Because I like to keep a record, here is the gear we used or wished we had used:
Sky Guide: The developer’s tag line really says it all “a star app has never been so beautiful or easy to use”. Why it was great? When you are sitting on the beach watching an epic sunset and you start to try remember the constellations you used to know. This app always impresses people the first time they see it in action. Just as interesting for my 6 year old as it is for the over 40 crowd.
Gaia GPS: Since this hike a lot has changed in the world of offline gps apps on the iPhone. This is the app I wish I had. Works great. In airplane mode I was able to track three days of hiking without recharging. A small battery pack would extend this even further. You can read a great review and tip on how to best leverage the app here: Adventure Alan
Just make sure to sync/download the maps on your route before you depart. And I did use CalTopo to print paper maps before I left.
REI Flex Lite Chair – I had read that a decent chair was worth the weight to pack in. I had purchased this a while back, and it was as light and as durable as the ad copy implied. In fact, after using it at an event in town, the wife asked that I get one for her. While the REI version of this chair is cheaper than the competitors, I usually wait to get this one during the annual 20% off sales.
Alite Mayfly Chair – This chair was also brought on the trip. We noticed that the bottom pieces had trouble staying in/together. Other than that though, looked nice & a fraction lighter than the REI Flex Lite.
Jetboil – I think most folks going on this trip know what this is. We had good success with it, just need to pick up fuel at the Ace Hardware in town. And hpoe that the airline doesn’t ask any questions about it.
MSR Pocket Rocket – I splurged at bought this, because I figured a back up stove would be nice to have. Also, since I ended up not just adding water to my meals (I made all my own dinners on the trail), I needed something other than just hot water. Was really happy with how well this worked. Had to dig a hole in the sand one night when we cooked dinner on the beach due to the shore breeze, but the stove handled it fine.
SteriPen – One of the triad of water purification devices we used. This worked really well for us, except for the fact that you have to use widemouth Nalgene bottles. Yes, it does say that in the product specs, but may not be something you are thinking about when you pack. That and we found you need to submerge the pen to a certain level every time you put it in. It was deeper than we thought, but the flashing lights told us we were doing it wrong.
GSI Dualist Cook Set – I used this to cook all of my dinners on the trail. It was also what I ate my oatmeal out of in the morning. Worked fine, bigger than I needed for myself on this trip, but I bought it for future use with my sons.
Fleece blanket: Nothing more than this is needed when we were out there. Maybe if you were camping without a tent during the middle of December you might have wanted a slightly warmer sleeping bag, but the nights are so comfortable that this was all I needed.
Another option to would be an army poncho liner. It is lighter and packs down smaller than a fleece blanket. In subsequent camping trips in Hawaii this is all I needed.
Starbucks VIA – These were awesome on the trail. Sadly, I forgot mine. Luckily I was able to barter a chocolate bar for a morning’s coffee.
Hiking shoes and poles:
Portions of the trail can get muddy and slick. The trekking pole I took to Kalalau didn’t survive after we got back. I have since switched to the Black Diamond Trail Cork Ergo. I like it because it extends to 140 cm, has strong locks and soft cork handles.
You need more than running shoes but less than hiking boots. I like something with a good vibram sole because they tend to grip pretty well in the slick mid. I wore these on the trip and for many miles after. Very happy with the purchase. Merril Moab ventilators