Safety Tips When Camping In Hawaii

Camping in Hawaii is an extraordinary experience that offers breathtaking views, serene sounds, and a deep connection with nature. From white sand beaches to dense rainforests, Hawaii’s natural beauty can make for a memorable camping trip. However, with Hawaii’s rugged terrain and unpredictable weather, it’s essential to take safety seriously to avoid potential hazards that could turn your dream camping trip into a nightmare. 

In this article, we are going to share some of the top safety tips when it comes to camping in Hawaii, including advice on choosing the right campsite, packing the right gear, and understanding the unique challenges of Hawaii’s outdoors. With these tips, you can enjoy Hawaii’s natural wonders while keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. 

Keep reading to discover hiking safety tips for beginners to help you have a successful and memorable camping adventure in Hawaii! 

15 Tips When Camping In Hawaii

Camping in Hawaii can be a wonderful experience, but it’s important to take steps to keep yourself and others safe while enjoying the natural beauty of the islands. 

Here are 15 safety tips when hiking that will keep you safe and make the most of your camping trip:

Bring extra water to stay hydrated

When camping in Hawaii, you’re likely to engage in outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and exploring the island’s natural beauty, which can quickly sap your body of fluids, and this can lead to dehydration. 

This can happen faster than you think, and it can lead to serious health complications such as heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and even death, which is why bringing extra water is essential to keep yourself hydrated and avoid such situations. It’s recommended to bring at least one gallon of water per person per day, and more if you’re engaging in strenuous activities or if you’re camping in remote areas where water sources may be scarce. 

Make sure to keep in mind that drinking untreated water from streams or lakes in Hawaii is not safe, and it’s best to bring your water or purify water from natural sources using a water filtration system or iodine tablets. So, when camping in Hawaii, make sure to bring extra water, stay hydrated, and enjoy your best adventure vacations without worrying about dehydration.

Camp with a partner

Camping in Hawaii can be a thrilling and memorable experience, but it’s also important to prioritize your safety, and one of the most crucial safety tips for camping in Hawaii is to camp with a partner. 

The rugged and unpredictable terrain of Hawaii can be daunting, and it’s always best to have a companion to share the experience with. A partner can help watch for potential hazards, navigate unfamiliar territory, and assist in case of an emergency. Additionally, having someone to share the experience with can make your trip more enjoyable and less lonely. When choosing a partner, make sure you pick someone who is experienced in camping and hiking, and who shares your physical abilities and interests. 

Also, before setting out, make sure to discuss your plans, expectations, and safety protocols. Camping with a partner is not only an important safety measure but also an opportunity to create lasting memories with a friend or loved one. 

Bring a cell phone

Why do you need a phone with you? Well, bringing a cell phone when camping in Hawaii is a crucial safety measure that can potentially save your life. 

In case of an emergency, having a cell phone can mean the difference between getting help quickly or being stranded without any assistance. A cell phone can be used to call emergency services or to communicate with your camping partner or family members in case of an unexpected situation. 

Additionally, a cell phone can also provide you with information about weather updates or local news, helping you stay informed and prepared for any changes in your surroundings. When bringing a cell phone, make sure it’s fully charged and protected from water or other potential hazards. It’s also a good idea to have a backup power source, such as a portable charger. 

Remember that a cell phone should not be relied on as your only source of communication or navigation, so always bring a map, compass, or other navigational tools.

Don’t drink untreated water

Drinking untreated water when camping in Hawaii can be pretty risky due to the presence of harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that may cause various illnesses. These waterborne diseases can cause health problems ranging from mild diarrhea to more severe illnesses such as hepatitis A, giardiasis, and cholera. 

Additionally, Hawaii’s streams and lakes can be contaminated with leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be acquired from contact with contaminated water or soil. Therefore, it is crucial to treat or purify any water before consuming it while camping in Hawaii to avoid getting sick. 

Boiling, filtering, or using water purification tablets are effective methods of treating water to make it safe for drinking. It’s also a good idea to bring your drinking water to ensure that you stay hydrated without getting sick.

Prepare for rain

Preparing for rain is important when camping in Hawaii because the weather can be unpredictable, and sudden rain showers are common. 

Hawaii’s tropical climate can bring rain throughout the year, and during certain seasons, it can rain more frequently or heavily. Therefore, it’s crucial to be prepared for rain by packing appropriate gear, such as rain jackets, waterproof tents, and tarps, to keep you and your equipment dry. You should also pack extra clothes and shoes, in case they get wet. Another thing, try to set up your campsite in a location that is not prone to flooding, and avoid camping in low-lying areas where water can accumulate. 

Additionally, be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip and during your stay, so you can be prepared for any incoming storms or heavy rainfall. Being prepared for rain will make your camping experience more enjoyable and comfortable, and prevent any equipment or health-related issues that can arise from getting wet.

