What to Pack for the Inca Trail

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Packing for the Inca Trail can feel daunting. You're trekking for 4 days and 3 nights, and sometimes you're experiencing all four seasons in one day. You don't want to overpack; you don't want to underpack. I get it - I did it. Here's everything you need to know about packing, including a super simplified packing list, notes on what should go in your daypack and a quick rundown of how the packing process works with the tour company.

PACKING LOGISTICS

Typically, your tour company provides you with a duffel bag that your porter* will carry for the trip. This happens the night before your trek, during your briefing. Everything you pack in your duffel must not exceed 7kg/14 lbs, including sleeping bag + air mattress, which is around 3kg if you're renting from the tour company. Your duffle bag will remain with the porter all day and you will not have access to it until you reach the campsite for the night. If there is anything you need during the day it should be in your daypack, not your duffel bag.

* I highly, highly, highly.... recommend you get a porter to carry your belongings. While some tours include this in the base price, like Alpaca Expeditions, many do not. It's worth spending the extra cash. Trust me. Keep your daypack light and filled with only the things you need and you'll have a more enjoyable experience.

PACKING TIPS

Don't pack anything cotton, it takes too long to dry. Stick with moisture-wicking materials (think polyester, nylon, spandex).

Pack all of your belongings in plastic bags. Duffle bags and daypacks often aren't 100% waterproof, so you'll want the extra protection, plus it's a helpful way to stay organized. I used these bags which sealed my clothes air-tight.

PACKING LIST

  • Storage
  • Shoes
    • Hiking shoes (I have the Vasques Inhaler II GTX and they're a m a z i n g)
    • Comfy shoes for campsites (light-weight sandals, feels good to release those toes)  
  • Clothing
    • 2 moisture-wicking tank tops or t-shirts
    • 2 long-sleeve shirts
    • 1 fleece sweater (This White Sierra sweater was perfect for cold mornings & nights)
    • 2 leggings
    • 1 thermal sleeping set
    • 2 sports bras
    • 4 undergarments
    • 4 hiking socks
  • Rain + Warm Gear
    • 1 warm rain jacket (recommend down fleece here)
    • 1 waterproof hiking pant
    • Waterproof gloves
    • Poncho
    • Daypack cover
    • Sun hat (or baseball cap)
    • Wool hat
  • Accessories
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera and extra batteries
    • Headlamp (*this is a must*)
  • Toiletries
    • Emergency kit (band-aids, hydrocortisone, blister kit, ibuprofen, imodium, pepto bismol)
    • Insect repellent
    • Toilet paper
    • Small towel
    • Deodorant
    • Baby wipes
    • Hand sanitzer
    • Skin care products (wash, moisturizer, toner, sunscreen)
    • Dental kit (toothbrush, toothpaste)
    • Lip balm
    • Hair care (hair brush, hair ties, dry shampoo)
    • Electrolyte tablets
    • Earplugs
  • Miscellaneous
    • Notebook + pen
    • Book
    • Snacks
    • Down-fleece sleeping blanket (THIS IS THE BEST THING YOU'LL PACK. Super lightweight & will keep you warm no matter what) 
    • Plastic bags for dirty clothes and to keep your stuff dry (These compression ones are the best)

DAILY OUTFIT

  • Tank or short sleeve
  • Long sleeve
  • Legging
  • Hiking pant
  • Sweater
  • Rain coat

DAYPACK CONTENTS

  •  All rain gear (hiking pants, rain coat, poncho, daypack cover)
  • Hats + gloves
  • Any clothes from daily outfit you aren’t wearing
  • Water
  • Key items: camera, phone, money, toilet paper, sanitizer, repellant, sunscreen, wipes, emergency kit

SUGGESTED RENTALS FROM YOUR TOUR COMPANY

  • Sleeping bag ($20)
  • Air mattress ($15)
  • Walking sticks ($15)
  • Foam mat (free)
  • Tent (free)
  • Daypack cover (free)
  • Small pillow (free)
  • Rain poncho (free)
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