Even the most eager adventurers need some of the comforts of home when they’re conquering the great outdoors. When your child is prepared for maximum summer fun, they’ll go to camp with the best possible attitude. Here’s your essential packing list for making sure your camper gets off on the right foot and your mind is put at ease.
A kid-friendly camera
If your child is a step up from a disposable camera but not quite ready for their own digicam, seek out one that was made just for them. Lots of options for budding photographers can be found. Look for a durable, waterproof camera in a pocket-friendly size and with a solid grip, and bring your child with you when shopping for one so you can let them choose a camera with the features they think they’ll be able to handle. There’s no point sending your kid to camp with a camera they won’t use. And this is one time when a case is definitely a do.
Unless you’re sending your child on a serious wilderness adventure, they probably don’t need an entire new wardrobe for camp. They’ll likely be running around in the cheapest clothes possible. They will need some proper footwear to outlast the elements, though. That means comfortable, durable running shoes for hiking and running around outside. If they don’t already have a favourite pair of runners, splurge on a new pair. And don’t forget a pair of flip-flops for the showers.
A good day pack
Having a pack that will go everywhere with your child when they take day trips is crucial for making them feel at home wherever they are. Having the essentials on hand — sunscreen, lip balm, camera, extra socks — will help them feel secure. Choose a pack that’s smallish in size, lightweight and durable, with sturdy straps, lots of storage room and a section for a water bottle.
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Pre-addressed envelopes and writing paper
A letter kit is a camper’s secret weapon against homesickness. Writing letters home gives your child a sense of purpose and pride on lonely days away. Write prompts on each page of their stationery for them to answer, or start a back and forth via snail mail, and ask them what you want to know more about in their next letter. (What’s their favourite meal at camp? What are some of the songs they sing, and what are the most fun parts? Do they have any responsibilities at camp? Do they think they’ll want to come back next year?)
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A quality flashlight
For nighttime campfire rendezvous and late-night cabin navigation, having a flashlight handy will let your child lead the way. Splurge on one you can be sure will be there for them in case of an emergency. LED flashlights are a great option, as they can shine brighter, illuminate farther and tend to last longer than a regular flashlight.
A water bottle
Staying hydrated is super important on long, sunny camp days. Don’t skimp on the size of the bottle either. Active kids need more water than active adults do. For kids between the ages of 9 and 13, eight to 10 cups are needed. Keep in mind that even a minor case of dehydration can result in a major headache and light-headedness as well as make for sluggish muscles that are more prone to injury.