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What to Pack for Summer Camp

Summer camp prep doesn’t have to be stressful or rushed. The best way to do this is with plenty of planning. Plus, this will cut out the chance of forgetting anything. With a little research and advice from camp parents that have been there, this should be easy as pie. Here are some tips on how to pack efficiently for summer camp.

What To Pack For Summer Camp

Tips and tricks to help make packing for summer camp easy.

Making Lists

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Most summer camps will send a suggested packing list for families to be prepared for an awesome summer. This should be your starting point with what to pack. To make things easier, transfer items off of the camp list and put them onto a new sheet of paper. 

Use the already established list and add to it. Talk to other summer camp families and ask what their children will be bringing. A simple Google search should pull up some additional ideas of things to pack for your kiddos. By creating a master list, you will be able to narrow down where you can pick up each item.

Facebook is a great resource for packing ideas, too. Try asking if your summer camp has a support group specifically for camp parents. This can also be a great way to arrange for your camper to meet other kiddos before camp begins. 

Seek Out the Best Deals

hiking-boots Summer Camping Prep

Via Leah Kelley on Pexels

A lot of summer camp gear can be bought locally or even secondhand. Before you purchase anything new, it might be a good idea to layout old camp gear to see what kind of shape everything is in. 

Facebook Marketplace or online garage sale groups are a great place to look for secondhand gear. Some items that you may want to purchase used might include tents, kayaks, hiking backpacks or sports equipment.

There are many things you should probably buy new or yearly for your summer camper. Some new items you should buy: hiking boots, bedding for their camp bed, water bottles, and a few new summer outfits.

Outside of the Box Items

While there are many traditional items that your camper will need, there might be some other items you may want to look into packing, too. Talk to your kiddo and ask them for ideas of things that might make them be more comfortable while at camp.

Non-camping-related items might include toiletries, phone cards to call home, a camera, or a new blanket to cuddle with. Keep in mind it might be better to pack more things than your child might need. It probably will be hard to get items to them once they are gone, so be sure they have everything they are going to need beforehand. 

What Not to Pack

Packing the right things is vital. However, there is a fine line between making sure your child has everything they might need and packing a bunch of unnecessary items. 

There will be many items that the camp should be providing, and are often included in the tuition price. Again, refer to the packing list the camp should provide.

Other things you may not want to include are any electronic devices or things of that nature. Instead, swap books or art supplies as alternatives to any downtime they may have while at camp.

Additionally, make sure no weapons are items that might get your camper in trouble are left at home. You can double-check the policy with the camp manager just to be sure!

How to Pack for Summer Camp

kids-pack Summer Camping Prep

Via Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels

Gage on what to pack everything in depending on how long your child will be at camp. Are they staying the entire summer? Or are they staying a week or two? 

Large trunks are a good idea if they are staying a longer amount of time. Check with the camp to make sure that your kid will have a place to store it. For shorter camping trips, a suitcase or maybe even a large duffle bag would work just fine. It’s also important to find out if your camper will have access to laundry or if the camp will provide this service. 

Additionally, if there is a scheduled visit from the parents at some point during the camp stay you could always plan to take old clothes and drop new ones off. Parent visitation weekends are a good time to refresh the camper’s wardrobe. 

When to Pack for Summer Camp

Many families will wait until the last minute to get their children packed for camp. However, it is best to pack about a week or two out from the first day of camp. In fact, items should be checked off the list and added to bags as they are bought.

Never wait until the last minute to pack for such a big event like summer camp. Depending on your travel time, the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling with packing before you have to travel. 

Another good tip is to pack the car the night before you have to leave for camp! This will make the morning of departure go more efficiently and be more organized. Not having to double-check the packing list or turn around for a forgotten item will make the journey that much more fun!

Camp Trade Items

Let’s be honest, kids will be kids. With that, many kids will bring small toys and snacks to camp in the hope to trade with other campers. As long as it’s not against camp policy or rules, pick a few fun items that your kiddo can use for this fun camp tradition.

The dollar store or Target dollar spot are both great places to find these types of items. For snacks, look for things that won’t go bad too quickly. Individually wrapped items that don’t need to be refrigerated are best for this as well. 

Some snack ideas might include Chex mix individual bags, Little Debbie snacks, chips, or candy. It’s important to keep in mind that all the campers will be getting healthy meals from the camp, so a little bit of snacking in between shouldn’t hurt anything.




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