When we signed the girls up for a sleepaway camp this summer, I didn’t fully comprehend the way packing for them would consume my life. I got started early knowing that we would be packing them up right about the time that school was ending. It’s a good thing I did because it essentially took me a couple of months of research, sourcing, and never-ending text threads with my friends to finally find, order, and label everything they needed. Then came the little matter of the packing restrictions – two bags only plus what they can carry in themselves. After some next-level jenga and a full-body sweat, I successfully crammed everything into one trunk and one duffel. This post is essentially one part a guide to help you out and one part me just bragging on myself for actually accomplishing this incredible feat.
Here is everything I have learned about camp packing, how we managed to get two girls ready for their first overnight camp experience without forgetting anything, and all the best resources I uncovered along the way.
Our camp sent us a rather extensive list of what to pack and I have a master packing list of what we took for you below. If I was going to list out the essentials that the girls loved having it would definitely be a crazy creek chair, the Kavu rope sling bag, these sandals, these t-shirts, and these lined shorts. The shower caddy, toiletry bag, and their husband pillows for rest time were crucial.
Luckily our camp was “package-free” meaning we could only send letters and not care packages. At first, I was sad about this because I love a present and I wanted to send them something to make them feel loved and cared for each day. After hour 174 of packing, I could have cried tears of happiness that I didn’t have to also tackle care packages. Plus, after everything they were packing for their bunk, quiet times, and theme nights it would have looked like a Hobby Lobby explosion in that cabin if each girl was also getting care packages.
I did send rest hour activities which would make for fun package gifts if you were doing them! The girls loved the wikki stix, color-by-number mosaics, jewelry bead kit, cross stitch kit, and coloring maze book. They also packed hair chalk, face paint sticks, heart-shaped sunglasses, and headbands for dress-up nights.
If you’re looking for care packages and stationery resources, I have a huge list at the bottom!
Master Camp Packing List
- T-shirts // The girls wanted to buy their camp shirts (rip store credit) and we bought these to make packing simple. I liked not really having to care if they left one at camp.
- Shorts and skorts // The girls love these lined shorts and these workout shorts.
- Socks, Underwear, Sports Bras // We aren’t in the sport bra stage yet but I just buy the amazon essentials for all things socks & underwear.
- Pajamas // I recommend long PJs for chilly camp nights. We packed these.
Bath and Toiletries
- Bath towels and washcloths // I bought these on a whim while looking for something that would stand out and we have loved them!
- Shower items // This brush is a must as well as a great leave-in conditioner. I also sent them with a loofah, travel-size shampoo, conditioner & body wash and these no-damage hair ties.
- Shower caddy and toiletry bag
- Toothbrush // We bought a toothbrush holder that they put a label on and then I sent them a pack of toothbrushes with strict instructions to toss it if it came into contact with a floor or toilet.
- Pillow and pillowcase // We sent these pillows from Amazon in case they got lost, soggy or infected with some strange camp crud.
- Twin sheets // I let the girls pick out their bedding but made sure to send a sheet set, a comforter and a cozy blanket for some weight.
- Stuffed animal // I plead the fifth on how many squishmallows I let them shove into their bags.
- These are the best Tennis Shoes because you don’t care when they destroy them.
- Water sandals/shoes // These waterproof slides and these sport sandals were great!
Outerwear and Warm Clothing
- Raincoat // Scottie has this one and Hayden has this one.
- Light jacket or sweatshirt // We bought sweatshirts and long-sleeved shirts from the camp store.
- Pants or leggings // I sent them with a pair of old jeans for riding and then leggings from their stash.
Cabin and Bunk
Make sure to check with your camp about what is allowed. We looked at instagram videos the camp had posted to get an idea of what to take. Here is our list.
- Trunk and vinyl stickers to decorate trunk (these stickers are cute too!)
- Laundry bag that can hang on the corner of the bunk.
- Flashlight or headlamp. The girls said make sure to pack a headlamp because it was way better to use during rest time when the lights are off.
- Pre-addressed letters & stamped envelopes. (This was the only way I got a note home)
- Stationary (glitter clipboard with storage, pen and pencil case, letters from camp book kit)
- Bible – I sent them with this bible but I have several others on my Amazon shop.
- Lights to go around the bunk (check if this is allowed… it wasn’t at our camp).
- Over the door shoe hanger for organizing their items on their bunk. This is the best thing for organizing sunscreen, etc for little kids and you can even pack in them!
- Rest hour activities (wikki stix, color by number mosaics, jewelry bead kit, cross stitch kit, coloring maze book, bead spinning kit)
- Storage case for crafts
- Extra batteries
- Fabric markers for friends to sign their pillow case
- Storage Bins or Storage Cubes
- Crazy Creek Chair
- Water bottle
- Sunscreen (fun glitter sunscreen, lip balm sunscreen,
- Bug spray and bug-repellent bracelets
- One-piece swimsuits // These suits come in so many different designs.
- Beach Towels // We bought these quick drying towels.
- Removable Waterproof Labels
- Hat and sunglasses
- Camera // We didn’t take one but it would be a great thing to remember for older girls!
- Rain boots // I sent the girls with their hunter boots but these are a great affordable option!
- Tennis racket
- Counselor gift // A simple thank you card with a small gift card is great!
- Drop off letters for each day at camp // We did these ahead of time and left them labeled with the day for each girl.
- Tape for taping photos to bunk + painters tape!
- Fun camp items: temporary tattoos, hair chalk, face paint sticks, heart-shaped sunglasses and headbands, reusable water balloons
Packing For Camp
I measured the girls drawers on our camp visit and bought storage bins to fit in them. It made packing so easy because we just packed everything in them, put them in their trunk and then they set them out when they got to camp.
Some people suggest packing in gallon bags to plan out the outfits for each day. I asked the girls if they wanted to pick out outfits beforehand or if they wanted to just pick them out each day. They opted for each day so we didn’t use these but it would be a great idea for younger children!
Another idea is to include an over-the-door shoe hanger for organizing their items on their bunk. This is the best thing for organizing sunscreen, etc for little kids and you can even pack in them! Here is a look at how we packed everything!
Shop Our Camp Favorites
I polled my Instagram peeps for the best camp resources out there. Here is what everyone suggested!!
Shop Molly Ellen
The Monogram Shop
Everything Summer Camp
Love Lucy Design
Sweet Honey Clothing
Lady Luck Designs
Joy Creative Shop
Love & Lion
Camp Trunk Details