Kalalau Logistics

I wanted to give some details about the food and equipment I took on my recent 2.2-day hike on the Kalalau trail. While a 2-day hike is different from a 5-day outing, this can give an idea of the minimum needed. Here I am all ready to go at the trailhead:

Trailhead signs at Ke’e beach for the Kalalau Trail

Food for 48 Hours

The advantage of going for only the weekend is that I didn’t need to carry much food. To reduce weight, I decided to eat cold so I could leave the campstove. I mixed some peanut butter and jelly into a plastic container, and I took 1 large tortilla for each big meal (4 in all). I couldn’t stand PB&J by the last day and didn’t finish it—next time I’ll take humus. For breakfasts I took granola bars and dried fruit, and for the rest of the day some trail snacks (salty nuts and crackers, dark chocolate, and hard candy). One of my favorite trail snacks are Iso Peanuts, sometimes called Mochi Balls: they’re Japanese and made of a peanut coated with rice-cracker and various flavorings–carbs, protein, fat, and salt in a convenient package.

For drinking, I took only one 1.5L bottle of water and the water filter with purifier drops. Seeing how I probably sufferend from low electrolytes, next time I will try to take some powdered sport drinks (PDF and others).

Minimal Equipment

On this trip, I tried out a light-weight travel hammock which I cover with a plastic tarp against the rain (I hear there are all-in-one hammock “tubes” that would be perfect). My bedroll is a fleece sleeping-bag, light-weight but sufficient (almost, as seen above). I hike in shorts and a shirt that are not cotton, because they dry faster and carry moisture away. The shorts are actually a bathing suit, so I don’t have to deal with underwear and so I can jump in the water anytime. I wore one change of clothes and carried another for sleeping and for the hike out. Only take clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, the mud or dust can stain even synthetic fabrics.

Along with the minimum saftety equipement (hat, sunscreen, knife, whistle, lighter, and emergency mylar blanket) and some accessories (camera and GPS), I could fit all this in a day pack, which probably weighed around 20 lbs (10 kg). Even without the hip support of a full pack, this was by far the most comfortable pack I’ve carried into Kalalau. Because of the heat, I really recommend carrying as little as you possibly can, it only adds up to extra strain, effort, and fatigue.

For shoes, I usually go with full height hiking boots when I have a full pack. I have weak ankles and need the extra support. With the lighter pack, I was comfortable with the running/trail shoes I have. Trail shoes have the advantage of being lighter and breathing better, but make sure they have plenty of big tread, anything else will slip too much. I do not recommend hiking sandals (Tevas or Keen) unless you’ve hiked extensively in them before–same goes for flip-flops that the Kalalau “hippies” wear on the trail.

Finally, you can see in the first picture that I hike with poles. I always take them for backpacking and almost never for day-hiking. Since they mainly help me balance a heavy pack and take some strain off my knees, I considered not taking them. They can get in the way in the overgrown sections, and they do cause a bit more erosion. But they also allow me use my arm strength for walking faster, and they are useful for stream crossings, so I took them. If you have poles and are used to them, I recommend you use them on the Kalalau trail.

More on Parking

Hikers can understandably be worried about leaving their car several days unattended at the trailhead parking at Kee Beach. I have an old island car that I’ve left parked there up to 5 day without incident. I do lock it (on principle), but mostly I leave nothing valuable in the car, even out of sight. I do leave a towel, a change of clothes, some water, and other worthless car junk, but always in the open, not in a closed bag. Obviously, rental cars are more conspicuous, so never leave anything you can’t loose, even if you are just going to the beach. That way the worst thing that happens is that you have to deal with insurance, should anything happen.

I actually haven’t heard of break-ins at Kee Beach, but I’m sure they occur, it’s one of the most remote places and there are no people around at night. There is a ranger stationed there as part of the Haena State Park, but I don’t know if they patrol at night. Leaving your car at the campground at Haena beach should be safer because there are people around, but that’s no guarantee, and you then have to walk or get a ride 1 mile (1.6 km) to and from the trailhead. The surest thing is to be dropped off if you can arrange it, though you need to set a pick-up time and ask your driver to be willing to wait an hour or two for you, in case you’re late hiking out. Needless to say that catching a plane the same day you hike out of Kalalau is tempting fate.

Updated Feb 18, 2008: I gave some more details in a comment reply on another post. Also, I have heard that you can sometimes park your car at the YMCA Camp Naue in Haena. They will charge a fee, but it’s probably the option that is most safe. Depending on who else is using the camp, you may also be able to camp or bunk there before and after hiking the Kalalau trail. Their phone number is (808) 246-9090, and I found more information at the Frommer’s travel site (even the official YMCA website links there). Thanks to Mary Jo in the comment below for finding out that the YMCA camp is not an option. I had heard about the camp from several sources, including the link above, but I failed to confirm my information directly with the YMCA poeple.

Printed from: http://great-hikes.com/blog/kalalau-logistics/.
© 2024.


  1. Mary Jo Gasparich says:

    Hi Andy,
    Thanks for the reply. I have spoken to someone at the YMCA camp. She said it is NOT possible to park there, fee or no fee. Also, camping is only available for groups of 20-25 with reservations. If one calls them the day of, they may have an opening and one may camp there. It is way too speculative for our group of 5 to gamble on maybe having a place to stay, with our hike beginning in the am.
    I guess at this point our only option is walking back from H. State Park. If you hear of any other ideas please let me/us know.
    Mary Jo

  2. Andy says:

    Thanks again, Mary Jo. Did you see my other comment? The Sierra Club shuttle is expensive, but it might work (then again, they may not have space for 5 people). Here is that link again: great-hikes.com/blog/kalalau-questions/#comment-13830

    Otherwise, I am thinking that Haena State Park is the best option for you. You could drop off everyone and the packs at the trailhead and just the driver has to hoof it or hitch a ride, and it’s only 1 mile. With people around all day and other cars at night, it’s the least likely to attract attention. Or just check your car insurance and credit card to see what your coverage is with a rental, and leave it at the trailhead. In any case, I wouldn’t leave anything visible in the passenger compartment (including papers, brochures, and guide books), and only non-valuables in the trunk that you can live without in case of theft.

    Finally, I’m sure theft happens, and I sometimes see broken glass in parking lots, but I really haven’t heard of much. I don’t work with visitors everyday, but I think I would have heard of it being a problem if it were.

RSS feed for comments on this post

Leave a Comment