EPIC Backpacking Hawaii Travel Guide in 2023

EPIC Backpacking Hawaii Travel Guide – Are you looking for an adventure of a lifetime in 2023? Look no further than Hawaii! This beautiful tropical paradise offers a diverse range of outdoor activities, including hiking, surfing, and snorkeling. Backpacking in Hawaii is a great way to experience the beauty of the islands and connect with nature. In this article, we’ll give you a comprehensive guide to backpacking in Hawaii, including where to go, what to pack, and how to stay safe.

Hawaii is an incredibly popular travel destination and for good reason. With its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and picturesque volcanoes, it’s no surprise that many people choose to backpack through this paradise. If you’re planning to backpack through Hawaii in 2023, there are a few things you should know to make the most of your trip.

First, it’s important to decide which islands you want to visit. Hawaii is made up of several islands, each with its own unique flavor and attractions. Oahu is home to the famous Waikiki Beach and Honolulu, while Maui boasts the Road to Hana and Haleakala National Park. Kauai is known for its stunning natural beauty, while the Big Island has everything from black sand beaches to snow-capped mountains.

Once you’ve decided which islands you want to visit, it’s time to plan your itinerary. Hawaii has a lot to offer, so it’s important to prioritize what you want to see and do. Some popular activities include hiking, snorkeling, surfing, and exploring the local culture. Many of the islands have national parks and other outdoor attractions, so be sure to research ahead of time to make the most of your trip.

When it comes to accommodations, there are plenty of options for backpackers. Hostels are a popular choice, with many located near the beach and other attractions. Camping is also an option, although it’s important to follow the rules and regulations of the parks and campsites. If you’re on a tight budget, consider Couchsurfing or staying in a homestay to save money.

EPIC Backpacking Hawaii Travel Guide

Why Backpacking in Hawaii is a Must-Do in 2023

Backpacking in Hawaii offers a unique opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful and remote areas of the islands. From the rugged volcanic landscapes of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the lush rainforests of Kauai’s Na Pali Coast, Hawaii has something for every outdoor enthusiast. Additionally, backpacking allows you to experience Hawaii’s natural beauty up close and personal, away from the crowds of tourists.

When is the Best Time to Go Backpacking in Hawaii?

The best time to go backpacking in Hawaii is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. During this time, the weather is generally warm and dry, making it ideal for hiking and camping. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Hawaii’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to check the forecast before embarking on a backpacking trip.

Top 5 Backpacking Destinations in Hawaii

Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park is a must-see destination for any backpacker visiting Maui. The park features a vast volcanic landscape, including the massive Haleakala Crater, which stretches for miles. There are several hiking trails throughout the park, ranging from easy walks to challenging multi-day backpacking trips. Camping is also available at several locations throughout the park.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Located on the Big Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a backpacker’s paradise. The park features two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, as well as a diverse range of hiking trails and camping options. Backpackers can explore the park’s lava tubes, craters, and steam vents, and even witness the glow of molten lava at night.

Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park

The Na Pali Coast on Kauai’s north shore is one of Hawaii’s most breathtaking natural wonders. The coast is inaccessible by car, making it the perfect destination for backpackers looking for a remote adventure. The Kalalau Trail, which winds along the coast, is a challenging 11-mile hike that rewards hikers with stunning views of the rugged coastline and the Pacific Ocean.

Wai’anapanapa State Park

Wai’anapanapa State Park on Maui’s Hana coast offers backpackers a unique opportunity to explore the island’s lush rainforests and rugged coastline. The park features several hiking trails, including the popular Pipiwai Trail, which leads to the stunning Waimoku Falls. The park also offers camping facilities for backpackers.

Koke’e State Park

Located on Kauai’s west side, Koke’e State Park is a wilderness area that offers backpackers a chance to explore the island’s rugged interior. The park features several hiking trails, including the challenging Awa’awapuhi Trail, which offers stunning views of the Na Pali Coast. Camping is also available in the park.

What to Pack for Backpacking in Hawaii

When packing for a backpacking trip in Hawaii, it’s important to keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable. Here are some essential items to pack:


  • Lightweight, quick-drying clothing
  • Long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect from the sun and bugs
  • Warm layers for chilly nights at higher elevations
  • Rain jacket and pants


  • Sturdy hiking boots or trail shoes
  • Sandals for walking around the camp

Camping Gear

  • Lightweight tent and sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Stove and fuel
  • Cookware and utensils
  • Water filters or purification tablets
  • Headlamp and extra batteries

Personal Items

  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • First aid kit
  • Map and compass or GPS
  • Camera
  • Cash or credit card for park fees and supplies

Essential Tips for Backpacking in Hawaii

Plan Ahead

Before embarking on a backpacking trip in Hawaii, it’s important to plan ahead. Research the area you’ll be visiting, and be sure to obtain any necessary permits or reservations in advance. Make a detailed itinerary, and leave it with someone you trust.

Respect the Environment

Hawaii’s natural environment is fragile, so it’s important to practice Leave No Trace principles. Pack out all trash, and avoid disturbing wildlife or vegetation.

Be Prepared for the Weather

As mentioned earlier, Hawaii’s weather can be unpredictable. Be sure to pack for a variety of weather conditions, including rain and cooler temperatures at higher elevations.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace principles while backpacking in Hawaii. Pack out all trash, avoid disturbing wildlife or vegetation, and stay on marked trails.

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Safety Tips for Backpacking in Hawaii

Watch Out for Wildlife

Hawaii is home to a variety of wildlife, including some species that are found nowhere else in the world. Be sure to stay a safe distance from animals, and never feed them.

Be Careful When Swimming or Surfing

Hawaii’s beaches are beautiful, but they can also be dangerous. Always obey posted signs and warnings, and never swim or surf alone.

Stay on Marked Trails

Hiking off-trail can be dangerous, and can also cause damage to the environment. Always stay on marked trails.

Know Your Limits

Backpacking in Hawaii can be challenging, especially for those who are not accustomed to the terrain or climate. Be sure to know your limits, and take breaks when needed.


Backpacking in Hawaii is an adventure of a lifetime, offering a unique opportunity to explore the islands’ natural beauty up close and personal. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this guide, you’ll be well-prepared for a safe and enjoyable backpacking trip in Hawaii. You can try the Best Backpacks with Wheels 2023

FAQs – EPIC Backpacking Hawaii Travel Guide

Do I need a permit to backpack in Hawaii’s national parks?

Yes, permits are required for backpacking in Hawaii’s national parks. Be sure to obtain your permit in advance and follow all rules and regulations.

Are there bears or other dangerous animals in Hawaii?

No, there are no bears in Hawaii, and the only venomous animal is the centipede. However, it’s still important to stay a safe distance from wildlife and be cautious while hiking.

Can I camp anywhere in Hawaii?

No, camping is only allowed in designated areas in Hawaii’s state and national parks. Be sure to obtain any necessary permits and follow all rules and regulations.

Is backpacking in Hawaii expensive?

Backpacking in Hawaii can be affordable, especially if you bring your own gear and camp in designated areas. However, be sure to budget for park fees, transportation, and food.

What’s the best way to get around Hawaii while backpacking?

The best way to get around Hawaii while backpacking is by renting a car or using public transportation. Be sure to plan your route in advance and check for any closures or road conditions.

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