laguna humantay trek

Hiking the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu was one of if not my favorite activities I did in 2022. I have heard the Pros and Cons of both the Incan Trail and this hike and decided this one was for me. The combination of the many different spots you get to see and explore is so worth the 5-day trek. During my time in Peru, I was able to gather many supplies on this Salkantay Trek packing list that others had suggested to me.

Depending on what time of year you go, you will need different gear. As is the same for a lot of treks throughout Peru. We went in August and the weather was perfect for us. We were more than prepared with what we brought.

Everything on this Salkantay Trek packing list I either use myself or fully believe in.

salkantay trek, salkantay trek packing list

Where is Salkantay Trek Located?

The Salkantay trek is located outside of the famous town of Cusco in Peru. The Cordillera Vilcabamba is the mountain range that surrounds this area. These mountains sit high and Mount Salkantay reaches a height of 6,271 meters or 20,574 feet.

Cusco to Salkantay Trek Trailhead

Known by some as the Salkantay Pass, this trek can be reached easily solo. If you want to come to do this independently, then you’re in the right place.

The cheapest way is to take a collectivo from Cusco and then a cab to the trailhead. This will cut the price in half for a tour company. The added benefit of you going solo is that you’ll be able to start this hike a little bit later in the morning.

  • Cusco to Mollepata one-way by Collectivo = 20 Soles (each)
  • Mollepata to Saoryapampa one-way by Cab = ~30-40 Soles (total)
  • Entrance to Laguna Humantay = 10 Soles
    • Pay the Entrance Fee in Mollepata

I started at Challacancha, which is a longer route toward the base of Laguna Humantay. It is popular to stop here and do the side hike to the lake.

laguna humantay trek

How Hard is the Salkantay Trek?

If you do the entire Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, it is considered a difficult hike. This is 43 miles long of different elevations and environments that you will climb through. Your first stop will be at the famous Laguna Humantay and the day after you will be trekking through the Salkantay Pass.

Below are more hike details about the Salkantay Trek:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 46-mile loop in total to reach Machu Picchu. For just the Salkantay Pass, it is 12.3 miles from point to point.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 5 days to finish. This depends on fitness level and time at the laguna.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as difficult because of the altitude and elevation gain as well as the length.
  • Incline: The max elevation for the Salkantay trek is 4,630 meters or 15,190 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.

If you want to read more about this hike as well as reviews then you can check it out on Alltrails.

salkantay trek packing list

Things to Know When Packing for Salkantay Trek

Hiking through the Salkantay Pass is an experience of a lifetime. Going through 5 days and 4 nights of hiking to reach Machu Picchu is something you will never forget. With that being said, there are some things to know when making your Salkantay Trek packing list.

  • Weather: The weather in Peru and especially in parts of the Salkantay Trek can vary drastically. If you’re in the higher altitude parts of the hike then you can see temperatures drop drastically at night. Be prepared for this and bring items that aren’t heavy but good in many conditions.
  • Rain: Depending on what season you go, there could be a higher chance of rain. We went in August and it didn’t rain during our trek. If you do go in the months of December – March or September/October, then think about bringing a rain jacket.
  • Terrain: During your trek, you will hike through many different terrains. I cannot suggest this enough, but it is HIGHLY suggested to bring a good pair of hiking boots and potentially even some hiking poles.

Salkantay Trek Packing List

This is the overall list of items that you should think about packing for your Salkantay Trek. Some things might not be as necessary if you’re going with a tour group but everything has its benefits.

The cost of travel in Peru is cheap, which can benefit you in being able to have more money to spend on the items on this list.

laguna humantay trek

Hiking Boots

Hiking boots can make or break a long hike like the Salakantay Trek. That’s why picking out the right pair of boots is so important.

I just recently had to buy new hiking boots and I went with the KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable. You won’t regret them.

Day Pack

salkantay trek packing list

This item is a necessity when packing for the Salkantay Trek with a guided tour. You will need one for the extra snacks, water, and jackets that you will be bringing on your hike.

The REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack is the day pack that I currently use and absolutely love. You can see photos of me using it throughout my website and above.

Multi-Day Backpacking Bag

When making your Salkantay Trek packing list for a solo trip, this is the first thing you know is coming with you. Most people doing this hike solo will already have one but if not, then I highly suggest the Osprey Atmos AG 65 Pack.

This is a 65L bag that only weighs 4 lbs. This means that you can carry more items while feeling lighter on your back.

salkantay trek packing list

Warm Jacket

I do not leave home without my Patagonia jacket. It was my favorite article of clothing during my time in Peru. It kept me warm when I needed it to but also needed to overheat me if I kept it on while hiking.

That’s why I highly suggest Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Jacket. These products from Patagonia last a long time and you won’t regret the purchase.

Hiking Pants

2022 was the first year I started wearing hiking pants and oh wow do they make a difference. The feeling you have when wearing them is like no other.

The KUHL Renegade Rock Pants are a highly-rated brand that won’t disappoint. These bad boys even come with 8 different pockets.

Hiking Poles

While hiking poles aren’t necessary, they can be a really great tool for a long trek like this to alleviate any knee pain. When using the REI Co-op Traverse Trekking Poles, I was able to enjoy the hike more as I wasn’t as tired.

Water Filtering Bottle

The Geopress Water Filter Bottle is the best travel item I have in my bag. I used it multiple times a day throughout my 9-month Latin America trip.

It is in my opinion the best water filter bottle on the market. This is a must when making your Salkantay Trek packing list.

salkantay trek packing list

Hiking Socks

salkantay trek packing list

With the small price tag for the Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks, they really do bring a lot of value. Your toes and feet can thank me later when you wear this while hiking.

I originally got a pair as a gift but I had to buy more because they were so comfortable.

Rain Jacket

Depending on what time of the year you visit Peru, it is smart to bring a rain jacket. You want one that can handle the weather at its worst but also feel good to move in.

That’s why I suggest the REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Jacket. The products are known to last a long time too.

salkantay trek packing list

Bug Spray

On the 3rd day of the Salkantay Trek, we were fully in the jungle. I was getting bit up as I normally do but once I put on the Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent, it was game over.

These bugs didn’t stand a chance. It is also in a 3oz bottle which is perfect for air travel.

GoPro Camera

Whether you’re just using it for the Salkantay Trek or multiple other adventures throughout your life, having a GoPro is a must. This camera will last you a very long time and is super easy to travel with.

Portable Charging Battery

salkantay trek packing list

I do not leave home without my portable charging battery. It came and handy multiple times during my Salkantay trek. You will use this thing more often than you think.

The BioLite Charge 80 PD Power Bank is a powerful beast. It has 74-watt hours which is strong enough to charge a 13-inch laptop.


You can never be too safe when it comes to the sun and its rays. That’s why bringing sunscreen with you on trips like this is a smart idea.

I love the Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen for its smell and the clean feeling it gives you, unlike other brands.

Travel Towel

Like it says in its name, this towel is great for travel! The new Luxe Towel is a fan favorite and for good reason.

This towel can absorb 5x its weight and dries out very easily. That makes this item an easy thing to add to your Salkantay Trek packing list.

Hand Sanitizer

I’m sure you can only imagine how dirty you will end up during your 5-day Salakantay Trek to Machu Picchu. Use Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hand Sanitizer to keep the germs off your hands during your adventure.

I die by this company’s products as I use their 18 in 1 multiple times throughout my travels.

Final Thoughts on the Salkantay Trek Packing List

The Salkantay trek is one of the best adventures you will possibly ever go on in your life. With the many different ecosystems you travel through, to the beautiful mountain and lakes, it’s hard to not love it. That’s why bringing these items on the Salkantay Trek packing list is huge because they will make this experience that much more enjoyable. I want you to have the same experience I had.

Thank you for reading my guide on the Salkantay Trek packing list! I hope this helps give you an idea of what you will need to bring for this adventure.

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