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Hawaii Hiking Gear & Outfit Recommendations

Here's a list of the gear and outfits I bring during my hikes in Hawaii. Something I quickly learned when I started hiking here is that most people are minimalist hikers. It's not uncommon for people to do 3-4 hour hikes without a backpack or even water. I, on the other hand, like to think I have struck a good balance of being prepared while also being light on my feet. I hope this list helps you prepare for your hikes in this paradise! 


  • Darn Tough Socks -these socks were a present for me this past Christmas (thanks Mom!) and they turned out to be amazing. They aren't cheap, but the protection they provide against blisters and their wicking and breathing ability is amazing.

  • Merrell Moab 2 Vent Shoes - I quickly learned that nobody wears heavy, high ankle boots in Hawaii. I bought these guys on a whim from Zappos and fell in love with them. They are lightweight and breathable, but with enough durability and grip that you can abuse them on some of these rocky hikes.

  • Woodies Sunglasses - I mostly wear these to look cool, but they are an affordable pair of sunglasses with UV protection with some wooden frames that look super aloha. You can witness the death of my first pair of these in my South Point Cliff Jumping Video.

  • Workout Shirts - I will wear these workout shirts, especially when I know I'm going to get sweaty. They're typically quick to dry and feel comfortable. While others prefer long-sleeve hiking shirts, especially when they want to avoid bugs, I prefer to feel less humid. 


  • GoPro Hero 12 - My first GoPro was a Hero 3 and I didn't get a lot of use out of it because it was just awkward and difficult to use. The Hero 9 was much improved, with the interactive touch screen and higher resolution shooting, but unfortunately was stolen when traveling to Seattle. The Hero 12 is amazing! The stability is far superior to any of the other models, completely eliminating the need of any sort of gimbal

  • GoPro Flexible Tripod - I got this when I purchased a GoPro accessories kit on Amazon (Best Deal Ever!). It may not be tall, but it's lightweight and perfect for quickly setting up on beaches, peaks, etc. to capture some nice still video or time lapses.

  • Head Mount - also included in that accessory kit, this is perfect for catching hands free action shots of hiking and climbing.

  • DJI Mavic 3 Pro - After debating for a long time, I finally decided to join the drone craze. I have no regrets. Not only is flying a drone fun, but the footage you can get offer a completely different perspective of an already beautiful place. I've been incorporating drone footage more and more in my posts and videos. I originally had the Mavic Pro, but purchased the Mavic 3 Pro after my original Mavic was stolen (again, Seattle...). The Mavic 3 offers some improved performance over the original, with a larger sensor

  • iPhoneX - 've always been an Apple guy. So when my Iphone 6 failed just as the Iphone X came out it was an easy choice. The camera is perfect for my many quick photos I take to document the trail.

  • Sony A6000- I switched to a mirrorless camera after my Canon Rebel T6 was stolen (no, not Seattle, Hawaii this time...). I am happy with the switch. Mirrorless cameras are much lighter than older technology and small enough to store in my bag with all my other toys. I still use the standard 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 E Mount kit lens. Even for a kit lens, this offers solid performance, great for those summit shots, where I am trying to capture more detail than is capable from my Iphone.


  • Backpack: Osprey Scarab 30 - a 30L is probably a little more than is necessary for most Hawaii hikes, but I like the extra space just in case I decide to tackle one of the few 10-12 hour hikes on the island. It is also enough space to store all my camera and food supplies without being too bulky.

  • Osprey 2.5L Bladder - in my opinion, bladders are the way to go when it comes to hiking, and this one is far superior to others I have used. It uses a clip mechanism instead of the typical lid which you must close with pure strength to create a seal. I think the clip is much quicker and easier to use. I sometimes take additional water bottles if my hike will be longer than 4 hours. 

  • Day Hiker First Aid Kit - another Christmas present (Thanks sister!), this kit is very small and lightweight, but provides some essentials for potential hiking injuries (antiseptic wipes, ibuprofen, splinter removal scissors, etc). This came in handy when my friend took a fall on our dangerous Kawiwi Ridge Hike and got a nasty cut on his face. I highly recommend it!


These are generic items that can be found anywhere, but I think they are pretty useful/essential for Hawaii hiking:

  • Sunscreen- people often forget this, but the sun is brutal here and many of these hikes are very exposed. A nasty burn can really ruin a vacation!

  • Bug Spray- any hikes that involve some bushwacking mean a chance for some annoying insects. Even my hairy legs aren't an adequate barrier for some of these critters.

  • Flashlight- you never know when you could be descending a ridge in the dark, so it's best to come prepared. I highly recommend the head mount variety to keep your hands free.

  • Hand Sanitizer- if your hands aren't getting dirty, you're doing something wrong, so it's good to be prepared for your mid hike snack.

  • Trash receptacle- without getting too preachy, I have noticed that some are not quite as respectful of the land as they should be. I have begun to bring something to collect trash and bottles I see along the trail to do my part to keep these beautiful hikes clean. Just something to consider!

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