Packing List Followup: Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

iylanaDestinations, Packing Lists, Peru11 Comments

We showed you what we packed in our bags before leaving for Peru, and now that we’re back we’re more informed on what should and shouldn’t have been included. Overall I think we did a pretty good job, specifically concerning clothing, as we somehow managed to have clean clothes to wear on the plane home without having time to do laundry like we thought we would! We went back and edited the original post with updated thoughts and comments, as well as providing a summary here of what we learned.

Tent lamp When you have a headlamp, you really don’t need anything else.
Binoculars These ended up being too heavy and bulky to carry in my daypack, so I didn’t use them the entire trip.

Knee Braces
Another member of our group graciously let Shane borrow a knee wrap and it truly saved his knee on Day 2. No matter how young you are, if you typically sit in an office all day like we do, you’re going to want knee support for those downhill treks.
Bug itch cream Shane was swarmed by some tiny bugs and his ankles have been itchy for a week!
Waterproof shoes Shane had to switch shoes at the last minute because the ones he intended to take weren’t comfortable on a longer hike we did prior to the trip. The Patagonia’s he took were lightweight and comfortable, but unfortunately not waterproof. It’s almost certain your feet will get wet at some point. Fortunately it didn’t turn into an issue for him causing any blistering, but it’s still recommended to take waterproof shoes.
Sandals Shane didn’t want to be weighed down with extra bulk, so he decided to just use his Sanuks instead of taking a third pair of footwear, but a few of our campsites were really muddy, so they got very dirty. Also, a few of the campsites have showers available, but it felt dangerous to be in there barefoot.
Immodium Nuff said.

Pillows Our trekking company did provide pillows for our tents, but I was sure glad I brought my own for extra support. Plus I used it on every plane, train and bus.
Battery Pack Everyone was running out of phone battery by day two. Since I use my phone for taking photos and videos, I definitely used this bad boy to recharge my phone every night.
Headlamps These are essential when hiking through mud in the dark!
Medical Kit I was really glad I brought the ibuprofen, pepto and blister bandaids.
Vitamin C Effervescent Drink Mix A little boost of vitamins in the morning made me feel awake and ready for the day.
Toilet Paper I think we left this off our original packing list, but I did pack a small roll of toilet paper in a ziploc bag without the cardboard roll. None of the bathrooms on the trail had it, so you should keep it in your daypack at all times.
Bug Spray Get the strongest you can find. By day 3 you’ll be at the beginning of the Amazon jungle and these bugs are nothing to mess around with. We only took 7% deet spray, so we were glad one of our companions had 100% deet to share.
Snacks Our cook gave us a piece of fruit and crackers every morning to take with us, but we scarfed that down plus the Kind bars and Tanka Buffalo Jerky we packed. Seriously, every time Shane bit into a Tanka bar he talked about how good it was and how it’s the perfect trail snack.
Hiking boots I’m really happy with my choice as they held up perfectly. They’re so lightweight that my feet didn’t feel as tired as I thought they would.

Headed to Machu Picchu? Be sure to read about our trip for more tips here:

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu: Part One
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu: Part Two
Machu Picchu: How to Pick a Trekking Company

11 Comments on “Packing List Followup: Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu”

  1. Thanks for your insight…will be traveling with Alpaca on the Lares trek with my 27 year old son in July. Although I’ve done several backpacks, NEVER at this altitude And we live in Florida…not much height here! Appreciate the packing list suggestions (i.e. knee braces!) Curious if you took the diamox and results if so? Will be doing similar itinerary with 2d in Cuzco. Considering a day mountain biking… Any hotel recommendations for Cuzco or Lima? Welcome back, where is the next adventure?

    1. Hi Lisa! We’re glad our blog helped you out! We did get a diamox prescription. We didn’t have any altitude sickness, so maybe it helped, maybe it didn’t, but better safe than sorry, right? That was our thought at least 🙂

      We will be posting our hotel reviews soon with more thorough information, but for now I can say that in Lima we just had an overnight while in transit to Cusco, and stayed at the Costa Del Sol across the street from the airport (our post will be about how to save 50% on a night there). In Cusco we booked through airbnb and stayed at two places, one before the trek and one after. Before we stayed at a budget accommodation called La Estancia de la Abuela. It was very affordable at around $30 a night with included breakfast. They were great hosts, but it is definitely for travelers on a budget. On the way out we stayed at Garden of San Blas, which is a wonderful 3 bedroom inn. We would have loved to have stayed there more nights. It was still very affordable at $100/nt.

