Top 10 items you can’t forget!
1. Hiking Boots
Paper thin Nike’s just WON’T do it. I was on a strict budget and felt like my normal Nike runners would be good enough. Luckily I caved in and bought proper hiking boots (US$100) and it was worth every cent. The terrain is rough, very uneven and slippery so good shoes wont just save your ankles – it might save your life!
2. Head Torch
Getting up during the night in the pitch black to go to the bathroom is not fun, even in normal circumstances so a head torch is absolutely necessary. At 6pm, the sun disappears and you are on your own. Having a head torch will allow you to find your way around the campsite and organise yourself in the tent. Lifesaver. Don’t forget spare batteries!
A rain jacket is simply not good enough. The rain can get insanely heavy and can come in from all angles. A poncho is your best bet to protect you and your backpack. You might look like a complete idiot but you will be smiling later when you are completely dry!
4. Baby Wipes
Washing hands before meals, going to the bathroom, cleaning your boots, wiping dirt off your skin – and more importantly to use as your shower for 4 days. Nothing else is as practical, light and easy.
At night, it gets REALLY cold. Yes, I am an Australian so that may be colder than some, but regardless. One night you are camping at 3590m and it gets as cold as zero depending on the time of the year. My thermals saved me. Invest – trust me.
6. Aluminium Water Bottle
Plastic bottles are forbidden in Machu Picchu. As well as being able to keep your water cooler for longer, it can also act as a hot water bottle at night by filling it with boiling water. Voila!
Immodium/GastroStop (a must! You will realise what I mean), paracetamol (for the body aches if you are suffering altitude sickness), rehydration sachets (incase of vomiting to keep up electrolytes), bandaids (for blisters and scratches), altitude sickness pills (if you want to take them), and lastly cold and flu tablets (for blocked sinus which makes climbing a mountain even more difficult).
On the trek, you will also be encouraged to chew coca leaves which for available for sale at the start. By chewing the leaves to extract the juice, the coca acts as a mild stimulant and suppresses hunger, thirst, pain, and fatigue. Coca also eases sickness due to high altitudes.
8. Toilet Paper
This is obvious. There are toilets on the trek at some points but otherwise – its the side of a mountain and if your lucky – behind a bush. Take your toilet paper with you to avoid litter (a plastic bag is best)
A She-wee is a phenomenon that I only recently discovered. It is a female urinating device which allows females to pee standing up without the mess. You can buy them online for about US$10. Check out http://www.shewee.com/the-original-shewee.html
The days are long – on day 2 you are hiking for almost 12 hours so be prepared with sunblock, hat, sunnies and insect repellant. The fatigue alone will be enough to deal with let alone sunburn!
Some of these may seem really obvious but I’m a checklist girl and they help a lot when your ticking boxes!
The best advice I got before going on the trek was to pack light. Always pack LESS than what you think you need, because I can almost guarantee you wont need it all. And most importantly – get a porter! It will save your back (just don’t forget to tip! Guidelines were approx. US$50 for all porters and chefs and an extra US$40 for the guide from EACH PERSON).
Hope this helps! Enjoy!