While each camp may have their own unique packing lists, there’s a handful of items that are essential at each camp. As we get ready for our daughter to go to her second year of summer camp, I am sharing some of my favorite (and useful!) camp items plus some packing tips!
When it comes to packing, the key is to make everything accessible to your child once you are gone. If your child is going to camp for a 1-2 weeks, and clothes will not be laundered, I have found that using Ziploc bags to sort each day’s clothes is the easiest way to do this, plus it is a major space saver. My daughter really appreciated the ease of this system last year. I also put an extra basket we had in the trunk to help keep things organized.
A shower caddy is important to have because it helps your child identify his or her toiletries in the bathroom easy and keeps them organized in one place. This one is already made, but check out this post for an easy DIY to cut back on the price of a personalized shower caddy.
A laundry bag is another essential because not only will they have an easy spot for dirty clothes, but when they are packing to come home, it gives them a place to put clothes that they can’t fit back in their trunk.
There are many options for camp trunks but my daughter loved her Kangaroo Case trunk, hand-painted by Camille’s Creations (Dallas only). Last year was our first year to use it and I am still impressed by its sturdiness, quality and packing space. If you are planning for your child to go to camp for many years, it would definitely be worth the investment because it could be passed down to other children – and possibly even grandchildren!
The secret when it comes to clothes is to make sure you don’t pack your child’s favorite outfit or pricey items because they can get lost or ruined easily, especially among the other campers’ clothes. We stock up on inexpensive items like these athletic shorts from target, monogrammed t-shirts from Etsy, and Old Navy swimsuits. Check out this post on tween clothing for more ideas on where to buy everyday clothing for your child.
Don’t forget a raincoat! Especially in the earlier Summer months, rain can roll it quickly and you want your child to be prepared!
No need to pack a lot of shoes. I would argue that your child only needs three pairs of shoes: a pair of tennis shoes that are okay to get dirty or wet, water shoes to wear to the lake or pool, and cheap flip flops to wear in the shower. Chacos are definitely the most popular water shoe, but are pricey. If you are looking to spend less money, these Native shoes function well as water shoes for both girls and boys.
Bringing the typical toiletries like shampoo, conditioner and body wash are important, but make sure not to forget sunscreen and bug spray. It is easy for your child to forget to apply sunscreen or bug spray when you aren’t around, but the counselors do their best to remind them. Pack you children both of these and make sure they know where it is in their trunk or suitcase. Check out this post for my sunscreen review from last year.
Having a towel wrap makes shower time easy as your child can wrap the towel around and easily hop out of the shower for the next camper to get in. This one is already personalized, but this is a less expensive option that can be embroidered. A personalized toothbrush case might be good to keep your child’s tooth brush from getting lost!
Some packing lists may include these, but others may not. It is absolutely essential to pack your child a water bottle that they can refill at each meal. This personalized wide mouth bottle is a great one as well. Staying hydrated will help keep them healthy and allow them to enjoy their camp experience to the fullest!
A clipboard and stationery are fun items to include to help make it easier for your child to write home! JOY Creative Shop is my go-to for stationery and now they have these fun camp sets. I also love these camp notes that come with stickers!
One thing you might want to include: a little gift for your child’s camp counselor or think about sending something during camp. They appreciate it so much!
As the school year comes to a close and your child starts to look forward to camp, we hope this post makes the packing process easier. Make sure to check out this post for tips and tricks on how to make the summer camp experience special for your child and this post on how to prep care packages before hand!
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