Outfit Guide

What To Wear Hiking In Hawaii

Wear breathable, quick-drying fabrics like moisture-wicking shirts and hiking shorts in Hawaii. Don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection.

Footwear should include sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes or sandals with good traction, suitable for the terrain you plan to explore. Don’t overlook swimwear if your hike includes waterfall or beach stops.

Pack a light rain jacket or windbreaker, as weather conditions can change rapidly in Hawaii. Always carry plenty of water, snacks, and insect repellent to stay comfortable and safe.

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What To Take On Hiking At Hawaii?


Here’s a list of essentials to carry for hiking in Hawaii:

1. Hiking Shoes

2. Moisture-Wicking Clothing

3. Swimwear

4. Sun Protection (Hat, Sunglasses, Sunscreen)

5. Rain Jacket/Windbreaker

6. Backpack

7. Water

8. Snacks

9. Insect Repellent

10. Navigation (Map/Compass/GPS)

11. First Aid Kit

12. Flashlight/Headlamp

13. Multi-Tool/Knife

14. Cell Phone

15. Trash Bags

16. Permits

17. Identification

18. Camera

What To Wear Hiking In Hawaii?

Here is the detailed explanation on what to keep and wear during your hiking on hawaii:

Hiking Shoes

Hiking Shoes

Opt for high-quality, waterproof boots with ankle support to navigate rocky trails and uneven surfaces safely. Ensure a comfortable fit by trying them on with hiking socks, as an improper fit can lead to blisters and discomfort during long hikes. 

Look for boots with durable, grippy soles to provide traction on wet, muddy, or slippery paths.

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Moisture-Wicking Clothing

Moisture-Wicking Clothing

Lightweight, breathable fabrics like polyester or merino wool work well. Moisture-wicking shirts pull sweat away from your body, keeping you dry, while quick-drying shorts or convertible pants offer comfort and versatility. 

They help regulate your body temperature and reduce the risk of chafing.

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You should wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield against the intense sun while hiking in Hawaii. It covers your face, ears, and neck, reducing the risk of sunburn and overheating. Look for hats with ventilation to keep your head cool and comfortable during hikes.

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Polarized sunglasses are essential for protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays and reducing glare. Hawaii’s bright sun can be harsh on your eyes, and polarized lenses enhance your view of the stunning landscapes while preventing eye strain.



Select a high-SPF, water-resistant sunscreen to safeguard your skin from the intense Hawaiian sun. Apply it generously to exposed areas, including your face, neck, and ears, to minimize the risk of sunburn and long-term skin damage.

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Rain Jacket/Windbreaker

Rain Jacket/Windbreaker

Carrying a lightweight, packable rain jacket or windbreaker ensures you’re prepared for sudden downpours or gusty winds. These versatile layers provide protection without adding significant weight to your backpack.

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Look for one with padded shoulder straps and a comfortable waist belt to distribute the load evenly, reducing strain on your back and shoulders.

Multiple pockets and compartments keep your essentials organized, while hydration bladder compatibility allows easy access to water on the trail.

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Carry a minimum of two liters of water in a durable, reusable bottle or hydration reservoir. Staying well-hydrated is essential for your safety and well-being while hiking.



Nutrient-rich snacks like energy bars, trail mix, and dried fruit are convenient and lightweight sources of quick energy during hikes. They help maintain your stamina and keep you fueled throughout the day.

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Insect Repellent


Pack insect repellent with DEET or consider natural alternatives to prevent discomfort from bug bites while you explore the islands. Applying it to exposed skin and clothing can provide effective protection.

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Things Not to wear While Hiking In Hawaii 


When hiking in Hawaii, it’s important to consider the specific climate, terrain, and conditions of the islands. Here’s a list of items you should avoid wearing during a hiking trip in Hawaii:

Wearing Heavy Winter Clothing in Hawaii

Hawaii has a tropical climate, so avoid wearing heavy winter clothing like thick sweaters, down jackets, or thermal layers. Instead, opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics.

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Non-Breathable Fabrics

Stay away from non-breathable materials like rubber raincoats or non-moisture-wicking clothing. These can cause excessive sweating and discomfort in Hawaii’s humid conditions.

Cotton Clothing

Cotton retains moisture and can lead to chafing and discomfort. Avoid wearing cotton socks, t-shirts, or underwear. Opt for moisture-wicking, quick-drying synthetic fabrics or merino wool.

