Packing for Summer Camp: Don’t Let Campers Forget These Essential Items

Share this packing list with parents so your camps don't forget anything they'll need for camp!

Kids arrive at camp all smiles and excitement, their bags packed neatly with clothes, swimsuits, shoes, socks and toothbrushes. Throughout the session, however, a few “uh, oh” moments may spoil the fun. Now is the time to remind your participants about a few frequently forgotten summer camp essentials to add to their packing lists. Check out our handy list below, and you may even choose to share it via email or social media. Parents will thank you, and the kids will, too!

What To Include When Packing For Summer Camp:

Paper, Envelopes & Stamps: Writing letters home provides a calming outlet from the hectic camp lifestyle, especially for kids that are shy. Parents can provide a pack of letter-writing supplies, plus a few pre-addressed, stamped envelopes.

Address Book: An address book allows kids to take down new friends’ contact info. Especially if cell phone use is discouraged at camp, this is an excellent way to ensure they’re able to stay in touch year-round.

Sunscreen: Absolutely essential, yet often overlooked, a camper can almost never have too much sunscreen. Parents should send plenty of their brand of choice, and a hat and sunglasses are also a good idea for especially sunny days.

Rain Gear: You never know when a summer thunderstorm will pop up. Remind parents to pack a raincoat or poncho and an umbrella.

Allergy Medications: If little ones are allergy-prone, it’s beneficial for parents to research allergies in the camp area and send along approved medications, as needed. They should be sure to label all bottles and boxes and deliver them to the appropriate staff member upon arrival.

Insect Repellant: Whether they choose a traditional or all-natural formula, parents may also wish to send along insect repellant in stick, spray or towelette form.

Games: A game can be the perfect icebreaker. A simple game, whether it’s a hacky sack or a deck of cards, is a perfect pack-able to play with fellow campers when there’s downtime or rain.

Permanent Marker: Parents label everything they pack for kids to take to camp. It’s a good idea to send an extra permanent marker, too, so campers can label any items they may create, find, win or purchase during the session.

Laundry Bag & Plastic Zipper Bags: Mixing clean and dirty clothes in trunks, bags and drawers is a recipe for a mess. Activities can add wet bathing suits and muddy socks into the mix, too. A laundry bag and plastic zipper bags to corral soiled items are essentials no camper should be without.

Reusable Water Bottle: Parents may remember bringing canteens to camp when they were kids, and this is the modern version. Choose a distinctive style, label it clearly with the child’s name and ensure they know how to clean it properly between uses.

Disposable Camera: Kids are familiar with the instant gratification of smart phone cameras, but if it’s allowed, a disposable camera can make for a memorable post-camp project: a scrapbook. After returning home, developed pics can be paired with artwork and camp-themed decals from the craft store to create a one-of-a-kind keepsake.

A Sneaky Gift: Finally, it’s a fun idea for parents to sneak a small gift or snack and a note into their child’s bag as a special goodbye surprise.

Camp Program Readiness ChecklistSummer is nearly here, and it’s time to get ready! Check out how ACTIVE’s Camp & Class Manager can help you before, during and after each session. Download our program checklist to make sure you’re summer-ready.

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About Sara Rathbun

Sara Rathbun is the Digital Platforms Specialist for ACTIVE Network, where she optimizes content and marketing campaigns for online delivery. With over 8 years of experience working in a variety of markets, she's well versed in marketing strategies for events of all kinds.