The Ultimate Summer Camp Packing Checklist

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The countdown to camp is fast approaching and it’s time to start packing for overnight camp. The American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey recommends parents follow the suggested guidelines below when packing for camp.

Parents should check the camp’s packing list for specifics on what is needed, as well as items that should be left at home. Consider shopping and packing for items with your child. It can help your child feel more secure if they know what they are taking to camp and you can use the time together to discuss camp and what to expect.

Headgear/Eyewear. Pack items to protect your child’s head and eyes from the sun and other elements.

❑Baseball caps or a sunhat


❑Swimming goggles

❑Eye glasses/contacts (an extra pair, cleaning solution)

Clothing. Keep it simple.


❑Swimsuits, check the camp’s policy on one piece/two-piece suits

❑Swim trunks





❑Dress clothes for socials

❑Raincoat or poncho

❑Long pants

❑Long sleeve shirts


❑Lightweight robe

❑Socks (plenty)


Footwear. Appropriate footwear is one of the most important items to pack for children at camp, especially when they are hiking and running. Remember that shoes should be broken in prior to the start of camp.

❑Sneakers/tennis shoes

❑Water shoes

❑Rain boots

❑Dress shoes, if the camp requires them

Bed and Bath Needs. For children attending a resident camp, parents should remember to pack the home basics.


❑Bedding/sleeping bag


❑Laundry bag, if needed

❑Bathroom/shower kits are essential

❑Brush and comb


❑Soap and soap container

❑Toothbrush and holder



❑Nail clippers

❑Insect repellent

❑Feminine products

❑Sunscreen/sun block

❑Shaving gear

❑Lip balm, with sun block in it

Makeup/Hairdryer. Check the camp packing list. Some camps don’t allow certain items so campers focus on activities and making friends instead of their appearance.

Additional Items. Pack some additional items including books and magazines, flashlights and batteries, Frisbees, disposable camera for taking pictures, a reusable water bottle, a journal and writing materials, writing paper, pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes, an umbrella.

When considering electronics, check with the camp about policies. Most summer camps don’t allow cell phones and tablets, so please respect the camp rules and leave those items at home.

Jess Michaels is director of communications for the American Camp Association NY NJ. Information is available to help you find the right camp for your child 212-391-5208.

Updated 4:26 pm, July 9, 2018
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