Packing for Kauai – What You Should Bring

Kauai is a place with many outdoor activities. Here’s a list of items you’re likely to need if you want to enjoy most of those activities. Some of these items may seem like no-brainers, but they can be easy to forget – so I’m giving you a quick reminder. And believe me – to forget a few of these items could be a severe detriment to your Kauai vacation bliss.

4 Things You’d Be Crazy Not to Bring to Kauai

1. Sunscreen/Sunblock – In Kauai (and all the Hawaiian islands for that matter) the sun can be extremely intense, even on cloudy days. Make sure it’s waterproof if you plan on doing any water activities.

2. Sunglasses – Do not forget your sunglasses! Spending your vacation squinting is a good way to ruin your good time – not to mention most people look stupid when they’re squinting. And you don’t want to look stupid, do you?

3. Camera – Don’t even think about going to Kauai without a camera. That would be like eating spaghetti without a fork – ridiculous! Also, make sure you bring lots of extra memory.

4. Cool Clothing (shorts, t-shirts) – While the temperature rarely gets hot on Kauai, that doesn’t mean you won’t get over heated when doing a lot of outdoor activities. You’ll enjoy yourself much more if you’re cool.

5 Things You’d Be Wise to Bring to Kauai

*Some of these items you’ll want to pick up after you get to Kauai.

1. Map of Kauai – You might even want to consider getting two maps – one that shows a detailed layout of roads & highways and another map that shows the locations of popular tourist attractions. This will make it quicker and easier to plan the day’s activities.

2. Water Jug – When you’re out and about on Kauai it’s a good idea to carry lots of your own water. Dehydration can happen rather quickly. And if you’re out hiking, don’t think you can just drink the water in Kauai’s streams and rivers. It may not be safe. The Hawaiian Islands are known to have a bacterium called Leptospirosis in some of the freshwater. But on the other hand, if you enjoy hospital stays then drink up (or suck ‘em up as they say in Hawaii).

3. Mosquito Repellent – You’ll need this if you plan on doing any hiking. Be sure to use a mosquito repellant that contains Deet. Mosquito repellent typically comes as a spray-on or lotion. The lotion works better on the skin because it lasts longer. But the spray can be applied to clothes, whereas the lotion can’t. So for best results you may want to consider using both – lotion on your skin and spray on you clothes.

4. Hat – As I stated earlier, the Hawaiian sun is intense. It would be wise to wear a hat or cap even if you’re not a “hat” person.

5. Lightweight Slacks – If you’re hiking through some of Kauai’s more dense vegetation, then pants will provide you with the best protection from scrapes, cuts and bugs.

5 Types of Shoes That Can Come in Handy

1. Low-cut Hiking boots – If you’re planning to do some serious hiking into Kauai’s rainforest areas, low-cut hiking boots are the way to go.

2. Walking shoes or sneakers – For doing some casual walking through Kauai’s towns and resort areas.

3. Old “throwaway” shoes – These must be shoes you don’t mind ruining. Why are they necessary to bring? Because of Kauai’s red dirt. It will stain and ruin shoes.

4. Reef Shoes – Good for protecting your feet when swimming in Kauai’s streams or walking through the waters of some of Kauai’s rockier beaches – they’re designed to keep your feet from getting cut if you step on coral. Reef shoes are also good for surfing because they help your feet grip the board. You can get these at the Wal-Mart or Kmart in Lihue. Plus they’re cheap, so you could use them for your “throwaway” shoes if you want to.

5. Sandals or flip-flops – You may be doing a lot of walking so you might want to wear sandals to give your feet a chance to “breathe”. They’re especially good for walks on the beach.

5 Things You May Want to Consider
Taking to Kauai

1. Light Jacket or Sweater – A jacket… in Kauai? Yup! If you plan to visit Kauai’s Kalalau Lookout (which I highly recommend), you’ll probably want to have a light jacket, sweater or windbreaker. Kalalau Lookout is 4,000 feet above sea level, making it much cooler than down on the coast or valleys. You may also want a jacket if you go on a helicopter tour.

2. Extra Swimsuits – It’s a good idea to bring extra bathing suits. Why? So that after you use a suit you can just throw it in the wash and still have a fresh one ready when you are. Plus there will be times when you’ll want to swim, but your swimsuit won’t be dry from the last time you went swimming. Who wants to put on a cold, wet bathing suit?

3. Snorkel gear – This would include a snorkel, mask and fins. You can purchase or rent these items when you’re on Kauai, but if you already have ‘em then you might as well bring ‘em.

4. Beach Bag or Backpack – When you’re going down to the beach, planning a picnic in a secluded area, or shopping for souvenirs, you will probably want a bag to carry stuff in.

5. Waist Pack – This is just for convenience. There may be times when a backpack is too much and pockets aren’t enough. A waist pack is good for carrying a small bottle of water, a snack, car keys, a map, money, checkbook – all sorts of stuff.

What You Won’t Need in Kauai

Kauai is a very casual place. So you probably don’t need to bother with ties, sport jackets, formal dresses – nothing of that nature. You’ll look waaaay over dressed if you decide to wear anything like that.

It is a good idea, though, to bring some nice looking jeans or pants, a few nice shirts or blouses, and a nice looking pair of shoes. But, nothing too formal.

Remember – in Kauai, comfort is the name of the game.

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2 Responses to “Packing for Kauai – What You Should Bring”

  1. tisha sloan Said,

    hi ~

    we are actually in Kauai right now and were taken by surprise by the dress code in some nightclubs - since you mention clothes on this page, i thought it would be good to let the guys know that a collared shirt and closed shoes (not sandals) are required in some nightlife hotspots. Also, for the ladies, there is no dress code, but the general trend is that the gals get *really* dressed up in bright, fabulous dresses & outfits with some of the best (and tallest!) high heels i’ve ever seen!

    thanks so much for all the info and advice!

    ~ tish

  2. KAT Said,

    advice given by older gent on the Big Island has carried thru on our travels both around the islands, on the main land and abroad. Dress clean not scruffy and wear little flashy jewelry. You want to look like someone the islanders want to have around, yet not someone with a lot of money.