Check the weather forecast

Checking the weather forecast is an essential step when camping in Hawaii, as it can help you prepare for any adverse weather conditions. 

As we mentioned earlier, Hawaii’s weather can be unpredictable and can change rapidly, especially in mountainous areas or near the coast, this is why checking the weather forecast is a must as it can give you an idea of what to expect in terms of temperature, humidity, wind, and precipitation. By knowing what the weather will be like during your camping trip, you can plan accordingly and pack appropriate clothing and gear. 

For example, if there is a high chance of rain, you can bring rain gear and waterproof your tent. On the other hand, if the weather is expected to be hot and sunny, you can pack sunscreen, hats, and lightweight clothing to protect yourself from the sun. Checking the weather forecast can also help you avoid dangerous weather conditions such as hurricanes, flash floods, or thunderstorms. 

Remember, it is always essential to stay informed about the weather and to have a backup plan in case of severe weather conditions.

Use a waterproof tent

Using a waterproof tent is crucial when tent camping in Hawaii, as the weather can be unpredictable and heavy rain is not uncommon. A waterproof tent will keep you dry during rain showers, preventing you from getting wet and potentially catching hypothermia. A damp sleeping bag and clothes can also make your camping experience uncomfortable and ruin your trip.

When choosing a waterproof tent, look for one that has a high hydrostatic head rating, which means it can withstand more water pressure before leaking. Please keep in mind, tents that are made of high-quality materials such as polyester or nylon with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating are also more waterproof.

To further protect your tent from the rain, choose a campsite with good drainage to prevent water from pooling around your tent. Make sure you use a groundsheet to add an extra layer of protection and prevent water from seeping in from the ground. Lastly, pitch your tent in a sheltered area, such as behind a natural windbreak or a rock formation, to minimize wind and rain exposure.

Protection against insects

Camping in Hawaii can be fun, but there’s a huge possibility you’ll encounter many insects that can be both annoying and potentially dangerous. Some of the most common insects you’ll encounter include mosquitoes, sand flies, and ants, among many othersothers.

In order to protect yourself from insect bites, you should bring insect repellent and apply it frequently throughout the day. Look for insect repellents that contain DEET or picaridin, as these are the most effective at repelling insects. On top of that, you should also wear long-sleeved shirts and pants made of lightweight, breathable fabric to reduce the amount of exposed skin. Additionally, consider bringing a mosquito net to cover your tent or sleeping area, especially if you’re camping in areas with a lot of mosquitoes.

To protect your food from insects, store it in airtight containers or sealed bags to prevent ants and other insects from getting in. Make sure to clean up any spills or crumbs immediately and dispose of your garbage properly in designated trash cans. Avoid leaving food out in the open or eating in your tent, as this can attract insects and other wildlife to your campsite.

Wear proper footwear

Wearing the proper footwear is an essential aspect of camping, especially when it comes to exploring Hawaii’s rugged terrain. In Hawaii, the ground can be uneven, rocky, and filled with sharp coral or lava rock, which can cause injuries like sprains or blisters. Wearing appropriate footwear will provide the necessary support and stability for your feet, reducing the risk of such injuries.

Investing in a quality pair of closed-toe shoes or hiking boots with good ankle support is highly recommended for those that are planning to go on camping trips in Hawaii. It is important to choose footwear that is comfortable and fits well, to avoid discomfort and blisters. Additionally, bringing extra socks can keep your feet dry and clean, which can prevent infections.

Proper footwear will also help you traverse different types of terrain safely and comfortably. Remember, Hawaii has diverse landscapes including beaches, rainforests, and mountains, and having the right footwear will make it easier to hike through them all. 

Wearing sandals or flip-flops on a hiking trail or through the forest can be dangerous, and it is advisable to choose sturdy and protective footwear instead.

Stay on designated trails

Staying on designated trails is a crucial safety tip when camping in Hawaii as it helps prevent getting lost or injured while exploring the wilderness. 

It is important to keep in mind that Hawaii has a unique landscape with diverse terrain, and veering off designated trails could lead to hazards such as sharp lava rocks, unstable cliffs, or hidden crevices. It’s best to stick to the marked trails, which are regularly maintained and cleared of any obstacles, making it easier to navigate through the terrain. 

Additionally, staying on designated trails also helps protect the natural environment and its fragile ecosystem. Straying off marked trails could lead to trampling of delicate plants or disturbing native wildlife. It’s important to follow all posted signs and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable camping experience in Hawaii.

Beware of dangerous wildlife

Hawaii is home to a diverse range of wildlife, some of which can be potentially dangerous to humans, which is why you should beware of dangerous Hawaiian wildlife. One of the most well-known is the wild boar, which is found on all of the major Hawaiian islands. These animals can be aggressive and unpredictable, particularly if they feel threatened or cornered. They have sharp tusks that can cause serious injury, and it is important to give them a wide berth if you encounter them on a camping trip.

