Hiking Machu Picchu: What You Need To Bring
A guide to packing your gear for a hiking the Inca trail of Machu Picchu
Congratulations on finally booking that hiking trip along the Inca trail! If you’re reading this, it means that you’ve probably already heard about how great the experience can be, and you’re most likely already amped to put on your hiking gear and hit the trail.
But what exactly are you going to take with you?
Luckily, packing your bags will be the simplest thing ever, because we’re here to offer a little advice on what you’ll need and what you can safely leave at home! Sit back, relax, and make sure you study our recommendations for essential gear you’ll need to hike Machu Picchu.
Inca Trail Packing List
Number One – Hydration System
Using a hydration system such as a Camelbak is essential during your some 26 mile hike along the Inca Trail. These systems give you easy access to your water supply, and it also means that you have the to opportunity to hydrate without the need to stop every few miles.
Number Two – Adequate Hiking Jacket
The Inca trail requires hikers to be prepared for the worst of weather conditions, whether it is the blazing sun or the pouring rain and hectic winds. Since the trails lead through a diversity of ecosystems, you’ll probably be sweating one minute and then freezing your butt off in a snowstorm the next. Moral of the story? Be prepared for seriously unpredictable weather and take the right lightweight hiking jacket!
Number Three – Sunnies and a Hat
This almost goes hand in hand with the hiking jacket we just mentioned, but we can’t stress just how important these pieces of gear are for hikers trekking Machu Picchu. The Andean sun is harsh and intense to say the least, and things get even crazier at the peak of noon.
Number Four – The Right Hiking Boots
Early-morning fog and mid-afternoon drizzle are very common on the Inca trail, so you need to ensure that you’re prepared for wet slippery walkways by wearing a waterproof pair of hiking boots. You’re also going to want to consider investing in something that offers you adequate ankle support to carry you down the boulders on the trail.
Number Five – Something to Cure Altitude Sickness
Meds such as Acetazolamide or Diamox can be prescribed to hikers by their doctors before they head out to trek Machu Picchu, and if you’re smart, you’re going to have to consider an approach like this in order to preempt altitude sickness.
Number Six – A Good Bag
Look: most hikers tend to rent a sleeping bag from the tour operators that lead them through the Inca trail, if you’re not one of them, make sure you take a thermally-lined silk sleeping bag. If you’re renting, make sure you take a silk liner with you just to add more warmth and comfort to the sleeping part of your journey, you could also travel with a silk pillowcase as they’re lightweight, cool, very good for your skin/hair, easy to wash and dry and fold up to next to nothing.
Number Seven – Prevention for Blisters
Blisters happen, and while hiking Machu Picchu, they’re probably more likely than ever to affect hikers. Make sure you pack a blister medical kit in your gear bag so that you can treat or prevent blisters before the situation becomes unbearable. One other thing to keep in mind here is to make sure that you break your hiking shoes in before you head out to the trails.
We reckon that these seven pieces of gear are some of the most essentials you’ll need to in order to successfully hike Machu Picchu. Remember: every hiker has his or her own preferences and things that add a little more comfort to the rugged environment we encounter during our hiking excursions, so make sure you pack the things that will make your trip that much more memorable.
We hope that this guide has been helpful in assisting you with deciding what to take along on your Inca trails hiking trip. Stay safe and happy hiking!
About The Author
macchu pichu hikerI’m Dan, and I’m the Editor in Chief of True North Athletics. I’m also an avid adventurer, digital nomad and traveler. I enjoy all types of outdoor sports, a good golf tan, and spontaneous weekend trips. I currently live in Brazil where I can be found frequently hiking the rain forest around my city!