What to Pack for Your Trip to Volcano Hawaii: The Ultimate Packing List

Updated: Apr 15

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Copyright of Sara Stover

What I pack for a trip to Volcano, Hawaii

Aloha from the Big Island! During the pandemic, staycations became a welcome escape for many of us here on the island, including my husband and I. While we’re grateful to live in Kailua Kona, sometimes the heat can get to us.

When we need a getaway, nothing beats a long weekend in Volcano, HI (two days is definitely

not enough time)! The village itself is nestled in a

lush rainforest and vacation rentals like the Volcano Heritage Cottages make it convenient to stay in the heart of the village. We always look forward to hikes in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, wine tasting at Volcano Winery, and a stop at the nearby Volcano Art Center!

There’s only one problem (other than the weekend going by too fast): I continually forget that temperatures in Volcano fluctuate from sunny to rainy. And the rain can range from a drizzle to a downpour. Somehow I leave my raincoat at home or neglect to pack enough socks every time I visit Volcano. And I seem to remember that a fleece hoodie is your best friend when venturing to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park at dusk to see the lava lake… when I’m halfway to Volcano.

If you’re planning a trip to Volcano, here are a few of the essentials I’ve learned to pack for extended weekends exploring the Big Island’s Volcano Village and hiking in the park:

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

  1. Lightweight Day Pack – A lightweight backpack that is both comfortable and water-resistant is essential for exploring the park. If you plan on spending the day hiking in the Ka’u Desert, you’ll want a pack that holds 30 or more liters so you have room for reef-safe sunscreen, a rain jacket, water, lunch, and snacks. A backpack that holds 1o to 20 liters of water with room for a snack should do the trick for a casual hike to the petroglyphs of Pu’u Loa and other shorter hikes. Your best bet is to pack nuts, energy bars, jerky, and other high-protein snacks.

  2. Wicking T-Shirt – I love a soft, moisture-wicking t-shirt that dries quickly for trail running. It also makes a great base layer on laid back days when I just want to stroll casually through the park on a nature walk.

  3. Midweight Half-Zip Top – When it’s not quite warm enough to hike around in a t-shirt alone, throw on a wicking half-zip top for the warmth of long sleeves.

  4. Running Shorts – If the forecast calls for warmer temps, a pair of comfortable running shorts are ideal. The tropical look of this pair will take you from Kona to Volcano and on to Hilo in island style.

  5. Versatile Pants – When you’re packing for Volcano, think versatility. A good pair of pants made from a performance fabric can take you from shopping at the Volcano Village Farmers Market to a whole day adventuring in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Our favorite are pants with snaps, so you can wear them full length or roll them up, converting them to capris for those warmer days… or rainy days when you don’t want your pants wet from puddles. Speaking of rain, don’t forget your…

  6. Rain Jacket – I try not to let a little rain stop me from getting outside, but my old raincoat left me feeling damp and clammy after only an hour. Fortunately, I found a breathable rain jacket that is actually made from a waterproof membrane AND coated in durable water repellent.

  7. Trail Runners or Hiking Boots – I can hike all day if I have the right footwear. Boots are best for hiking on rugged trails and jagged lava, while a trail running shoe will suffice on shorter, easy hikes.

  8. Comfortable Socks – A durable, fast-drying pair of socks is a must. My feet are happiest in a pa