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Summer Camp Packing List and Tips

Packing for camp doesn’t have to be complicated. Grab this summer camp packing list and get useful tips so your kids can enjoy their summer.

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Is your child going away to sleepaway camp this year?  I just signed my middle son up for camp and just printed out the list of items that the camp said he needed.  He can barely keep things organized at home.  What’s going to happen while he’s away for a week?!  Here are a few packing for summer camp tips that makes things a little easier for you and your child.

It’s time to set your kids up for a successful week of making new friends.

girl in orange life jacket with an oar sitting in a canoe on a lake

Packing for Summer Camp Tips

Send old clothes.  Don’t go out and buy a bunch of new clothes for summer camp.  I’ve saved a bunch of old shirts from past summer camps, 5K runs we’ve done, bible school shirts, and those shirts you get after you participate in a sport.  My kids never wear these shirt and they just take up space in the drawer.  I put them all aside.  I can throw them away if they get ruined and don’t feel bad about it.

Don’t sent something thats irreplaceable. Something will get lost.  More than likely they will lose something, so don’t send anything with them that can’t be replaced.  Don’t send your child’s favorite stuffed animal.  You may never see it again.

Label.  This is pretty simple.  Your camp may suggest adding the camper’s name to clothes. Do it! Put your child’s name or initials on EVERYTHING! Writing your last name on items is pretty easy.

Pack extra.  You may want to pack extras.  My child always seems to get wet.  Most of the time it doesn’t bother him, but having an extra set of clothes for him to change into could be helpful.  Think rain!

Get your kids involved. Have your kids help your pack up. They’ll know what’s in there and they’ll know where to find it in their bag.

Place clothes in baggies.  I like to put outfits in a gallon sized bag.  It seems kind of silly for older kids, but you don’t want them to throw a wet towel or bathing suit in their bag.  Everything will start smelling like mildew. The same with dirty clothes, the clothes in the baggies will stay clean.

Don’t overpack.  Sometimes it’s easy to keep adding things to the suitcase or even adding a small duffel bag, but don’t!  Remember, they need to be able to handle all this by themselves. I don’t plan on sending entire bottles of shampoo because he’ll probably only wash his hair once anyway! 🙂

Follow the rules of your camp.  If it says no electronic devices, then don’t pack video games or cell phones. If it says no food, it’s probably because they don’t want animals in the cabins. Most camps have a camp store so kids can purchase snacks and drinks.

Just remember- The more you pack, the more they have to keep up with.   You just want your kids to go off and have fun and not worry about their stuff.

camp fire with sticks with hands holding marshmallows and toasting over the fire.

Summer Camp Checklist

You’ll need to gather the following items to start your packing process.


  • T-shirts (5-7)
  • Shorts (5-7)
  • Sweatpants (1-2)
  • Jeans (1-2)- At least one pair of long pants are great for chilly nights or horseback riding.
  • Underwear (10-12)
  • Socks (10-12)
  • Pajamas (2-3 sets)
  • Swimsuit
  • Rash Guard (for water activities)
  • Raincoat/Poncho
  • Hat
  • Sandals
  • Sneakers-
  • Flip-flops- Having a water proof pair of shoes is important! You don’t want them wearing teenis shoes and socks to the camp pool or lake!

Toiletries and Personal Items

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen- Sun protection is super important because if they get sunburned, they will be miserable and may not be able to participate in outdoor activities.
  • Insect repellent- I also like to add in Afterbite for any itchy bug bites they may get. This is one of my summer camp essentials.
  • Lip balm
  • Towels (2-3)
  • Washcloths (2-3)
  • Feminine products (if needed)
  • Prescription medications (if needed)


  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Blanket
  • Flashlight
  • Spare batteries
  • Reusable Water bottle
  • Backpack/daypack
  • Sunglasses
  • Books/magazines
  • Stationeries and stamps- Extra paper is always good so they can get phone numbers of new camp friends.
  • Camera

*Note: Some items may not be applicable to every camp, so be sure to check the camp guidelines before packing.

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Startup Wonder

Thursday 24th of January 2019

Good article to help kids on how to pack and get ready for their summer camp.

Penelope Smith

Tuesday 31st of July 2018

My little brother wants to go to a summer camp next year. So, It is good to know that he should take some older clothes that they can get dirty. That is good to know especially if he goes to a camp that does a lot of crafts.

Becca Holton

Thursday 5th of July 2018

My daughter wants to try attending a summer camp this year. I think it would be a good experience for her. That's why I appreciated that tip about writing my child's name on everything. It is simple, but it's also something I would have forgotten to do.


Saturday 12th of May 2018

A child need camp to make the friend, Build a personal relationship with a reliable adult, develop hobbies and interest, refine their skill and spend part of their time playing and relaxing. Thanks for sharing helpful tips.

Erika Brady

Friday 16th of February 2018

I love the theme of these tips: be prepared for anything! Kids will lose stuff, mix things up, or anything else in between. We implemented the baggie tip for a recent summer camp activity, but I liked your addition of putting in whole outfits, rather than just bagging the wet or dirty stuff. Thanks again for sharing your tips!