What to pack for Machu Picchu: a comprehensive traveler’s checklist

Embarking on a journey to the iconic Machu Picchu? Find out exactly what to pack for Machu Picchu and trek with confidence using our detailed packing guide.

Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, beckons travelers with its ancient Incan ruins set against the backdrop of lush green mountains.

As you prepare for this awe-inspiring journey, one of the first questions that might come to mind is, “What to pack for Machu Picchu?”

Given the site’s unique location, fluctuating weather conditions, and the physical demands of the trek, packing appropriately is crucial.

In this Machu Picchu packing list, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on items to bring, tailored to ensure comfort, safety, and an unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re trekking the Inca Trail or taking the train to the top, our guide will ensure you’re well-equipped for every segment of your adventure.

See also:

machu picchu
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👚 What to wear to Machu Picchu

what to pack for machu picchu

If you are not going on a multi-day hike on the Inca Trail or other hikes, here’s a list of what to pack for Machu Picchu (clothing) according to the weather.

Note that some of these items are also essential clothing for Machu Picchu multi-day hikes.

1. Lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying pants or shorts

This keeps you dry, comfortable, and less prone to chills or overheating.

Long sleeves can also provide an added layer of protection from the sun’s harmful rays, ensuring that you remain both cool and shielded.

A quick-dry and stretch fabric accommodate swift movements while ensuring you stay dry. What stands out are the zip-off feature, allowing easy conversion to shorts in warmer weather, and the ample storage provided by five deep pockets.

2. Fleece jacket or lightweight down jacket

Mountainous regions, like Machu Picchu, can experience sharp drops in temperature.

A fleece or lightweight down jacket provides vital insulation, trapping body heat effectively. Despite their warmth, they’re also light and easy to pack, making them perfect for fluctuating weather conditions.

Lightweight yet offering remarkable warmth, the recycled insulation promotes sustainability. Its packability is ideal for travelers and adventurers alike, ensuring warmth on-the-go without the bulk. The hooded design and windproof feature make it a winter essential, ensuring full protection from biting cold breezes.

3. Rain jacket or poncho

The weather at Machu Picchu can be unpredictable. A rain jacket or poncho acts as a waterproof barrier against sudden downpours, ensuring that you remain dry.

This isn’t just about comfort; wet conditions can lead to hypothermia in colder climates.

This jacket is not only stylish but also practical, shielding you from unpredictable weather. Lightweight and comfortable, it provides excellent mobility without compromising on protection. It’s a versatile piece for every outdoor enthusiast.

4. Breathable hiking socks

Foot care is crucial when hiking. Breathable socks ensure that moisture is drawn away from the feet, reducing the likelihood of blisters.

Additionally, these socks often provide cushioning, which can alleviate foot fatigue on longer treks.

The compression support paired with a thick cushion guarantees comfort during extended wear, while their breathability ensures feet remain dry and cool. A must-have for active individuals.

5. Sturdy hiking boots or trail shoes with good grip

The paths of Machu Picchu can be uneven and slippery. Sturdy hiking boots or shoes offer ankle support, reduce the risk of injury, and, with a good grip, they ensure stability on varied terrains.

These boots not only boast an appealing aesthetic but also deliver in terms of performance. Waterproofing ensures dry feet in damp conditions, while their lightweight design means less foot fatigue during long treks. A perfect blend of style and rugged utility.

6. Wide-brimmed hat or cap for sun protection

At high altitudes, sun exposure is intensified. A wide-brimmed hat protects the face, neck, and ears from harmful UV radiation, reducing the risk of sunburn and heat-related illnesses.

This hat offers a wide brim for ample shade, combined with UV protection to ensure safe sun hours. The foldable design makes it travel-friendly, while the ponytail mesh feature brings a unique blend of functionality and fashion. Ideal for beach outings or fishing expeditions.

7. Polarized sunglasses with UV protection

Eyes are vulnerable to the sun’s rays, especially at altitude. UV-protective sunglasses shield the eyes, reducing the risk of cataracts and other sun-induced ailments.

They also minimize glare, offering clearer vision on sunny days.

Fashioned to complement diverse facial structures, especially those with a low bridge, they promise an impeccable fit. The square frame is both classic and contemporary, making it an accessory fit for any occasion.

8. Bandana or neck gaiter

This versatile accessory can serve multiple purposes. It can shield against sun, dust, or cold. When dampened, it can cool the wearer. It also adds an extra layer of warmth in cooler temperatures.

Crafted for versatility, these can be donned as a neck gaiter or balaclava, adapting to your immediate needs. The UV 30+ protection is commendable, making them essentials for outdoor pursuits. Lightweight and comfortable, they are perfect companions for prolonged exposure.

