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There is one mandatory sleeping accessory – a sleeping bag – and four optional pieces of sleeping gear that form part of your Inca Trail packing list. Here we deal with each.

A good quality and a warm sleeping bag is a must on the Inca Trail. Here are the key features to look for in a sleeping bag.

Sleeping bags come in two types – goose or duck down, and synthetic. Down sleeping bags are generally lighter, warmer and better quality. They are however, more expensive.
To decide between the two types, think carefully about how often you will be using the sleeping bag for future adventures or treks. Many people who trek the Inca Trail graduate to higher more challenging classic world treks like Mount Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp trek and the Annapurna Circuit. A lightweight, warm down sleeping bag will serve you very well on most, if not all classic high altitude or winter treks, for many years into the future.
On the other hand, if the Inca Trail is just a one off with little likelihood that you will be going to high altitude or on winter trekking trips in the future, then a good synthetic will suffice.

Warmth

Regardless of season, it can get pretty cold at night on the Inca Trail (as seen on the temperature chart above). The coldest months coincide with the dry popular trekking season of May through September. During this time sub-zero temperatures are common at night. We recommend a four season bag for all year round with a rating of -10 C (14F). During the dry shoulder months of March-April and October-November you can get away with a three season bag (-4 C / 25F). December, January and February are very wet and not great for trekking. Visiting Machu Picchu by train is fine, but we would not recommend a trekking / camping trip at this time of the year.

Weight

As you / your porter will be carrying your sleeping bag, the lighter weight the better. There is however a tradeoff between warmth and weight. Try get a bag that is no more than 2.5kg.

Shape

Mummy-shaped sleeping bags are the best as they are designed to fit the contours of your body and hence provide great insulation. Sleeping bags that have an insulated hood and draw-chord are great. Another useful feature is a two-way zipping system that allows for easy unzipping at both ends.



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