Monday, May 12, 2014

Inca Trail Packing List and Tips

I have to give a shout out to our trekking company. We used Enigma  and I would highly recommend them. Our guides, Edwin and Elbin,were fantastic and very knowledgable. So were the porters. After hiking the exact same trail carrying much more weight, they cheered for us as we made it to camp each evening. And the food was excellent. I couldn't believe what the chef was able to do on the trail. We all wondered if the food was so good because we were so tired and hungry, but decided it would have been good anyway.

I followed the packing list they gave with only a few extras. I packed:
  • 2 pairs hiking pants
  • 4 short sleeved moisture wicking tee shirts
  • 1 long sleeved tee shirt
  • thermal shirt and fleece pants to sleep in
  • 5 pairs of SmartWool/Thorlo brand socks (and I didn't get any blisters)
  • clean underwear for each day, 1 sports bra, 1 extra bra (to get out of the sweaty one at camp)
  • fleece jacket
  • warm hat, gloves, and ear muffs (I prefer my earmuffs over a hat)
  • poncho
  • headlamp
  • sunhat and a Buff headband thing
  • camping toilet paper and travel sized tissues
  • hiking shoes, tennis shoes, and flip flops (I preferred the tennis shoes at camp instead of flip flops so I'd skip those)
  • insect repellent
  • sunblock
  • toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, ponytail holder, etc. (very basic toiletries)
  • Platypus water containter with hose (we had a 1 liter and a 2 liter)
  • snacks
  • rented trekking poles (these saved my knees - I wouldn't do it without them)
  • first aid kit (medicines and blister kit)
  • microfiber sleeping bag liner
  • ShowerPill athletic body wipes (loved these)
  • earplugs (the tents are close together and I did hear other people snoring)
  • passport
  • money for tips for the porters
  • small notebook and pen (I like writing a few things down while it's fresh)
  • sleeping bag (I rented mine, my sister packed her own)
  • plastic bags of various sizes (we had quart to 3 gallon size - everything should be in plastic bags in case it rains)
We paid for an extra porter so I carried just the things I needed for the day on the trail and the porter carried everything else. We had people who packed all their things, but they struggled a little bit. I couldn't have done it. Even my sister was glad she didn't have to carry everything.

If I had to do it over, I would take less snacks. We had some energy bars that we didn't need. I liked the trail mix we took, but I would have added a few small candy bars or fast sugar. We did take a can of Pringles that were a big hit. Every morning we were given some fresh fruit and granola bars or cookies or other kind of snack so we didn't need near as much as we brought and it was just weight we didn't need.

I would also take waterproof gloves or I saw someone take latex gloves to put over their other gloves which I thought was a great idea. My knit gloves were fine until they got wet and then my hands did get cold.

There are cold showers available at the camp on the 3rd night. I thought the body wipes did a decent job until I got to a hot shower. Most of my group went and played in the waterfall near the ruins and they said that felt just as good as the cold shower would have. Plus, the toilet/shower area is kind of disgusting.

I had just about everything imaginable in my first aid kit and only used the Advil and Tylenol PM. I wouldn't change what I packed because if I had needed it, I would have had it and it was still small enough to be manageable. I took a half dose of Tylenol PM the first night and should have done it the other nights. Between the noises, the rain, and the hard ground, I didn't get a lot of sleep even though I was tired.

You can definitely tell which people hiked to Machu Picchu and who took the train, but I'm glad we did the hike. My sister and I have already decided that we need to go back to Peru to hike another area in the mountains. It was a great trip and I would love to do another one like it.

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