I like to think that I am a decently experienced outdoor explorer, having spent a fair amount of time outside. Which is why I can’t seem to understand any of the “what to bring on the Inca trail hike” gear list from any website. The trek is only 4 days. Sure, it’s 10,000 ft.+ of elevation gains, 5-8 hours of hiking a day, 26 miles total, traveling over stone and steep trails, but, you can wear the same thing, even if you are all sweaty and dirty. You don’t need a second pair of “camp” shoes. Sure, it’s nice, but it is not worth the weight. I did bring my down rainbow bright booties for my summit to Mt. Whitney, and I alone carried them in my giant pack. It was a conscious luxury. I remember my guide looking at me like I was insane for wanting to bring them, but I justified it because they were the same weight as a down pillow and I wasn’t bringing one of those. I was still living those days “without a pillow.”
When I trekked to Mt. Everest, I did bring a second pair of pants. It felt nice to put on something relatively clean on to wear around camp, but I was hiking for 14+ days without a shower. The second pair was in case something happened to the pair I was wearing. It was probably not necessary to have this second pair, but a giant animal was carrying my bag. I did not think they would mind too much. I did not regret bringing this second pair. If something did happen to the pants I was wearing, say a giant rock tore through it. I would have been grateful to have a second pair of pants to hike in for 5-8 hours that was not a pair of rain pants.
For Machu Picchu, I am mindful that someone will be carrying my stuff. Porters are allocated 6 kilos, approximately 13 pounds, which include my sleeping bag, tent, sleeping mat, etc. I can’t justify having them carrying a second pair of shoes or anything else these websites suggest. Toothbrush and toothpaste, yes, face towel no.
I did however research pictures of what the porters and guides were wearing on the trek. Each guide was wearing a sun hat/cap, sunglasses, long sleeve shirt and had trekking poles in hand. They each carried a 35L bag, which is what I plan on doing. I probably will bring a complete second set of clothing, but it’s because I expect wet conditions, even with my rain jacket and rain pants. I will be grateful for the dry set of clothes, just in case.
T-minus 7 days, excited!