The most frequent type of questions we receive from clients prior to departure on a Peruvian or Bolivian trek have to do with weather and packing.
In a way these questions are easy to answer; whether in the Andes is unpredictable and can change quickly. Depending on altitude, season, and location a single day could take you through snow, rain, and sunshine. This could even be within a few hours in some cases! In addition, most routes also cover a variety of altitudes and microclimates from beginning to end.
All of this variation in weather can make pre-trek packing feel a bit daunting. However, following the general guidelines below will get you very close to final trek packing list.
First, most trek operators in Cusco and the rest of Peru include a certain weight limit for personal belongings (at Ayni Peru Expedition our limit is 8kg per person), whether you are hiking the official Inca Trail or an alternative route such as Ausangate or Vilcabamba.
This means you need to stick with the essentials, which will v on your route and the season in which you will be trekking. However, there are some definite “musts” for any trek:
The sun is very strong in the Andes, and particularly so at the highest altitudes. It is essential to bring along a hat with a brim, sunglasses and strong sunscreen. A lightweight, long-sleeved top is also great for protecting your arms.
warm jacket, long underwear, knit cap, and mittens. On every route, you will be happy you have these in the evening and early morning. Night temperatures can be much lower than the day, so even lower altitude portions of a trek can be cool at night.
Plenty of socks! Socks get dirty, wet and gross quickly when most of your day is spent trekking.
A poncho or waterproof shell is absolutely essential during the wet season and important during the dry season as well.
Rain is not easy to predict and can appear suddenly for a few hours before disappearing altogether.
After these basics, the remaining weight should be based on your route; will you be visiting an extremely high altitude area, such as Quelccaya trek? Will you be visiting hot, lower altitude areas, such as Choquequirao? In general, layers are the best, so you can adjust to changes in temperature and weather easily.
We hope this is helpful, and if you have more specific questions, please contact us at [email protected]