Inca Trail-Machu Picchu: 4 day trek

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!


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