What to Pack for the Inca Trail and More Essential Info

Our time on the Inca Trail was absolutely incredible. If you’re thinking about going, here are some helpful tips to better prepare yourself for the adventure!

What to Pack

Layers layers LAYERS! Cannot stress this enough.

Long sleeve shirt

2-3 T-shirts

3-4 Hiking socks




Rain coat

Fleece/zip-up/outer layer

Hiking boots (although we were totally fine in our gym shoes…)

Comfy shoes to wear around camp grounds


Zip-off pants (if you have them)

Waterproof pants (unless you want to buy these disposable beauties at the start of the trail)

Shorts – it gets really hot at Machu Picchu


Headphones (if you want to listen to music and pump yourself up)


Day pack


Bug spray

Water bottle(s) or Camelback

Essential Info

Cost: $665 per person


All meals on the trail


Sleeping mats

Transfers to and from your hotel

Porters to carry most of your luggage

A fun T-shirt to show off your accomplishment


$15 for hiking poles (loved these – really helpful on the knees during descents)

$20 for a sleeping bag (it was super warm)

$15 for an inflatable sleeping pad (we didn’t use these and were totally fine on the mats they gave us)

Money for lunch in Aguas Calientes the last day after Machu Picchu

Tips: you’ll need cash for the porters, the cook, and your guide(s)

Distance: 26 miles

But it’s actually more than that – we walked around the ruins, did some extra hikes/scrambles…hey, we want credit!

Altitude: 13,779 ft at the highest

Start at 8,923 ft and end at Machu Picchu, 7,873 ft

When to Book: at least 5 months in advance

Spots fill up quickly, so make sure to book way ahead of time.

Any other questions about the Inca Trail? Any advice to add? Let us know in the comments!

2 Comment

  1. Raneem says: Reply

    Hello! I am planning a trip to Peru and would love to hike the Inca Trail. I have a question about the porters. Do they carry the main bag ( with all of your stuff) and you carry a backpack with essentials?

    What do you carry in your “essential” backpack?


    1. Brittany says: Reply

      Hello! I’m so excited for you – Peru is one of my favorite countries 🙂 Exactly – the porters will carry your main bag, and you will carry your day pack. In this pack (that you carry), the essentials are: water bottle, bug spray, sun lotion, sun glasses, camera (or phone), rain coat. You may also want to bring layers like a sweater and/or scarf, headband and/or bandana, and a hat. Hope that helps!

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