Six Tips To Help You Pack for Camp

Whether this is your child’s first year at 4-H Camp Bristol Hills, or your child is a seasoned veteran who has been attending camp for years, it’s always a good idea to refresh yourself on what to bring and what to leave at home. Below are several summer camp packing hacks to ensure your child is well-prepared for camp.Campers are encouraged to store all their belongings underneath the bunk beds.The space under the bunk is 12” tall, so it’s helpful if your camper’s duffel, tote or trunk will fit under that limit.

Getting a Head Start

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your child will be prepared for camp is to make sure you start packing and preparing well ahead of time. Review the packing checklists included in your Camp Handbook, early on; that way you won’t have to rush around picking up supplies at the last minute. Review your Handbook HERE, and give yourself plenty of time to pick up each item on the list, especially if you plan to order the items online.

In addition to the camp-provided packing list, it’s also a good idea to make a personal packing list of other items your child may want to bring. In doing so, ensure that the items you are bringing are not considered contraband at camp, such as cellphones and electronics.

Be Prepared for the Elements

One of the top summer camp packing hacks that we recommend is to always pack in plastic. This camping hack will ensure that if things get wet or the weather takes a turn for the worse, you’ll know that important items like clothes and towels will stay dry.

Packing in plastic will also help keep your child organized during his or her stay at camp. You can also make it easier for your child to choose what to wear each day by helping your child pick out outfits ahead of time and putting each separate outfit in its own ziplock bag.

Label, Label, Label

Label makers and sharpies are sure to become your new best friend. Label everything with your child’s first and last name to ensure that nothing gets lost or accidentally mixed into someone else’s bag. Using silver Sharpies is great for labeling black and dark colored items.You can also label each pouch and plastic bag to help keep your child organized during their time away at camp.

Any effort that you make to help your child stay organized during the camp session will help him or her to avoid having to dig through the lost and found.

Optimize Space

Because your child will likely be bringing one suitcase or duffel bag, you’ll want to use that storage space to its full potential. Rolling all clothing and towels verses folding them will save space and create more room for other camp essentials.

Additionally, consider having some extra space available should your child want to bring home items from the camp store or any projects or arts & crafts they’ve made at camp. While you want to ensure your child is prepared for camp, it’s important not to overpack. Often times kids will wear their favorite t-shirt or pair of shorts time and time again despite having brought multiple outfits. It’s also important that you involve your child in the packing process. This is especially important if you have a younger child who may just wear the clothing packed on top.

Parents also have the option to send their child to camp with some spare money, which allows them to purchase snacks, souvenirs or emergency clothing should they forget to pack something.

What NOT to Bring

Cell Phones are not allowed at camp. Calling home promotes homesickness. When a child misses home, the last thing he or she should do is call and think more about it. At camp we don't talk about home. We don't ask about it and we don't tell about it. It's all camp, all day.

Likewise, toys, iPods, Kindles, Nooks, and the like, should stay at home. If your child comes back from a week at summer camp and they tell you they got the high score on their video game, you just wasted a good chunk of money. Summer camp is a place where children get away from their normal lives and try something different. You don't send them off to sit around inside. Besides, the electronics and other banned items are taken from campers and held until the end of the session.

Stay in Touch

Whether your child looks forward to camp all year long or is preparing for their first stint away from home, having the option to write home can often be comforting. Packing some pre-stamped and pre-addressed envelopes for your camper will encourage him or her to share their experience with you. Giving your camper an easy way to get in touch with family will provide them with peace of mind, knowing that you’re only a letter away.

Likewise, we encourage you to write letters to your camper as well.One of the best tricks we’ve seen is when parents write and send a letter or postcard before camp even starts, so that it arrives on Monday or Tuesday.This gives your camper a little bit of love right at the time that they tend to be missing home the most.

Last updated May 21, 2018