The ultimate Inca Trail Packing list for Chilly nights and warm days. Cloud forest and Incan ruins perched on mountain tops. Camping, hiking, and exploring in Peruvian valleys. Emerging through the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu whilst squinting in the early morning sunshine.
The Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is an absolutely wonderful travel experience, but deciding what to pack for its diverse temperatures and walking conditions is a little less exciting.
Inca Trail Packing list light and packing smart for the classic Inca Trail hike is key. After all, too much equipment will make the multi-day walk much less enjoyable, whilst forgetting essential items may make the hike memorable for all the wrong reasons.
In this post, we’ve listed the essentials that every single trekker will need to pack – whether you’re hiking in rainy or dry season, for the first time or the fifteenth time – and some of the optional ‘nice to have items’ which won’t make-or-break your trip, but may well make the entire experience that little bit more comfortable.
If you haven’t yet booked your Inca Trail Tour (it’s not possible to do the hike independently – you can only do the route with an approved provider), or want to know all the essential details for preparing for and hiking the Inca Trail, read this post.
It’s essential to understand the logistics and limits on luggage before you pack or buy anything.
Firstly, you will be leaving most of your luggage in a secure storage room at your hotel back in Cusco. Everything you need for the Trail will then be decanted into your backpack before you leave Cusco:
Your own Backpack which you’ll carry on the Trail.
So, when packing for the Inca Trail, you can rest assured that you will not have to carry the vast majority of items on the Trail itself. Instead, you will just carry the essentials in your own daypack.The tour company will also provide your tent.
The weather along the Inca Trail and in Machu Picchu splits into two dominant seasons. The dry, winter season runs from April through to September, and the wet, summer season from October through to March.
The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu is busiest between late May and early September, so to avoid the crowds you may want to consider a trek on the shoulder months of late March into April, or late September into October, or even early November.
Trekking in December, January and February is not recommended as trails get very wet. In fact, the Inca Trail is closed for restoration during February each year. It is still possible to visit Machu Picchu by train during these months, but be prepared for rain at the Citadel.
Temperatures stay relatively consistent throughout the year, with daily highs in the low 20s, and daily lows in the mid single digits. At night, particularly in the winter season, temperatures can drop a few degrees below zero.
In general though we recommend to plan for some rain all year round, moderate temperatures during the day and cold to sub-zero temperatures at night.
The Inca Trail Trek packing list below provides a perfect fit for the above assumption.