Essential Packing for Your Young Camper


Getting ready to send your son or daughter off to a camp program this summer? The list of what campers should take with them varies a little from program to program. The following list will help you avoid last-minute scrambling for essential items.

Day camps typically suggest that you send along the following with your child:

  • a change of clothes
  • a bathing suit
  • an extra pair of sneakers
  • 1 or 2 towels
  • personal sports equipment, such as a baseball glove or soccer pads
  • sunscreen
  • a bathing cap
  • a water bottle
  • lunch, if it isn’t supplied

Some overnight camps require uniforms, or at least the purchase of a camp T-shirt. Check with the camp staff to see if they allow belongings to be packed in trunks or whether duffel bags are preferred.

Camps usually require that campers take their own bedding, including sheets, a pillow and towels. Some camps may provide these items. Most camps either recommend or require name tags on every item. Laundry usually goes out once a week.

Contact the camp to obtain a list of necessary items. The following is a list of clothing and equipment your child may need for overnight camp:

  • 10 tops, such as T-shirts, tank tops and mesh shirts
  • 6 pairs of shorts
  • 4 bathing suits
  • plenty of socks and underwear
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of sweatpants
  • 1 or 2 sweatshirts
  • 8 towels
  • 1 or 2 fabric laundry bags
  • wet-weather gear, including thick-soled shoes or duck boots and a raincoat
  • personal sports equipment and a mouth guard
  • extra eyeglasses
  • bedding, including 2 sets of twin-size sheets and pillow cases, a blanket and a comforter (optional) or sleeping bag
  • toiletries, such as soap, a toothbrush, shampoo and a bag to hold them
  • sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and insect repellent with the lowest content of D.E.E.T. possible (7.5 percent)
  • a baseball cap or other hat with a sun visor
  • a water bottle
  • writing utensils and stationery or postcards

You also may want to include required-reading books, a flashlight, a small reading lamp, sunglasses, a battery-run fan and extra batteries. Many camps prohibit items such as skateboards, expensive stereo equipment, handheld electronic games and knives.

At some camps that have a canteen service where kids can purchase refreshments or essential items, the camp staff will collect money from parents at the beginning of the session and deduct the amount spent by campers from their account.

Be sure to inform the camp nurse about any medicines your child requires and how they should be administered. Most camps ask for either a health history or physical examination prior to the beginning of camp.


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