2 Week Machu Picchu Trip Planned Still NO CLUE What I’m Packing!

Things are getting pretty real here at the home base. This trip to Peru is getting closer and closer. Hotels and AirBnBs are being booked, destinations are almost set, and the travel path looks pretty overlappy (not a word) but I guess that’s what happens that you have to go through Lima EVERYTIME you want to go somewhere new!

Not complaining though, Lima is going to be amazing. Plus, free drinks at the SUMAQ VIP Lounge thank you to a Priority Pass Membership (Complementary with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card — if you travel a lot then check it out. The perks are UNREAL!)

Aside from booking AirBnB’s and figuring out what day to take what flight to get to what destination I still have A LOT of other problems to solve. For starters and probably most importantly,

  1. How heavy is too heavy for a pack?

  2. Do I have enough clothes?

  3. What’s going in my pack?

  4. What about camera gear?

And of course:

  1. Drone or no drone?

I recently got my pack shipped. It took me forever to pick one, but after hours of research, I finally got my No. 1 pick! I am psyched about this pack too! It perfectly aligns with everything I want to accomplish.

How did I pick the best pack for me… and maybe for you?

So this is going to be a 14-day trek and although I plan on staying at AirBnB’s I still plan on having my pack on me at all times. I’ll be able to leave some of the gear back at the temp shelt so I won’t have to get stuck carrying everything all times but regardless my first step is figuring out…

How heavy is too heavy?

The standard carry-on weight limit is about 40lbs. Now, I don’t know about you but there is no way I’d ever carry a 40lb pack AND my personal item (a small backpack) around airports or cities. No way. And to be honest, I don’t think I could even get to 40lbs if I tried – even counting all of my tech gear! My mind would tell my body stop way before I hit that number!

I’ve done a few weight tests and I’ll have to say that for me, 25lbs is perfect. I can walk for miles without strain to my back and move pretty fast on foot. At 30 pounds I can definitely feel a tad more fatigued after a half day of traveling and definitely need to rest more often. Anything after 35lbs just isn’t practical for me. My feet hurt, my back hurts, I cry and complain and give looks – okay, over exaggeration. But I can honestly say that the extra 10 lbs could pose issues. And there is no room for issues on this trip or any future trip for that matter.

I’m sure that some of you through-hikers are out there laughing at my personal limit. Trust me, I know that is nothing in comparison to what some of you carry. Keep in mind that I am not taking a trip through the A.T trail and eating around a campfire and setting up my own shelter every night.

So for now, I’d like to say that 25lbs would be the sweet spot and 40lbs is TOO HEAVY.

Do I Have Enough Clothes?


My rule of thumb in my home closet is that if I think I have too much clothing, then I have too much clothing. There is no internal argument, just grab anything that hasn’t been used in months and donate it.

Same goes with my packing. If I feel like I’m taking too many clothes, then I most likely am!

When I am traveling, I’m not really worrying about what I’ll be wearing when I get a photo of me when I’m on top of a mountain looking over the edge with the sunset in the gleaming back at me – no. I am thinking more along the lines of what am I going to be wearing when I finally get to that mountaintop, I’m super sweaty, the wind has kicked up quite a bit and yea that’s a pretty sunset but damn It’s cold, what did I bring to put over me.

I do some serious pre-visualization which I learned a long time ago and helps me out in every situation. I picture myself where I’m going to be and what and how I want to feel, what I want to do there or what I want to accomplish – and then be fully prepared to do so.

With that being said, most of my trip will be much needed cultural shock, cool mountaintops, 1 night out on the town and more creative block crushing hikes.

Enough clothes for me on a trip like this is 4 dri-fit shirts, 2 hiking pants, 4 pairs of Darn Tough socks, 3 pairs of ExOfficio briefs, 1 light pair of pants and one dress shirt for nights out, a base layer just in case, omniheat thermal, rain jacket and insulated jacket, my hiking shoes, a pair of flip-flops and some nice & comfy slip-on boat shoes. I think I covered it all.

