Advice For Parents

Packing for camp 101: what you should bring

Carrie Kashawlic

As camp season nears, campers and parents will be thinking about shopping and packing for camp. What do you bring and what do you leave at home? Most camps will send a suggested packing list to assist you with specific clothing needs.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your camp. We’re all very happy to help make sure you and your camper are ready for a fantastic summer experience. 

Do bring:

  • A water bottle, and an extra one. (There must be a cute field mouse deep in the woods that is running a re-sale business!)
  • Much-needed waterproof sunscreen and bug spray. Again, this is something that tends to get misplaced or lost, so mailing a package mid-season with these items will keep kids healthy and happy.
  • Swim goggles and several swimsuits. An extra towel is always handy, too.
  • Something fun — possibly a surprise for your camper to find at camp! From a feather boa to a card game to a strange and unusual hat, crazy fun is the norm at camp!
  • Pre-addressed and stamped envelopes. Store in a Ziploc bag to keep from self-sealing in the humidity.
  • A sturdy laundry bag and label everything. Labels help counselors ensure campers go home with all their belongings, and if (ok, when) that fails we know where to mail it. Black, permanent Sharpie markers work well; personalized labels can also be ironed into clothing.
  • An inexpensive disposable camera. Once home, you can have a photo CD or prints made so your camper can remember the experience.
  • Rain gear and waterproof shoes. Nothing ruins a camp experience more than being cold and wet. Cold and dry works. Wet and warm works. Cold and wet is a non-starter.

Don’t bring:

  • Heavily scented items — shampoo, conditioners, soap. They attract bugs.
  • Any food, candy, or gum. It’s an invitation for new (and not-so-welcome) animal friends.
  • Electronics. Most camps don’t allow them, and you don’t want expensive items getting lost or stolen.
  • Expensive sports equipment or musical instruments without checking with the camp director. Storage and security could be an issue, in addition to humidity damage.

Let your camper assist with the shopping and packing. It’s an excitement builder and they know what they are bringing and where it is. Make a copy of the packing list and tape to the top of the trunk so your camper can use it as a re-packing reference to be sure everything is accounted for before they head home.

Carrie Kashawlic is the director of Fleur de Lis Camp, located in Fitzwilliam.

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