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It’s an iconic trek – four days in the rugged heart of the Peruvian Andes, though rich rainforests and past ancient ruins and above the clouds.

But what gear do you need? Especially if this is your first trek of this kind, it’s hard to know what you’ll wish you’d packed and what you wished you’d left at home. And with a weight limit of 7kg on the trail, it’s even more important you pack smart. So make your 7 kilos count. Here are five items you’ll definitely be glad you took on the Inca Trail.

Essential Items for the Inca Trail

1. Rubber tip walking poles

It’s the rubber tips which can catch out even the most experienced walkers. The Inca Trail is strictly regulated, and whilst most people know you need a permit, many don’t realise that it’s mandatory to have rubber tips on your walking poles. This is just to protect the ground on trek and preserve the environment for future walkers.

2. Batteries

This may seem an obvious one, but there are no charge points along the Inca Trail itself, and no matter how sure you are you charged your camera in Cuzco, you’ll kick yourself if you run out of juice halfway through. 

Highly recommended is a compact portable charger. Charge any electrical item on the go with a USB cable – ANKER do a wide range of different sizes depending on what you need. You could invest in a solar charger; brands such as PowerMonkey are now widely available. If you’re old school, a couple of spare AAs aren’t going to weigh you down.

3. Thermals

Peru may be a tropical climate with warm daytime temperatures, but camping high up in the mountains it will get much colder at night, especially above the cloudline.

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’ll be warm all the time. Plus, we guarantee you’ll want to be up nice and early to see the phenomenal sunrise at least once, and it’ll be chilly in the predawn glow. Enough said…

Inca Trail camping - Phuyupatamarca CampInca Trail camping – Phuyupatamarca Camp

 4. Shoes which aren’t walking boots

Sounds like a bit of a luxury, but trust us, a spare pair of lightweight closed shoes for around camp are a real pleasure. Handy for eating dinner, midnight toilet trips and the final visit to Machu Picchu, they’ll serve you well.

We recommend close-toed shoes (little sandals can be a bit chilly at high altitude) – just make sure they’re not too heavy.

Trekkers on the Inca TrailTrekkers on the Inca Trail

 5. SPF lip balm

You’re unlikely to overlook suncream, but an SPF lip balm is a must. You only need to get sunburnt lips once to know it can ruin a trip. Ouch.

Inca Trail Packing List

Get the low-down on everything you need. Here’s a comprehensive tick list of everything to bring with you on the trail, completely free and easy to download.

Ready to go? View our Inca Trail trekking holidays below.