Posted in Kids, Travel

Summer Camp Packing List

Hello and happy Wednesday!

I can’t believe it’s already mid-week, and we are nearing the end of the school year.

The camp emails are starting to come in which had me thinking about what Hadley takes to camp every year.

I will be the first to admit that I’m not a camper. I went to Girl Scout camp in 4th grade, and I remember liking it…but I also remember being glad when I got home.

We went “glamping” for a couple of nights over fall break 2019, and we had a good time. One thing I knew about camping that this confirmed was packing for camping is so much work!

Hadley has been to summer camp for three years. I remember being so anxious the first time we left her at camp. Many of her friends had gone to this three day camp, but the first time Hadley went, she was old enough for the week long camp.

She was so excited, and she ended up loving every minute.

I searched for her face every night in the camp photos, and she always looked like she was having a blast.

That first year, when I picked her up from camp, I was one of the first parents to pick up. Hayden had a baseball tournament that we had to get to. I will never forever seeing her big smile. She gave me a hug and asked me to sign her up for the next year! She also told me she’d lost her toothbrush and hadn’t brushed her teeth since Tuesday! haha

Anyway, the other two summers she went to camp were easy breezy.

While it was weird not having her home, I was happy and less anxious knowing how much she loves it.

If you ask her if she would go to camp all summer long, her answer would for sure be yes. Honestly, I’d probably let her her…but dang —the cost of camp ain’t cheap…and she doesn’t even go to any fancy camps!

Of course, the camp sends a list, but today I’m sharing a few things that we’ve purchased through the years.

Some things we’ve previously purchased don’t seem to be currently be available, but I’ve found some similar options.

At the suggestion of my friend who had been sending her girls to camp for a few years, we picked up this tub with wheels to store most of what Hadley needed. It slides right under the bunk at camp. We found ours at Meijer.

A few other items:

  • Camping pillow – While Hadley does take her bed pillow to camp, this smaller camping pillow is similar to what she has and comes in handy when they have had rest time in the lodge.
  • Flashlight – She always takes a small flashlight.
  • Lantern – While Hadley doesn’t take the lanterns to camp, we bought them before our glamping trip and use them in the backyard sometimes.
  • FanThis fan is similar to the one that has worked on most of her bunks because it clips right on. If not, sometimes, she just props it in the corner of her bed for some extra air at night.
  • Dry bagThis was a gift to Travis for Christmas because during cross country season, I realized how handy it would be to have something to keep clothes dry (or put wet clothes in). I also knew we’d use it during track season. While I don’t think Hadley will want to use it for summer camp, it’s a great item to have (and they come in a few sizes)
  • Sleep sack– Hadley requested this last year. She always takes her sleeping bag, but this is perfect for on top (or inside) the sleeping bag. She’s covered up, but it’s light weight. We also take a XL twin fitted sheet for her bed.
  • Laundry bag – This light weight laundry bag is perfect for her to keep up with her dirty clothes. We actually pack a Command hook to use to keep it off the ground in her bunk. She just hangs it on the wall, and then we take the hook down when we check out. Also, I’ve started keeping one of these with our suitcases, and if we go on a longer trip, I take one to keep up with our family dirty laundry.
  • Shower caddy- This shower caddy ends up being something that Hadley uses to pack. She will use it to hold bug spray, face wash, hair brush, toothbrush, etc…along with her soap, shampoo and conditioner.

A few other ideas…

  • We use large Ziplock bags to pack, and we label each one using permanent marker. So, there’s one for underwear/socks, swimsuits, dress (usually she packs one dress for the “nicer” chapel/dinner outfit), t-shirts, shorts, pjs, etc. Honestly, we’ve re-used the same bags through the years because by the time I pick her up, those are empty, and her laundry bag is full.
  • I send her with two swim towels and one bath towel. She probably showers twice if we’re lucky! I definitely don’t send her with the good towels.
  • We store everything she needs for camp in the tub until the next year…(and we roll it under the guest bed in the basement, so we always know where the camp things are)

This year, Hadley is going to a different camp…and she’s excited. I’m excited for her, and lots of her friends are going. That being said, since it’s not the camp I’m familiar with, I know I’ll be thinking about her that much more when she’s gone.

Hayden is definitely more of a homebody like me, and he’s never been to camp. I’ve never pressed the issue with him as most summers he’s had baseball and I’m not going to force him. Last year, he started talking about going to a running camp this summer, and I think he’s going to do that. It’s just a few nights away pretty close to home, so that’s a good start.

Of course, both kids aren’t going to camp at the same time…haha

One more story…

As I typed this post, I thought of the time Travis and I went camping after we’d been dating about eight or nine months.

We were living in Columbia, Missouri (where we met) at the time. One week, he told me he’d borrowed a tent from a co-worker and knew a place we could camp. Good thing he didn’t seem like a serial killer, and I was in love, so I obliged.

Wherever we went was about an hour away from Columbia, and we left on a Saturday morning. We set up the tent and other things, hiked, cooked out our dinner, drank beer and ate s’mores. The tent was fine, and we even cooked breakfast the next morning before hiking again and packing up the camp stuff.

I sure wish I had some selfies from that trip, but we didn’t even have cell phones then!

On the drive home, he told me what a good time he’d had, and joked that I “passed the test…” and went on about how he was ready to take me with him to Kentucky for a few weddings he was in over the next few months. While that moment was sweet, I was stuck on the “test” part and told him I was glad I passed the test because I would never camp again! lol

To this day, I love a good hike, don’t mind to roast a hot dog for dinner or s’mores for dessert, but I prefer to go back to the Marriott for a shower and good night’s rest.

What about you? Did you go to camp as a kid?

If you have a kid going to camp soon, I hope this post is of some help! Also, take comfort in the fact that they are most likely having the time of their lives and not missing you as much as you miss them. 😆

10 thoughts on “Summer Camp Packing List

  1. Love this post! I went to a camp in 5th grade and still remember it! Also, in 5th and 6th grade, my entire grades got to go to a nearby camp with another school for 3 days. It was so fun!
    We had a pop up camper and went camping when I was a kid.
    With Tom and my kids, we tent camped several times and I never slept well. It was either the hottest night or coldest night and I heard every noise there was. Also, we camped once with Molly’s family and a tornado hit really close by. We woke up to a flooded camp spot and such a mess.
    Camping is exhausting – the packing, the unpacking.
    Why do people want to pretend to be homeless for fun?
    I’m with you – I like the fire part of it the best and I can do that in my yard! Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the idea of the kids going …& Sarah shared a similar post. We never did that nor did my kids. Yes – it’s the sleep (or lack thereof) for me….& it is so much work. It’s hard going to something knowing you will leave more exhausted 😆


  2. My boys always loved camp! The version they went to changed drastically over the years, and it ended up being “beach camp” somewhere in Florida at a hotel. That is NOT the kind of camp I went to- mine was like Hadley’s with a cabin, bunks, and everything. You are so right about how much is involved in packing when it comes to camping. We used to camp every year, twice a year, and it felt like we were packing the entire house. It was so much work! Unloading it all when we came home was the worst.


  3. Both of my kids are going to camp this year. This will be E’s third year and Q’s first (he’s 6, but he’s raring to go!). I feel pretty organized mostly, I also use the Ziploc bag. I like the idea of the Command hook to keep the laundry bag off the ground.
    The first year, E misplaced his flipflops and sneakers in the first day (he did find them later), and had to wear his rubber boots to the beach! This is on brand for my son *shakes head*.
    I went to a few different summer camps as a kid, and we go camping as a family now. We love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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