I often get emails from people around the world telling me that they planned a trip to Hawaii to hike the Kalalau Trail and they just found out that there are no permits available. They usually ask questions like: Can I be put on a waiting list? Will more permits be issued at a later time?
It seems every time that I camp somewhere I decide that there was something that I should have done different to make my trip a little better. I'm sure this happens to most people. That's why we get to be better and better campers with each trip as our experience widens.
Hiking permits are necessary in order to fully hike Kalalau Trail, but you have to make sure to get them on time. In many instances people get to Kauai and decide last minute to hike, and are surprised to find that the permits are sold out. If this happens to you, you aren't totally out of luck.