The Inca Trail. One of the world’s greatest hikes with one of world’s greatest wonders at the end of it. Of course you can take the train to Machu Picchu, but there really is nothing like earning it with a multi-day trek through the majestic Andes.
When I had my adventure, I followed the packing list provided by the tour company, but knowing what I know now, there were definitely some superfluous items in my supremely well-packed duffel bag…as well as some things I really wish I had brought.
So for any happy hikers out there wondering what should be sure to take up that premium space in your bag, here in a nutshell are the primary items I would make sure you bring…everything else is negotiable, in my opinion:
- Quick-drying, synthetic, wicking shirts – These are generally lightweight so bring at least three.
- Water-resistant wicking convertible pants – I fell in LOVE with mine from Exofficio…SO worth it.
- A fresh pair of hiking socks for each day you’re on The Trail – Nothing beats being able to put on a clean, dry, pair of socks every morning.
- Head lamp – Especially great for night trips the bathroom.
- Ziploc freezer bags (the 1 gallon kind) – I actually brought an entire box and used almost every one…great for keeping things dry (like your socks!)
- Daypack w/a water reservoir – Mine didn’t have one and I REALLY wish it had because carrying around a big water bottle slung over one shoulder got really annoying.
- Giant poncho – A few of us had these and the rest of the group was envious…you will look like you’re wearing a tent, but you (and your daypack) stay fabulously dry.
- Fleeces – I brought two, but I wish I’d brought three.
- Hat & gloves – I was surprised at how often I needed to pull them out, especially at night and while sleeping.
- Thermarest – I had my own which was ultralight and had its own stuff sack. They do rent them in town.
- Baby wipes – Some brilliant people in my group thought to bring these were cleaner and fresher for it.
- Large camping towel – I picked up one of these a couple of days before I left. It was really small when rolled up in its stuff sack & I was so glad I had it when it turned out we could shower at the Day 3 campsite.
- Flip-flops, Teva, or Keen-like sandals – I’d left mine at the hotel in Cuzco, but wished I’d had them for after that shower.
- Walking stick – This became my best friend on The Trail. You can buy bamboo ones in Ollantaytambo for next to nothing. I had gotten a collapsible one from LL Bean with a good handle and rubber tip – particularly helpful when going down slopes after the rain (the rubber made it stable on the slick rocks).
- Swiss Army knife – Two things on this: Make sure you put it in the bag you’re checking so they don’t confiscate. Secondly, if you have any interest in drinking wine, get the kind that comes with a corkscrew – mine came in handy more than once!