Packing Tips for Summer Camp - Hillary Kouba
Trunks work the best since they are living out of it for the week but make sure it’s the correct dimensions (not too tall, 32”x18”x14”).
CLOTHING: Pack everything in labeled ziplock bags.
- I use two bags for each day; one labeled DAILY and one labeled COSTUME
- In the DAILY bag pack a shirt, shorts, socks and underwear
- In the COSTUME bag pack everything you’d need for the costume for the party that night. I put another clean pair of clothes in this bag since they usually shower before/after dinner and then put on the costume clothes so I didn’t want them to have to wear the sweaty clothes from earlier in the day.
- Check the weather; you most likely don’t need jeans and fleeces if you are going in later July/Aug and they just take up valuable space in the trunk
TOILETRIES: Shower Caddy with holes is key
- Get a shower caddy that has holes in the bottom so the water can drain out when they take the caddy in the shower with them. This is easier than trying to carry multiple bottles to/from the shower.
- There are cubbies in the bathroom for each camper to store their stuff
- I either send full size shampoo/body soap bottles or multiple travel size ones so they don’t run out!
- I also send a travel toiletries bag with all of the other necessities listed in the packing list and any other items I think my kids might need (bug bite cream, bandaids, hair bands, etc)
- Bring TWO towels: one for bathing and one for swimming.
- I buy these little over-the-door hooks to hang the towels from the bunk beds to dry
- Send shower shoes. I’ve found some flip flops on amazon that have little holes in the bottom for the water to drain through so they don’t slip on the wet ground
BEDDING: Pack in Laundry Bag
- I pack a twin sheet set, sleeping bag and a pillow.
- When we get to camp I make up the bed with the sheet set and fold the sleeping bag at the end. If they get cold at night they can pull it up or get inside.
- It’s just a plastic mattress so you definitely want a fitted sheet to cover it.
- Pack all of these bulky items (towels too) in their laundry bag when coming to camp. Over the course of the week they will put all of their dirty clothes in the laundry bag leaving their truck mostly empty and they can put all of their bedding in their trunk to come home.
TRUNK ORGANIZATION: They have to live out of their trunk for the week so make it easy to find what they need
- I line up all of the clothing/costume ziplock bags in order so the first bag is the costume bag for Sunday night (the first party) and then Monday daily and costume bags would go behind that one and so forth. These usually take up two rows in the trunk. The far side is where toiletries and other misc items go.
- I also utilize the inside lid of the trunk for small storage items like GROCERY SACKS (to bring home wet items), BATTERIES (for travel fans or reading lights), SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPES/STATIONARY/PENS (for them to write me or grandparents).
- Just this year I found a Trunk Lid Organizer from Target and all you have to do is peel the sticky back off and stick it to the inside of the trunk. There are small little zipper pockets and clear pockets.
- My kids love to stick a few family pictures in the clear pockets to remember everyone and look at when they are missing us.
- In my girls trunks I bought a few cork board squares and school pencil zipper pouches and glued them to the inside of the lid to serve the same purpose of the Target organizer if you can’t find it.
ACCESSORIES/MISC: I bag these things up or put them in a pocket on the lid so they aren’t loose in the trunk
- Definitely bring a WATER BOTTLE that your camper can carry around with them and refill as needed. Sky Ranch sells a great one that my kids love because it has a sprayer on the top to cool them off when they get hot. Remember to LABEL this especially if you get something from camp because there will be hundreds of other kids with the exact same item.
- FLASHLIGHT: the older kids have a mission impossible night so they definitely want one but even my younger kids like to have it just in case they need to find something at night
- CARE PACKAGES: I usually order one of the fun care packages from Sky Ranch and then send little notes and fun toys/candy on the other days.
- I print out labels with my child’s name, cabin number and the day I want it delivered and stick them to large manilla envelopes. Inside I’ll put a note from me, dad, grandparents, friends, etc and something little. I have four kids which means 20 possible packages (camp is doing 4 of them) so I’m not going super crazy here!
- At Sunday camper drop off, I have four larger bags (one for each child) with all of their little packages together so I can hand them over all at once.
- Sky Ranch has a Corner store where kids can buy snacks, toys, clothing, necessities, etc and you can set up an account for them to use before camp starts. I give my kids $30 each for the week to use for snacks or whatever they want but that’s all they get. You can add more money online as the week goes on but I think by giving them a limit, it’s a great learning opportunity for budgeting and spending your money wisely! I like that you can check their account during the week and see exactly what they are buying.
- My kids like to buy the stickers for their cabins at the Corner store and put them in/on their trunks each year so that might be something fun to start or catch up on if you’ve already gone multiple years.
- Mini light weight bag/BACKPACK: my kids carry this around EVERYWHERE! Inside they carry a towel, water bottle, mini fan, bible/journal/pen, etc!