For many of you and your families summer means summer camp! Today we are sharing our favorite things in every category on those camp packing checklists, including the best when it comes to trunks, labels, water bottles, personalized items, and some fun things that aren’t on those lists! My assistant, Meg, was a camper and camp counselor for many years so she has the inside scoop on so many of these things!
First, I want to tell you about our sponsor for today’s post, Kangaroo Camp Cases! There are so many great options for trunks, but Kangaroo Camp Cases are the highest quality out there. Each trunk is handmade with 1/4-inch China birch wood, nailed and glued by hand, and has recessed latches for protection. These cases are meant to last a lifetime so if your child plans to attend camp for many years this is a great option. Some people also use these to pack for college! Kangaroo Camp Cases ship nationwide or, if you are in the DFW area, you can shop in their Deep Ellum store to choose from all their colors. P.S. This would be a great gift from grandparents!
If you are in the Dallas/FortWorth area, Camille’s Creations hand paints Kangaroo Camp Cases, a special touch for your camper! Just message them on etsy.
Now for all the rest of my favorite camp essentials!
Having a water bottle at camp is essential! Spending so much time in the sun will dehydrate you so fast! These are my favorite water bottles! Including this one that the Today Show rated the best water bottle!
Make sure your child is taking all the necessary toiletries to camp! There is typically a place in the bathroom for campers to leave their toiletries and having a personalized shower caddy for your child is the best way to keep his or her stuff together! In addition to a shower caddy, towel wraps, towels and wash cloths are so important! Towel wraps make it easy for campers to hop in and out of the shower in privacy. I would recommend bringing to shower towels and two beach towels. (You don’t want them drying off from the shower with the same towel they dried off from the lake or pool with!) Also keep their toothbrush their toothbrush with a personalized tooth brush holder (cute gift!).
Tip – pack a trash bag in their duffel or trunk for wet clothes, towels, and swimsuits!
Most summer camps require campers to wear water shoes in the lake to protect their feet. In addition to those, pack a pair of tennis shoes (definitely not new ones!) and shower shoes (cheap flip flops will do!).
2-3 swimsuits is plenty for a week at camp. Definitely plan on one of those swimsuits getting thrown away after camp because of the dirty lake and various other camp activities! Girls are usually required to wear one piece swimsuits. Target, Old Navy, and Lands’ End are great places for affordable suits. And right now EVERYTHING at Lands’ End is 40% off! And swimsuits are 50% off today only.
The summer sun is brutal! Having a hat will protect their face from the harsh sun and help keep them cool. For girls I love these hats from The Plaid Pig.
Packing a waterproof disposable camera is a great way to save memories from camp. It is so fun to go back through the pictures together after camp and hear about the friends they made, the activities they did, and their counselors!
Sunscreen and Insect Repellant
Check out the sunscreen post I wrote a few days ago here for my favorite sunscreens. Hopefully it will help you choose the best option for your child! Products with DEET are usually the most effective although I know some prefer non-deet products so I’ve included those below as well. The insect repellant bracelets are great for campers, too.
Comfort is a huge factor in determining whether or not a child gets homesick or not. Making sure their sleeping space is warm and comfortable will help them feel safe and help them to not think about what they are missing from home. Some campers will pack a fitted sheet with a sleeping bag. Another great option is a sheet set with a quilt. (FYI, Target has 30% off most sheet sets this week!) A throw blanket is also a great idea for when they are sitting on the floor with friends or if they need a little extra warmth at night. A personalized pillow case is a fun surprise to send with your camper!
Investing in a great trunk, like the Kangaroo Camp Trunks is a great idea because they will last forever but there are so many other trunks in various price points at Walmart and The Container Store. These plastic trunks are popular at some camps. When deciding on a size, keep in mind that the 13.5 option is better for storing the trunk under the bunk bed. (But check with your child’s camp!) The secret to packing inside is using 1 and 2 gallon ziploc baggies and label them. These will help children know where everything is and helps organize the trunk!
Tip- Pack a collapsible duffel bag, like this one, because children have a hard time getting everything back the way it came! Having it will help make the packing process a little easier.
Sending letters home is such a fun part of camp! However, it is a good sign if you pack stationery, but never receive a letter. It means they are too busy having fun to write a letter! Minted has cute camp-themed stationery. Make sure they also have stamps if they plan to write letters!
Tip – Having a clipboard is so useful for letter writing and journaling! It can be hard to write neatly without a hard surface to write on! Try one of these storage clipboards to keep all stationery, stamps, and pens in!
Labeling your child’s clothes is imperative! Other campers tend to come with similar items, so labeling everything will help your child identify what is and isn’t theirs. Here are some really cute label options and a clothing stamp which is a genius and easy way to quickly label everything. I have great luck wth Minted’s labels that go on clothes and water bottles. Also check out Name Bubbles who has a camp value pack and Mabel’s Labels are great, too.
Bible and Journal
If your child is attending a Christian camp, make sure they have a Bible and journal! Most camps will provide Bibles to campers that did not bring one, but having your own is important! Minted has cute camping journals that can be personalized. Girls might like one of those sequin journals.
While this is definitely not required, bringing a gift at the beginning or end of the week is a special token of appreciation to the girls and guys that have been caring for your children for the past week or weeks. The best (and most coveted) option is food! The counselors are used to dining hall food so anything homemade is appreciated! Cookies, brownies, and packaged snack items, like goldfish or cheez-its, are great ideas! That clipboard above would be cute, too!
Make Camp Special
Some children can’t wait to leave for summer camp, others are a little more reluctant to leave home. Either way, there are a few ways to make this experience extra special. Try decorating your car with the camp name, cabin name and number, and fun camp sayings. Another idea is sneaking a letter into their trunk from Mom and Dad about how proud and excited y’all are that they get to have this experience. Finally, a drop off care package is a great idea. Include water balloons and shaving cream for raids, new markers, and maybe a few snacks! Check back next week for a full post dedicated to camp care packages!
Here are all our favorite camping essentials and extras:
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