Never Rent a Jeep in Hawaii

The problem with renting a Jeep in Hawaii is that it becomes your third wheel and eventually your companion, so much so that when you get back home to normal life you feel incomplete without one.  This results in spending more money for a daily impractical vehicle and leaves you yearning for even more adventure.

It all started out before we departed Whistler halfway through our  two week vacation of 2015.  We had this very fuel economical (read cheapest) econo cereal box of a car that was going to be so cost effective for our week long rental that we could laugh in the faces of the $5/gallon fuel prices of being on the Big Island.  As with most our travel procrastination we waited until the day before going somewhere to figure out what sightseeing we  would want to do once we arrived.  The shortlist for the Big Island quickly revealed endless amounts of waterfalls, Waipio Valley, Volcano National Park, and Mauna Kea Volcano summit.  Here is the rub though, two of those places require 4wd to access them and once you see the cost for a one person tour to the top of the Volcano you quickly feel a drop in the gut that you won’t be seeing the summit without hiking to the top of the 13,800′ peak.

This all led to the bright idea on the day of flying to Hawaii to just see if rates were still as high when we originally reserved our econo-box weeks before. This is actually always a good tip as dramatic savings can be had one day before arrival for your same rental period ~ unlike airlines.  SCORE for the same price as our 1972 VW Bug rental we can rent a 4wd 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4 door for the week!

Everywhere across the internets you will find companies on the Big Island  scaring you to death about taking your own rental car up to the summit of Mauna Kea and down into the valley of Waipio and if this scares you then you should probably heed their warnings.  But…. Now this next part I can’t actually advise you to do as you would be breaking your rental agreement contract, but beyond mentioning that your contract actually says you can’t leave any “paved road”, which is just their disclaimer way of saying if you F’it up it’s on you $$$.  If you can get over that then this is where the magic of your third wheel becoming your companion for the trip.


4 thoughts on “Never Rent a Jeep in Hawaii

  1. I recently added Hawaii to my list of places to go to, and this post made me want to move Hawaii even higher up on my list! It’s such a beautiful state with so many little pockets and places to visit. My friend is a nurse there and hikes every weekend. It seems like Hawaii has an abundance of hiking spots!

    1. Hey Alexis, Sorry for the late reply as the rest of 2016 caught us off guard. I can’t rave more about Hawaii it’s a world on it’s own planet; we can see ourselves going back over and over again… not quiet live there yet though. Happy New Year!!! – Dustin

  2. Aloha Dustin! I love your write up lol. “Don’t rent a Jeep cause you’ll want one when you get home. ”

    Some things have changed a bit since your visit so I thought I’d chime in if you don’t mind-
    I own a Jeep rental company here and while I was posting a video on why you need a Jeep in Hawaii, I ran across this article.
    We do let folks go to Mauna Kea and we even help them with tips, etc on how to safely get up and down.

    Based on your concern of having a “jeep void” depression in your life when you return, I would suggest NOT renting a soft top Gladiator. You may not leave the island at all 😉


    1. Dustin Orrick May 12, 2020 — 1:36 pm

      Haha Hey Joe! That’s awesome that y’all specialize in Jeep rental now. I wish y’all were there when we were.

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