Top 3 Things To Do When Backpacking Hawaii

Hawaii is a dream destination for almost everyone, especially nature lovers. However, it is also a very expensive destination, which could be such a big turn off. We suggest you rough it out by backpacking and camping.

Most visitors are probably in resorts and hotels, but if you backpack your way through Hawaii, you will see a more beautiful side of it. You don’t have to be an expert in backpacking; you just have to plan ahead, while still keeping an open mind. Be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime!

Here are tips for camping and backpacking in Hawaii:

Pack light

Top 3 things to do when backpacking Hawaii

The question will be, how light is light? If you are new to backpacking, you might have a problem with packing, but you’ll also be forced to make smarter choices. Remember, you will be carrying everything on your back.

  • Pack thin clothing; maybe avoid cotton because it absorbs sweat and takes long to dry. Plus, you’ll probably be wearing your swimwear most of the time. Just wear something light, like a tank top, or loose clothing on top.
  • A rainproof jacket will come in handy. Choose one that packs light.
  • To the girls: ditch the makeup, if you can. Just bring sunscreen to protect you, a lip balm and maybe your go-to lipstick. Foundation, bronzer, and eyeshadow? Probably not necessary.
  • For shoes, the basic needs are a pair of flip flops, water shoes, hiking shoes/sandals.
  • You may want to pack at least one nice set of clothes for fancier night outs.
  • Bring sunglasses and a hat for protection.
  • Make sure your backpack has a rainproof cover.
  • If you want, you can pack snorkels and flippers. However, you can find these easily in stores around the island.

Plan your accommodation early

Top 3 things to do when backpacking Hawaii

Planning your accommodation is probably one of the most important things to do in advance. Hotels are expensive, and there are only a few backpacking hostels. That said, you want to research and reserve ahead of time. With platforms like Airbnb, finding accommodation isn’t as difficult anymore.

Another option is to go camping, but the state requires you to have a permit to camp. Camping in Hawaii is worth it, I would say, because, you have access to more untouched trails, beautiful sceneries, and private beaches.

There are many campgrounds, and most of them have showers and drinking water. But first, get yourself a permit and make the necessary reservations. Make sure you follow fire safety and camping guidelines the state provides.

Take the bus or hitchhike.

Top 3 things to do when backpacking Hawaii

Take the bus to get around the island. On the Big Island, they have the Hele-On-Bus which is the cheapest way to get around. The fee is only two bucks, and you can even transfer to another bus within two hours.

Some bus stops may not have marks, making it difficult to find. So familiarize yourself with your destination with a map and keep an eye out for landmarks.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you should try hitchhiking. It’s very common there, and you probably won’t wait more than 30 minutes until you catch a ride. However, do take note that if you are in the more remote areas, of course, it’ll be harder to get a ride.


If you think you can’t afford a vacation in Hawaii, think again! Yes, most parts are expensive, but all it takes is the right planning. Backpacking and camping in this island state are very doable even if you are new to it. Just keep an open mind and heart, and be ready for a great adventure!

If you have questions, comments or tips, then feel free to use the comment section below.

Author Bio:

 Warren Kuhn

Warren Kuhn is an outdoor and camping enthusiast, always out to seek for the thrill and adrenaline that only nature gives. He even took up survival training to prepare him for the worst-case scenarios while outdoors.

With his background, you can learn a lot from him so you can get the most out of your camping trip at TheCampingTrips.