      We hope to have those posts with pictures up later in the week so be sure to check back! Follow us on to see when they get posted! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the info! Look forward to reading more. Your pictures are awesome too. I do not plan on taking my larger DSLR but will opt for my iPhone and a small point and shoot. What did you use for these pics?

    1. Hi Lisa! I love my Sony a7s which is a large sensor camera but not quite as bulky as a full-size DSLR. Another great option I’ve taken on other trips is the Sony a6000 which is a little slimmer the a7 and can be stuffed into a jacket pocket. Some of the pics are also with Iylana’s iPhone as well. I carried the camera on this trip with the Peak Design CapturePro which just clipped right onto my backpack strap, making it easy to grab and put away the camera.

      Thanks for the questions! Helps us to know what info other people are looking for and gives us ideas for articles to write!

  3. thanks for camera info. I decided my old NF daypack has seen better days and with several hikes planned in the near future, I went with an Osprey that has pockets on the hip belt…perfect for holding my little Nikon. Your Wyndham tip for saving $ was great. When I have more time, I look forward to reading your entire blog!

  4. Hi there, not sure if you guys remember but how did your camera battery hold up? I”m planning on bringing 3 extra batteries for my Nikon DSLR 3200 and plan to charge them full before my 4 day hike (shortened version) and so day 3 is when we will be at the hostel in Aguas Calientes so I think just two extra batteries should be fine but I’ll also have my iphone handy for backup just in case. How did you guys stay under the 5kg limit? I looked at the packing list and it seems nearly impossible to stay under the limit without carrying a good bulk yourself.

    1. Hi Santana! We also took 3 extra batteries for our Sony a7s. How long they last depends on how many pics you take! I typically used a battery and half a day, but was able to recharge the batteries at night with the larger Anker battery pack we took that’s linked in the post.

      As for the limit they didn’t really weigh it. It was a duffle bag that they have you. But all you need to pack in it is your clothes for the hike. Everything else you’ll leave behind at your hotel or in their offices.

      Have a great trip!

  5. This post is a god send! My husband and I are doing the Salkantay Trek with Alpaca leaving Cusco on May 24th. I had a few questions:

    1) Did you guys get an insect repellent spray for your clothing? I’ve read about people buying either Ex-Officio gear or spraying their clothing with insect repellent since apparently there are a lot of flies that bite you on the trail and these flies are pretty resistant to DEET repellent? What do you guys think? Was the bug/mosquito situation pretty bad? (P.S. Mosquitoes LOVE me. Eeek!)

    2) Was there water provided at the campsites to wash your face, brush your teeth, etc? It sounds like there is but I just wanted to make sure.

    3) Should you bring your own trash bags to collect your own trash (i.e. tissues, dailies contact throw away cases) at campsites and take with you in your daypack or big pack?

    4) Alpaca states that you should bring waterproof gloves on the trek. I get bringing gloves for the first day or two since it’s pretty cold, but do you need waterproof gloves?

    Thanks so much for your feedback, it’s very very very much appreciated!!!!


    1. You’re going to love this trek Aarti!

      1.) I only had one bad run in with bugs. My foot got wet in a small stream so I took my sock off to dry it out, and some kind of small biting bug got my ankles! Other than that, normal OFF kept me fine, but if you attract mosquitos you’ll want one of the stronger 100% DEET repellants. Others in our group used that and seemed fine.

      2.) Yes, Alpaca will provide plenty of water for both drinking and non-shower grooming.

      3.) There will be trash collection in the campsite but it may not be a bad idea to have a small bag to hold your trash while hiking if you don’t want it to mix in with the contents of your day bag.

      4.) IMO, no, you don’t need waterproof gloves. But if you were going to buy new gloves anyway, then might as well make sure they’re waterproof. But in the event of a downpour, you’d probably want to tuck your hands in your jacket pockets anyway.

      Hope you have a blast! Report back how it goes!

      1. Thanks so much for your feedback Shane. One last question, did you guys end up taking towels with you? I heard that Alpaca doesn’t visit the hot springs in Aguas Calientes but they have towels listed on their recommended packing list. Do you still need a full body towel on the trek?

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