I’m doing a straight there and back trip to Peru to trek the Inca Trail over 4 days, with acclimatisation time and travel, it’ll be a 10 day round trip with two days in Cuzco when I arrive to acclimatise.
Now I don’t drive and I travel around quite a bit, so I’m used to packing light and hauling my gear around on public transport, however, if you do drive and you’re used to over packing because your car simply has the room – here’s your first tip; if you can’t carry it – don’t take it.
Underwear – I won’t be showering for four days (after one at the crack of dawn before I leave my hotel) so clean pants every day is going to save my sanity.
Socks – 4 pairs hiking socks, one pair cozy fluffy socks for sleeping
Thermal Underwear – sexy, right!? But it gets cold on the trail at night no matter what time of year you go, plus these can double up as pyjamas at night too – one less thing to pack!
Trousers & Leggings – 4 pairs of leggings, one pair of waterproof trousers. I live in leggings, and my thermals can go over the top if necessary.
TShirts & Vests – Layering is key as your body temperature is all over the place depending what you’re doing on any given day. Four vest tops, Four Tshirts (Atmoshpere Mountaineering of course!) and Four long sleeved tops.
Jacket – A waterproof or wind breaker jacket is essential for any trek, even during the dry season. I have opted to take both as the wind breaker one is thick enough to be cozy if I get a little cold and takes up less room than a fleece jacket! It’s also shower proof.
Footwear – My biggest, bulkiest item of footwear are my boots, which I’ll be wearing on the flight to save space and weight in my luggage. I’ll take trainers for non-trekking days in Cuzco and one pair of flip flops for wandering around the hotel and camp where possible, these will also go in my hand luggage.
Hat & Gloves – One wooly hat and one pair of gloves for cold days and one baseball cap for the day time to protect your head from the sun.
Sunglasses – one pair of (plus my regular glasses)
Camping Towel – Small & Lightweight and dries quickly and takes up next to no room.
Bikini – because I’m told that there are hot springs!
If possible pack one pair of pants, bra, socks and vest top and/or tshirt in a separate plastic bag and seal it. Do this for each day and you’ll be able to locate fresh underpants in minimal time that haven’t been contaminated by yesterday’s smalls! The bag can also serve to keep your laundry once you’ve worn them.
Sunscreen – factor 50. Heat stroke can be a very serious deal, especially when trekking when you might already be a little dehydrated and at altitude. I won’t be sunbathing so will only need for face and neck, chest and arms Also don’t fall pretty to the BOGOF offer if you’ll only need one tube of the stuff.
Toiletries – Dry shampoo, baby wipes, face wipes, coconut oil, toilet paper, bug repellent, hand sanitizer, a good moisturizer, and lip balm w/ SPF.
LADIES! Don’t forget to pack tampons… you may not be due but the travel can screw up your cycle…
If you’re thinking about makeup – good luck doing it at 5am in the dark! BB cream is a saviour (and I’m getting my eyebrows and eyelashes tinted before I leave).
Medical Supplies – I’m remote first aid trained, but you don’t need to be to apply a blister plaster and these are a MUST, Compeed are the best as the other similar brands just don’t measure up. A basic first aid kit will do you just fine ‘just in case’. Don’t forget the ibuprofen, paracetamol etc and anything you might like to take for potential altitude sickness. If you have any joint issues then it’s worth investing in a good support (I have a dodgy left knee!).
Water Bottle – I have a 2L bladder that will go in my bag as well as a good reusable 1L water bottle. Regular plastic water bottles are bad for the environment and can cause litter problems so I avoid where possible.
Hydration Tablets – not a necessity but ever so helpful. The guys at O.R.S (Oral Rehydration Salts) sent us over some to sample, they also have a nifty little app that tells you how much to put in per 1L of water dependent on your activity.
Head Torch – Because I stayed in the jungle once for a few days and you really shouldn’t underestimate the darkness! A good head torch will be a god-send for trips to the loo in the night! Do remember to angle it down toward the floor though to save blinding your fellow hikers!
Sleeping Bag – Mine is brand spanking new! Woohoo! It’s a four season bag, necessary for high altitude camping. You can use a compression sack to reduce the size or it may even be possible to rent one, depending on who you’re organising your trip with – do buy yourself a good quality liner if you are though, it’s just more hygienic.
Luggage & Day Pack
I don’t use wheelie cases anymore out of principle after tripping over them in London on a daily basis! Also after suffering the cobbles in Venice.
My big red duffel bag will be carried by porters over the course of the trek but I will be carrying my rucksack which will hold snacks for the day, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, medical supplies, water bottle, camel back, camera, passport/wallet, outer shell, and jacket.
Arguably the most important thing to pack! Meals will be supplied on the trek but I will be burning an average of 6,000 calories a day and to be honest, any excuse to eat chocolate! I have bounce balls, mini soreen loaves (chocolate of course), snickers bars, and biscuits. I also have some cereal because nothing lifts my spirits quite like a bowl of cocopops!
I’m assured that I won’t have any signal what so ever once I get to Cuzco, but I’m taking my blackberry with me to keep friends and family updated as best I can.
I’ve created some playlists on Spotify and made them available offline (which I forgot to do for my trip to Aus back in December – and something I won’t be doing again!). I also have a digital camera and spare batteries and a portable charger and plug adapter. That’s about it!
I’m taking a real book with me to read and a notebook for writing about my adventure.
I think that’s it… if I’ve forgotten anything or you have any hints and tips do please let me know!