Best Backpack for Hiking Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is known for its stunning views, breathtaking landscapes, and fascinating history. If you want to see the Inca Trail, then you should definitely backpack some essentials for hiking Machu Picchu.

The Inca Trail runs along the southern side of the Andes Mountains from Cusco to Machu Picchu. It takes around 4 days to complete the trek. There are two main routes to choose from: the classic Inca trail or the new Inca trail. Both options take travelers through beautiful scenery and ancient ruins.

There are many great backpacks out there. Which one would you recommend? Here are three key features to look for in a good backpack: comfortable straps, adjustable shoulder strap height, and a waist belt.

Best Backpack for Hiking Machu Picchu Inca Trail

The Inca Trail

Inca Trail

The Incan Trail trek, which is also known as the Machupicchu Trek and Machu Picchu Trek, is one of the most popular hikes in Peru. It starts in Cusco and ends at Machu Picchu. In addition to Machu Picchu, you can visit other sites such as Ollantaytambo, Pisac and Urubamba. The length of the hike varies from 4-5 days depending on your pace. The trail passes through a variety of terrain, including highland jungle, cloud forest, agricultural fields, river valleys and Andean glaciers.

You will need trekking boots or sneakers that are sturdy enough for the terrain you’re passing through. There are no services provided along this hike, so you have to carry all your food, drinks and supplies with you. If you plan on using this route, make sure that you take plenty of water with you because it gets very hot during the summer. Also, bring comfortable clothing since it gets warm quite fast during the day. A hat and sunscreen will come in handy too.

Weather Variations

The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu experience three distinct seasons. During the dry winter period (April to September), temperatures range from 15 °C (59 °F) to 30 °C (86 °F). Packing for this season includes comfortable clothing such as trousers, shirts and jackets; sturdy hiking boots; a wide brimmed hat or beanie cap; gloves; sun glasses; insect repellent; water-proof socks and sunscreen. For more specific advice on this question, please refer to our full “Inca Trail & Machu Picchu” guide.

During the wet spring and autumn periods (October–March), temperatures can drop below 0°C (32°F) at night. During these months, it is recommended that you bring warm clothes with extra layers, including long sleeve shirts, jackets, pants, and windbreakers. You may also need waterproof outerwear to protect yourself during rainstorms.

During the summer rainy season (December–February), rain showers can last up to 10 hours per day, leaving trails slippery and muddy. The best way to avoid becoming soaked is by carrying an umbrella.


To stay comfortable on your trek, consider bringing a variety of different outfits. Bring a sufficient supply of shoes, trousers, shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, sweaters, light weight jackets, fleece jackets, rain coats, rain gear, wicking sweat pants, sleeping bags, ponchos, hats, scarves, umbrellas, sunglasses, toiletries, toothbrush and toothpaste, camera equipment, binoculars, and hand sanitizer.Some items like heavy duty hiking boots, tents, cooking gear, stoves, lanterns, and solar chargers are essential to have, but don’t forget to carry them too!

Base Layer

A base layer is usually worn underneath other clothing. This helps regulate the temperature and provides insulation if you get cold. Choose something lightweight and breathable. Many people prefer wearing thermals due to their superior warmth factor. If you wear thermals, make sure they fit well and that they aren’t bulky. They should not restrict air flow. Thermals can be used for both men and women.

Trekking Shirts

If you want to hike in comfort, choose a merino wool trekking top. Merino wool is known for being soft, durable and easy-to-care for. They are naturally anti-microbial and absorb perspiration and odors. Consider wearing a long-sleeved top in cooler weather. A long-sleeve shirt will help prevent chills. A shirt made from 100% polyester material works well to ward off heat and provide ventilation. Long sleeves offer protection against blisters caused by friction against hot rocks. It’s always good to have two shirts available.


Choose a pair of shorts or pants that fit comfortably and have lots of pockets. Ideally, shorts should be loose-fitting and made from a mesh fabric. Mesh fabrics are very breathable, which keeps you cool in warmer climates and allows excess heat to escape in colder climates. When choosing shorts, make sure there are no zippers or buttons down the back. Zipperless, button-free shorts are designed to allow maximum airflow around your waist area.

Hiking Trousers and Shorts

The most common type of pant worn on treks is called the walking style. These typically feature elastic cuffs along the bottom edge, which allow for more freedom of movement while still providing support and comfort. Hiking trousers for men can range from cotton blends to technical nylon and Gore Tex materials. For women, hiking trousers are often made using synthetic fabrics such as nylon, polyester, and lycra for added support. Women can also opt for a one-piece hiking pant with a zip fastener at the crotch so it doesn’t ride up during exercise.

