What to pack for camp?

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School’s out, and the long days of summer are on the way. Unlike the first few days of school, camp activities start right away. That means kids (and parents) must be well prepared from the beginning. How can you make this transition easier for both you and your child? Make sure your child has everything they need each day to make day camp a fun and enjoyable experience.

What Your Child Needs to Pack for Day Camp

Use the packing list below to prepare for day camp.

The Right Backpack

The list of things your child needs each day at camp is long so choosing the right backpack to carry them in is important. The same one your child used during the school year may not be adequate.

Make sure your child's backpack:

  • Is durable - Day camp is hard for a backpack. Select one made of sturdy fabric or nylon. Make sure all of the zippers work properly.

  • Has a compartment large enough - To hold the extra set of clothes, swim gear, and towels a day camper needs.

  • Has an outside zippered compartment - Perfect for storing tissues, lip balm, and hand sanitizer so your child doesn't have to dig around in the main compartment each time these items are needed.

  • Has an outside mesh water bottle pocket. Easy accessibility to water will help your camper stay properly hydrated all day long.

You may even consider a rolling backpack as day camp supplies can be heavy.


  • Complete extra set of clothing - Shorts, t-shirt, socks, and underwear. Put them in an extra-large resealable plastic bag. Your child will have everything he needs to change clothes plus a plastic bag for the wet or dirty ones.

  • Extra pair of shoes - Camp is messy and muddy. Our camp require close-toed shoes. Be sure to also include a plastic grocery bag for the wet or muddy shoes.

  • Hooded sweatshirt or jacket - Early mornings and cloudy days can be chilly; make sure your child is prepared.

  • Baseball cap or visor - We spend a few hours outdoors. Remind your child to wear a hat or visor for sun protection.

Swim Gear

Swimming is a daily activity at camp. Your child will need:

  • Bathing suit - Consider purchasing more than one for each child to avoid washing bathing suits and towels every night.

  • Life Vest - Campers are welcome to bring a life vest. Remember to label with campers name. Look for a seal or indication (usually inside the life jacket) that the item is approved by the US Coast Guard before even thinking of purchasing it. You should also be able to find a label that states the condition that it is approved for, such as commercial use, personal watercraft, recreational watercraft, and so on.

  • Towels - Send two smaller towels for your child; one to sit on and one to wrap up in after swim time.

  • Goggles - Consider buying multiple sets of goggles at your local dollar store. Goggles will get lost, borrowed and broken. Having an extra set or two on hand will help avoid morning meltdowns when your child realizes they are missing.

  • Flip flops or swim shoes

  • Plastic bag - Include a plastic bag or wet/dry bag for wet swimsuits and towels.


  • Sunglasses - Just like goggles, sunglasses get lost, borrowed and broken. Have a few extra pairs handy at home.

  • Sunscreen - Most camps ask you to apply sunscreen to your child in the morning. The counselors will then help your child apply it throughout the day however, we suggest you model putting on sunblock for kids, calling attention to the ears, back of the neck, and parts of the hairline. Also, let them know it’s important to reapply after swimming or sweating. It’s good practice to put on sunblock before camp and at midday (during lunch). Don’t worry if you forget, we always have some on hand

  • Lip balm with SPF

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Tissues

  • Insect repellent - Consider sending insect repellent wipes to ward off bugs. They will make it easier for your child to apply the insect repellent and avoid the possibility of spraying bug spray in their eyes or those of a fellow camper.

  • Prescription medications - We require that these be checked in with the camp director each day.

Food and Drink

Water is the best drink for your child at camp. Not only is it the best at quenching thirst, it doesn't include the sugar and calories in many other drinks. Freeze your reusable water bottles each night. Put one in the outside pocket of your child's backpack. As the ice melts, your child will have a cold and refreshing drink.

Food - Our camp does not provide meals and snacks. Alert counselors of any food allergies and teach your child to not to accept snacks or food from other children. We have a no share policy.

Here are some tips and suggestions for lunch:

  • Pack a lunch and snacks in a thermal tote bag with at least two ice packs. You can get ice packs in the camping or outdoor section of any local discount store. They are also often available during the spring and summer at grocery stores and pharmacies.

  • Avoid packing a lot of candy and sweets. Too many of these can make your child sick when outdoors in the heat.

  • Consider that your child will more than likely eat lunch inside on the floor or outside on the grass and will not likely have a plate or hard surface on which to set a drink.

  • Our camp is a nut-free zone. Be sure to check labels carefully and avoid all nut butters.

  • Lunch suggestions include turkey and cheese roll-ups, cream cheese and raisin tortillas, cheese sticks and crackers, apple slices, grapes, orange slices, pretzels, yogurt, or applesauce.

  • Snack suggestions include granola bars, cereal bars (avoid chocolate as it melts), dry cereal, crackers, cheese sticks, pretzels, or carrots and vegetable dip.

  • Include a small package of wet wipes. They make after-lunch clean-up easy for your child.

Don't Forget the Details

  • Label everything - Use permanent markers to label backpacks, plastic bags, and containers. Use clothing labels for blankets, towels, and clothes.

  • Include a surprise - Write your child a note and include it in his backpack. Pack a favorite snack and use a permanent marker to put a big smiley face or heart on the bag. Tape a family picture to the inside top of your child's lunch box. All of these things will let your child know you love him and are thinking of him throughout the day.

  • Cash, jewelry, electronics or other valuables should be left at home. Our camp will not be responsible for lost or stolen items.

With this day camp packing list, both you and your child can relax and enjoy the different pace that summer brings.

Source: https://www.verywellfamily.com/packing-list-for-summer-day-camp-3544902