Packing for Summer Camp

To Pack or Not Pack…

The drama of packing for summer camp is one that faces many parents each year. Getting a balance between under packing and packing enough to fill a small truck is the biggest challenge.

Most camps actually provide a packing list which can be a great help to new parents and camp attendees. When you are packing, keep in mind that your child will be coming home and is not moving permanently to a foreign country!

Here’s some guidance…

packing for summer camp


Comfortable clothing that is appropriate for camp. This includes shoes, underwear and range of clothes for different weather conditions. Don’t let your teenage girls convince you that they need heels, jewelry or their best dress. (Unless they are going to drama camp of course!) If you do not yet have a labeling kit of some sort, then find one that suits you, sew or iron on are the most popular. Take the time to label towels and bedding as well as all items of clothing.


Set aside a set of sheets, pillowcases and a towel for summer camp. Also consider an extra blanket and a laundry bag. Summer camps are renowned for having crusty bed linen so packing your own is worth the extra room it will take up in your trunk.

Wet Weather

A decent rain jacket or poncho in waterproof material should be packed for summer camp no matter what the expected weather. Also include at least one good quality fleece sweatshirt and/or vest. Don’t be fooled by the fact that your child is going to warm location, nights are cold and the weather can always change.

**TIP- Don’t forget to include a hat for both wet and hot weather.

Toiletries / Medication

Insect repellant and sunscreen would have to top the list along with all the normal toiletries your child requires. If you have girls, depending on their age, try to get them to leave hairdryers and excessive amounts of make-up at home. (They can make bags REALLLY heavy and are unnecessary for camp life.) 
If your child is on special medication then be sure to include a spare prescription and the name and number of your doctor if any further presciptions are required.

**TIP- A list of family phone numbers and email addresses in the event of an emergency is a must. Put it somewhere where your child cannot lose it- taped to the inside of their trunk or laminated and stuck inside their toiletries bag.


If you are looking for a last minute gift for your child before they depart, then some of the following may be items that slipped your mind but will come in handy while at camp. A flashlight, disposable camera, portable alarm clock, book light, waterproof watch, compass……and the list goes on!

**TIP- Don’t send any expensive items (IPods, expensive digital cameras, etc.) as such items have a habit of disappearing or getting broken. Best policy is that if you would would be heartbroken to lose it, don’t pack it.

Last but not least when packing for summer camp, don’t forget to find a journal or some special stationary for your child to record their camp memories. Pre buying some camp postcards and prestamping them might mean that you actually receive one in the time that your child is away! You can slip in some family pics to help relieve any homesickness that might kick in…

**More on coping with Home Sickness at Summer Camp