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Heading to Hawaii for vacation? With stunning beaches, rugged volcanoes, and breezy island climates, packing for Hawaii can seem tricky. But we’re here to help! In this comprehensive Hawaii packing list, we’ll guide you through everything you need to bring for a perfect Hawaiian getaway.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: Pack lightweight, breathable clothing along with beach essentials like sandals, sun protection, and swimwear. You’ll also want proper hiking shoes if you plan on exploring Hawaii’s volcanic landscapes.

Clothing and Shoes for Hawaii

Breathable, Lightweight Pieces

When packing for a Hawaii vacation, choose breathable, lightweight clothing that will keep you cool in the tropical climate. Cotton and linen fabrics are great options. Bring items like light dresses, skirts, shorts, tank tops, and short-sleeve shirts.

Having layers is also useful for cooler nights or air-conditioned buildings. Consider bringing a cardigan, jeans, or pants that convert into shorts. And don’t forget the bathing suits – bring more than one if you’ll be island-hopping or staying for an extended time!

Beachgoing Attire

You can’t go to Hawaii without spending plenty of time at the beach so be sure to pack swimwear like bikinis, one-piece suits, board shorts, rash guards with UV protection, and swim cover ups like sarongs or caftans.

Also pack beach essentials such as sandals, hats, sunglasses, reef-safe sunscreen, beach bags and maybe some snorkel gear if that’s your thing! Packing lightweight beach dresses or kimonos is also nice for throwing over your suit after swimming.

And if you plan to hike to more remote beaches, bring water shoes to protect your feet from sharp rocks and coral.

Hiking Shoes and Gear

Some of the best sights in Hawaii are found on hiking trails, so bringing proper footwear and gear is a must. Pack lightweight hiking shoes or boots with good traction and ankle support. Waterproof shoes also come in handy for waterfall hikes or wet terrain.

You’ll want quick-dry hiking pants to handle the heat, and moisture-wicking shirts or tank tops. Don’t forget useful extras like hats, polarized sunglasses, day packs, hiking poles, bug spray and sunscreen (reef-safe of course!).

Packing a lightweight waterproof jacket is also smart in case of rain showers. And bring a water bottle and snacks to refuel on long treks to tropical paradise!

Toiletries and Health Essentials


When packing for a Hawaii vacation, don’t forget the sunscreen! Hawaii’s sunny climate means you’ll need ample protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Opt for a waterproof or water-resistant formula so you don’t have to reapply as often after swimming or sweating. Make sure to pack enough sunscreen for each day of your trip – you’ll likely need about an ounce per day. Reapplication is key for effectiveness.

After-Sun Care

That Hawaiian sun can do a number on your skin, even with vigilant sunscreen use. Be sure to pack some after-sun care products in your suitcase. Aloe vera gel can provide cooling relief for sunburns. Look for a formula with added ingredients like lidocaine to ease pain and itching.

You may also want an after-sun body lotion to rehydrate your skin after a long day in the sun and salt water. These lightweight lotions often contain antioxidants like vitamin E to nourish stressed skin.

Toiletries and Medications

Don’t get caught short on basic toiletries for your Hawaii vacation! The tropical climate may affect what products you use compared to home. For example, the humidity means you may need lighter moisturizers that won’t feel heavy on your skin.

Be sure to pack any prescription medications you take regularly, as some may not be available on the islands. Hawaii’s laidback vibe means you likely won’t need much makeup, but bring the basics like sunscreen, tinted moisturizer with SPF, and your favorite lip balm.

And don’t forget contacts, solution and glasses if needed!

When it comes to health essentials, basics like pain relievers, antihistamines, antacids, and motion sickness tablets can come in handy during vacation. Pack twice the amount you think you’ll need. Dehydration or illnesses can strike even in paradise, so be prepared with the right meds and toiletries for your Hawaii vacation.

Beach and Water Activity Gear

Beach Towels

When packing for a Hawaii vacation, remember to bring at least 2-3 beach towels per person. The warm tropical climate means you’ll likely be spending a lot of time swimming and lounging on the beach. Select towels that are lightweight, quick drying, and sand-resistant.

Microfiber towels are a great option. Consider bringing a large beach blanket or mat as well, for picnics and sunbathing sessions.


