The final days of school have come and gone and kids are officially into summer – which means camp is right around the corner. Parents are frantic about what and how to pack their kids for overnight camp. Packing can be less stressful if you follow these simple guidelines and helpful tips.
Start EARLY by reviewing the camp's clothing and equipment list (uniform, clothing, linens, etc.). Involve your child and commit together to stick to it!
Most campers will require a trunk for overnight camp. There are two basic types of trunks:
The type of trunk also depends on the type of transport that will be required (e.g. parents bring up, camps have shipped, airline vs. bus use, etc.), so check with the camp before purchasing. Check out www.cloz.com or www.campstuff4less.com for a variety of trunk options to purchase.
Review deadlines for trunk pickups or deliveries and establish a time frame to accomplish the shopping and packing. If the trunks are to go in the next few days, and you have not completed your shopping or labeling, just prioritize on essentials. You can always ship items to camp.
Also, check the allowed number and the size of luggage your child can bring to camp. Buy the luggage and/or trunks from an established camp supplier (see above) that offers guarantees. I have used, and still use, the same trunks that went to camp with my kids to move them to/from college -- and the supplier replaced them free of charge when ripped!
Look through the closet to see what your child really needs that he or she doesn't already have. Comfortable clothing and shoes are more important than having everything new for camp. Many items return damaged, or not at all!
Order camp clothing from the assigned catalogs and make a list of items to purchase locally or from the camp supplier (some standard items can be found cheaper locally or online). If time is of the essence, order essentials and anything that can be pre-labeled through the camp supplier (yes, many sew on labels for you!). Ease your child into the camp spirit by letting him/her wear the camp T-shirt or sweatshirt until it is time to pack.
Find out what storage facilities your camper will have in the bunk (cubbies, trunk, closet) etc., and whether plastic containers are advisable and permitted to hold some of his/her belongings. Pack an over-the-bed shoe bag -- especially if your child will be on an upper bunk bed.
More packing shortcuts and space savers:
Make a list of the following items to help your camper feel comfortable during his or her stay:
Once everything is gathered, begin to label every item and take inventory of everything that is going to camp, to help adjust packing for the following year. Then start packing as soon as possible. Don't over pack! It will make it difficult to lift the trunk or duffle and cause rips.
Finally, put a copy of the inventory list in the camp trunk. It will serve as a reminder to your child of what was sent, and help him/her develop responsibility for his/her belongings. You can also email one to the camp for repacking to ensure most of what you packed returns home!
You will feel empowered when your camper is packed up. Remember to take a photo of him/her sitting on the luggage! It marks the beginning of the camp season for them – and you!
Do you have a question for our summer camp expert, Jill Tipograph? Go to our camp message boards here and post your question.
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