Starting Summer Camp Off Right Begins With Careful Packing

Once you know where your child is going to camp, the next big decision is, “What do I pack for camp?”  

The good news: You probably have many things you need already.

Take the camp packing list (usually found on the website or in the welcome packet) and see what you have around the house before rushing off to buy everything. 

See if the camp suggests living out of a trunk or packing in duffle bags they will stow during the session. 

Remember, you want your child to have fun and not worry about ruining anything, so send older clothes. 

Socks, socks, socks – they disappear more than any other article of clothing. I used to tell my kids to leave their socks at camp. They get so filthy; you would never get them clean again, and chances are high they will bring back someone else’s socks.

Ask the camp how often they offer laundry service. You will likely only need to pack enough clothes for one to two weeks. 

Depending on the climate, your child may want to layer up in the morning and evening. 

They may shed that sweatshirt very quickly as the day warms up, but it feels terrific in the morning for breakfast or around the campfire at night.

Some camps have dress-up days, so your child might need a particular outfit or a costume for a themed event.

Find out if there is a color war and pack colored bandanas and a few different colored T-shirts so your child is ready.

Most importantly, label everything. Even with labeling, your child will come home with someone else’s clothes, and your child’s clothes will end up somewhere else. 

Write a short letter or cute card and tuck it into your child’s trunk or duffle so that it’s the first piece of mail they receive at camp. Make the note positive and empowering.

Including your child in organized packing is a great way to begin laying the groundwork for a calm start to an amazing summer at camp.

After your child comes home, pack away camp gear in the duffle or trunk for next summer: flashlights, fans, laundry bags, water bottles, old towels, and more. When next summer rolls around (and it comes quickly), you will be that much ahead of the game.

The bottom line: Camp is one of the best times of your child’s life. Make packing easy, fun, and part of the experience.

Reach Helene Abrams with Tips on Trips and Camps, a free advisory service that helps parents find enriching summer overnight experiences for their children, ages 7-18, at 214-693-9259 or [email protected]

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Helene Abrams

Helene Abrams, of the free advisory service Tips on Trips and Camps, helps parents find enriching summer overnight experiences for their children. Reach her at 214-484-8141 or [email protected]

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