No Hawaii packing list would be complete without swimwear. Bring 2-3 swimsuits per person so you always have a dry one ready after water activities. Choosing swimsuits in quick-drying fabric is key. For women, both bikinis and one-piece suits work well.

Having options for different adventures like snorkeling, surfing, or lounging by the pool is recommended. For men, board shorts are a popular choice. Don’t forget the sun protection by wearing rash guards or swim shirts too!

Snorkel Gear

One of the top things to do in Hawaii is snorkeling to see the incredible marine life. Many hotels and beach shops offer snorkel gear rental, but bringing your own ensures the best fit and comfort, saves money in the long run, and reduces plastic waste from continual rentals.

When selecting snorkels, masks with silicone skirts and split fins typically work best. If buying new gear, spend time finding the right fitting mask to prevent leaks. Remember to pack a snorkel keeper strap too – this prevents losing your snorkel in the water.

Waterproof Camera

With so many amazing vistas and sea creatures to behold, capturing images of your Hawaiian adventures is a must. While high-end DSLR cameras take incredible photos, they are bulky and often not practical near water. Lightweight, durable waterproof point-and-shoot cameras are a better solution.

Top brands to consider include Olympus Tough, Nikon Coolpix, and Panasonic Lumix. Look for key features like waterproof to 50+ feet, drop-proof, freeze-proof, and high resolution. Don’t forget extra batteries and memory cards with ample storage space!

Extra Essentials


When packing for a Hawaii vacation, do not forget to bring along a good pair of sunglasses. The tropical Hawaiian sun can be quite strong, with UV indexes regularly in the extreme range. Protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays is essential ( Skin Cancer Foundation recommends choosing sunglasses that block 99-100% of UVA and UVB radiation).

Polarized lenses can also help reduce sun glare off the ocean or wet roads. Consider wraparound styles that provide protection from all angles. Make sure your sunglasses fit comfortably too – you’ll likely be wearing them every day of your trip.

Some popular, high-quality sunglasses brands to look for include Maui Jim, Costa Del Mar, Oakley, Ray-Ban, and Shady Rays.

Hat or Visor

In addition to sunglasses, wearing a hat or visor is highly recommended to protect your face and head from the Hawaii sun. Wide-brimmed hats offer better coverage than baseball caps. Look for lightweight, breathable fabrics that won’t get too hot in Hawaii’s humid climate.

Consider packing a hat that can get wet too for activities like snorkeling or waterfalls. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests woven and tightly-knit fabric hats with UPF 50+ protection. When shopping for a hat, try different sizes and styles to find one both protective and fashionable for your needs.

Some top sun hat brands include Wallaroo, Sunday Afternoons, Coolibar and Tilley. A hat with a chin strap can help keep it secure in those tropical trade winds too!

Reusable Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is extremely important in a tropical destination like Hawaii. The heat and humidity can quickly lead to dehydration if you’re not drinking enough fluids. Bringing your own reusable water bottle is highly recommended for a few reasons.

First, it cuts down on plastic waste from purchasing disposable plastic bottles everywhere you go. Secondly, it saves money by allowing you to easily refill your bottle for free at water fountains, hotel sinks, etc.

And lastly, it ensures you always have water on hand to sip throughout your daily adventures. Good bottles to consider are durable, BPA-free, have a wide mouth for adding ice, and possibly insulted to keep liquids cooler for longer in the heat and sun.

Popular Reusable Water Bottle Brands S’well, Hydro Flask, Klean Kanteen, Camelbak, Nalgene
Average High Temperature in Honolulu, HI 84°F – 88°F year-round

Having a reusable bottle in Hawaii also makes it easy to mix up some delicious infused waters with local fruits like pineapple, mango or strawberry guava! 😋😎⛱️ Simply dice up fresh fruit, add to your bottle, and enjoy naturally flavored refreshment throughout the day.

Staying hydrated has never tasted so good!


With stunning island views, unique landscapes, and plenty of aquatic adventures, Hawaii offers something for every type of traveler. Use our comprehensive packing list to help you prepare for Hawaiian bliss!

Bring breathable clothing, hiking shoes, beach essentials, toiletries, and don’t forget the sun protection.

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