" I am someone who dreads packing and will leave it to the last second to actually pack.   So packing for something that was for 6 months was quite challenging.

Not knowing a whole lot of what to pack I decided to empty all my drawers into a very large suitcase and hiking backpack.  I put in close to 13 pairs of shorts and 6 pairs of pants, which was way more then I ended up even wearing.   I threw in every kind of summer wear I owned when really, I didn't need half of it.

 In the end I had a full suitcase that was 10 pounds over the wight limit for the plane and a very stuffed hiking backpack." - Austin

" If you're like me, packing for DTS was probably the most challenging packing time in my life. Okay, a tad bit of an over exaggeration, but it was definitely tough. I had no idea where to begin.

I literally just emptied out my closet and folded a bunch of clothes on my couch. I was trying things on, purging my closet and wracking my brain on what sort of clothing I should include. At the end of packing I had to sit on my suitcase and pray that my bag wouldn't burst while traveling to Hawaii.

In the end, I could confidently say I brought too much clothing." - Mailen

Austin & Mailen sound like lots of our students. We get it, it's hard to know what to pack for DTS, especially in Hawaii, and when outreach could literally be anywhere in the world. So we want to help you out a bit, so that when n you head to outreach you don't all look like this photo! 


Here are some of the common packing related questions we get asked...

  • What type of bag should I bring?
    • First thing to ask yourself is actually 'Can I carry it all in one go?' If you can't then leave it at home. There's no-one else to carry it except you.
    • We would recommend either a suitcase, duffle or hiking back-pack (recommend using a 50-70L backpack, dependent on how much space you'd prefer). Different luggage works better in different outreach locations, so it's hard to predict what you will best need. Some places you definitely need a back-pack, others it's not so essential. If you don't bring one, we normally have a couple that can be borrowed. Wheels are ALWAYS a good idea on luggage, BUT but you still might have to pick it up and carry it a distance. 
    • We also suggest having a smaller back-pack you can use for your carry-on and general day-use outreach bag.
    • For outreach you will be allowed to take ONE checked piece of luggage, weight limit 60 lbs/23 kg, one carry-on item and a small person bag (optional)
    • Please make sure you luggage has a label with your full name and contact info.
  • Is there much storage?
    • Dorm life does not equal much storage. So please don't over pack. Some dorms have dressers, some cubbies, some closets. You might need to leave things in your luggage, 
  • Should I bring a laptop?
    • Yes, we definitely recommend bringing a laptop or tablet. We have campus wide wi-fi. However we don't always recommend taking them all on outreach, but we provide secure storage. Hawaii power is 110 volts.
    • All valuables are brought at your own risk and YWAM takes no responsibility for them.
  • Can I leave things when I go on outreach?
    • Yes. You really won't need too much for outreach. We provide secure storage for electrical and valuable items.
    • All other non-perishable items, in secure luggage or containers, are labeled and stored at your own risk.
  • How do I know what to bring if I don't know where I'm going on outreach?
    • We suggest you bring the basics as listed below and then you can always have family members send things or purchase them (locally or online - we don't have the best local shopping options)
  • Do I need to bring bedding? What type?
    • Yes. You will need to provide all your own sheets, pillow, blankets and towel. The beds are twin/single size. As it is hot here you wont need lots of heavy bedding ... we suggest a simple fitted and flat sheet and pillow case set, with a light blanket. You can sometimes get them donated here, buy locally or bring with you.
    • We suggest a couple of towels - one for the beach and one for the shower.
    • Some people use sleeping bags during Kona time, but that can be hot and not always comfortable.
  • Do I need a sleeping bag, hiking boots, cold weather gear?
    • As we mentioned above about back-packs, it often depends on your outreach location. We do suggest a light sleeping bag, a rain jacket, a sweater, pair of socks and tennis/athletic shoes ... if you work in the kitchen which is likely, you need to have closed-toed shoes. Only a few locations need actual hiking boots
    • It's highly unlikely you will be in subzero temperatures.
  • What about laundry?
    • There are pay per use washers and driers in each dorm building. You will need to provide your own detergent and are operated with quarters.

