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How to Pack for Camp


Cynthia Feeney


Some ideas to help take the stress and anxiety out of packing for camp.

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Whether your child is attending a one-week or eight-week camp, preparing and packing can seem like a daunting task . One needs to consider: how many clothing items to bring? Are uniforms required? What canít you bring? What type of luggage should I use? With a little strategy, organization and communication with your childís camp, packing will be a breeze Ė until they return home for the unpacking!

Here are things to consider before you begin, luggage to use and extra items you may forget.

Things to ask before you start packing
  • Will I get a camp clothing list? This will be your best source of information for what the camp requires and doesnít. On lists, youíll find the number of recommended clothing items, toiletries, and other things to bring for special events, like overnight campouts or themed costume activities. If you havenít received a clothing list, call the camp or visit their Web site and see if the clothing list is available for download.
  • What canít they bring? Every camp is different and many have their own rules for what each camper is allowed. For instance, some donít allow CD players and electronic games; others donít allow candy or treats.
  • Do they need uniforms? Many camps try to reduce ďcompetitive dressingĒ among campers by requiring uniforms. Some uniformed camps require all clothing to include their camp logo; some only require a specific shirt and short color. Be sure to clear up any questions concerning your childís required attire before your child leaves for camp.
  • What items does the camp provide? Some camps provide sheets, mattress pads, and extra blankets and some even provide towels. Review your clothing list for more information about items the camp provides.

Selecting your luggage Now that you have the items you need to pack, what type of luggage should you use? Here is a list of the most common luggage types and pros and cons of each.
  • Duffel bag: Pros: Large, sturdy. Cons: bag may get damaged if shipped; heavy and awkward; child canít carry alone.
  • Trunk: Pros: Best for camps with longer stays; sturdy and does not damage easily if shipped. Cons: Bulky and often heavy; child canít carry alone.
  • Suitcase: Pros: Good for short camp stays; easy to organize clothing, as most have many compartments; easier for a child to carry alone, as most have wheels and retractable handles. Cons: Could damage easily if shipped.

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