After doing tons of research and knowing what type of clothes I usually end up with after overpacking, I came up with this amazing Machu Picchu day hike packing guide. When you go to Cusco to trek Machu Picchu you will most likely be locking down your hike or tour before you arrive. I ended up doing a two day hike, not staying in a tent, but in a hotel. Packing is an art, and your Machu Picchu day hike packing guide needs to be planned out carefully. I like to start packing a week before just to make sure I don’t miss anything. The key here is to plan well, and that will ensure a better experience on your trip. The less you have to purchase last minute on your Machu Picchu trip the better.
1. Backpack: Since I am not spending the night in a tent, I decided to go with a more modern backpack. I did my research, and found that the Tavik was my best bet. I honestly didn’t realize how amazing it was (I ordered it online) until I finally received it. It has a separate compartment for shoes which is great if they get wet. It also has a separate compartment for a laptop and for my lumbar pack. The inside resembles a toiletries case as it has compartments and zippers for all of my items. Not only is it a backpack, but it converts into a duffel bag as well. It is surprisingly very light with everything I packed into it. I am 5’6” and weigh 120 lbs and this backpack was super light even for me.
2. Lumbar Pack: Since I didn’t need all of the usual hiking accessories such as a tent, cooking gear, etc., I did not need to bring my whole backpack. I did want to easily and most efficiently carry my phone, GoPro, money, and Rain Jacket. The lumbar pack is similar to your old school fanny pack. The only difference is that it is designed to go on the back of your body rather than the front.
3. Hiking Shoes: I kind of gambled when I bought these because I liked how they looked but they turned out to be amazing. They were very comfortable to spend eight hours in. I also liked that they are high top to protect from mosquitos or falling when you are climbing up a mountain.
4. Bug Spray: If you are hiking around Machu Picchu and especially Huayna Picchu, then you will definitely need to bring bug spray with you. When you hike up Huayna you are basically in a jungle until you get to the top. The hike lasts about two to three hours. I like the organic bug spray since it is not as harsh as others and lasts for hours. It also keeps away the Zika virus which is spreading like fireflies now.
5. Water: This is probably one of the most expensive items in Cusco. They actually charge more in the morning than at night. Plan on buying your water before you go to bed. It costs around 6 Soles in the morning and around 8-9 Soles at night. Instead of carrying in a bunch of water bottles, buy the platypus hoser.
6. Sandals: You will need a pair of sandals for when you are traveling to and from Machu Picchu because of the heat. I like the Havaianas since they are durable and not too expensive. Sandals are also easier to fit rather than bringing a pair of tennis shoes.
7. Toiletries: Most of the hotels that you will be staying at the bottom of Machu Picchu do not offer toiletries. The hotels are older and not as up to date. These are very convenient anyway for traveling anywhere.
8. Camera: I recommend the GoPro since it has such a wide angle to take photos or videos. It also small and convenient to carry in a day pack. I got some great shots with my GoPro and clear selfie stick.
7. Rain Jacket: Since I decided to come to Machu Picchu in the summer during rainy season this was a necessity to have just in case. It did rain for about 20 minutes, and it is good to be prepared since you will have to walk all the way to the entrance if not. They also sell ponchos at Machu Picchu, but the quality was not as good I noticed. The lumbar pack was able to hold this rain jacket, my phone and GoPro easily.
8. Ibuprofen: Advil worked for me to help with altitude sickness. Some people actually stay in Cusco for a few days to adjust, but I did not. I took a pill every eight hours and did not even tell a difference in altitude.