Windbreaker and Fleece Jacket

When venturing into the highlands or mountains, you need to prepare yourself for windy conditions. The strong winds can cause severe dehydration. You must protect yourself from the elements. A windbreaker is important to keep out the chill. A windbreaker will keep you warm even when it’s 20 degrees Celsius below zero. It’s best to wear several layers under your jacket, including a thermal vest or jacket. You can use this as a second layer. Make sure you take all of your outer clothing off before putting on your windbreaker.

Soft Shell Jacket

A softshell jacket is ideal for early spring hikes where temperatures may be lower than 10 degrees Celsius and snow is likely. Soft shells are comfortable and light in weight. They are less expensive than hard jackets but are much bulkier. Most softshell come with a hood, which offers some extra protection from the elements.

Rain Gear/Poncho

You don’t want to end up caught without suitable rain gear when you’re exposed to sudden showers or thunderstorms. There are many varieties of rainwear, including ponchos, umbrellas, bucket hats, and boots. Ponchos are made from waterproof material and are great for protecting against heavy rain. Umbrellas are useful for keeping you dry while you sit inside a hostel waiting for your bus to Machu Picchu. Boots are handy for keeping feet dry and can be used at campsites if you plan to spend time sitting outside. Keep in mind that these items won’t keep you completely dry. It’s a good idea to carry an additional pair of socks and underwear along with other essential items just in case you get wet.


Headlamps and headbands are helpful for illuminating dark paths. Don’t forget to pack a flashlight and spare batteries. A hat helps block sun glare and protects your eyes. If you hike alone at night, consider wearing a reflective bandana. It could save your life.

Sun Hat

It’s recommended that travelers wear a wide-brimmed hat to prevent sunburns. Sunglasses are another essential item for preventing UV damage to your eyes. Sunscreen lotion should be applied frequently to prevent burns and rashes.


Although they look like regular sunglasses, mountain and trekking glasses have lenses specially designed for people who spend long periods outdoors. They offer better protection from harmful rays and reduce eye strain. To find the right fit, try them on to make sure they clear the bridge of your nose.

Bandanas/neck/head bands

A neck band is very useful for protecting your throat and ears from the cold. Bandanas can keep dirt out of your hair and help keep your face clean.

Fleece Beanie or Head Band

To stay warm during chilly weather, you can wear a fleece beanie or headband. These lightweight accessories are easy to throw over your head. Although they aren’t always necessary, a woolen scarf can provide warmth and comfort in chilly climates.


Bringing a headlamp is a wise decision because it can really help you see after dark. This little tool comes in two kinds: one kind contains a battery, and the other has only wires connected to a bulb. Both works equally well, so whichever type you choose depends on your preference.

Hands and Walking

Wear gloves. Not everyone likes using mittens, but most hikers prefer gloves, especially in colder climates. Always bring more pairs of gloves than you think you will need. You never know what kind of conditions you might encounter on your journey.


If you don’t own any gloves, you should invest in a pair before you leave home. The best choice is leather-based ones. However, some people swear by synthetic materials. In general, leather is warmer and more durable than synthetics. Synthetic materials tend to break down quickly. However, if you do decide to buy synthetic gloves, make sure the brand you pick offers an adequate warranty period.

Hiking Poles

Poles come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are attached to walking sticks, and others are separate pieces of equipment. Whatever style you use, make sure you practice first to ensure proper balance. Carry extra poles for those days that require longer walks and hikes.

A Map and Compass

In order to avoid getting lost, it’s crucial to understand how to read maps and navigate terrain. Having a map and compass with you at all times will not only give you peace of mind while traveling, but also help you determine whether your route is correct and safe.

The best time to visit Machu Picchu was in the morning, when the site wasn’t too crowded. Visit it between April and June, as this is the best month to experience the springtime flowers blooming around the


When choosing footwear for hiking, there are three types: trail shoes, boots, and sandals. Trail shoes are relatively light and comfortable. A good option for people who want to lose minimal weight. Boots are heavier and usually made of a natural material such as rubber or leather. Sandals are ideal for summer travel and can be worn with anything from shorts to skirts.

Hiking Boots

Having the right boots is important for your safety. When buying your hiking gear, look for sturdy soles that provide support and stability. Also, make sure your boots fit properly. If it doesn’t fit correctly, it won’t take much pressure to cause a fall.

Trekking shoes or sandals

A trekking shoe provides traction via its outsole. Its sole is designed specifically for rough terrain. On the flip side, a sandal provides additional grip through an insole. Usually, these sneakers are lighter than regular hiking boots. They are great for outdoor activities like camping.

Trekking Socks

Like your footwear, having the correct socks helps prevent blisters. There are several types of socks that work well for hiking. Choose ones that have wicking properties to keep your feet dry. Another plus is that they are breathable, allowing air to circulate inside them.

