3 Must Haves for Jeep Camping in Maui, Hawaii

3 Must Haves for Jeep Camping in Maui, Hawaii

If you’re thinking about camping in the back of a Jeep in Maui, Hawaii, I’ve created the complete packing list, including all of the items we purchased for our glamping trip to ensure a safe, very comfortable, and affordable vacation that we planned at the last minute. This post breaks down the top 3 purchases I made for a camping trip in Maui, Hawaii over Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

On a Tuesday morning at 4:30am, I woke up to my boyfriend’s 10 texts, listing out all of the details he had made for a long weekend in Maui, Hawaii, including flight details, excursion ideas, lodging options, car rental deals, and more. Not all of the details were hashed out yet, but one this was for certain– we were going to board a plane at the PDX airport to Maui at 6:17pm and we both were on board with the crazy idea of sleeping in the back of a Jeep.

We would load the car Friday during my lunch break and leave directly after work, which meant we needed to pack the bags ASAP to make sure everything fit into two carry on bags and one checked bag.

So, how exactly do you fit all of your bedding, clothes, excursion gear, and more into these 3-5 bags? You choose the right gear. While I was working, Jeff’s job was to find the items we needed for camping, order them, and pick them up at Amazon’s hub lockers in downtown Portland since we were rushed for time. When I returned from work each night, my job was to ensure that everything fit into our luggage and was under the weight limits.

This bedder be good…

When Jeff told me we could get an air mattress for the back of the Jeep I thought to myself, “this better be good or he’ll never hear the end of it”. We’ve all had those awful air mattresses that deflate in the middle of the night and I was going to make sure that I wouldn’t be in one of the most perfect places on Earth, completely deprived of sleep because I didn’t sleep for three nights. To avoid this and the endless complaints to Jeff, we agreed to research the air mattresses first. The most important and trickiest item that we ordered first was the air mattress. Thank God Jeff did the research, because this purchase we really did well with and enjoyed. We wanted to make sure it fit into the actual back of a Jeep and that it was comfortable, of course. What was also important was that it had an air pump that was not battery operated. Not only did we not want to spend money on batteries, but we can’t carry batteries onto the plane, so it had to have an adapter. We ended up finding a really comfortable mattress that is purposefully for the back of SUVs and Jeeps. What we loved about this mattress was that it had four separate air compartments, allowing for less chances of deflation during the night time. Another great feature was that it had flocking on both the headrest and the sides, allowing the mattress to mold to the width of the back of the vehicle. It also was long enough so that we could keep the cab open and stick the mattress out instead of our legs cramping up to the length of the trunk.

The air mattress we deflated and fit back into the box to put into our luggage. This helped keep all the parts together and ensure it didn’t get any scratches from other items in our luggage. It really didn’t add a ton of weight to our luggage.

Prevail against being dirty…

There’s a stigma that comes with camping– that it’s dirty and gross. While, don’t get me wrong, it most certainly can be, there are products like the adult wipes made by Prevail that allow you to completely avoid being gross and smelly on a three day camping trip without showers. We were in Maui camping in the back of our extended Jeep for 3 FULL days and while the campsite had a shower, we never actually asked where it was. Our goal in Hawaii was to be as active as we could be without spending time at the campsite unless it was to sleep. We used the wipes a few times a day to stay clean and fresh. We swam all day the last day we were in Maui and took a quick shower in our bathing suit at the beach. Other than that, we went the entire trip without needing to shower– that’s truly how good these things are.

These wipes are often used for senior citizens or peoples who are often bed-bound from surgery. They are fairly large and can cover large areas. What I loved about these wipes for camping was that they were lightweight, could fit in the glove compartment for easy access, and lasted us the entire trip with plenty to spare. While they aren’t flushable, they are easy to throw into the garbage with our other rubbish. We didn’t find that they stunk up the car even after leaving them in the trash for a few hours with the windows shut. I used these even on my face to remove makeup and felt like they had enough dampness and roughness to them, but were still gentle on my sensitive skin. They don’t have too much of an odor to them, but are comparable to baby wipes with a light, clean scent.


The third best purchase we made was a bendy tripod. It’s small enough to fit in my purse, bendy enough to mount to mostly anything, and sturdy enough to withstand the wind. We used the tripod most when we wanted to take a few nice photos, but didn’t want to ask someone to take a picture of us. For example, when we were walking down the street and wanted a few more natural-looking photos of being tourists, we just set up the tripod on a tree stump and set the timer for ten seconds and selected a still from the live photo. The tripod comes with a phone holder, but can also adapt to even hold my Nikon D3300.

The value for this tripod was great for day trips and using it here and there on the fly with our iphone.

