What to Bring for Summer Camp: The Ultimate Camp Packing List
It’s time to start prepping to send your kiddos off to summer camp! For many parents, summer camp prep is one of the most daunting times. No one wants their kids to show up unprepared and under-packed. To avoid forgetting key items for your kid and their summer camp bag, today’s blog post is focused on sharing our ultimate summer camp packing list. Our goal is to run through all the essential camping gear your kids will need for their summer camp adventure to avoid anything being left behind or forgotten!
The Ultimate Packing Checklist:
When it comes to summer camp, casual clothing and athleisure are the way to go. After all, your little one will be enjoying the fresh air and nature and that does mean their clothes will potentially get dirty!
Start off packing for the next camping trip by packing a few t-shirts and athletic or comfortable shorts. Depending on the length of your kid’s summer camp excursion, you’ll want to pack more or fewer items. But if your kids may be playing sports or participating in activities that involve a higher risk of getting messy (ex. water activities, being by mud or dirt), it could be really beneficial to pack extra shirts since your kids most likely won’t have access to a laundry machine and could have a large pile of dirty clothes!
Check the Weather
Before your children leave for summer camp, make sure to look at the weather report. If rain is in the forecast, pack a rain jacket. If it’ll be colder at night, pack warm sweatshirts and a few pairs of sweatpants. You’ll want to really make sure your kids have the right outerwear for their camping experience since in many locations, the weather can be fickle and unpredictable.
Let’s Talk Shoes
For footwear, make sure to bring a pair of comfortable sneakers and a pair of sneakers that you won’t mind your kids getting wet or dirty. Many campers will bring a pair of old sneakers they don’t mind getting dirty along with a pair of everyday sneakers they will wear casually, but won’t use for physical activity. To keep track of your kid’s shoes, label them with our shoe labels! Our custom camp value packs include shoe labels that will help your kids' sneakers keep on returning back to them.
If your kids will be spending time by the lake or participating in water activities, pack a bathing suit. Make sure to also pack water shoes. You can also double-check to make sure that the summer camp you’re sending your kiddos to allows opened-toed shoes and if they don’t, pack closed-toe water shoes instead. We recommend these shoes from Merrell Kids!
Other Things to Consider
If the summer camp your children are attending has themed nights or special events, pack a few themed items or accessories to help them get into the camp spirit and have more fun.
A few other accessories and gear to consider packing are shower shoes (you can get inexpensive flip flops from most general stores), a packable poncho, and a hat or a visor!
Lastly, pack a ton of socks and undergarments! A pro packing tip is to put all socks and all undergarments in packing cubes or Ziploc bags so your kids can keep track of them. To label these bags, we recommend our name labels that you can get individually or in our camp value packs.
To make sure all the clothing, accessories, and footwear you’ve packed returns back to your home at the end of the summer, personalize a set of our camp value packs and label everything. You don’t want your kid’s t-shirts to end up in the camp lost-and-found bin!
Great job parents! You’ve tackled the first packing category and successfully packed your kid’s clothes. Packing for the next camping trip will be a breeze, you’re almost a packing pro.
Toiletries + Hygiene
It’s key to make sure your children are stocked with all the proper toiletries and hygiene items for their camping trips! Many campgrounds have bathroom facilities but don’t offer basic toiletries that you’ll definitely need to add to your packing checklist.
Make sure to label all their toiletries since many of your kids may be sharing communal bathrooms with other campers and all of their items could quickly get mixed up! Our labels are waterproof and durable so you won’t have to worry about labels peeling off in the shower or falling off a tube of sunscreen and into the lake!
Basic Toiletry Essentials
Starting off with the basic toiletries, make sure your kids bring their toothbrush (and a spare), toothpaste and floss. They’ll also need shampoo, conditioner, and body wash or soap.
For your kids with long hair, along with packing them a hairbrush, you may want to also pack a spray detangler. This will help painlessly untangle knots after a full day of running around, swimming, and spending time in the sunshine!
Deodorant. Deodorant. Deodorant. Especially for older kids, deodorant is a must-have. If your little camper will be on a long summer camp excursion, consider packing them two sticks instead of one of deodorant. If you like a more natural deodorant that won’t disrupt the beautiful environment your child is about to enter, we recommend this one from Toms.
Another product to help your camper smell fresh is odor-removing shoe spray. This is a life-saver for little boys with stinky sneakers or shoes!