Gaiters (Optional)

Gaiters come in handy to protect yourself from biting insects, spiders, and other potentially hazardous animals while hiking. They are basically long pants that cover the ankle area. They allow you to hike without worrying about carrying insect repellant. Make sure you choose the right length depending on the season.

Backpacks and daypacks

There are two types of backpacks: daypacks and backpacks. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, a day pack is smaller and easier to carry around. It may also be suitable for shorter hikes. Backpacks are ideal for longer treks and adventures and come in various sizes.


Day packs are convenient because you don’t need any special tools or accessories to use them. You just wear them over your shoulders and go. However, some day packs are bulky and heavy and therefore impractical for short hikes. Always check if your backpack has shoulder straps before purchasing. This allows you to easily adjust the pack to suit your body type.

Hydration Packs

One of the most essential items for hikers is a hydration pack. These are water bottles that are specially designed to hold enough liquid to last an entire day. Some contain filters that help purify water. Others have built-in purifiers that filter out bacteria. Hydration packs come in different shapes and styles. Pick one that suits your needs. For instance, if you plan to climb mountains or rivers during your trip, then consider a tall bottle. Likewise, if you prefer to drink more water, consider picking up a small bottle that holds 20 ounces.

Water Bottles

Choosing the right water bottle is vital for your health. Water bottles come in various sizes. So do their price ranges. You will find cheap plastic water bottles, but not all of them are safe. Look for a durable and leak-proof bottle. Your first choice should be stainless steel since it lasts for years. Stainless steel bottles are also easy to clean. Plastic bottles break down after a few months. If you want to buy a refillable bottle, look for one made with BPA-free materials. The best brands are Nalgene and Camelback.

Hydration Bladder

If you decide to take a hike without bringing any water, fill your bladder with something else instead. Consider getting a bladder that can hold 2 gallons. This way, you won’t have to worry about running out of water along the trail. Hydration bladders come in different shapes and sizes. You can get one that looks cool too!

Sleeping Accessories

A comfortable bed makes camping life even better. In order to sleep soundly, you will need a mattress pad, a pillow, a sleeping bag, and a duvet or comforter. Mattress pads keep your sleeping bag from touching the ground. Pillows make your head and neck rest comfortably. Sleeping bags come in different sizes and feature extra insulation. Duvets and comforters offer warmth and comfort during cold nights.

Sleeping Bags

Consider buying a travel sleeping bag if you plan on traveling. They are lighter than regular ones. Travel sleeping bags also fold into a compact size, so they fit easily inside your suitcase. Regular sleeping bags aren’t recommended for hiking trips. Instead, opt for light-weight jackets or coats as substitutes. It may seem like a hassle to carry around two things when going backpacking. But you can always convert your tent into a makeshift shelter and let your sleeping bag serve double duty.

Sleeping Mat (Optional)

Your sleeping mat provides additional comfort while you sleep. Choose a thin sleeping mat if you want to feel cozy. Alternatively, you can opt for a thicker version. A thick sleeping mat offers protection against insects and vermin. It helps regulate your temperature while you sleep.

Inflatable Pillow (Optional)

Pillows are useful items to have while camping. Inflatable pillows provide additional support for your head and neck. They also prevent sore backs and necks upon waking up. Moreover, they make the cots feel softer. Choose the size depending on your height.


It doesn’t really matter which kind of tent you choose; nylon, polyester, ripstop or cotton. All tents have four basic parts: the fly, poles, stakes, and guy lines. The fly keeps rain away while the pole supports the structure. The guy lines connect the tent to its support points. Stakes secure the tent’s corners. A good tent has mesh windows at the top. This helps air circulate within the tent. Mesh windows also allow sunlight to enter.

Camping Supplies

You don’t have to go crazy purchasing camping supplies. Just stock up on the essentials. That includes food, insect repellant, and bug spray. Toiletries are important too. Make sure your toiletry kit includes sanitizer, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo. Also include sunscreen lotion, socks, underwear, and shirts. Take care of these items before you set foot outdoors. Not doing so could lead to serious illnesses.

Other Accessories

A compass is an indispensable item for hikers. It enables you to navigate through unknown areas. Consider including a GPS device too. These devices help you avoid dangerous situations. However, you should note that GPS signals might be blocked by trees. Having a backup plan is highly advisable. You should never depend solely on technology alone. Be prepared for the worst!


If you decide to hike Machu Picchu, take it slow and steady. Pace yourself. Don’t overdo it. Avoid strenuous activities such as heavy lifting. Hiking Machu Picchu can be challenging but rewarding. If you follow our tips, you won’t get tired. Instead, you’ll enjoy every moment of your journey.

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