Have you signed up for a trek on the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu?
If so, make sure you’re well-prepared with this packing list. This challenging trail is the lesser-known sister of the traditional Inca Trail, with varied terrain, unpredictable weather, and no turning back once you set off. But don’t let that intimidate you – hiking the Salkantay Trail is fun! We highly recommend it to anyone who loves the outdoors.
This five-day trek is an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll remember forever. You’ll meet new people, walk to Machu Picchu, and be surrounded by stunning scenery and awe-inspiring landscapes. And all for five days (or four if you take the shortcut). So get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!
If you want to do the Salkantay Trek, we must take everything we will mention next because it will be handy to realize the tour to the Salkantay trail.
Through Salkantay, the Inca Trail is one of the best adventure alternatives to allow you to visit Machu Picchu in 5 days and four nights in a 73 kilometers (45.3 miles) journey. Of course, you should count a little more physical condition since the route is relatively long, and you could even say the road is more rugged.
If you plan to hike the Salkantay trail in Peru, it’s important to pack appropriately to ensure a comfortable and safe trip. Here are some essential items to bring with you:
Pack light, as you’ll carry your gear throughout the trek. You can also hire porters to take some of your equipment if needed.
Make sure to bring your passport! Forgetting it would put a damper on your trip.
It’s also a good idea to bring a receipt of payment for the trek, just in case you need to prove what you’ve already paid for.
If you’ve purchased the zipline ahead of time, don’t forget to bring the confirmation or receipt. We did not get ours and had to wait while they confirmed our payment with the agency. This was nerve-wracking, especially since the zipline was expensive and we didn’t bring much money.
Bring a small backpack or day pack to keep water, snacks, cameras, and other essentials easily accessible. Some of my friends swear by Osprey backpacks, and I plan to buy one when I return to the States!
Bring cash for extras and emergencies – around 500 Peruvian Soles (~150 USD) should be sufficient. You’ll also need extra cash for water, snacks, and entrance to the hot springs. You won’t be able to use a credit card or withdraw money until Aguas Calientes, and there will be a hefty fee.
Bring a refillable water bottle – I bought big water bottles at the campsites and refilled my plastic bottle.
A headlamp or flashlight is essential for navigating in the dark. You’ll need it inside your tent and on late-night trips to the bathroom.
Don’t forget to bring sunglasses to protect your eyes on the trail.
Bring waterproof or Ziploc bags to organize snacks, toiletries, and dirty clothes.
A travel towel is necessary for showers at some campsites and hot springs.
A mini pillow is optional but will make sleeping more comfortable. I brought one I may or may not have taken from my flight to Cusco… shhh!
Hand warmers aren’t essential, but I was happy to have them on the cold first night and second morning.
If you’re a light sleeper, bring earplugs. You can hear loud snorers through the plastic tents.
Although meals are provided, you’ll burn more calories than usual and may get hungry between rest stops. Bring some snacks such as trail mix, granola bars, chocolate bars, and fruits.
Bring a mini first aid kit with band-aids, Aquaphor or Neosporin, Ibuprofen, Imodium, Pepto, and motion sickness medicine (optional).
You may also want to bring Diamox (optional for altitude sickness, may require a prescription).
Pack mini sizes of these in a toiletry bag or Ziplock bag.
It’s highly recommended to bring all of these items in emergencies.
It’s better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them. Bring your usual feminine products if you’re menstruating or close to your period. It’s essential not to forget them, especially when you’re out in the wilderness.
Don’t forget to bring personal medications such as inhalers or birth control.
When preparing for the Salkantay Trek, it’s essential to have a reliable, efficient, and lightweight hiking pack. This will serve as your foundation and set the tone for your journey. For trekking and hiking packs, Osprey is the best brand to consider.
The Sirrus 36 Osprey Light Backpack is an excellent option for short and long treks like the Salkantay hike. It has multiple pockets for storage, comfortable support, and even a place to attach your trekking poles, along with a built-in rain cover.
Proper hiking boots are a must-have item on your Salkantay Trek packing list. Before starting the trek, they must be comfortable, waterproof, and broken in.
Don’t make the mistake of wearing brand-new boots, or you’ll end up with blisters the size of Montana. Your body will already be sore enough in other places, so wearing comfortable hiking boots is essential to avoid unnecessary pain.
The Danner Hiking Boots are an excellent choice for the rugged terrain of the Salkantay Trek, as they are waterproof and lightweight. By the end of day two, I was exhausted and tripped over my feet, but these boots helped alleviate some of the discomforts.
Many trekking companies will either include these items in the price of your trek or allow you to rent them, but you will also need the following: