Few things are more calming, breath-taking, and hypnotizing (all at the same time) than a waterfall. The Big Island has an assortment of different waterfalls from small cascades to the largest at over 2,600ft high, but before you head out on a hike to see those cool waters tumbling over some of the most picturesque surroundings anywhere, be sure you’re ready to enjoy your day. Here’s what to pack for your waterfall adventure in Hawaii, along with your camera.


The sun always shines on Hawaii, so be sure to apply your sunscreen if you plan to go out for any extended period—this also applies to visits and hikes to waterfalls. You will be outside for quite some time. Avoid burns and the potential for skin cancer and damage by wearing sunscreen. Make sure to use mineral “reef safe” sunscreens!

Mosquito Repellent

You’re entering the mosquitoes’ territory when you go to see the waterfalls. The scent of sunscreen attracts them if you’re wearing it (and you really should be). Therefore, you should also apply a layer of repellent, otherwise itchy bites will cover your arms and legs by the day’s end.

Medium Backpack

Unless you plan to be gone for days, you can make do with a basic medium-sized backpack to carry your supplies. Look for a waterproof one to avoid saturation from the waterfalls’ humidity and mists or pack your things in plastic bags then place them in your backpack.

Clothing Options

Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and moisture-wicking items that will help you stay dry. Pack a rain jacket just in case since Hawaiian weather can change from dry to wet in little to no time. Make sure the jacket is moisture-wicking and breathable, so you aren’t sweltering in it. Packing a swimsuit and towel is wise because there may be opportunities to get close and enjoy the water near the waterfalls.

Directional Tools

There will certainly be someone available to guide you to and from the waterfalls’ locations if you’re on a tour. But you should pick up a map of the territory and pack a compass if you’re heading out on your own. GPS devices and smartphones are a smart thing to bring along, but always prepare for the possibility of spotty or no service. Even on tours, it’s smart to pack tools that can help you find your way back should you become separated. Make sure that you consult maps and aren’t hiking on private property or in closed regions!

First Aid Kit

It’s smart to bring a first aid kit on any journey. A small travel kit should work if it contains bandages, band-aids, antiseptics, and other basic implements for treating scrapes, cuts, and the like.

Food and Water

Water is a must. Bring along a water container or canteen that you can easily stow in your backpack without the risk of leakage. There probably won’t be a need for a water filtration system, but it can’t hurt if you have a portable version. Packing natural snacks like nuts, dried fruit, and other compact and nutritious choices is a good idea but minimize as much plastic and other packaging to avoid littering.

Now you know what to pack for your waterfall adventure in Hawaii! Always prepare when you plan your waterfall tours on the big island of Hawaii to ensure you have a wonderful time.