The DOS and DON’Ts On Packing for Camp

You chose the perfect overnight camp for your child so now all that’s left is to plan for packing. Each camp has its own packing list and policies so be sure to read through them carefully.

Here is a quick guideline on what to bring and what to leave at home as you begin the packing process.

DON’T pack bunk gifts if they aren’t allowed – Sometimes parents like to pack a gift for the whole bunk such as personalized T-shirts or sweatshirts but you don’t want to send these gifts if the camp doesn’t welcome them. Some camps feel these gifts are a distraction to what camp is about and can also create competition between other bunks at camp.

DON’T pack an iPhone or other banned electronics – Camp is a place for children to take a break from technology and focus on conversations and camp activities. This is why the majority of summer camps don’t allow campers to bring their phones and other electronics such as iPads or Kindles.

DON’T pack food, candy or gum – It’s a big no to pack edible items in your child’s bags. It will just be taken away from them once they arrive at camp.

DON’T pack the wrong swimsuit – Check with your camp about the bathing suit policy. Many camps have policies that campers wear one-piece bathing suits only. Be sure to leave the two-piece bathing suits at home if that is what your child’s camp policy states.

DO pack stationery, envelopes & stamps – Camp is an unplugged environment. If you’d like to hear from your child make sure to pack stationery! Writing is an almost lost art so don’t forget to either pack an example of how to address and stamp an envelope or go over it with your child before heading to camp.

DO pack something personal from home – There is no need to go overboard but do allow your child to bring a special stuffed friend, a comfortable pillow or framed photo to make your child’s bunk space feel more personal.

DO pack camp uniforms or colors if needed – If your camp is a uniform camp, you most likely have already ordered everything you need but keep in mind that even if your camp isn’t a uniform camp, you still might need to pack certain items that include the camp colors.

DO check about hairdryers and makeup – Some camps don’t allow hairdryers and makeup so your camper can focus on activities and friendships without worrying about how they look.

Jess Michaels is Director of Communications American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey.