Summer Camp Packing Essentials


You’ve signed your child up for sleepover summer camp and everyone is excited. Now the looming question hits you. What do they need to pack? Packing for an overnight camp can be a daunting task. However, follow these few simple suggestions and checklist and you will breeze through it!

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Most camps will send you a list of suggested items to pack. In addition, items they do not want brought to camp. Some camps may require certain types of soaps and chemical-free bug sprays that will not harm the environment. If you don’t plan, you may be rushing the night before looking for specific items. Alternatively, you may have questions that you don’t have time to ask. Save yourself from stress by buying or setting aside things to pack as early as possible.

Use a Packing List

One of the best ways to make sure you don’t forget anything is by using a checklist. Here is a basic list of stay-over camp packing needs. Again, double check the camp information about any specific items you may need.

Keep in mind, kids often lose things. Hence, I suggest packing items that you don’t mind losing, being left behind or ruined. It is also a great idea to label all of your kid’s clothes and other items. Pack a black and silver Sharpie in their bag in case something else needs labeling. Silver works better on darker items.

Optimize space in their suitcase by rolling clothes instead of folding. Pack smaller items inside larger ones. Additionally, to protect from spills, pack toiletries in Ziploc bags.


  • Underwear (pack extra)
  • Bra/Sports bra
  • Socks (pack extra)
  • Bathing suit(s)
  • Pajamas
  • Sweatshirt and Sweatpants
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Jeans or Lightweight pants (depending on the location of the camp)
  • Light coat and Raincoat
  • Sneakers, Hiking boots, Flip flops and possibly Water shoes


  • Pillow
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Set of Sheets
  • Light Towels and Washcloth
  • Laundry bag or Ziploc bags


  • Toothbrush and Paste
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Sun screen
  • Bug repellent
  • Hairbrush
  • Headbands and Ponytail holders
  • Lip balm
  • Unscented Lotion
  • Glasses
  • Contacts, Case and Solution
  • Feminine products
  • Razor and Shaving cream
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Nail clippers and File
  • Shower bag or Caddy
  • Retainer
  • Aloe Vera gel

Other Items

  • Needed Medication—EpiPen, Allergy medicines or other non-general Medication
  • A Comfort from home—stuffed animal, blanket, photos of friends and family
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Paper, Envelopes, Pen, List of addresses and Stamps
  • Journal and Book
  • Playing cards (if allowed)
  • Camera
  • Flashlight and Batteries
  • Reusable Water bottle
  • A little Cash
  • Goggles
  • Backpack
  • Inexpensive sport Watch
  • Combination Lock (if the camp allows footlockers)

Leave Technology at Home!

There is no need for your child to bring their phone with them. The camp has phones if a homesick call needs to be made or in case of an emergency.

Cell phones and tablets will only distract them from the true fun they should be having at camp. Moreover, it could keep them from making new friends. This is due to their trying to stay constantly connected to friends and family back home. More importantly, you didn’t spend your money sending them to camp to play video games or surf social media sites.

Don’t Worry

Try not to worry! You have packed and prepared them the best you could. Now it is time for them to show you they can handle the independence. Yet, here are a few more suggestions to ease your mind. Pack in their luggage an inventory list of everything they brought. That way there is a better chance of “most” everything making it back home. At least we hope, right? Another extra, you could hide little “Thinking of you” notes in their suitcase. Periodically they will come across one and know you are always thinking of them.

Now sit back and enjoy your quiet, peaceful time while you can!


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