Just looking at that list makes me feel like I have too many clothes already, and see – I already have to think about cutting some stuff out. You may think “4 shirts? on a 14 day trip? No way. Impossible.” But until you experience it, you really don’t know. And I make it work, and it’s an easy thing to do!!

I will be able to wear each shirt twice and pants for at least 4 days each (8 days), the briefs and socks I use are rated for long-term use and I can spread those out for 8 days. When that 7th or 8th day hits, I wash everything! Super easy, quick and it keeps me from over stuffing my pack!

I could even wash every 4 days if I felt like everyone was looking at me funny and dogs covered their snouts as I walked by. Lucky for me, all my clothes are odor retardant and I have never had an issue. In fact, I’m usually the best smelling everywhere I go beeecause I love hygiene. And just because I’m away from home doesn’t mean I have the right to go off and smell like walking sweat – and neither do you! Remember that!

So yes, wash your clothes, don’t over pack and don’t smell bad.

What Else Is Going In My Pack?

I love this questions. Because I try (emphasis on try) to be a minimalist and bring as little as possible. Every time I reflect on this I usually find something that I say “Eh, I never really needed that last trip” or “I don’t know why I ever thought I would use this”.

That second thought usually comes in result of buying that SUPER AWESOME MUST HAVE NEW GADGET YOU SHOULD NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT FOR ALL TRAVELERS 20THISYEAR that seemed great at the time but ended up being just another paperweight. Luckily, the pages from excess spending days have long been ripped from my books.

So I’ll start with the basics for me which all fall under the organization category.

Cable organization. This is such an easy task but it took me way too long to figure it out. I used to do the usual wrap around the palm trick and stick whatever cable in whatever pocket I had available. This was fine and dandy until I went to use the cable and it was in a knot or I had to go through every pocket of my pack till I found the right one.

I just recently purchased a BAGSMART cable organizer bag and I can’t believe I’ve never bought anything like it before! It was much needed. It keeps everything electronic related in one compact location. It’s very easy to keep things separate and to take out at night and have everything I need in one solid place. Whatever I need I just grab and use.

No more digging through every pocket before getting the right USB cable and block. Easy to pack the next day and only weighs 3.4oz (before being filled). Inside of it, you’ll usually find a pen or two, phone and camera chargers, extra SD cards, USB cables, notepad, USB stick, external hard drive, flashlight, tool card, external chargers. Basically, anything that would render me useless in a tech standpoint if it was lost or misplaced.

Sounds like a terrible idea keeping everything in one place, I know. But when you’re traveling every day, it’s the best way to do it. At least it has been for me.

I must say, it was a great investment! It was about $19 and I’ll be making plenty use of it.

All my toiletries stay in an Eagle Creek Wallaby bag. Another awesome little bag that comes out of the bag as soon as I get to any temp shelt. As soon as I get anywhere I’m staying overnight this bag comes out and gets hung somewhere in or near the bathroom and BAM. I have all of my bathroom things up for display for me. So I can just look at my future hygiene and smile pridefully.

I have to admit, there are some other toiletries bags that are pretty neat and cheaper out there, but this one is the most compact and is just the right size for my Nalgene Travel kit, my first aid stuff and I can even pack my PackTowl in there most of the time. Its under 8oz without anything in it which is an alright base weight, but the size is still what makes this my top pick and you can get it for $36! Not too bad!

You never know when you’re going to be stuck on a train/bus for a few hours and that could sometimes be the BEST time to catch some zZz’s. Or at least it can be. Sometimes there are screaming children or the sun is just starring you right in the cornea through the whole trip. Then trying to regain some energy is kind of out of reach. This is why I always keep a pair of earplugs and a sleep mask with me. I use a Dream Essentials mask I got from Amazon.

It was $9 and has come in very handy! These always stay in my pack just in case!

One of the heavier items I will carry is my Microsoft Surface Book. Not much I can do to lighten the load on this front. The charger is huge and takes up a lot of room but hey, that’s the sacrifice you make when you are looking for serious power and efficiency. And I really love that machine. It is amazing all around.

