash for a final tip to your porters, cooks, and guides.
  • Hiking Boots/Shoes
    We highly recommend you bring hiking boots/shoes that are broken in. It’s a long trek which lots of change in elevation. Whether they’re boots or shoes is entirely up to you and your preference. I personally like hiking shoes but wore boots on my first hike. Boots offer better ankle support, so if you have bad ankles I would highly recommend them on your Inca Trail packing list.
  • Hydration Pack (CamelBak)
    Water isn’t necessarily in short supply when on the Inca Trail. Most companies, including ours, will provide you with about 2L of water daily. That said, you’ll need a bladder in your bag to out that water. Some folks bring a water bottle but if you’re someone who likes to stay hydrated, most people, bring a bladder that can go into your backpack and fill that puppy up daily. Also remember, drink lots of water.
  • Rain Jacket
    The weather changes a lot on the Inca Trail and rain is highly apart of those changes. Thus, bring a nice rain jacket. Make sure it’s a rain jacket with vents in the arms because while hiking, rain jackets tend to boost up that internal temperature.
  • Backpack
    This one goes without stating but a solid backpack or hiking bag is going to be important. It depends on what company you’re doing the trail with if you need a 60L vs a 20/30L light day pack. Truly, if you want to enjoy the experience fully we recommend getting a half porter or booking with a company that offers them. Booking a porter will help you carry more luxurious items that you want to bring on your Inca Trail Packing List. Typically companies offer them as an added expense, where we build in the cost of extra porters into your final bill. The reason for this is not only to further employ more locals in the community but make sure you have a pleasurable experience. We’ve all wanted to test our strength, but I promise you, don’t be a hero. Go and enjoy the beauty, don’t struggle in it.
  • Hiking Poles (Rubber Tips*)
    We’ve talked a bit about hiking poles in our podcast, why you should bring them vs buying in Peru, and why rubber tips are needed. But if you haven’t been following along on Peru Travels #1 Podcast, we’ll sum it up. Hiking poles in Peru are typically wood and they are made from the Amazon rainforest. We’re pretty big on supporting the local economy but not at the cost of deforestation of the rainforest. That said, we recommend buying them at home and bringing them. As for the rubber tips, this is a requirement to help keep the trail last longer. We’re talking about ancient stones paving the way to Machu Picchu here, so it’s important to make sure we don’t break them with our metal tips. The last part is that if you have never used hiking poles, take some time before heading out to Peru and practice on some trails at home. They are a serious knee saver and help take a lot of weight off your body. I can’t recommend poles enough, but if you don’t know how to use them, they’re a pain in the rear.
  • Wipes
    Facial wipes, baby wipes, etc. It’s your only way of taking somewhat of a shower. If you’re cool with stinking it up and having dirty skin for 4 days, by all means, go right ahead. However, if you have a tent partner, they will thank you for trying to stay clean.
  • Snacks
    Protein bars, beef jerky, fruit pouches, etc. There is plenty of food provided while on the Inca Trail and it’s delicious, however, food times are placed at strategic checkpoints and times, thus if you’re hungry at a time that food isn’t available, it’s good to have some backups in your bag.
  • Camera
    Yes, a camera. Capture all those memories, and bring them home. You’ll be disappointed if you leave it off your Inca Trail Packing List. It goes without saying but you’ll want to look back on this trip for years to come. You can’t take enough photos of this amazing journey.

So that’s the Peru Inca Trail Packing List. 10 things you’ll want to make sure are in your bag when you’re hiking. Let us know if you have any recommendations to leave off your Inca Trail packing list below.

Peru Travel Podcast: Top 5 Things You Should Bring to the Inca Trail

Top 5 Things You Should Bring On The Inca Trail

by Peru Travel Podcast


Welcome to the Peru Travel Podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, SpotifyStitcher, Google, TuneIn, or listen in the media player above.

Today, we have our gear junkie on and we’re talking everything gear that you need for the Inca Trail or any of the other Peru treks.

Kevin discusses the gear that you need to keep you dry depending on the season. This can include anything from boots, shoes, or rain jackets.

The guys then cover the items you are going to need to stay warm. Is a synthetic or down puffy jacket the better option while you are hiking in Peru?

Next, if you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and want to avoid ghosts, they discuss your lighting options.

After this, they discuss how to save your knees while hiking over 26 miles with extensive elevation changes. They once again discuss why you should avoid buying wooden poles in Peru if you want to help save the Peruvian rainforest.

Find out why you need hydration but should avoid a 12 liter Camelbak and just stick to a 3-liter hydration pack.

Finally, download our Inca Trail packing list here.

Be sure to visit us at our homepage or email us at [email protected] for any questions or topics that you want us to cover.

Follow us on our social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Below is a transcript that has been modified for your reading pleasure.

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