9. Lightweight gloves (if visiting during colder months)

At higher altitudes, temperatures can plunge. Lightweight gloves provide a protective layer against the cold, ensuring fingers remain agile and preventing frostbite.

The fingerless design ensures tactile sensitivity, while the UPF 50+ protection ensures hands remain shielded from harmful UV rays. Whether it’s fishing, driving, or kayaking, these gloves promise protection without compromise. The summer sun might be relentless, but with these, your hands are well-guarded.

10. Daypack (to carry essentials)

A daypack is essential for storing and organizing supplies. Its design distributes weight across the back and shoulders, minimizing strain. It’s vital for carrying food, water, and other necessities.

Crafted to cater to daily needs, its compact size doesn’t detract from its capacity. The black design is timelessly stylish, while the construction promises durability. Whether you’re exploring city streets or nature trails, this backpack proves to be a reliable companion, adjusting to your storage needs with ease.

11. Water bottle or hydration system

Hydration is key in any physical activity. A dedicated bottle or hydration system encourages regular water intake, ensuring trekkers remain hydrated and preventing altitude sickness.

The vacuum insulation ensures your drink retains its temperature, be it hot or cold. Coupled with a leakproof flip, accidental spills are a thing of the past. The stainless steel design is both sleek and sturdy, promising longevity. With the inclusion of a straw, sipping on the go has never been more effortless or stylish.

🧳 What to pack for Machu Picchu hike

Now if you are going on multi-day hikes, your Machu Picchu packing list will be quite different. Usually, tour companies already includes tents and cooking gear but I still brought sleeping bags and other essentials.

Here’s the complete list of what to pack for Machu Picchu hike:

1. Backpack (with rain cover)

The heart of any trekker’s gear. A quality backpack, ergonomically designed, can distribute weight to minimize back and shoulder strain.

With multiple compartments, it aids organization. The rain cover, often overlooked, is invaluable, protecting your essentials from unpredictable mountain showers and ensuring that electronics, clothes, and food stay dry.

With options of 50L and 60L, it caters to both minimalistic travelers and those requiring more space. The waterproof design ensures the safety of contents even during unpredictable weather, and the included rain cover adds another layer of protection. Its structure, engineered for mountaineering, promises even weight distribution, making those uphill climbs more manageable.

2. Trekking poles

Beyond providing balance on tricky terrains, trekking poles significantly reduce stress on knees during descents.

They can also aid in ascending challenging paths by allowing arms to share the workload. The rhythm established using poles can lead to more consistent pacing, conserving energy.

Made of 100% carbon fiber, they offer unbeatable strength without the weight commonly associated with hiking equipment. The cork grips ensure comfort during prolonged use, while the quick-adjustable flip locks offer hassle-free length modification.

3. Sleeping bag (for multi-day treks)

Not just a place to sleep, but a cocoon of warmth in the cold Andean nights.

A suitable sleeping bag ensures you rest adequately, recuperate from a day’s hike, and are insulated from ground cold. The comfort and security it offers can greatly uplift spirits.

Designed to cater to a range of temperatures, it ensures warmth in cold climates and breathability during warmer seasons. Lightweight and portable, it doesn’t burden the traveler. The waterproof feature ensures a dry and cozy sleep, and its compatibility with both adults and kids makes it a family-friendly option.

4. Lightweight sleeping pad (for multi-day treks)

Beneath the sleeping bag, a pad isn’t just about softness.

It’s a barrier from the cold, rocky ground, ensuring that the cold doesn’t sap your body heat. Lightweight materials nowadays mean you aren’t weighed down during the day.

Crafted from durable 40D Nylon and coated with TPU, it offers resilience against wear and tear. The built-in foot pump ensures easy inflation, while the attached pillows add a touch of homey comfort. Designed for two, it’s perfect for couples or families, ensuring no one misses out on a comfortable night’s sleep during camping or hiking.

5. Tent or shelter (if not provided by a tour company)

Your own private space amidst the wilderness. A tent provides protection from wind, rain, and insects.

Modern tents are designed to be lightweight and offer easy setup, ensuring shelter in minutes, which is essential in rapidly changing mountain weather.

Lightweight yet sturdy, it’s designed for solo travelers or duos. The waterproof feature guarantees protection against sudden downpours, and the aluminum frame ensures stability against gusty winds. Its double-layered structure offers ventilation, making it a comfortable haven in both rain and shine.

6. Personal first-aid kit

Safety can’t be compromised. From minor scrapes to headaches or more severe conditions, a personalized first-aid kit ensures you’re prepared. By tailoring contents to your needs, it serves as both a safety net and a comfort, knowing you’re prepared for many eventualities.

Boasting 277 essential items, it caters to a spectrum of emergencies, from minor cuts to more significant traumas. The white waterproof bag ensures that the contents remain dry and sterile, ready for use when needed.

