10 Things to Pack for Summer Camp for Your Kids

Summer camp is just around the corner! It’s hard to believe how fast this year has gone, but now it’s time to send your kids to some of the best weeks of their lives, where they make new friends and conquer their fears. Packing is a big task to accomplish because you want to make sure your kids have everything they need for the week or two they’ll be away.

Packing for summer camp is different than packing for vacation. Summer camps vary in what they have the kids do — your child may participate in high ropes courses, horseback riding, swimming, sports, acting or any other activity you can think of for a summer camp. That’s why it’s essential to check with your child’s specific camp to pack items that are essential for their week.

You also need to consider how long your child will be at camp. Are they attending a day camp? Will they be staying overnight for an extended period? For first-timers, reach out to other camper parents or staff to get details about the best times to arrive, where to go and what forms you need.

Below, you’ll find a list of 10 things to pack for summer camp for your kids to lessen your stress!

1. Clothes

Clothes are necessary for camp, and you’ll need to pack extra if your kids are staying for a longer time. Pack a mixture of long and short sleeve shirts. Also, add a mix of comfortable shorts and pants, and even a pair of jeans or two for activities like horseback riding or walking into the woods.

Make sure you pack plenty of underwear and socks. Other things to pack include sweatshirts, swimsuits, pajamas and any other clothing needed for camp activities.

2. Shoes

Though you don’t need to pack 20 pairs of shoes, it’s good to have a variety of shoes for the week. Here are some shoe suggestions to consider packing for camp:

  • Sneakers, or even a couple pairs in case one gets wet
  • Flip flops
  • Water shoes
  • Rain boots
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Cleats for sports camps
  • Sandals with a heel strap

You don’t need all of these shoe types, but these are typical for summer camps. Again, check with the staff or the information packet so you know what shoes to bring.

3. Personal Hygiene Items

Your child will also need personal hygiene items. Most camps don’t completely “rough it,” and there are going to be showers. Camp counselors don’t want a bunch of muddy kids in one room without a shower!

Personal hygiene items include shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, washcloth, towel, feminine products, hairbrush and anything else your child uses to stay clean. Travel-sized items work great for camp because you won’t have to worry about your child leaving a whole bottle of shampoo at the camp!

4. Rain Gear

It’s summer, and it’s bound to rain at some point. That might be during the week your child is at camp. Make sure you pack rain gear in case of inclement weather, like:

  • Rain boots
  • Poncho
  • Rain jacket
  • Umbrella
  • Extra clothes and shoes
  • Water-proof shoes
  • Water-proof phone case if your child is allowed to bring their phone

These items are always great to have for campers. They’ll keep your child mostly dry and comfortable.

5. Medications and Contact Lenses

If your child takes prescription medication, ensure you pack a two-week supply. Usually, there is a camp nurse who administers medicine to your child. Ensure that you label your child’s medications, too, and provide a complete schedule of when your child has to take the medicine. Keep the medicine in the original prescription bottles.

If your child wears daily contact lenses, then make sure you label and pack those as well. Always pack extra in case one gets damaged.

6. Comfort Items

Some kids do well being away from their families. Other kids may have to take time for adjustment. Packing inexpensive comfort items can help that transition from home to camp.

These items might include a soft blanket, pillow, stuffed animal or photos of the family. Try not to pack something precious because you don’t want it to get lost while your kids are at camp!

7. Sleeping Equipment 

Depending on the camp, they might provide sleeping gear. However, on most occasions, your child will need to bring their own sleeping equipment. Here are some things to pack:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sheets
  • Blankets
  • Pillows

You might want to pack an extra set of sheets in case one set gets dirty or wet.

8. Sun and Bug Protection

Your kids will be outside quite a bit during the day. Packing sun and bug protection is a must. Make sure your kids have plenty of sunscreen, and remind them to reapply it often. Additionally, they can pack a hat and sunglasses to keep the sun out of their eyes.

Bugs come out in the summertime. Pack bug repellent and bug bite care in case your child gets bit or stung.

9. Miscellaneous Must-Haves

Check out this list of other camping items your child may want to bring:

  • Journal and pens
  • Disposable camera
  • Swim goggles and beach towel
  • Backpack
  • Mesh laundry bag
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Pre-addressed envelopes
  • Flashlight
  • Fan
  • Bible for Christian camps
  • Deck of cards
  • Books
  • Something to tie-dye
  • Bandana

These are all great extras to bring along.

10. Forms and Money

Finally, don’t forget any important forms that your child’s camp staff needs. These might include medical documents and consent forms. Additionally, pack a little extra cash for the camp store, and bring money if you need to pay for the rest of the camp fee.

All Packed and Ready to Go! 

Create a list of items to pack and check them off as you go when packing your kids’ bags. Then, send them off to the best part of their summer!