Most summer camps won’t provide towels for your camper. Make sure to pack them a few hand towels and face towels along with bath towels. Towels especially need to be labeled since these will be hard to track down and replace at a summer camp.
For activities, pack sunscreen, bug spray, and aloe vera. We recommend the California Baby sunscreen and bug spray – their products are all-natural, skin-friendly, great for sensitive skin, and are water-resistant for up to 80 minutes! We’ve used these products ourselves and made sure to label them with our waterproof name labels since these are products we definitely don’t want to miss.
Lastly, pack a first aid kit. A first aid kit should have bandaids, aloe vera, pain-relief medications, anti-bacterial cleansing wipes, and other medical items you may need to be prepared in case of an emergency. Make sure to also include anti-itch cream for bug bites!
Most camps or camping trips nowadays have their campers in bunks and not out in the wild in tents. If your kid’s camping trip is more of an outdoor excursion and they don’t get to sleep in cabins, here are a few camping items you will need to assemble.
Outdoor Camping Trip Essentials
You’ll first need a tent among other camping gear. In case of wet weather, make sure to get a tent that has a rain tarp or buy a separate rain tarp in case of rain. Another tent accessory you’ll likely need is tent stakes. Tent stakes are designed to secure your tent to the ground and can help the tent from sliding or moving on slippery surfaces.
You’ll also need to pack your kids' campground supplies and utensils. They’ll need flashlights and spare batteries along with snacks and plates and eating utensils. A pro-tip for packing food for the campground or for anywhere in the great outdoors is to store any food or snack items in plastic bags or clear plastic bins. Make sure to label the bags or clear plastic bins with Name Bubbles labels! Storing food in bags or bins helps keep snacks fresh and also prevents critters from becoming attracted to your campsite.
Cabin Camping Essentials
If your kid is staying at a summer camp with cabins and beds, they’ll still have to pack a few things and camping gear to make their sleeping arrangements feel more like home.
If the summer camp your kid is attending has bunk beds with mattresses, pack a fitted sheet and a pillow. Make sure to ask in advance what size the mattress will be so you’ll have the right dimensions for the sheet.
Next, you will want to pack a sleeping bag and an extra blanket. We recommend packing an extra blanket that is a little more lightweight than the sleeping bag in case of hot summer nights. If the temperature is too hot, your kids can sleep with the lightweight blanket and if it’s too cold, they can bundle up in the sleeping bag with the added blanket for warmth!
One of our favorite life-hacks for packing summer camp bedding is to use a laundry bag. We recommend this one from Amazon since it’s large enough to carry everything and your kids will be able to easily pack everything back up into the bag once the summer is over.
Wrapping up the sleeping gear, if your kids sleep with a security item like a blanket or stuffed animal, make sure to pack it but take special care to label it. For younger kids, you may want to also send them with a night light to help against the fear of the dark. Lastly, if your kids won’t have great cell service or are not allowed to have cell phones, we recommend packing an alarm clock. If there isn’t reliable electricity, pack an alarm clock like this one that uses batteries.
Don’t worry parents, you’re in the final stretch of packing! The last category is miscellaneous and this is where we’ll tackle the last few items you may be missing.
A few miscellaneous items that are essential are a flashlight, a bag or backpack to carry around a few items, a beach towel, a reusable water bottle, spending money, and emergency cash. All of these items should be properly packed and labeled since your little camper will need these things many times during their camp trip.
The following items are things that are not essential to include but are nice to bring such as pens, paper, and pre-addressed envelopes to write letters home, a fun book to read, a disposable camera to capture memories, and a few snacks of foods your kids love. If your kid enjoys hiking, you may want to consider packing them binoculars, hiking boots, and a journal to write down their trail memories. If your kids enjoy fishing, you could even pack them fishing gear like their pole and bait!
Congratulations parents, you’ve done it!
Great job parents, you’ve successfully packed a great camp bag. Your little camper will be so pleased and more importantly, will be so prepared for the fun summer adventures ahead of them.
Our biggest tip for parents who are packing a child’s camp bag is to label their items. Each year, so many items end up in the lost and found and are never returned. You won’t want that to happen to your children, so make sure to find a Name Bubbles camp labels value pack that works for you and start labeling EVERYTHING.
Happy Summer Camp Season! Make sure to check out our recent blog posts for more fun and helpful parenting tips and tricks and follow us on our social media for daily organization and parenting advice.