7. Water purification tablets or filter

Mountain streams may seem pristine, but harmful microorganisms can lurk. These tools ensure that the water you consume is safe, protecting you from waterborne diseases. In remote areas, they can be lifesavers, providing access to safe hydration sources.

Utilizing an RO Membrane with a 0.0001 Micron filtration capability, it confidently removes 99.999% of tested microorganisms. Whether you’re hiking, camping, or preparing for emergencies, this compact purification system ensures that clean, potable water is just a pump away.

8. Sunscreen

At Machu Picchu’s altitude, sun rays are more direct and harmful.

Sunscreen becomes not just a skin protector but a barrier against potential sunburns, heat rashes, and long-term skin damage. Applying regularly can ensure you focus on the beauty around, not discomfort.

The Continuous Sunscreen Spray with SPF 50 promises easy application for those hard-to-reach spots, ensuring uniform coverage. Complementing it, the Sunscreen Lotion with SPF 30 guarantees thorough protection for exposed areas. Both water-resistant, they’re designed to keep up with active lifestyles, be it sports or outdoor adventures.

9. Lip balm with SPF

The thin skin on our lips is vulnerable. High-altitude conditions can lead to rapid chapping and sunburn.

A quality lip balm provides a moisture barrier, ensuring lips stay soft, preventing painful cracks and exposure damage.

With SPF 15, it goes beyond hydration, offering protection against harmful sun rays. The smooth glide formula ensures easy and uniform application, ensuring lips are coated in a protective and nourishing layer.

10. Insect repellent

In the dense foliage and warmer months, insects abound. An effective repellent ensures you’re not spending nights scratching away bites. It also offers protection against potential insect-borne diseases.

Offering strong protection against ticks and mosquitoes, it ensures a bite-free experience. Containing 25% DEET, it’s formulated to deter even the most persistent pests. Ideal for camping, hiking, or any outdoor escapade, this 4oz bottle will keep the nuisances at bay, letting you immerse in nature without distractions.

11. Biodegradable wet wipes

In areas without ample water, these are a boon. Useful for hygiene, they can refresh after a sweaty hike. Biodegradable options ensure that you leave no trace behind, respecting the environment.

Not only are they large and efficient for a quick rinse-free refresh, but their biodegradable nature ensures minimal environmental impact. Perfect for traveling, camping, or even after a workout, they leave you refreshed without leaving a trace behind. Moreover, the 3 travel-size packs ensure convenience and portability, making it a staple for outdoorsy types.

You also need to bring toilet paper: an essential, often forgotten.

Beyond its obvious use, it’s a tool for hygiene, ensuring comfort during extended treks. Biodegradable versions decompose naturally, aligning with eco-responsible trekking.

12. Headlamp or flashlight (with extra batteries)

The mountains get dark rapidly. A headlamp not only provides vision but also frees up hands, making tasks like cooking or reading possible. Extra batteries ensure light is always available when needed.

Designed for outdoor enthusiasts, it features an adjustable headband for a custom fit and a pivotable head for directed illumination. With 7 lighting modes, it caters to various scenarios, while its lightweight design ensures comfort. The machine-washable band adds a touch of practicality, making maintenance a breeze.

13. Multi-tool or knife

A compact toolbox. From cutting to fixing gear, it’s an invaluable companion. Often, unexpected repairs arise during treks, and having a multi-tool ensures you’re equipped to address these.

An embodiment of versatility, this tool combines multiple utilities in a compact design. Whether you’re setting up camp or making minor repairs, this multi-tool promises to be an indispensable companion.

14. Matches or lighter

Essential for fire-starting, whether for warmth or cooking. In emergencies, fires can also signal rescuers. The primal comfort of a fire can uplift spirits on cold nights.

Its windproof plasma technology ensures a reliable spark in breezy conditions, while the long flexible neck makes it versatile for various applications. Rechargeable and waterproof, it’s both economical and resilient. The vibrant orange hue not only adds a dash of style but also ensures visibility when rummaging through camping gear.

15. Portable stove and fuel (if cooking own meals)

Nutrition is key during physical exertion. A portable stove ensures you can prepare hot, replenishing meals, providing the necessary energy for trekking and warmth against the cold.

Designed for backpackers and campers, it offers a compact yet powerful propane cooking solution. From brewing morning coffee to cooking hearty meals, it supports a range of culinary endeavors. Its portability makes it perfect for treks, fishing, hunting, or even emergencies.

16. Cooking and eating utensils

The right tools make meal prep efficient. Lightweight, durable utensils mean you can enjoy meals without the baggage of heavy gear.

Designed for outdoor chefs, it includes essential tools, ensuring culinary creativity isn’t hampered. The water-resistant case ensures durability, while its compact design promises easy portability. Perfect for BBQs, camping, or hiking, it’s a kitchen in a kit.

