What to Bring

Venturing deep into the remote terrain of paradise can be an experience of a lifetime, but make sure you bring the essentials necessary to make the trip the best ever. Here's a list of basic must-haves for any island hike.


Stay hydrated on the trail. Always have enough water when you're hiking. When venturing out on all-day or overnight hikes, bring a water filter to purify all river water. Make sure your purifier is certified to filter microbial leptosporosis or giardia (not all do).

First Aid Kit

The best first aid is prevention. Educate yourself to avoid injury. Still, despite awareness, in Kaua`i's unpredictable landscape accidents can sometimes happen, especially to those in unfamiliar territory. This combined with the remote locations of Kaua`i's hikes make it important to have your own first aid kit on hand. It should contain the following: band aids, bandage, moleskin (for blisters), small scissors, alcohol / hydrogen peroxide, tape, Betadine, ibuprofen and antihistamine (if you have allergies). It is important to know that cuts in tropical climates should be monitored closely. Open wounds exposed to river water are highly susceptible to infection that can set in rapidly (one of the most dangerous infections being leptosporosis and one of the most common being staphylococcus or "staph"). Keep a close eye on all cuts and seek medical assistance if you're uncertain about the status of an injury. It is important not to let an infected wound go untreated.

Protect yourself

You'll probably see those unlucky visitors tenderly walking about with skin so red it hurts just to look. Don't do this to your skin! You can shield yourself from the sun with hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and sun protective clothing. Protective clothing also helps to safeguard from mosquitos, which are often in abundance in the humid of jungle enviornment.


Sometimes the beauty of of Kaua`i's landscape can cause a real time lapse. Hikes can end up being longer or more vigorous than anticipated. Make sure you have some easy, high protein snacks on hand to help keep your energy strong on your adventure.

Proper Footwear

Your choice of footwear can make or break your hiking experience. Make sure you're wearing shoes that fit well and feel comfortable. It's not advised to break in new shoes on any Kaua`i trail. For more information see our Footwear guide.

Something warm and waterproof

Two hiking fundamentals: warm and dry. Kaua`i can drench you with an unexpected shower any time of day, any time of year. Packing a lightweight waterproof jacket not only will keep you dry, but it will help keep you warm. Also, some trails take you out onto vistas, cliffs or higher elevations that can definitely be colder in temperature with a lot of wind. Be prepared.

Don't Bring
  • Snorkel gear : No trails on the island lead to snorkeling destinations. We've spotted hikers schlepping snorkel gear on the Hanakapiai trail, however this beach is not a place to snorkel any time of year.
  • Coolers : Carrying a cooler on a trail is cumbersome, heavy and dangerous. Keep the coolers on the beach or waiting for you when you're done exploring.
  • Plastic grocery bags : We've seen folks walking trails, carrying gear in plastic grocery bags. Carrying a bag impairs your balance and hinders your hands from bracing yourself should you slip. Plastic bags can also easily blow away and create litter on the trail or a life-threatening trap to sea life.
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Now you're in the know... are you ready to go?

Trail Comments (70 comments)   View all comments   

Jacqueline Clover | Sep 12, 2007 11:44PM


Can someone please tell me if there is anywhere on Kauai where I can buy water purification tables?


Kauai Explorer Staff | Sep 13, 2007 8:16AM

Jacqueline - don't know where to buy the purification tables. I have always used a Katadyn (other good brands are out there) filter on camping trips and no problems.

Dave | Jan 12, 2008 3:02PM

I could not find any filter that can filter leptospirosis. Perhaps you know one ?

Kauai Explorer Staff | Jan 13, 2008 11:45AM

Dave - I use a Katadyn and MSR filter. Nobody will certify that either filters lepto - and I will not either. W

dale | Jan 19, 2008 5:25AM

great website - very informitive..

I'll be in Kauai first on Feb. and like to hike - I see some beachs are 'gone' durring that time period - are all trails accessable then??

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