I will be going to Peru in July and will do the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu, but I have no experience with layered clothing (I live in Brazil, sub 10°C is dead cold here). From what I understand, I will need base layers, then non-cotton t-shirts, then fleece sweaters, then a "anorak" (water and wind protection), and finally a rain poncho to help in case o rain. Is that right?

For the pants it would be base layer, fleece pants and trekking pants/shorts, right?

Reading a bit more, it seems that I will need 2 fleece sweaters (200 and 300 something) and combine them accordingly. Is that right or overkill?

The base layer will be needed mostly at night for sleeping (during the day it is about 20° C and at night it goes down to -5°C). Do I need more than one set of base layer (considering a 4 night trek), or just one is enough?

As for socks, I need trekking socks (again non-cottom that is able to breath). Can I reuse pairs every other day?


1 Answer 1


That's the kind of gear I'd use when going to hike well into subzero temperatures. Attempting to hike in such a gear at +20°C, especially in humid air, you'll not be comfortable at all. It's a total overkill. Especially the pants.

What I'd use for such a hike:

  • t-shirt, preferably non-cotton stay-dry kind;
  • soft shell fleece jacket (Windstopper or equivalent)
  • waterproof, breathable jacket (Gore-Tex or equivalent)
  • breathable hiking trousers (not thermo insulated, either waterproof or quick drying)
  • waterproof, breathable hiking boots (tall ones)

For sleeping at temperatures -5°C what you really need is not huge amount of clothes, but decent sleeping bag. With filling made either of goose down, or even better synthetic. You can find sleeping bags rated to as low as -30°C.

As far as I know, in Cuzco you shouldn't expect torrential rains at that time of a year (or much any rain at all). So rain poncho doesn't seem necessary. Doesn't weight much though, so you might take it just in case. Preferably the kind that also covers your backpack. Especially if your backpack is not waterproof.

  • Thanks for the answer. The rain poncho (or equivalent gear) seems to be a requirement for the trail. I already bought the boots (Quechau Forclaz 500), now I need to buy the rest. What is a WINDSTOPPER fleece jacket? Is the 200 rating enough? The waterproof jacket is the Anorak, right (at least they call it like that here)? As for the base layer, some people said they make sleeping more confortable (never used them before). Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 19:46
  • 2
    Windstopper is actually brand by Gore, it's a membrane similar as in Gore-Tex. There are fleece jackets with windstopper membrane they are usually also water repellent. Although obviously will not stand to heavy rain. As for jacket vs anorak, for me anorak is something that has insulation. Base layer.. I've only used that when at -30°C, but I'm from a country much, much colder than Brasil ;-)
    – vartec
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 19:57
  • Thanks again, I will check what I can find next weekend (the nearest Decathlon store is 100 km away!). I will try to make do with what I find over there. What about socks? I heard about using a nylon socks with wool socks over it, or using just trekking socks (coolmax + cotton + nylon), or using one of those as liner for the other. What is recommended given the -5°C to 20°C expected range? One of the reasons I'm so "worried" is the lack of cold experience. :) Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 20:04
  • @LuizBorges: Decathlon's equivalent of windstopper would be eg. Quecha Soft F900. Wool socks, again overkill for such a weather, especially that you got decent boots.
    – vartec
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 20:09
  • 1
    Since you edited your post you touched something that I haven't made my mind yet. The backpacks that I bought are the Forclaz 60, and they have no rain cover. I don't know if it is worth buying (and carrying) a rain cover or just a poncho would be enough. After all, I want to be just as dry as my backpack. ;) Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 20:22

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