To help you avoid the over packing saga, we are here with a list of clothing and essentials to pack, and our tips for packing and travel.

Things to know:

  • It's hot all year round. But in January qtr it can be a little bit chilly every early in the morning. In July-October it gets VERY humid. (We don't have air conditioning)
  • It can rain really heavily.
  • We don't dress for the beach every day.
  • You will be doing some manual labor / work.
  • We are a multi-cultural campus, with people from all sorts of backgrounds. So even though it's Hawaii, we choose to not dress like it's a beach trip every day. Modesty can be a confusing and misused word, but to be blunt, we don't really want to see your underwear in class or in worship, neither do we really need to see your butt-cheeks or belly button, so keep them covered by tops & shorts long enough.
  • Pack things that mix and match, items that you can layer for outreach if needed. 
  • PACKING CUBES ... they are a packing game-changer- they keep you organized and contained. You can get the from places like Amazon,  Walmart, Ikea - look them up.
  • Make sure your things are not see-through! A lot of lightweight fabric becomes totally transparent in the bright Hawaii sunshine!

Suggestion on what to pack:

  • 8-10 t-shirts/tops: Make sure to include some t-shirts you won't mind getting dirty! 
  • 3-4 pairs of shorts: Bring a few regular shorts and athletic shorts, it gets hot here in Hawaii! (Ladies, no 'booty' shorts please, make sure they actually cover your butt)
  • 2-3 pairs of pants: Ladies, you will also want pants for outreach, as you may be traveling to countries with more conservative cultures - we suggest lightweight.
  • 1-2 pairs of leggings - ladies: useful for outreach, working out, travelling or sleeping in colder climates - make sure they aren't see-through.
  • 3-4 skirts or dresses - ladies: if they are longer you could use them for outreach or shorter with a pair of leggings underneath.
  • 3-6 pairs of socks
  • Underwear: Your discernment!
  • 1-2 sets of formal wear: You'll want something nice to wear for church, celebrations, and graduation! For men - button ups, nice pants, tie. For women - dresses, nice blouses/tops, and skirts long or short (we suggest you bring something that covers your shoulders and long skirts/dresses, since it's highly possible you will be traveling to conservative countries.) 
  • Shoes: One pair of flip flops/sandals, one pair of running shoes, a pair of casual shoes, one pair of more formal/church shoes.
  • Modest bathing suit: For women - One piece or tankini - no thongs or tiny bikini tops. For men - no speedos. 
  • 1 light rain jacket: In the summer months (July-October) we get a lot of rain! 
  • 2-3 sweatshirts/cardigans: In the January qtr is can get a little chilly early morning or if you explore the island. Your outreach location might also be a bit colder.
  • Pajamas - please make sure it is decent to be seen by the opposite gender / your leader 

Essential general items:  (* items you can easily get here)

  • Bible, journal, and pen! 
  • A pillow and a bed sheet: for those hotter nights! *
  • 2 towels: one for the beach and one for showering *
  • Passport
  • Water bottle *
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen *
  • Power/electrical adapter
  • Phone and charger (in Hawaii we have a standard North American electrical outlet)
  • Hat *
  • Day pack: a standard backpack/purse will do! 
  • Athletic clothing for working out or other school events
  • Headphones
  • Camera
  • Laptop
  • Personal Toiletries - keep it limited, they get heavy *
  • Light Weight Sleeping bag 
  • Personal medical prescriptions incl.  for eyes

What Not To Bring

  • Too many books: You'll be receiving books on your DTS to read, so bring only the ones you really want to take with on your adventure.
  • Too many shoes: You don't need many and you'll probably resort to flip flops most days! 
  • Flat irons/curling irons/extensive amounts of beauty products/etc: Leave those products behind! They aren't worth the weight.  Seriously ladies, embrace the natural hair, and you will probably sweat most make-up off!