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The Ultimate Packing Guide: What to Pack for Volcano, Hawaii

Published: June 16, 2021

You just purchased your plane tickets to Hawai’i Island and even though your trip is a few months away, you’re so excited that you want to start packing today. We don’t blame you!

From swaying palm trees and intense waves to a snow-capped mountain and rolling hills covered in mac nut trees, nothing beats the Big Island! And did we mention that we have an active volcano and a tropical rainforest right here in Volcano, Hawai’i?!

The diversity of our island never fails to fascinate visitors and residents alike. But knowing what to pack for a trip can be tricky if you’re venturing beyond the beaches and waterfalls, and spending three or four day in Volcano, Hawaii.

The village itself is tucked away in a lush rainforest and temperatures in Volcano change from rainy to sunny back to rain that begins as a drizzle and quickly gives way to a downpour.

If you’re planning a vacation to Volcano and you don’t want to spend the whole time cold and wet (or stuck indoors), here’s what we suggest you pack for extended weekends (two days is definitely not enough time) exploring Hawai’i Island’s Volcano Village and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

What to pack for a trip to Volcano Village

Located in a rainforest, Volcano Village experiences clouds, drizzle, sun, mist, and everything in between. If you pack the following, you can enjoy Volcano, no matter what the forecast:

  1. Puffer Vest – Whether you’re hiking to the Wahinekapu (Steaming Bluff) Overlook or headed to the Lili House Farm to cuddle some adorable animals, a vest is the perfect layer, especially if you’re venturing out after dark.
  2. Rain Boots – The thing about a rainforest is that there would be no otherworldly ferns and vibrant plants without the rain. Rain boots will be your feet’s best friends while staying in Volcano, so get a pair for yourself – You won’t regret it!
  3. Jeans – You wouldn’t be the first person to show up in Volcano with 3 pairs of shorts and 1 pair of sweatpants. But guess what you’ll wear almost the entire time (even in August)? The sweatpants! Pack a pair of jeans so you can actually go out in public when it’s chilly.
  4. Joggers – These comfortable yet stylish pants are an excellent alternative to said sweatpants.
  5. Warm Hoodie – A fleece hoodie is a must. And it looks just as great over a sundress as it does with the joggers.
  6. T-Shirt – When you’re visiting Volcano, HI, it’s all about the layers. These Hawai’i inspired tees are our favorite!
  7. Cotton Tees – Pack a few short and long-sleeve versions of this t-shirt in your bag for long weekends in the rainforest. Functional and basic, these shirts are made for Volcano.
  8. Tank and Shorts – Sure, Volcano is in a rainforest, but this is still Hawai’i afterall, so come prepared with a few tank tops and some shorts!
  9. Slippers – That’s Hawaiian for flip flops! And this pair easily goes from the Volcano Arts Centers’ Hale Ho’omana to dinner at the Kilauea Lodge.
  10. Pareo – Otherwise known as a sarong. Call it what you like, just don’t forget to pack it. A pareo can double as a picnic blanket or wrapped around your shoulders like a shawl.

What to pack for a hike in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park 

  1. Lightweight Day Pack – When it comes to exploring the park, a comfortable backpack that is lightweight and water-resistant is a must. If you plan on spending the day hiking in the Ka’u Desert, go with a pack that holds 30 liters or more so you have room for a rain jacket, reef-safe sunscreen, water, snacks, and lunch. For a shorter hike to the petroglyphs of Pu’u Loa and other less intense hikes, a backpack that holds 1o to 20 liters of water and has room for a snack should do the trick. We suggest packing jerky, nuts, energy bars, and other high-protein snacks.
  2. Wicking T-Shirt – Who doesn’t love a moisture-wicking t-shirt that is soft and dries quickly for hiking and trail running. It also makes a great base layer on more casual days when you just want to stroll through the park on a nature walk.
  3. Midweight Half-Zip Top – If it’s just not warm enough to hike around in only a t-shirt, pull on a wicking half-zip top and enjoy the warmth of long sleeves.
  4. Running Shorts – When the forecast calls for warmer weather, a pair of comfortable running shorts are ideal. Travel from Kona to Volcano and on to Hilo in island style with this tropical pair.
  5. Hat – Need to keep the sun out of your eyes? Or stay dry and warm on a rainy day? You can’t go wrong with a trucker hat or baseball cap! And if you feel like rolling out of bed and heading to brunch at the Kilauea Lodge Restaurant, just throw on your hat and forget about how messy your hair is.
  6. Scarf – Planning to go straight from the trails to pau hana at the lodge’s full bar?

A scarf is an effortless way to dress up your hiking apparel. Look for scarves with fun, botanical prints!

  1. Comfortable Socks – A durable pair of socks that drys fast is essential. And your feet will be happiest in a pair with double-stitched toes and heels. Do pack 3 or 4 pairs of midweight crew socks when you head to Volcano. A few to to hike in and a few other pairs to keep your feet dry during the day and toasty at night.
  2. Trail Running Shoes or Hiking Boots – If you want to, you can hike all day with the right footwear. For hiking on jagged lava and rugged trails, boots are best. For shorter, easier hikes, a trail running shoe will do.
  3. Versatile Pants – Versatility is the name of the game when packing for Volcano. A good pair of pants made from a performance fabric can take you from shopping at the Volcano Village Farmers Market to an entire day of adventuring in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. We prefer pants with snaps that we can wear full length or roll up. Convert them to capris for those warmer days – Or on rainy days to keep them from dragging through puddles.
  4. Rain Jacket – Don’t let a little rain stop you from getting outside. With this breathable rain jacket, made from a waterproof membrane and coated in durable water repellent, you can get out and explore Volcano no matter what the weather forecast.

Diversity is what makes the town of Volcano distinct, so layering and versatility is key when packing for your Volcano vacation. Once you’re here, it helps to check the forecast before heading out the door everyday and dress accordingly. You can also check on air quality and get up-to-date information on what’s happening around town by visiting Experience Volcano’s website.

Helpful Extras 

If the majority of your time will be spent in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park,  you may want to pack the following:

  • Binoculars
  • Compass
  • Headlamp
  • Trail map and / or Interpretive field guide
  • Journal and pencil or pen
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Don’t forget your mask!

After an epic day of adventures in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, there’s nothing quite like a meal at Kilauea Lodge’s award-winning restaurant. Our on-site restaurant offers a unique dining experience in a rainforest setting. Or get your meal to-go and feast from the expertly-curated comfort of your room.

As you’re planning your trip to Volcano, keep in mind that with so much to see and do in and near Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, many people choose to spend a minimum of three nights at the Kilauea Lodge. In addition to the town and park, our property has its own tropical gardens and resort hot tub, so after you’re done exploring, find some serenity in the lodge’s idyllic surroundings.

The Kilauea Lodge is conveniently located in a lush rainforest a mere two miles from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. To learn more about the accommodations we offer, visit our Booking page and start planning the experience of a lifetime today! *

*While this post does contain links, it does not contain any affiliate links and is in no way endorsed by any of the brands referenced.


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