Please give yourself plenty of time to work through your Machu Picchu packing list so that you can purchase (or rent) and trial test all items before heading to Peru!
1. Trekking equipment
Duffel bag Backpack Backpack rain cover Trekking poles Warm sleeping bag (if walking the Inca Trail, where you camp) Sleeping bag liner (optional) Hydration bladder Water bottle
We advise you to bring a backpack of around 30 to 50 litres.
What should I look for in a backpack?
Be sure to trial test the backpack before coming to Peru to ensure it's a comfy fit and is up to the task.
A good trekking pole has wristbands so you don’t drop them, and is made from a lightweight but sturdy material like carbon fibre or aluminium.
They're easier to transport and store, from putting them into your luggage on flights to strapping them to your backpack at times when you don't want to use them. You can tailor them to your height (a big bonus for the young who are still growing). If you’re walking along a trail that's cut into a hill, you can extend one and shorten the other to allow you to keep using them. They can be shortened on steep ascents and lengthened on steep descents.
If you're new to trekking, don't think trekking poles are the domain of older folks. Far from it! Most people trekking to Machu Picchu will be using trekking poles.
Sleeping bag (for the Inca Trail)
What season sleeping bag is best?
What shape sleeping bag is best?
Which material should you choose?
Renting a sleeping bag
Follow Alice trekkers can borrow one of our very own winter sleeping bags at no extra charge! 🎉
Sleeping bag liner
What fabric is best for a sleeping bag liner?
Increases urination. Makes you breathe more rapidly. Has drier air.
Remember that you shouldn’t wait till you’re thirsty to drink – when you're thirsty, you’re already dehydrated!
2. Clothes and shoes
Base layers (including underwear) Middle layers Outer layers Socks Trekking boots Gaiters Buffs Warm hat Sunhat or sports cap Inner gloves Waterproof gloves or mitts Downtime clothes Sneakers or sandals
Long-sleeved thermal vests Long johns (or leggings) Underwear
Tuck your vests into your leggings (or your trekking trousers) to keep any cold air from finding its way to your torso.
Trekking shirts A fleece jacket Trekking trousers Hiking shorts
While wool is also highly insulating, we recommend a jacket made from fleece as it’s more lightweight.
A winter jacket A rain jacket (or poncho) Waterproof overpants
Rain jacket (or poncho)
Is a poncho a better option?
Firstly, it eliminates the need for a separate rain cover for your backpack. Secondly, it's more breathable, so you won't get as hot under it. It can be hot and humid on parts of the Inca and Salkantay trails, so breathable layers are important. Thirdly, it's quicker to whip a poncho on and off as the rain comes and goes than it is to pull a rain jacket and backpack rain cover on and off. (That said, you could just keep the backpack rain cover on most of the time on days when the rain is coming and going.)
A rain jacket is the safer option on a Macchu Picchu trek as a long poncho could sometimes obscure your view of where you're putting your feet, and even get in the way on big steps up.
Hiking socks Thermal socks Sock liners
comfort/cushioning flat seams moisture-wicking or temperature-regulating properties good length
Merino wool socks are a good option for hiking as they’re very breathable, meaning your feet won't get too hot.
Be comfortable and properly worn in – never ever wear new boots on a trek! Be light- or midweight, as heavy boots will wear you out. Be waterproof (or at least water-repellent), as there could well be rain and you cross streams. Have good grip, as you're going to encounter scree, slick rocks, rough surfaces, and countless uneven stairs.
Finding the right size
It probably goes without saying, but just in case, we’ll say it: be sure to wear in your boots before coming on the trek. Wear them on a couple of decent hikes so you can suss out any potential issues.
Sunhat or sports cap
Waterproof gloves or mitts
Baby powder. This is for sprinkling in your boots after trekking to mitigate the pong. You could also put a little on your roots if your hair is feeling too oily. Dryer sheets. These are for rubbing on smelly clothes to help freshen them up just that little bit. You can also place them inside your boots overnight to absorb some of the smell.
A note on staying clean
A note on sunscreen
We recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40.
Toiletries for women
For women, we recommend packing a urinating device and a pee cloth.
4. First aid kit
5. Other essentials
Water purification tablets Sunglasses Microfibre towel Pillowcase Head torch (flashlight) Dry bags High-energy snacks Passport, entry papers and visa Nuevo soles (i.e. cash)
Water purification tablets
You should wear your sunglasses at pretty much all times during the trek, even on overcast day.
Head torch (flashlight)
Passport, entry papers and visa (if required)
Always have your passport on you during the trek, as you may be asked by an official to show it.
Proof of onward travel (like a plane or bus ticket). Documents showing you can enter your onward destination if you're not returning home afterwards. Bank statements showing you have sufficient funds to cover your trip expenses.
Cash in local currency
Camera (and spare batteries) Power bank Adapter and surge protector Flavour sachets or a water bottle with a purification system Hot water bottle Safety whistle E-reader Playing cards Small gifts Journal and pen
Be sure to bring spare batteries for your camera. And store them inside your sleeping bag at night, as extreme cold drains batteries.
"When people rely on technology to remember something for them, they're essentially outsourcing their memory. They know their camera is capturing that moment for them, so they don't pay full attention to it in a way that might help them remember.
Adapter and surge protector
Flavour sachets or a water bottle with a purification system
Hot water bottle
Journal and pen