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Inadequate Sun Protection

Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun. Avoid going shirtless or wearing skimpy clothing. Instead, choose lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats to shield yourself from the sun’s rays.

Do not Wear Unsupportive Footwear While Hiking in Hawaii

Don’t wear flip-flops, sandals, or fashion sneakers on hikes. Opt for sturdy, closed-toe hiking boots or trail shoes with good traction and ankle support.

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Overly Bulky Footwear

While hiking boots are important, avoid extremely heavy or bulky ones, as they can cause fatigue on long hikes.

Unsuitable Headgear

Skip baseball caps with minimal sun protection. Instead, choose wide-brimmed hats or sun hats to protect your face, neck, and ears from sunburn.

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Jewelry and Accessories

Avoid wearing valuable or cumbersome jewelry that may get damaged or lost during your hike. Opt for minimal accessories.

Uncomfortable Backpacks

Don’t choose a backpack that doesn’t fit properly or lacks padded straps. Ill-fitting or uncomfortable backpacks can lead to discomfort on the trail.

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Strong Perfumes and Bug Spray

Avoid strong scents, as they can attract insects. Use unscented or lightly scented bug spray and body products.

What to look for best shoes to wear For Hawaii Hiking


While selecting the best hiking shoes for Hawaii, do follow the mentioned guideline for a smooth and comfortable hike:

Fit and Sizing

A snug but not tight fit with enough room for toe movement prevents blisters and discomfort on the trail. Always measure both feet and consider sock thickness to ensure a proper fit.

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Terrain Considerations

Wear lightweight hiking shoes while hiking in Hawaii for well-groomed trails and sturdy boots for rough, uneven terrain to ensure stability and support.

Weather and Waterproofing

It keeps your feet dry and warm. In contrast, breathable shoes are crucial in hot weather to prevent excessive sweating.

Material Matters

Leather offers robust support but requires more breaking in, while synthetic options are lighter and often more breathable.

Traction and Outsoles

A deep and aggressive tread pattern on the outsole ensures excellent grip on diverse surfaces. Pay attention to the outsole material for durability and performance.

Ankle Support

For challenging terrains or heavy loads, high-cut boots with ankle support provide added stability and reduce the risk of injury.

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Arch Support

Identifying your arch type (high, low, or neutral) helps you select shoes with the appropriate arch support, enhancing comfort and reducing strain on your feet.

Cushioning and Comfort

Look for hiking shoes with sufficient midsole cushioning to absorb shock during long hikes, reducing fatigue and discomfort.

Toe Protection

A rubber toe cap shields your toes from rocks and obstacles on the trail, preventing injuries and prolonging the lifespan of your shoes.

Lacing System

An effective lacing system ensures a secure fit and support. Experiment with lacing techniques to alleviate pressure points and improve overall comfort on the trail.

5 Top Exciting Places In Hawaii And Kauai For Hiking


Hawaii offers a plethora of exciting hiking opportunities amidst its stunning natural beauty. Here are five exhilarating places to go for hiking in Hawaii:

Na Pali Coast, Kauai

This challenging 11-mile trek takes you through lush valleys, towering sea cliffs, and secluded beaches. The views of the Pacific Ocean are breathtaking, and the adventure is truly one-of-a-kind.

Haleakalā National Park, Maui

Then embark on the Sliding Sands Trail or Halemau’u Trail to explore the otherworldly landscapes of the park’s crater, featuring vibrant volcanic terrain.

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon offers several hiking trails that lead to stunning vistas and waterfalls. The Canyon Trail and Alakai Swamp Trail are popular choices for hikers seeking remarkable views.

Diamond Head State Monument, Oahu

Located near Honolulu, the Diamond Head hike is a short but exhilarating ascent to a volcanic crater summit. Once at the top, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of Waikiki, the Pacific Ocean, and the surrounding landscape.

Mauna Loa, Big Island

For a challenging backcountry adventure, consider hiking Mauna Loa, one of the world’s largest volcanoes. The trail to the summit is approximately 18 miles long and takes you through diverse ecosystems, including alpine deserts and lush forests.


When preparing for a hiking adventure in Hawaii, prioritize comfort, protection, and adaptability in your choice of clothing.

Opt for moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics, dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions, and wear sturdy, closed-toe hiking shoes or boots with good traction. 

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