The Complete Salkantay Trek Packing List

A visit to Machu Picchu is an exciting must-do adventure. The Salkantay trail is the lesser-travelled yet equally beautiful path up to Machu Picchu. As it has become increasingly popular over the years, we know how important your Salkantay trek packing list is.
This trek is typically 4 days long, and the high altitudes and long walking hours make your packing strategy important. Know what is essential so that you can pack smart and light. Don't let your backpack weigh down your experience!

Your Salkantay Trek Packing List

Essential Documents

Before anything else, you want to have your travel documents in order. Here's what you need:
  • Passport: Your passport is your key to international travel and entry into Peru. Make sure it's valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates.

  • Travel insurance details: You need comprehensive travel insurance that would cover unexpected medical expenses, trip cancellations, and lost luggage. Make sure this covers the altitude of the trek!

  • Boarding passes for flights: The best practice is to keep digital and physical copies of your boarding passes to guarantee flights to and from Peru.

  • Driver’s license: This will be handy for identification purposes or if you plan to rent a vehicle.

  • Cash: While cards are widely accepted in cities, having local currency (Peruvian Soles) is essential for small purchases and remote areas.

  • Credit/debit card: Ensure your card is travel-ready and notify your bank of your travel dates to avoid any security blocks.

Read up on Machu Picchu permits and Machu Picchu travel insurance before your trip.

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Dressing right is essential for any long trek. This list is tailored to ensure you're comfortable, whatever the weather throws at you:
  • Non-cotton clothing for trekking: Cotton absorbs moisture and takes ages to dry, which is not ideal for the varied climates you'll encounter. Opt for moisture-wicking materials in your base layers and t-shirts to keep you dry and comfortable as you ascend through different ecosystems.

  • Fleece/soft-shell jacket: The weather can be unpredictable, and temperatures can drop, especially at higher elevations. A fleece or soft-shell jacket provides that essential layer of warmth without adding too much bulk.

  • Waterproof jacket: Rain is always a possibility, no matter the season. A waterproof jacket is your best defence against sudden downpours, ensuring you stay dry and can continue hiking comfortably. Remember, you will get a rain poncho and a day pack cover when you arrive.

  • Down jacket (optional): For those particularly cold mornings and evenings at higher altitudes, a down jacket can be a lifesaver. It's optional because not everyone feels the cold the same way, but if you tend to chill easily, it's worth the extra space in your bag.

  • Underwear and base-layer trousers: Quick-drying underwear is a must, and for those colder treks, base-layer trousers provide an extra warmth layer under your trekking trousers.

  • Waterproof trousers: Like the waterproof jacket, these are essential for keeping you dry during rain. They can easily be worn over your trekking trousers.

  • Trekking trousers and shorts: Versatile clothing is key. Trekking trousers that zip off into shorts offer flexibility for changing temperatures and conditions.

  • Good socks: We recommend a pair of woollen hiking socks and a pair of lightweight socks. Thick wool socks keep your feet warm and cushioned, while lighter socks prevent overheating on warmer days.

  • Gloves and wool hat: Early mornings and high altitudes mean cold temperatures; gloves and a wool hat will keep you warm.

  • Swimwear: Yes, there's a chance for a dip in hot springs towards the trek's end, a perfect way to relax those muscles after days of hiking.



You don't want swollen feet, frozen toes, or shoes that lack grip on the terrain you'll encounter. So, pack the following for footwear:
  • Trekking boots: Opt for 3 or 4-season lightweight trekking boots that offer good ankle support, grip, and comfort. You’ll be walking on varied terrain, from rocky paths to muddy trails. Break them in well before the trek to avoid blisters and discomfort.

  • City footwear: After days of intense trekking, your feet will thank you for a pair of comfortable sandals when exploring Cusco's cobbled streets or relaxing in your accommodation. They're also perfect for those warmer moments and allow your feet to breathe.



For the nights on the Salkantay Trek, a good night's sleep is crucial to recharge for the days ahead.
If you travel with a guided group, like those offered by Skyhook, you will get a small pillow and a foam mattress when you arrive. If you are trekking solo or with other guided groups, you may need to pack items like these yourself.
Here's what else you need for your sleeping arrangements:
  • Sleeping bag: The temperatures can drop significantly at night, especially at higher altitudes. A quality sleeping bag is essential to keep you warm and comfortable. If you don't want to bring one from home, you can rent one for $25 from the local operator.

  • Sleeping bag liner (optional): If you're renting a sleeping bag, a sleeping bag liner provides an extra hygiene layer to sleep in. It's lightweight, affordable to buy, easy to pack, and can add a few degrees of warmth. Plus, it can also keep your own sleeping bag cleaner for longer!


Backpack and Duffle Bag

For your Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, you need two essential pieces of luggage: a daypack and a duffel bag. Let's break down how best to use them.

A Duffel Bag

Before the hike, our tour operator will give you a duffel bag. In it, you'll stash most of your gear - think sleeping bag, extra clothes, and other not-so-light essentials.
Travelling with our guided tours, you don't have to worry about the weight of this bag as the porters will handle it during the trek. But, you should still try to pack only what you need.



Your daypack is your carry-on for the trek. In it, you'll have about 7kg worth of essentials. Here's what you can keep in the daypack:
  • 2L water bottle/thermos. (Hydration is key when hiking!)

  • Sunscreen

  • Waterproofs for sudden downpours

  • Passport and essential documents

  • Sanitizer or wet wipes

  • Electronics - travel adaptor, phone & charger

  • Sunglasses

  • General toiletries, contact lenses and glasses (if needed)

  • Lipsil or a similar product

  • Dental hygiene items 

  • MP3/Music and headphones

  • Headtorch (essential), with extra batteries for early mornings and evenings.

  • First aid kit: Including personal medication and altitude sickness remedies like electrolytes 

It is vital to pack smart here - we recommend keeping water bottles, sanitisers, and electronics easily accessible.


Packing for your Salkantay Trek doesn't have to be daunting.
Keep your daypack light and focus on the essentials you'll need within arm's reach - water, sunscreen, and your smartphone or camera to capture the awe-inspiring landscapes.
Also, a smart packer knows the value of efficiency - rolling clothes to save space, using packing cubes for organization, and always packing a bit of extra room for souvenirs you might pick up along the way.
Ready to embark on this adventure of a lifetime?

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