Inca Trail Packing List

It is finally time…after months of getting excited about the Inca Trail, reading up on others’ Inca Trail recommendations (and horror stories), and shopping for brand new gear due to sheer excitement, our Inca Trail trip was finally upon us!  When considering how to minimize the weight I’d have to carry on my back over 26 miles while making sure I didn’t go over my 14-pound weight limit for my porter, you can imagine how much time this ended up taking me.  Actually, I only had 8 lbs to work with in my porter duffel since they were already carrying our two 3-lb sleeping bags.

We took our trip in August, which is Peru’s dry season (even though it rained) and also its winter.  Temps reached the high 70’s during the day, but dropped as low as the mid 30’s at night.  So I had to pack quite the range of layers…

Making a mess in our apartment pre-Inca Trail departure
Making a mess in our apartment pre-Inca Trail departure

I planned to wear the following, so while I obviously had to account for these items in my packing, I didn’t have to factor them into any weight limits, thankfully:
Uniqlo Airism tank – super lightweight, moisture-wicking tank I could wear under everything so I didn’t otherwise smell
Uniqlo extra light wireless bra – serves as an extra lightweight sports bra that proved to be super comfy
– Dry Fit T-shirts – thanks to my races, I had plenty of free ones and didn’t need to buy extra
– Eddie Bauer long sleeve pullover – thin and lightweight enough to use as another layer for the cooler mornings and shadier afternoons
Convertible windproof pants – not the most fashionable pair of pants (though apparently trendy as our entire group had a pair), but particularly useful for zipping off into shorts during strenuous or sunny portions of our hike and super lightweight
Wool socks – I wore a combination of SmartWool and WigWam wool socks, which kept my feet nice and warm while preventing blisters (cotton is rotten!)
Scarpa Kailash GTX Hiking boots – someone (no names named) told me I didn’t need hiking boots and sneakers were ok.  I am so glad I didn’t listen, because these boots saved my life.  The Goretex technology kept my feet dry (it rained on the last day so this was important), had good ankle support, and the thick tread helped me cruise over the rocky steps going both up and down.  Shoutout to my SUPERFEET insoles too!
– Sunglasses

For my daypack that I carried:

CamelBak Women’s Day Star – held 2L of water and the two other compartments could store my layers and other necessities below
– Zip-up Fleece – cozier, warmer layer for those early morning starts.  I ended up using this more at night though but was nice to have this layer in case we had any really cold mornings.
– Waterproof Jacket – despite us going during the dry season, it still poured buckets of rain on the fourth day, coincidentally on Machu Picchu day
– Gloves, scarf, beanie
– First aid kit – I think our guide had one too, but he ditched us for half of the trek so it was good that we had our own pills and bandaids
– Notepad and pen – to take notes for my blog!  I felt pretty nerdy and studios, but hey, now everyone can read about my adventures so you’re welcome.
– Spare camera batteries – this might be stating the obvious, but the Inca Trail does not have outlets. You don’t want to be stuck with a dead camera when you get to Machu Picchu on day 4.
Headlamp – in case you finish after the sun sets (5pm) and also for the 3:30am departure on day 4
– Snacks – key for us were Jelly Belly Sport Beans filled with electrolytes and caffeine for some pep in your step; also Clif Mojo bars and Clif Shot Bloks for energy as well as Coca leaves to aid with altitude sickness
– Passport – because they’ll check them at certain points on the trail
– Sunscreen, hand sanitizer, chapstick, Dr. Scholl’s blister stick, tissues, toilet paper, knee brace for those up and downs
– Cash and small change for tipping (porters, chef, guide), water, and toilets

And lastly, for my duffel bag (which the tour companies will provide at orientation):
Uniqlo Heattech long sleeve shirt – nice bottom layer that helped me stay warm on our chilly nights
– Puffy vest – another lightweight layer for sleeping
– Sleep pants – I opted for stretchy cotton pants that kept me warm without a problem
– Nike Frees – lightweight shoes to wear around the campsite, because you’ll be completely over your hiking boots by then.  Make sure they’re not nice because you’ll be walking into some pretty gross outhouses!
– Extra clothing for the rest of the trip: 3 wool socks, 3 dry-fit shirts, underwear, 1 long sleeve shirt, 1 pair of spandex pants
– Quick dry towel
– Toiletries – no-rinse shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, face and body wipes

As you can see, the above list did not include deodorant, because I forgot to pack it in my duffel.  Big fail…thankfully, Doug saved me but I did smell like Old Spice man for the next 3 days.

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