How to Plan Your First Alone Trip

The Flexible Approach to Your First Planned Vacation Alone

#1. Set an amount of money you can spend and be realistic
#2. Write down five things that you remember you used to love or think you could love
#3. Request the PTO off, even if everything isn’t planned out yet
#4. Choose a place based on the list you created in step #2
#5. Create a list in the Bear App of restaurants, cafes, and local attractions that interest you around that place
6. Book where you’re staying
7. Add the places from Step #5 to a Google Map
8. Check your car before you go: oil, gas, windshield wiper fluid, tags, license, and toll money

Every year people start off New Years Resolutions to motivate them to be the person they want to become. For me, I started my New Years Resolution back in July, where I woke up one day and told myself that it was time to stop making excuses for not doing anything fun and exciting with my life. I wasn’t sure who I wanted to be, but that I wanted to challenge myself to have unique experiences.

#1. Set an amount of money you can spend and be realistic

There wasn’t a huge budget to spend; to be honest, I had about $270 to spend and while that’s not much for a vacation, I had to make it work; I NEEDED to take a vacation. With $270, I had enough to really enjoy myself and turn my terrible 2019 into a stellar year from this one trip.

#2. Write down five things that you remember you used to love or think you could love

So, I decided to just start with what I knew I used to love– water and camping. The smell of camping, the cold damp air at night, the satisfaction of laying down in your tent with snacks nearby, and the way the sounds of other campsites danced with your silence was such a peaceful experience. Those are all memories I adore from childhood. The beach was another. I grew up chasing the waves, burying myself in sand, tasting the candies from the corner store, the hot sun drying up your splashed skin– I bask in those memories even now. It didn’t matter which body of water, but the beach feeling mixed with the camp vibes seemed like a good place to start. So, I searched “beach campsites” into google and saw their top 10 results. “Tillamook, Oregon” was a place I recognized, felt comfortable with, and knew that I could explore on my own and feel safe.

#3. Request the PTO off, even if everything isn’t planned out yet

For me, I had plenty of PTO to spend, so I just spent it. However, that’s not always the case for people (including me!). If it’s not “I don’t have the money”, it’s always “I don’t have enough PTO”. So, how much do you have to make it work?
Maybe you only have a day of paid time off (PTO) in the bank, but your company allows you to take a half-day without penalty. Or, perhaps you have holidays off from work and could schedule well in advance to take advantage of that free day off. As an example, here is a calendar of all the holidays that my company recognizes. As a rule of thumb, when the stock market is closed, our company is closed; Otherwise, we’re open! Sometimes these rules of thumb make it easy to plan ahead without asking your boss too many questions about paid time off.

#5. Create a list in the Bear App of restaurants, cafes, and local attractions that interest you around that place

6. Book where you’re staying

The first time I ever booked a hotel by myself, I showed up to the counter and they asked to put a card on file. I gave them my debit card. There was $121 available in my bank. I had no idea that you needed to put a hold on the card. But, these are things you either hear from your parents, or you just figure out. Lucky for me, the Arthritis Foundation was sponsoring my trip, so the clerk nicely told me that he put a hold on the card for $100. In reality, he should have turned me away as a guest, but since the corporate account was on file, and it was a volunteer opportunity for children with disabilities, I think he did me a solid and figured I had to be a semi-decent person to be there at the hotel on the AF’s expense.

When it comes to booking where you want to stay, I always choose one local attraction that excites me and then I book the lodging fairly close to it. My first trip alone was paragliding. So, I booked my campsite within a short driving distance to the sand dunes so that I wouldn’t chicken-out. To my surprise, my campsite ended up being about a mile from the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the place with the best breakfast and coffee in town! An added bonus was how safe the campsite was– it had a large open field with plenty of families with children around, which made me feel safe. The site had good ratings, a quick response from the campsite owner, and didn’t require any cleaning fees, which was an added plus given I was on such a small budget.

To Bring or Not to Bring the Dog

There are a few different services out there for pet sitting, which all have their pros and cons.
For the past year and a half, I have been pet sitting for owners who need either a quick getaway or need to travel to a remote destination for an extended period of time.
As a sitter, I find it worthwhile to have Rover take out some of my earnings to handle all of the back-end work like scheduling, messaging, GPS tracking, and payment. For you, as the pet sitter, this is a huge benefit as well– the sitters run a thorough background check and have to pass certain tests in-person in order to qualify as a dog walker and sitter.
In addition, their customer service line is 24/7 and the service members have all been are are still currently some of the top pet caretakers in the company. I’ve used their services many times and have always been pleasantly surprised at the level of quality service.
If your pet is your baby, I recommend going with Rover.
What Rover is:

  • A trustworthy service for someone to watch, feed, exercise, and administer medications to your pet
  • A place dog and cat lovers
  • A career for some– these people help to serve their community and be paid monies for their contributions to society to help pay for the food on their table
  • A side hustle for many– this passive income source helps to provide money for books in college or to help pay off debt
  • A therapy for some previous pet owners who can’t commit to having a pet of their own or future pet owners who need to understand the responsibilities that come with owning a pet

What Rover is not:

  • A free service
  • A grooming service, though some pet sitters qualify and are willing to groom pets for additional monies
  • A weight loss program- It is at the pet sitter’s discretion to take the dog for longer walks than the 30-minute walk option pet owners can opt-into