12 Must-Pack Items for Summer Camp

Posted July 01, 2017  | Written by PJ Our Way Team

Summer is here, and it’s time for kids to head off to overnight camp! We asked parents, PJ Our Way partner camps, and camp staff to tell us the essential “must-have” items that aren’t always on the official packing lists! Here are the top 12.

1. EXTRA UNDERWEAR  


 
The most common answer among parents was “extra underwear!” With swimming, lake time, and evening showers, campers tend to change often. Camps usually recommend one pair of underwear per day prior to laundry day; however, parents agree that their campers need more. One parent said, “add 7 to whatever the camp tells you to bring,” and another said, “pack enough underwear for four weeks!” The choice is yours … just plan on packing extra!

  2. REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE


 
A reusable water bottle is always on the top of camp packing lists. Send one with your kids to encourage them to stay hydrated on hot camp days.
 
3. REST HOUR TOOLKIT
 

 
Each day campers have some time to rest and unwind. Brent Osborne, Program Director at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp, shared that while some campers like to nap, others prefer to participate in quiet activities. Be sure to pack a good book, a deck of playing cards, Mad Libs, a coloring book, or any other non-electronic items that may be of interest.

  4. BATTERY-OPERATED CLIP FAN  


 
Cabins can get hot! Pack a battery-operated fan that can clip onto your camper’s bunk to keep your child cool on those hot days and nights! Don’t forget to pack extra batteries. If your camper is worried about getting hot during the day, a handheld spray fan or water bottle spray fan are great as well.

  5. CRAZY CREEK CAMPING CHAIR  


 
Camp grounds can be dusty, dirty, and wet. Send your camper with a crazy creek or generic folding camping chair to take around camp and use for impromptu seating.

  6. LIGHTS AND EXTRA BATTERIES  


 
Your camp’s packing list will likely recommend at least a flashlight with back up batteries. You may also want to send a reading light with a clip, a solar flashlight, or glow sticks for night time. Whatever you send, don’t forget extra batteries!

7. EXTRA PAIR OF FLIP FLOPS FOR THE BATHROOM/BATH HOUSE
 

 
Camps often recommend a shower caddy to help your camper stay organized when it’s time to hit the showers. Don’t forget to throw in an extra pair of “shower only” flip flops for shower shoes. Bathroom and shower floors can get grimy, and your camper will appreciate having that extra pair of flip flops.

  8. INSECT BITE REMEDIES AND BAND-AIDS  

Girl scratching mosquito bite
 
The nurse or infirmary will have lots of supplies on hand to help with rashes, bug bites, and other typical summer camp injuries, but campers appreciate having their own stash of band-aids and bug bite pens to handle minor issues on their own.

  9. XL PLASTIC ZIPPER BAGS

Parents from the Midwest to the South recommend x-large zipper bags. They’re great at keeping important items dry on their way to camp, and a helpful tool for campers to use for wet towels, swimsuits, and muddy shoes on their way home.

  10. PLASTIC CLIPBOARD BOX WITH PRE-STAMPED AND ADDRESSED POSTCARDS OR ENVELOPES
 
Sending letters home can be the last thing on a camper’s mind during rest hour. Encourage letter writing by packing a clipboard box with fun pens, pre-addressed and stamped postcards or envelopes, cool stationery, and fill-in-the-blank letters to send home.

 11. AN OPEN MIND AND A SENSE OF ADVENTURE  


 
These items are important; however, camp is about self-discovery, teamwork, learning to live with other people, acceptance, independence, ... and the list goes on! None of this is possible without an open mind and a sense of adventure. Encourage your campers to be open to new ideas, people, and activities; try new things; stretch themselves; and go out of their comfort zones … it will be well worth it in the end.

12. YOUR FAVORITE PJ LIBRARY AND OUR WAY BOOKS!  


 
While parents would love to send their child’s summer reading to camp, for many campers, completing their summer reading isn’t realistic. However, don’t forget to pack some of your child’s favorite PJ Library or PJ Our Way books to encourage pleasure reading and to help your child avoid the “summer slump.” Campers ages 9-11 at 67 partner camps across the U.S. and Canada will receive a PJ Our Way book and drawstring backpack and participate in book-related programming.
 
Do your kids go to overnight camp? What are your must-pack items? Tell us by commenting below.
 
 
 
 
 
Comments
missab
My mom packs little gifts in my suitcase that I open on certain days. It brings a fun surprise since you can't send packages!
7/5/2017 7:48:16 PM
BunnyFunny
Great idea! I will be sure to pack those items.
7/4/2017 8:46:17 PM
anjisings
I was happy I included a little secret love note for her to discover
7/1/2017 3:33:33 PM