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Hiking in Hawaii: Top 16 Essentials

Planning on hiking in Hawaii to explore the mountains, waterfalls, or volcanoes? You’ll want to make sure to pack the right items. Scroll for my full hiking in Hawaii packing list.
This hiking in Hawaii packing list post was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Figuring out what to add to your packing list for a vacation to the Hawaiian islands can be tricky. Regardless of what you plan on doing, seeing, and exploring, there are a few key items you should bring with you

If you’re traveling with kids, of course, you’ll want to choose the best travel stroller for your Hawaii vacation. For families planning on hiking in Maui or looking for kid-friendly hiking on Kauai, the right clothing and accessories are vital.

Adventurous and active travelers interested in exploring Molokini Crater in Maui or kayaking on Oahu will appreciate proper footwear options.

Consider adding the following items to your Hawaii packing list to ensure you’re prepared for the best, safest, and most fun family vacation.

This article will help you see the best hiking gear for Hawaii to pack, along with what to wear hiking in Hawaii so you don’t get overheated. Let’s get to it!

Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Hawaii Itineraries complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.

How to Pack for Hiking in Hawaii

If you’re planning on doing any hiking on your family vacation to Hawaii, you’ll need to consider the weather during your time of travel. 

Overall, the weather in the Hawaiian Islands doesn’t vary much throughout the year. During the summer season, from May through October, the average temperature is 85 degrees. In winter months, from November to April, temperatures generally reach a high of 78 degrees.

Because day-to-night temperatures fluctuate by an average of 10 degrees, it is recommended that visitors pack lightweight layers to ensure they’re covered should the temperatures change.

Similarly, if you’re hiking at higher elevations in Hawaii, be mindful that temperatures can drop. Locations like Haleakala on Maui can see temperatures drop by 30 degrees on a given day.

Hawaii Packing List Must-Haves

The year-round temperature in Hawaii is warm and sunny. Because of this, there are a few general items that should be on your Hawaii packing list.

The following are must-have items whether you’re spending your time hiking in Hawaii, lounging on the beach, or riding the waves.

Stay Healthy Must-Haves for Your Hawaiian Vacation

Reef-Safe Sunscreen

While sunscreen is designed to protect you and your skin from the elements, you should also ensure the sun protection you’re using is also safe for the elements.

Chemicals in standard sunscreen wind up in coral reefs at alarming numbers causing irreparable damage to marine life, freshwater streams, ocean systems, rivers, and beaches.

Choosing reef-safe sunscreen can help reduce damage to the environment. Suncream SPF 50+ from Reef Repair is a safer option that provides up to 80 minutes of protection in the sun and in the water. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Bug Spray

If you are hiking in Hawaii, you’ll want to pack bug spray to keep the rainforest mosquitoes away.

Off! Botanicals Natural Mosquito and Insect Repellent is a great choice for parents and kids. It’s plant-based and packs away easily and offers 2 hours of protection. Check out the latest prices and more details.

What Clothes to Pack for Hiking in Hawaii

Here are a few hiking gear recommendations for what to add on your Hawaii packing list if you plan on going on some of the hiking trails.

Hat

Protecting your skin from the sun is a top priority when visiting Hawaii. Make sure you’re doubly protected and shield your skin with a quality sun hat.

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Panama Jack hats are perfect for the whole family and come in a wide variety of styles and colors.

With UVA-UVB protection, Panama Jack kid’s hats come in adorable microfiber styles with neck flap protection to keep the hot sun off your child’s delicate skin. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Parents will appreciate the protective and stylish options like the Panama Jack’s Women’s Bucket Sun Hat or the Men’s Foldable Boonie Fishing UV Sun Hat.

Lightweight Rain Jacket

With some of the hiking trails on the islands, you will need a rain jacket, as it does rain in Hawaii. It is one of the outdoor gear that some people forget to add to their packing list.

