So you’re planning an adventure vacation by hiking through the Peruvian Andes. Before you go, take stock of the most important things to bring. After all, packing lightly is the order of the day but you don’t want to be caught without the essentials as well. Also, even if the tourist groups offer porters to assist you during the trek, the Peruvian government has a restriction of only 16 pounds of personal gear that the porters can carry for you on the trail.
Good Hiking Boots. Not only should they be sturdy, they should be comfortable as well. The Inca Trail is uneven and can be wet and slippery at times. Your boots should provide you with good traction treads and ankle support. Don’t make the mistake of buying the boots just before you go on the hike! Break into them and wear them for some time before setting out on the trail. Bring some extra pair of socks as well and a pair of lightweight sandals to change into when you get to the camp.
Clothing that can be Layered. Temperatures along the trail can be unpredictable – it can be very high in the morning then dip to below freezing especially as the trail goes up towards the peaks. Your daypack should contain clothing that are made of synthetic fibers (to keep the moisture away from your body) and which can also be layered depending on the temperature. Bring a light and windproof rain jacket as well.
Sun Protection. Whilst you can wear a hat, a good sunscreen is still a must-have. Most of the trail will expose you to direct sunlight and even when it’s cloudy you can still get a sunburn. Go for a high SPF and make sure to reapply regularly.
Sleeping Bag. Although many tour operators provide group camping gear, it is still wise to bring your own sleeping bag.
Personal “Survival” Items. Keep yourself hydrated at all times, especially in the high altitude. Dehydration is the most common danger when hiking or trekking in Peru. A water bottle, some water purification tablets, a flashlight for when you have to navigate in the dark, plastic bags for wet and dirty clothes, sugar tablets or energy bars that you can take when your energy is getting low, and some personal toiletries are some of the important items to put on your daypack as well.