11 Essentials to Pack for a Day of Hiking in Hawaii

Before heading out on a hike, it is important to make sure you have the right supplies. Although hiking is not camping, you still need to prepare to face the elements. With Hawaii’s unique topography and environment, you will need to wear and carry items that will keep your hike fun and enjoyable.

Hikes in Hawaii can lead you through rainforests and past waterfalls. You can also hike up mountains several thousand feet above sea level. Having the right supplies can help you enjoy your trek into nature longer, as you will not need to turn back for necessities.

1. Proper Footwear

Flip-flops, dress shoes and slippers or footwear that absorbs and retails water should be left at your hotel. Not only can you get hurt wearing non-supportive and open-toe footwear but they can also make your hike miserable.

Shoes that can slip off and on with ease will do just that while trekking through the rainforest. Make sure to select shoes that stay on your feet while your walking, running and even climbing. Sneakers and boots with heels may make you a fall-risk or more susceptible to ankle injuries.

Likewise, avoid footwear that leaves your toes exposed to the elements. Shoes that are water-resistant or designed to handle immersions will also help you enjoy your hike with dry feet.

Hiking boots are ideal for most hikes, but a pair for sturdy sneakers can also work in most cases.

2. Clothes for Hot Weather and Layers

You should select clothing that is appropriate for the weather when you start and end your hike as well as for any conditions during. For instance, while it might be 80 degrees when you start a hike around sea level, it becomes cooler with higher elevation and the temperature can decrease up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

You may also start the hike at midday when it is the hottest but end hours later when it becomes dark and subsequently cooler. Bring clothes that are light in weight, easy to layer and made of breathable material. You may start your hike in a tee-shirt but need a button-down, long-sleeve shirt by the end.

During your hike, you may decide to swim. Many waterfalls drop into swimming holes and having a swimsuit and towel handy will help you avoid walking back in wet clothes.

3. Waterproof Jacket

While tropical showers in Hawaii can only last a few minutes, they can occur frequently in the winter months and be heavy. A light waterproof jacket can keep you dry and comfortable as well as warm when needed. Rain jackets can be rolled and stored in a pack in relatively little space, or you can use the arms to tie it around your waist.

4. Comfortable Backpack

Speaking of packing, you will want to make sure you have a backpack designed for long treks and displace the weight evenly. For instance, backpacks that have hip belts or straps allow you to hold the vast majority of the pack’s weight on your hips rather than your shoulders.

A comfortable backpack will reduce your energy level slower than a pack the feels heavy or bulky.

Another backpack feature that is great on hikes is hydration storage. Whether it is just a place to hold your water bottle or a reservoir set into the backpack, you want quick access to water.

5. Drinking Water

Dehydration can be life-threatening. You should always have water when you do for a hike, especially on a tropical island where temperatures are hot and conditions are muggy. Be sure to pack enough for yourself and your fellow hikers.

If you need help determining how much water to brings, then follow the below simple steps:

  • Map the distance to calculate the duration of the hike. It can take 30 to 60 minutes to walk a mile.
  • Calculate how many cups per hour. Hiking adults usually need two cups per hour. For example, two adults hiking for three hours will need to pack 12 cups of water.
  • Adjust the amount of water if it is very hot. You will need to replace the water you sweat, which can be twice as much in Hawaii’s tropical conditions.

Always pack more water than you think you need, but not so much that it weighs you down. You can also invest in personal water-filter straws and drink from a natural source.

6. Snacks

Like water, you will need subsidence to keep your endurance up. Protein bars are compact and can withstand hot days spent in backpacks. If you prefer something more natural, then bring a bag of trail mix or granola with dried fruit. Fresh fruit like bananas, apples and oranges will hold up better in a backpack than fruit that needs refrigeration.

7. Cell Phone and Battery Charger

Your mobile phone can usually work as a map and be accessible to help in an emergency when there is cell service. Where service is weak or non-existent, put your phone on airplane mode or turn it off to conserve battery, as searching for service drains life. Have a portable cell charger on hand in case of emergency.

8. Mosquito Repellent

Mosquitos are carriers of blood-borne illnesses and viruses, such as Zika and dengue. Much less, mosquito bites are itchy and leave bumpy blemishes. A spray can help repel mosquitos by smell, but you can also wear long-sleeve clothing and pants.

9. Sun Protection

Long clothing and a hat can protect your skin against the sun’s effects. Likewise, sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun as well as its reflection in the water. Sunscreen lotion can also protect you from sunburn. Bring a small bottle to reapply after time, sweat and water wash it away.

10. First-Aid Items

Safety is always the first priority for outdoor activities and hiking. If someone in your party has allergies and suffers from motion sickness, then have anti-histamines, motion-sickness medication and prescription drugs on hand as well as a pain reliever. Basic first aid kits should include:

  • Gauze pads and adhesive bandages.
  • A gauze roller bandage and medical tape.
  • A wound cleaner and antiseptic ointment.
  • A splint.

Other small tools you may consider bringing include tweezers, a multi-tool, pocketknife and safety pins. If you have room, then you can add poison plant treatment, hand sanitizer and a CPR mask.

11. Map and Compass

With most adventures, you want to know where you are going and how to get back. While a mobile phone can be used as a map, areas without service may require you to hike the old fashion way. A compass can also help you navigate the correct direction once you orientate yourself to the map.