ALOHA!

 

So specifically what you pack in your daypack when you’re in Hawaii can of course depend on that day’s activities!

But, there are many basic things (basic for Hawaii activities!) that you might consider taking with you no matter what’s on your itinerary for any given day.

This can start to get you thinking about different things you may need, including snorkeling essentials, hiking essentials, and what to pack overall for your trip to Hawaii!

 

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So the thing about being out and about in Hawaii when you’re on vacation is that you really never know what you’ll come across!

This can be the case when exploring any given Hawaiian island, whether that’s Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island! (Or Lanai.)

 

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So you want to be prepared even for activities that you don’t have planned.

 

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There’s a lot to discover in Hawaii, so you may end up doing things that you didn’t think you’d be doing!

So it can be good to make sure to pack certain things every day… some for those random spots you may come across, and some for things just in case.

 

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Now…

What to pack for Hawaii in a daypack

aka the Hawaii packing list for a day out and about

 

 

1. WATER!

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Stay hydrated!!

If you’re active throughout the day, you’ll probably sweat more than normal!

And of course, Hawaii’s hot weather will make you sweat more than normal too if you are coming from a cooler climate.

 

 

2. SNACKS!

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You don’t want to run out of energy during the day!

So be sure to load up on snacks.

To save a little bit of money, it could be good to head to the grocery store at the beginning of your Hawaii vacation and buy a bunch of snacks for the days you’ll be in Hawaii.

Or you could always bring some calorie-dense foods from home if you don’t mind the extra weight in your suitcase!

Trail mix can be a good source of energy when you’re out.

I find goldfish crackers to be a good go-to snack. They can be found easily in Hawaii, and one of the good things about goldfish is that they are a salty snack! That’s good so that you can replace all the salt you’ll be sweating out!

And if you come across a smoothie shack, go for something with banana for the potassium – also good when you’re sweating a lot! Fresh coconut is good too if you come across that. It been called “nature’s sports drink” because of the minerals found in coconut water.

 

 

3. Sunscreen!

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Perhaps among the most important! (Or maybe the second most important after water.)

If you’re not used to the strong tropical sun, you might be surprised just how easily you get burned!

Don’t take your chances, and lather up before you head out into the sun for your day’s activities, and throughout the day as you continue to be in the sun!

Ideally, you’ll go for reef-safe sunscreen to help with the ocean environment.

 

Shop reef-safe sunscreen for Hawaii:

 

 

4. Light or travel-friendly towel

There’s a good chance there’s a beach on your day’s plan.

And even if not and you don’t have plans to get into the water, you never know what beaches you’ll come across and how you’ll feel once you see all the people in the water!

If you have a thin towel, you can save space in your daypack by tying it to the outside of your backpack or beach bag if you don’t have much room in the backpack or bag itself.

 

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This probably won’t work so much for typical thick beach towels.

You can give a try to turkish towels like these for a lightweight towel option. They are multi-purpose, too! (You can use them as a cover-up, among other things.)

 

 

5. Waterproof phone case

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Once again, just in case you end up at a beach with snorkeling.

You can capture those underwater moments with a cheap waterproof phone case like this!

 

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Getting a camera float like this one to go with the phone case can be a good precaution just in case you let go of your phone when you’re in the ocean!

 

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A waterproof phone case can be great for taking pictures underwater, and it can also serve as protection for your phone if you’re taking pictures in rain too.

 

 

6. Swimming goggles or snorkeling mask

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If you don’t have plans to go to a snorkeling spot, it might feel like a bit of extra “luggage” to pack along your snorkeling gear like mask and snorkel since it can take up a lot of volume in your backpack.

 

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In that case, throw into your backpack a pair of regular swimming goggles like these.

That way, just in case you do end up at a beach where there might be some colorful fish swimming around (or turtles swimming around!), you can at least have a look underwater!

 

 

7. Water shoes

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You never know what kind of beach you’ll end up at!

Not all beaches are sandy beaches, and in case you decide to go into the water, having some beach shoes can allow you to wade into the water without so much worry of stepping on some sharp rocks if it’s a bit of a rocky beach!

Or, you might think you’re only going for a hike…

And then there might be an unexpected water crossing!

 

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Water shoes can be SO helpful.

 

Shop water shoes for Hawaii

 

 

8. Small first aid kit

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I threw in some supplies into a ziplock bag from an ultralight first aid kit like this one that I had.

It can be a good idea to at least have some bandages of varying sizes, gauze, medical tape, antiseptic wipes, ointment, neosporin, or other such similar items!

They could be items you already have around your house, and then place them into a freezer ziplock bag so it’s a stronger waterproof bag aka beach-proof bag!

I put a few items from my “first aid kit” in my daypack, and I had more back at my accommodation.