Aside from other little trinkets and souvenirs that I usually come home with, that is really all I bring in the misc department. As you can see, I try to keep only what I NEED. Packing the basics and essentials are what keep me LIGHT and keep me MOVING. And I’m into that.

What About Camera Gear?

I am torn in this department for this particular trip. I have a Canon 6D and a few lenses that I usually take on most of my travels. It’s has been an amazing camera for me for low light landscape shots and for street photography. I really do love slapping a pancake on that body and snapping discretely.

Now the video on the 6D is decent at best with 1080p at 24fps, which is average, and 720p at 60fps for a somewhat appetizing slow-mo shot. I always travel with my 50mm prime lens as well as my 17-40mm

I’m torn right now because I really want to focus more film than stills on this trip – I’m not in the market for a new body just yet so I can’t just go out and drop the 6k I could to solve this issue in one swift swipe.

My dilemma is here – I just recently got the new iPhone X and am extemely wow-ed. I am highly considering bringing just that. I know. I said it and I can’t believe it either.

But I mean cmon, the camera on it is unreal and combined with a DJI Osmo Mobile 2 and the Filmic Pro app it is a nasty film pumping duo. It really is amazing.

I could write up another 2047 words about just how insane that trio is. But I won’t just yet.

It’s not only powerful, but it will also help keep me extremely light. Now before you completely discredit me for even considering the iPhone route I want to make this clear: My 6D is an amazing full-frame body and a smartphone would never compare to it when it comes to shooting photos or ever be as dear to my heart.

The only two reasons I am considering leaving the 6D behind is because I am trying to be as light as possible and I am trying to focus on video. I want to shoot a paddle hitting Lake Humantay at 60fps at 4K so I can get some buttery slow-mo on that ice cold turquoise water. MY CANON JUST CAN’T DO THAT and that is something I will absolutely need this trip.

With all that being said. Once all said-done-packed, and knowing me too well, I’ll most likely pack everything with me. I can already see my self with 6D in one hand and Osmo and iPhone X on the other sand boarding down to the mirage city of Ica with my Mavic set on Active Track mode following behind.

Speaking of my Mavic…

Drone or No Drone?

This was a very rhetorical question. You bet your sweet peaches I’ll be bringing my drone.

I have the infamous DJI Mavic Pro drone and love everything about it. I went with this bird because of its compact size and impressive video capture capabilities. Again, I could go into a whole other discussion about that topic, but I will save it for another time!

After researching other fellow travelers stories and looking through customs information, bringing a drone into the country won’t be as hard as you would think. The drone must be declared when filling out the customs declaration form.

It seems that since it is being brought in as a personal-use item, there are no strict rules. There is a use-tax that must be paid up front but you can recover it on your way out of the country. It seems to be 18% of value – not sure if this is declared value or product full value. I guess I’ll find out in a few months!

Not too bad though! I have absolutely no fear to bring my Mavic along. You can’t fly near Machu Picchu, but there are so many other amazing landscapes just waiting to be discovered from new heights!

If you are planning a trip out there and have a drone, be sure to take it!

Always remember that many countries have strict rules when it comes to bringing a drone along. Be sure to do some research on your destinations rules and guidelines before traveling with it. The last thing you want is to be stuck at a no-name airport where they won’t let you in with it and you have to either leave it behind with “airport officials” for the duration of your trip. That would suck.

So that’s what we’re looking at so far in my bag! I’ve test weighed everything and before my 6D and lenses, I am sitting at a pretty 22.7lbs. This is below my target weight and just means that I’ll be able to add a few extras in there and not really feel a difference!

So it turns out that I guess I do have a good idea of what I am packing after all. That’s relieving!

What do you think? Is this going to be enough? Am I crazy for thinking this is enough – or is this way too much stuff?

I love hearing feedback from you, let me know if you have any suggestions or if you completely disagree with something I said!

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