Seven Tips for Truck Camping in Hawaii

When it comes to vacationing in Hawaii, camping can help you take things to a completely level. Camping in Hawaii – whether in a full sized heavy duty pickup truck or a more compact truck – can help you see more beaches in less time and all within your own means. Here are some really valuable tips from experienced Hawaiian camper and truck enthusiast, Nic Chargualaf.

Truck Camping in Hawaii means Planning Ahead

Preventative planning is huge when vehicle camping in Hawaii. As beautiful as the land is, it can be just as unforgiving. Remember that a lot of locations in Hawaii are extremely remote. Nic recommends never leaving for camp without a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, recovery gear, and the basic tools to swap out a flat tire with a spare tire. Trail repairs and experiences are great stories, when you’re prepared for them!

Pack extra tools while truck camping in Hawaii

Prep Your Food Ahead of Time

One simple tip Nic recommends that will save you tons of time and help make the most of your time is preparing your meals ahead of time. After a long day exploring on a trail, there’s “nothing better than a hot meal on the beach.” When solo camping, cooking can seem like a chore. Having the food made ahead of time saves time, helps prevent a mess at camp, and makes for a lot less stress on the road.

Pack what you need for Truck Camping in Hawaii in a Toyota Tacoma

Fill Up Your Tank

Hawaii is an amazing place, and there are so many sights to explore. From breathtaking beaches, markets, jungles, waterfalls and campsites – there will be a lot of driving done! One thing you want to make sure you do before you head off to your campsite while camping in Hawaii is fill up your tank. While you’re at it, load up on a few more comfort items. Nic says, “it gives me an excuse to grab ice and more snacks.”

Camping in Hawaii is fun in a truck

Good Shelter is Essential

The weather is beautiful year round for camping in Hawaii, but the wind can pick up and rain is almost inevitable. Nic says, “If I am going for an overnight trip, the LEER 180 Topper allows me to sleep in the bed of the truck and minimize my gear packed. If I am staying on a multi night trip, I pack my Gazelle T4 tent and my air mattress.”

You might not have the luxury of truck bed campers, slide in campers, or rooftop tents while in Hawaii but that doesn’t mean you are stuck truck bed camping with just a sleeping bag. Other than a good sleeping platform (either in the bed or on the ground) you might want to consider bringing along compact camp chairs as well.

LEER 180 truck topper when truck camping in Hawaii

Camp Lighting

In remote areas of Hawaii, there are no street lights to rely on. The full moon can provide great visibility, but you don’t control those phases. “Sometimes I’m setting up camp or cooking after sunset,” Nic says. “I’ve found that campsite lighting is a must have out here. Stumbling around on the rocks is not the way.” Nic keeps tons of different types of lights in his camp set up, including his LEER rechargeable LED flashlight and other diffused area lighting.

Leer flashlight while truck camping in Hawaii

Packing simple lights is an easy task when flying over to go camping in Hawaii, especially if you have compact lights on hand. You can also look into the Wagan Tech Brite-Nite Dome Lantern which is only $10 and runs on AAA batteries. Considerations like this make your camping setup and camping trip easier.

Packing Extra Water for the Campsite

Despite the fact that the Hawaiian islands are surrounded by water and frequented by amazing rainstorms, they can be surprisingly dry and arid at times. It’s important to pack in extra water so you don’t dry out when enjoying a nice hike. Nic also says you’ll want the extra water for drinking, dishes, and rinsing off the salt water or camp dust.

Pack extra water while camping in Hawaii

Practice Good Camping Etiquette

When it comes to exploring the wonderful world around us in this technologically advanced era, there are some simple etiquette tips you’ll want to heed. Discovering unique and beautiful destinations while camping in Hawaii requires a bit more care than other areas, in order to be respectful of the land and the local customs.

DO NOT geotag your location on social media or anywhere else on the internet. This leads to people overcrowding small locations with delicate ecosystems. Especially in Hawaii, this disturbs the locals and causes them to be less welcoming to outsiders.

Truck camping along the Hawaiian Coast

Another well-known practice here on the mainland – which is crucial on the islands – is “Leave No Trace.” This practice is essential for being a good camper and ensuring that campsites, roads, trails, and other great locations stay open. It also helps keep our world pristine for the next generations to come.

If you could choose any truck to go truck camping in Hawaii, which would you choose?

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