Layers are key when traveling to Hawaii, and you’ll want to include a waterproof, lightweight jacket, preferably with a hood for those rainstorms.

TheColumbia Women’s Arcadia Waterproof Breathable Jacket includes a packable hood so you can use it without the added bulk if you’re not expecting rain. Check out the latest prices and more details.

For kids, the Columbia Watertight Breathable Jacket comes with an attached hood that mirrors the Columbia Men’s Watertight II jacket features. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Hiking Clothes

When deciding what clothes to add to your Hawaii packing list, consider breathable and lightweight options. Water-wicking breathable attire like bamboo is both efficient and comfortable.

You’ll also want quick-drying leggings and shorts to ensure the ultimate comfort. Options like the stylish Coolibar women’s pants and outdoor capris offer sun protection and a comfortable fit that is ideal for hiking. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Because of the hot weather, you might want to wear some hiking shorts instead of pants or capris.

Men will love these Cargo Hiking Shorts that are water resistant and will dry quickly, which is perfect for a Hawaii hike. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Women can enjoy some nice athletic shorts that will help keep you cool while you hike. These are very lightweight and so comfy! Check out the latest prices and more details.

Hiking shirts, especially the moisture-wicking athletic type, are great for men and women while they hick in Hawaii. These will help keep you cool. Plus, many of them have UPF 50+ Sun Protection too! Check out the latest prices and more details.

Add These Hiking Shoes to Your Hawaii Packing List

You don’t want to go hiking in Hawaii in your flip-flops; you will definitely want some good hiking shoes. Here are some of the best shoes for Hawaii hiking.

From the best water shoes for Hawaii to hiking boots you will love for more challenging hikes, these are the best hiking shoes for Hawaii.

Keen Whisper Sandal

Having a waterproof slip-resistant hiking shoe is important when hiking in Hawaii.

There are a number of stunning waterfalls on the Hawaiian islands. For waterfall hikes, a shoe that does double duty is a good idea.

KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal

The Keen Whisper Sandal for women, and kids or the Keen Men’s Newport H2 are all comfortable, stylish options. They dry quickly and provide much-needed traction against slippery, wet rocks and grass. Check out the latest prices and more details.

They are some of the best water hiking shoes for Hawaii!

Columbia Redmond Hiking Boots

If you’re looking for a simple hiking shoe with ankle support for hiking to volcanoes and rugged terrain, consider the Columbia waterproof mid-boots.

The Columbia Redmond Hiking Boots are available in both women’s and men’s sizes. Check out the latest prices and more details.

These hiking boots are not super tall and would fit well in your bags and are some of the best hiking boots for Hawaii.

Adidas Trail Running Shoes

Another one of the best shoes for hiking in Hawaii is these trail running shoes. This trail running shoe is built for speed and will help you keep traction on some of the wet, slippery hiking trails.

I think they are the best hiking shoes for Hawaii if you want to hike fast to enjoy all the other fun activities or just want some trail running shoes to help keep you safe. Check out the latest prices and more details.

They are available for men and women.

Teva Sandals

Some of the best hiking sandals for Hawaii are from the Teva brand. These hiking sandals are very popular, and many won’t hike without them!

The nylon shank keeps these sandals on your feet, even in uneven terrain. Plus, the rubber sole is quite comfy too! Check out the latest prices and more details.

Teva hiking sandals are available for both men and women and act as water shoes too! They might even be the best shoes for Hawaii since you can wear them anywhere, whether hiking, going to the beach, or doing some tourist attractions.

Accessories to Pack for a Hawaiian Vacation

While you are out Hawaii backpacking and hiking, there are a few other items you will want to pack.

Once you’ve got your clothing and must-have Hawaii packing list items organized, there are a few accessories you won’t want to forget.

Backpack

When you’re out on the trails with the family, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of snacks and water, so don’t forget to bring a lightweight hiking backpack.

