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How to Pack for Overnight Camps

HappiFamli, Senior Camp Correspondent

June 17, 2019

It’s summer, which, for many of you, means it’s time to send your kids to camp. If this is your first time sending your child to overnight camp, I’m sure you’re feeling nervous and overwhelmed. Heck, even if they’re going for the tenth time, these feelings are completely understandable and normal for parents. Here are some tips to help your child pack and, hopefully, relieve a little bit of the stress that comes with preparing for overnight camp. 

Use Ziplock Bags to Pack Outfits for Each Day

An organized suitcase or trunk can drastically help children feel less overwhelmed when they first arrive to a new place or an overnight camp. Filling plastic Ziplock bags with a complete outfit and labeling it with the day of the week can help your child keep their trunk or suitcase organized. Bundling outfits in these bags allows clothes stay folded and compact, leaving room for other essentials. In addition, this will help your child to not stress over what they will wear that day and they are less likely to get confused about which clothes are clean or dirty. Which brings us to our next suggestion…

Include a Laundry Bag and Hangers

If you include a laundry bag for your child to put their dirty clothes in, you decrease the chances of having a smelly suitcase or a smelly kid. It’s not a huge deal since summer camp usually involved a certain level of smelliness, but laundry bags can help your child stay a little more organized and prepared. Plus, including a hanger or two can provide a place for wet clothes to dry instead of being shoved back into the suitcase or laundry bag and creating that all-encompassing mustiness that will be almost impossible to get rid of.

Pack Proper Footwear

Recently, on a family adventure, I learned my lesson regarding shoes. My son fell into a koi pond and his fabric shoes were soaked and stinky for the remainder of our trip. From now on, I will always pack athletic shoes AND shoes that can get wet without much consequence, such as water shoes, Crocs, or Natives. These can also be worn in while in the shower to maintain better hygiene and prevent athlete’s foot!

“An organized suitcase or trunk can drastically help children feel less overwhelmed when they first arrive to a new place or an overnight camp.”

Label Everything

I don’t know about you, but I buy my son clothes from the big box stores. Their outfits are cute and affordable, but this also means that several of his friends have the exact same t-shirts, shorts, and bathing suits. Labeling items with a fabric or laundry marker that can be found here can help you make sure that your kiddo’s clothes don’t get lost…or that they don’t end up wearing someone else’s skivvies for the entire trip. 

Pack Extra Socks and Underwear 

Shirts, shorts, and bathingsuits can often be reworn a few times, but socks and underwear….not so much. Packing twice the amount of socks and underwear needed for overnight trips can help your child stay fresh and comfortable for the rest of their adventure.

Make a Shower Lanyard

When I saw examples of these on Pinterest, I immediately wished I had thought of this in college. To make a shower lanyard, you simply add labeled clip on bottles filled with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, etc., then add a loofah, hairbrush, and, if possible, a toothbrush container. Then, all they need is their clothes, towel, and shower shoes. This will make it incredibly easy for your child to grab all of their toiletries and use the bathroom/shower quickly before the warm water runs out.

Include Something that Reminds Them of Home

Since your essentials are packed in an organized and compact fashion, this leaves room for you to include something that reminds them of home. A blanket, stuffed animal, pictures, or their favorite pillow. You can also include notes in their daily outfit bags to help remind them that you’re thinking of them every day.