When most people think of Hawaii, they probably don’t think of Hawaii as a camping destination.
But, you can totally make your trip to Hawaii into a camping trip!
Some great camping spots in Hawaii include:
- Haleakala National Park coastal area campground (Maui)
- Campgrounds along the Hana Highway aka camping near famous Road to Hana stops! (Maui)
- The beach campground on the island of Lanai
- Haleakala National Park summit area campground near a volcano crater hike (Maui)
So there are different ways that you can prepare for camping, depending on your comfort level among other things. Whether or not you’re camping with a car will make a difference too!
Below will be how I did things to get you started on ideas on how you might want to go camping in Hawaii!
Rent camping gear in Hawaii, or bring your own from home if you’re flying to Hawaii?!
So there are places to rent camping gear in Hawaii.
Depending on how many days you’ll be camping, it could be worth it to bring camping gear from home though!
I did not rent. I camped with stuff I brought from home.
Of course, if you’re flying to Hawaii, this means that you also have added luggage for the flight.
Packing for a camping trip that you’re doing as a road trip from home is a little different from packing for a camping trip when you’re flying to your destination!
If you’re driving to a campground from home, you can basically just pack things into your car without AS much thought about taking too much.
When you need to pack for checking in a bag onto a flight, well, you need to be much more concerned about space and weight!
👆 The 2 bags I flew into Hawaii with
👆 The reality of how much I was actually carrying around when camping in Hawaii when I was lugging my stuff around Lanai… 😜
Oh, and I had a car when I went camping on Maui too. So I could just throw everything into the trunk. 😜
I had no car when I went camping on Lanai, or ever on Lanai.
This here below was basically the main camping gear I packed for Hawaii.
What to pack for camping in Hawaii
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Here’s the quick list of the basics of what to pack for camping in Hawaii:
- Backpacking tent
- Inflatable sleeping pad
- Solar camping lantern
- Small flashlight
- Turkish towel
- Inflatable pillow
1. Backpacking tent
Compared to a standard tent, backpacking tents will be less heavy and less bulky. They are generally made to be more easily set up.
So even if you’re not backpacking in Hawaii (aka you’re not doing an overnight hiking trip), a backpacking tent can be considered a travel-friendly tent.
And if you’re looking to buy a backpacking tent, you’ll likely want to buy one-up (or 2) on the number of people it’s intended for.
For example, if you are one person, buying a 2-person tent will be more comfortable. If you are 2 people, buying a 3-person tent will likely be much better.
My camping trip in Hawaii was my first camping trip alone, and I managed to set up a tent fairy easily! (It would be best to set it up at least once when you’re at home though.)
My tent held up for pretty heavy rain and very windy gusts.
This is the tent I took on my Hawaii camping trip. This was a 2-person backpacking tent, which I would say was comfortable for 1 person. (If you’re 2 people it might be tight so it could be better to go for the 3-person.) This came with a tent mat.
In general, not all tents come with tent mats, so be sure to look out for this.
2. Inflatable sleeping pad
I definitely recommend this, especially if you’re concerned about sleeping on the hard ground. It is basically like having a smaller, lighter, and more compact air mattress. It made sleeping on the ground no problem! I found it to be a reasonably comfortable sleeping surface.
You can blow up the sleeping pads manually, so you wouldn’t need to carry an extra air pump.
This is the sleeping pad I took on my Hawaii camping trip.
In addition to inflatable sleeping pads, you can also find foam sleeping pads.
3. Solar camping lantern
I bought my solar lantern in the camping section of a local store at home, but here’s a more compact lantern that has good reviews on Amazon.
It can also be good to have a small flashlight. Take a look at this one.
I brought with me a small flashlight, and I also had a headlamp too. The headlamp allows you to be hands-free!
4. Turkish towel
This is basically a lightweight towel that spreads out pretty large. It can be serve for multiple purposes. In this case, it can be a thin blanket, or you can use it as a sheet over your sleeping pad.
Here is a turkish towel to take a look at.
Packing extra layers also can be a good idea as the evening might be a bit chilly. I didn’t take a sleeping bag for this camping trip. I did pack a lot of layers though. (Long sleeve shirts, sweatshirt.) Check the overnight temperatures for where you’re going camping to give you ideas on how much “cold weather clothing” you might want to take. You may think Hawaii is a hot place, but it can get cool at night!
5. Pillow cover or inflatable pillow
I also didn’t fly with a pillow. I bought a $10-15 pillow from Walmart once I got to Hawaii, so I brought a pillow cover from home.
If you don’t want to deal with buying a pillow once you get to Hawaii, there are inflatable travel pillows you can get.
As another note, I also bought a ton of water jugs (the 1-3 gallon kind) from Walmart when I got to Hawaii so I’d always have enough water! I recommend the 1 gallon jugs with a handle so they are easier to pour into your water bottle!
I also bought snacks and food at Walmart too. I did bring some hiking snacks from home.
While there is much you can wait to buy once you get to Hawaii, you don’t want to make the Hawaii camping shopping list too long because you don’t want to spend all your time in the store! (Or worse, not find what you thought for sure you could get in Hawaii!)
And those are a few ideas for packing for your camping trip in Hawaii!
Read more about camping in Hawaii:
- Camping on Maui:
- Camping on Lanai
Read more about the national parks in Hawaii:
- Things to do in Haleakala National Park (Maui)
- Things to do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)
HAPPY CAMPING IN HAWAII!
Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!
The ultimate beach towel for travel?!Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phoneYou can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.
For a Hawaii experience you are sure to remember, get out on the open water to sail the ocean!Look for the reviews!
- OAHU: Take a look at a morning sailing trip like this one that includes snorkeling and sailing with the iconic Waikiki skyline as your backdrop. (It comes with a good chance that you'll be swimming with turtles!)
- MAUI: Take a look at a catamaran cruise like this one from West Maui to the coast of Lanai that can include snorkeling, seeing the West Maui Mountains and Lanai cliffs from the boat, and maybe even seeing some turtles and dolphins!
- BIG ISLAND: Take a look at a catamaran cruise like this one off the Kona coast for the chance to swim with manta rays at night. (One of THE most popular types of tours in Kona!) Or for a daytime boat ride, take a look at a sailing trip like this one off the Kona coast to go snorkeling at one of the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island.
- KAUAI: Take a look at a catamaran sunset sailing trip like this one along the famous Na Pali coast.