The Osprey Hiking Daypack is a streamlined and efficient option when hiking in Hawaii. It is also a good choice for carry-on luggage and stows easily. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are important, especially if you’re hiking at higher elevations. There will be less UV protection when you’re at a higher altitude, so while temperatures may be cooler, don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen.

Unisex Cloudfield Polarized Bamboo Sunglasses are stylish and provide 9-layers of protection from harmful UV rays. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated while out and about is also important, so be sure to bring along a reusable stainless steel water bottle like the 24 oz. Hydro Flask.

Hydro Flask also makes an adorable kid’s 12 oz. water bottle available in a wide variety of colors. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Hiking Socks

If you are going to be doing lots of hiking during your Hawaii vacation, you might want special hiking socks for your hiking experience.

It is always up to personal preference, but good shoes and socks always help make Hawaii hikes more enjoyable!

Dri-tech Moisture Control Socks are perfect for most hikes in Hawaii and will keep your feet happy and cool, even during hot weather, and are available for both men and women.

First Aid Kit

Finally, don’t forget to invest in a small First Aid Kit. A TSA-approved mini first aid kit is compact and fits right into your hiking backpack. You just never know when you’re going to need a Band-Aid or some rubbing alcohol! Find the best prices here.

Family Hiking Gear

If you are going with your kids or little ones, you will need some additional hiking gear for babies to add to your packing list.

Of course, you will need to bring some diapers, wipes, and probably extra clothing. If you are hiking with a baby, you will want a baby carrier.

Check out the best baby carriers for hot weather

If you prefer a hiking baby carrier backpack, here is a highly-rated option on Amazon.

Bring some extra snacks, too, as kids get hungry all the time.

Best Hiking Gear for Hawaii Packing List

Here is a recap of all the best hiking gear for kids, men, and women.

Best Hiking Gear for Kids

Best Hiking Gear for Men

Best Hiking Gear for Women

Hiking in Hawaii FAQs

Which island in Hawaii has the best hiking?

They all have some pretty spectacular hiking options. Oahu tends to be popular for hikers because there are a variety of diverse hiking trails. The Big Island has amazing hikes near the volcanoes. Maui has gorgeous waterfall hikes off the Road to Hana. Kauai has cool hiking trails into Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast.

What’s the hardest hike on Oahu?

There are tons of amazing hikes on Oahu, but the most difficult is probably Olomana (aka 3 Peaks.) It takes about 90 minutes to hike to the first peak, which is easy compared to the other 2 peaks. And there are ropes you’ll need to use in order to make it to the end of this hike.

Is the Stairway to Heaven hike on Oahu illegal?

Yes, in fact, you’ll face a $1,000 fine if you get caught. It’s a pretty dangerous hike, and some of the stairs are damaged or missing. That’s why the state fenced off and closed the Stairway to Heaven.

Are Tevas good for hiking?

Many people are using Tevas as shoes for hiking in Hawaii and the mainland. They are pretty sturdy footwear and are built for a variety of terrain. It all depends on whether you prefer hiking boots or hiking sandals.

What month is best for hiking in Hawaii?

Hiking in Hawaii is good all year long, but some of the best times are in the early spring or during the fall. The weather is not too hot and is perfect for outdoor activities!

What is the most popular hiking trail in Hawaii?

One of the most popular hikes in Hawaii is Diamond Head on Oahu, Kalalau Trail on Kauai, Iao Valley on Maui, and on the Big Island, you will find the Volcanoes National Park full of hiking trails to enjoy.

Hiking in Hawaii Wrap Up

Planning your Hawaii family vacation should be a fun and exciting time to get prepared and ready to make some lasting family memories.

Incorporating the above items into your Hawaii packing list of must-haves for outdoor gear will ensure you’re ready to get out and explore and have the best hiking adventures possible in Hawaii!

Looking for more Hawaii Hiking Resources? Find out the best places to hike on OahuMaui, and Lanai!