Camp Essentials for Kids

As a mom who has sent her three oldest kids to camp, and eagerly awaiting the youngest to join the fun next year, I’ve learned a thing or two about the camp essentials over the years. With my two boys eventually becoming camp counselors, it’s safe to say that our family has a deep appreciation for the summer camp experience. Our camp, a classic week-long affair, provided the perfect balance of independence and supervision for kids aged 6-12.

Packing: The Key to a Smooth Camp Experience

When it comes to packing for camp, organization is paramount. Start by making a checklist of essentials tailored to your child’s needs and the camp’s requirements. Divide items into categories to ensure nothing is forgotten. About two weeks before camp, I kickstart the packing process by laying out all of our kids’ camp items on the dining room table; this not only aids in organizing similar items together but also serves as a centralized space for storing all the items I’ve ordered from Amazon and other sources.

For camp packing, I rely on an inexpensive, oversized duffle bag that accommodates all our essentials. To ensure easy access and organization, I use a sharpie to label specific items on the outside of the bag’s side zipper pockets. For instance, “swimsuits,” “socks,” and “sweatshirts” are clearly marked, ensuring they remain separate from everyday clothing inside the bag and are readily available when needed.

Sleeping Essentials for Summer Camp

When packing for kids’ overnight summer camp, ensuring they have a comfortable sleeping setup is crucial. Be sure to pack a quality sleeping bag suitable for the season and climate of the campsite. Additionally, include sheets for added comfort, along with a two pillows that provides adequate support for a restful night’s sleep. These essentials will help ensure your child stays cozy and well-rested throughout their camp adventure.

Camp Clothing for Boys: Comfort and Durability

Pack a mix of comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing, including t-shirts, shorts, pants, and sweatshirts. Don’t forget extra underwear and socks for those unexpected spills and adventures.

Camp Attire for Girls: Practical and Fun

Summer camp clothing for girls should strike a balance between practicality and fun. Lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics are essential for outdoor activities, while vibrant colors and playful patterns add excitement to their wardrobe. From durable shorts and breathable t-shirts to versatile sandals and sun hats, the attire should ensure comfort and enjoyment in the summer heat.

Camp Shoes for Boys

For boys, camp shoes should offer durability and versatility, providing reliable support for various outdoor activities while ensuring comfort throughout the day.

Shoes for Girls: Practicality And Fashion

Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are a must for outdoor activities. Sneakers or hiking boots that can withstand rugged terrain are ideal. Flip-flops or sandals are great for showers and downtime.

Camp Accessories: Fun and Functional

Equip your child with a water bottle, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat to protect against the elements. A backpack or daypack is handy for carrying essentials during hikes and outings.

Bathroom Essentials: Hygiene Matters

Pack a toiletry kit containing toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and any necessary medications. A quick-dry towel and shower caddy keep things organized in shared bathroom spaces.

Organization: Labeling Saves the Day

Labeling your child’s belongings ensures they return home with everything they brought. Use waterproof labels or permanent markers to mark clothing, shoes, and personal items. Packing cubes or labeled bags keep items sorted and easy to find. In my pre-camp packing routine, I meticulously organize each day’s outfit into gallon-size Ziplock bags, containing a shirt and shorts tailored for the day’s activities. This method not only simplifies dressing each morning but also ensures that everything stays clean and organized throughout the week. Additionally, I designate a separate Ziplock bag for underwear and socks, keeping essentials easily accessible and neatly stored. This system streamlines the packing process and eliminates the hassle of rummaging through luggage to find specific items.

In conclusion, preparing for camp requires thoughtful planning and organization. By packing smartly and labeling belongings, you’ll set your child up for a successful and enjoyable experience. So, make a packing list, and watch as your kids create lasting memories in the great outdoors. You can read more of my children’s milestone posts here.

My camping essentials for kids serves as a general guide. Please ensure to consult your specific camp checklist provided by your camp organization for a comprehensive list of items required for your child’s camping experience. Additionally, be sure to review any regulations or restrictions concerning items that are prohibited or not recommended for bringing to the campsite. My favorite items for summer camp are linked below. I hope that these carefully curated items will contribute to ensuring your child remains a happy camper throughout their overnight camp experience.


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