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What to wear for the Inca Trail

[ 5 ] December 30, 2010 | Alison Adey

Planning to hike the Inca Trail in Peru? Shorts and flip flops probably won’t cut it. With 25 miles to cover in 4 days, you’ll need good walking shoes, a wooly hat and plenty of stamina.

Not only is it cold at night (temperatures can plumet to below zero),  it may rain heavily even in the dry season.  So get prepared with our checklist:

Keep warm in Machu Picchu - What to wear for the Inca Trail - Fabulous Travel Guide

Keep warm in Machu Picchu - What to wear for the Inca Trail - Fabulous Travel Guide

* Walking shoes

Good walking shoes are essential for the Inca Trail. Go for light-weight, waterproof trainers that have ankle support. You might want to go up a size to make sure they feel comfortable with thick socks.

TOP TIP Walking boots can be expensive – especially if you only plan to use them a couple of times. Try eBay for second-hand trainers – I snapped up a pair of Rockport walking boots for just £14!

*4 x thick socks

Blisters can be agony on a trek so make sure you wear thick walking socks. Take plenty of plasters, too.

* Rain poncho

Whatever the season, there’s bound to be the odd rain shower so don’t get caught out. Have a poncho rolled up in the bottom of your bag to pull out in a hurry. Primark sells them super-cheap or you can buy them locally.

* Zip-off hiking trousers

Zip-off trousers are ideal for the Inca Trail – they’ll keep you nice and warm on frosty mornings, but they can be unzipped if you get warm later on.

* Fleece top

As well as several t-shirts, be sure to bring a fleece  or warm jumper. It’s best to layer up, rather than have one heavy winter coat.

* Thermal underwear

Make sure you bring warm underwear! It may not sound very appealing but it gets super cold at night. Girls, bring leggings.

* Wooly hat and gloves

It can be windy at high altitude and cold in the mornings, so a hat and gloves are a good idea to keep warm.


Make sure your sunglasses have total UV protection and it’s worth buying a sunhat as this can prevent sun stroke.

* Extra clothes

Bring a spare pair of trousers and shorts. Extra socks are also a must as you’re bound to want fresh ones by day 3…

Planning a trip to Peru? See what else there is to do in South America – from sandboarding in Huacachina to trekking in Colombia. Already booked? Get in touch via Twitter!

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Category: Advice, Machu Picchu, Peru, South America

About Alison Adey: I was previously Channel Editor for IPC's Homes network (;; and but I bid them a fond farewell in December 2010 to embark on this trip. I also worked for as a features writer for two years. View author profile.

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