Another animal to be aware of when camping in Hawaii is the venomous centipede. These can be found throughout the islands, particularly in forested areas. Their bites can be very painful and may cause swelling and other symptoms, so it is important to take precautions to avoid them. This includes wearing protective footwear and being careful when moving rocks or other items that could be hiding a centipede.

Other potential dangers in Hawaii include feral dogs, which can be aggressive if they feel threatened or if they are part of a pack, as well as the occasional encounter with a Hawaiian monk seal or sea turtle on the beach. It is important to keep a safe distance from these animals and avoid disturbing them.

Keep your campsite clean

Keeping your campsite clean is not only essential for maintaining a beautiful natural environment, but it also plays a significant role in ensuring your safety while camping in Hawaii. When you’re camping, it’s important to remember that you’re a guest in nature, and leaving your campsite clean helps to minimize your impact on the environment and prevents dangerous wildlife encounters.

Hawaiian wildlife is incredibly diverse and includes many endemic species found nowhere else in the world. However, some of these animals can be dangerous and attracted to food left out in the open. For example, feral pigs, which are common in Hawaii, are known to invade campsites and scavenge for food. Leaving food or trash out can also attract other animals such as rats, which can spread diseases like leptospirosis, a bacterial infection common in Hawaii.

To keep your campsite clean, make sure you pack out all trash and leftover food, and dispose of it properly in designated bins or take it with you when you leave. Also, don’t leave any food or trash out in the open, and avoid cooking or eating near your tent. Instead, use designated cooking areas away from your sleeping area. Keeping your campsite clean not only helps to prevent dangerous wildlife encounters but also ensures a more enjoyable camping experience for yourself and others who come after you.

Store food properly

Storing food when camping in Hawaii is crucial for your safety and the protection of wildlife. 

The thing is, improper food storage can attract animals to your campsite, which can be dangerous for both you and the wildlife and when not stored properly, bacteria can get into it.

To prevent this, store your food in airtight containers, such as bear canisters or bear bags, which can be hung from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from the trunk. Keep your cooking area separate from your sleeping area, and do not eat in or near your tent. 

Also, make sure to properly dispose of any food waste or scraps, as leaving them out can attract animals to your campsite. By storing your food properly, you can minimize the risk of dangerous encounters with wildlife and help protect Hawaii’s unique and precious ecosystem along with keeping yourself healthy and clean.

Have a first aid kit

Bringing a first aid kit is an essential aspect of camping in Hawaii. The beautiful outdoors can offer some of the most memorable experiences, but with Hawaii’s rugged terrain and unpredictable weather, it’s important to be prepared for any situation. 

It is necessary to keep in mind accidents can happen at any time, and having a first aid kit on hand can be the difference between a minor injury and a major medical emergency.

Camping in Hawaii often involves activities such as hiking, swimming, and exploring, which can lead to potential body injuries such as cuts, scrapes, or sprains. In addition, exposure to the sun can cause sunburn, and insect bites are also common. 

A well-stocked first aid kit can help to address these issues and provide basic medical care until professional help can be obtained if necessary. When preparing your first aid kit, consider packing items such as bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes or spray, scissors, tweezers, pain relievers, sunscreen, insect repellent, and any necessary medications. 

It’s also important to regularly check the contents of your first aid kit and replace any expired items.

Respect Hawaiian culture

Respecting Hawaiian culture when camping in Hawaii is crucial to ensure a positive and memorable experience. 

Tourists should know Hawaiian culture has deep roots in nature and spirituality, so it’s important to be mindful and respectful of the land and its people. One way to show respect is by learning about the cultural significance of the area and its history before setting up camp. 

Remember, many areas in Hawaii have cultural and religious significance, and it’s important to understand and abide by any guidelines or restrictions set forth by the local community or authorities.

Additionally, be mindful of leaving offerings or other items at sacred sites, as they may have cultural significance and should not be disturbed. Finally, it’s important to be respectful of the local community and their way of life, including their customs, beliefs, and traditions. 

By showing respect and consideration for Hawaiian culture, you can help preserve the beauty and integrity of Hawaii’s natural environment for generations to come.


Camping in Hawaii can be an unforgettable adventure, providing a chance to experience the island’s natural beauty and connect with its unique culture. 

However, safety should always be a top priority when exploring Hawaii’s outdoors, which is why knowing camping in Hawaii tips is a must. From bringing extra water to staying on designated trails and respecting Hawaiian culture, following these safety tips can help ensure a successful and enjoyable camping trip. 

By taking precautions, being prepared, and respecting the land and culture, you can create memories that will last a lifetime while also preserving Hawaii’s precious environment for future generations to enjoy. 

So, whether you’re planning your first camping trip or returning for another adventure, remember to prioritize safety and respect, and enjoy the magic of Hawaii’s great outdoors!