If you put on shoes and socks and walk a lot while your skin is still wet (like if you’re doing a beach hike!), this can cause rubbing, chafing, and/or blisters on your feet. (Walking a lot in sandals or flip flops that you’re not used to might do the same.) Putting a bandage over such areas can ease the comfort.

You might also accidentally cut yourself on coral reef, lava rock, or even just regular rocks on the beach or off of it.

These types of injuries aren’t exactly uncommon during a Hawaii vacation.

So if this happens to you, you might thank yourself that you have some basic supplies to cover you until you’re able to get better first aid supplies! (Maybe that’s back at your hotel, or maybe that’s at the convenience store!)

It could be even better to have some waterproof bandages like these too so you can be in the water without worry even if you do get cut! (You know, that thing about whether it may or may not be true that blood attracts sharks – shark attacks in Hawaii are rare, but they do happen.)

 

 

9. Portable phone charger

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You don’t want to miss out on those picture-perfect moments because of a dead phone!

Remember, you’ll probably be using your phone more than usual throughout the day, as you consult Google Maps or take pictures.

Hot weather can also seem to drain your phone battery more quickly.

So make sure you bring a portable phone charger like this one!

I put my charger in a freezer ziplock bag to protect against water. (Hazards of the beach!)

And if you’re renting a car, bring along an extra USB cord just for the car. That way you can just keep it in the car and you don’t need to have to keep grabbing it every time you leave the car for an activity or for the night when you’re back at your accommodation!

 

 

10. Swim shirt with UV protection

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On days that I thought I might go snorkeling, I’d often throw in a long-sleeve UV protection shirt into my daypack.

That way, I can wear my regular short-sleeve (quick-dry!) t-shirt when I’m not in the water, and then if I decide to go snorkeling, I’ll change into the UV-protection shirt (aka rash guard) which can be a perfect form of swim clothes… as well as a way to wear less sunscreen and be less worried about sunburn!

One time I was on a hike with no shade and forgot my sunscreen.

That day I had my rash guard in my backpack even though I didn’t have plans to snorkel, and I was happy I had something to protect my arms from the sun!

 

Shop swimwear for Hawaii:

 

 

11. Hat or visor

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Protect your face from the sun’s UV rays.

Take your pick for what type of sun hat you want!

 

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12. Sunglasses

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Protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays.

 

 

13. Flashlight or headlamp

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Even if you plan to get back to where you’re staying before sunset or before it gets dark, it can be a good idea to pack a small flashlight or headlamp that allows you to be hands-free like this one in your bag.

Because you may come across those unexpected spots, it could leave you getting back to where you’re staying later than you thought. Star gazing is a thing in Hawaii too, and you might find the extra light to be helpful as you find your spot to settle in to view the night sky and look up at the stars.

 

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And if you’re staying at an airbnb or vacation rental, it might not have lighting that’s great to get from your car to your room.

In these cases, you might be happy that you’re carrying that flashlight!

And, you’ll want a flashlight if you’re going for a cave hike on your own too!

 

 

And those are a few things to be sure to bring to Hawaii!

 

 

My favorite daypack for Hawaii

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I find my Osprey daypack to be great and it’s lasted for several years.

For this type of daypack, there’s a 9 liter daypack for women and an 11 liter daypack for men. These are pretty small, but it can be just enough room for what you need for a day in Hawaii! Otherwise, there’s a slightly bigger size with a 20 liter daypack for women and a 22 liter daypack for men in the same version.

 

There’s a clip on the front which can work to hang things.

Like swimming goggles…

 

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Or a hat!

 

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There’s also a hydration sleeve which is intended for a water pack, but it can work to keep the waterproof phone case flat!

 

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There’s also a spot to clip on a bike helmet, which can be perfect for a bike and snorkel day or a bike and hike day! (There are bike sharing programs in Hawaii – I’ve used bike sharing in Waikiki on Oahu and bike sharing in Kona on the Big Island too! That would be bring your own helmet though. There are also places you can rent bicycles, and for that, helmets should be provided.)

 

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What to wear in Hawaii

As for what to wear, you might consider wearing a swimsuit under your clothes no matter what you have planned for the day!

A swim shirt and board shorts (for both girls and guys) can also be a perfect outfit for a hike and snorkel day! Hopefully you have at least one of these types of days planned – it can make for a perfect day in Hawaii!

So be sure to see what to wear hiking and what to wear snorkeling for more ideas to see if you want to bring anything extra with you to Hawaii!

 

HAPPY PACKING FOR A DAY IN HAWAII!

 

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Watch the videos to see Hawaii in action!

If you see an activity you like, look in the description below the youtube video for the individual blog post about that specific activity!
Find amazing things to do on Maui: Watch my Maui videos on youtube
Find amazing things to do on the Big Island: Watch my Big Island videos on youtube


There are affiliate links on this page. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from this.

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 phone
You 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.

ALOHA!