17. Toiletry Bag

An often-underestimated essential, the toiletry bag is your personal hygiene companion. In a compact space, it organizes and contains everything from toothpaste and brushes to personal care items.

Especially on multi-day treks, maintaining hygiene is paramount to feeling refreshed and preventing potential infections.

The hanging bag ensures accessibility, the TSA cosmetic liquid bag ensures airport compliance, while the accessory pouch keeps small items secure. All in a chic dusty teal hue, it promises both functionality and aesthetics, making it a traveler’s dream.

18. Small quick-dry towel

Whether wiping away sweat or drying off after a wash, a quick-dry towel ensures you’re not lugging around dampness. Its compactness ensures it doesn’t occupy unnecessary space.

Made of microfiber, it’s fast-drying and super absorbent. Its compact design makes it perfect for backpacking, gym sessions, or beach trips. Whether for drying off post-swim or a yoga session, it promises efficient moisture-wicking without occupying excess space.

19. Solar portable charger or power bank

Connectivity and digital tools can be essential, especially for navigation or emergencies. A power bank ensures your devices are always operational, keeping you connected.

In multi-day hikes, there is no place to charge your power bank so a solar power bank is recommended.

Harnessing solar energy, it ensures devices remain charged without relying on conventional power sources. With a 30000mAh capacity and dual USB ports, it supports multiple device charging. Its orange hue is not only stylish but also easily noticeable, making it a handy companion for all tech-savvy adventurers.

✅ Other things to pack for Machu Picchu

Camera or smartphone: Machu Picchu’s beauty is legendary. Capturing these memories ensures you can relive this journey for years. Beyond memories, these tools also provide connectivity and other utilities like GPS.

Plastic bags (for trash or wet clothes): Responsible trekking means leaving no trace. Bags ensure you pack out what you bring in. They also help segregate wet gear, ensuring other items remain dry.

Passport (and a copy): Essential for identification and any interactions with local authorities. A copy ensures you have a backup, safeguarding against loss or theft.

Cash (small denominations): Many local vendors or services might not accept cards. Having cash ensures you can procure services or goods without hassles.

Trekking permit and tickets to Machu Picchu: These are your official permissions, ensuring unrestricted access to this wonder without legal complications.

Personal identification and emergency contact information: In case of emergencies, this information ensures rescuers or other trekkers can contact your loved ones and provide necessary medical history to medical personnel.

Map and compass or GPS: Even with marked trails, getting lost is a risk. These tools ensure you always know your location and direction, ensuring safety and efficient trekking.

👟 Are sneakers OK for Machu Picchu?

Yes, sneakers are acceptable for Machu Picchu, especially if they offer good grip and are comfortable for walking.

However, if you’re trekking the Inca Trail or other routes, it’s recommended to wear sturdy hiking boots that provide ankle support and superior traction.

The terrain can be uneven and sometimes slippery, making appropriate footwear crucial.

🎒 Are backpacks allowed at Machu Picchu?

Yes, backpacks are permitted, but there are restrictions. Bags or items larger than 40 x 35 x 20 cm are not allowed inside the archaeological site.

Larger bags must be left in storage facilities at the entrance. It’s advisable to bring a small daypack with essentials.

🥾 Is there a dress code at Machu Picchu?

There isn’t a strict dress code at Machu Picchu. However, visitors should wear appropriate attire respecting the cultural significance of the site. Revealing clothing or costumes are discouraged.

👖 Can you wear jeans to Machu Picchu?

Yes, you can wear jeans. However, lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking clothing is preferable due to the physical activity and varying weather conditions.

Jeans might become heavy and uncomfortable if they get wet.

🚰 Can you bring water bottles into Machu Picchu?

Yes, water bottles are allowed. It’s essential to stay hydrated, especially given the altitude and physical exertion.

However, always ensure you carry out any trash, as it’s vital to maintain the cleanliness and integrity of the site.

🦟 Do I need mosquito repellent in Machu Picchu?

Yes, it’s recommended. While Machu Picchu is at a higher altitude with fewer mosquitoes than the surrounding jungle areas, it’s still possible to encounter them, especially during the rainy season.

🚾 Are there toilets in Machu Picchu?

Yes, but they are located outside the main entrance, so make sure to use them before entering. There aren’t any facilities inside the archaeological site, so plan accordingly to avoid discomfort during your visit.

Trisha Velarmino (43)

Trisha Velarmino is the Global Editor-in-Chief of the Insider Media Group operating in Europe, Asia, and North America. She lived in Peru for 1.5 years and has helped thousands of expats, digital nomads, and solo travelers easily visit Peru. Trisha has traveled Peru extensively from North to South.

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