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Your Summer Camp Packing List


Mother and Son Packing a Suitcase
Fuse/Getty Images

If your tween is registered for resident camp this summer, you may be wondering what he should bring for his stay away from home. He'll likely want to bring all the comforts from home (Wii, Nintendo DS, cell phone, etc.). You, or the camp, may prefer he stick to the basics.

Some camps have very specific packing suggestions. For example, your daughter may have to bring all of her belongings in a locker or tote, rather than a suitcase. Totes stack easily in a bunkhouse, and can also serve as a table or nightstand after it's unpacked.

Be sure you know the camp's rule concerning food. Some camps may allow campers to bring food from home, others may not. Also, ask camps about care packages, what's allowed in the care package, and what's not.

Fortunately, most camps help out by providing a very detailed summer camp packing list of what to bring and what to leave home. Below is what many camps offer up as "must have" necessities for resident camp. This list is based on a one week stay.


  • 1 T-shirt for everyday at camp plus 2 extra
  • 1 pair of socks for everday at camp plus 2 extra
  • 1 pair of shorts for everyday at camp plus 1 extra
  • 1 pair of jeans, khakis or sweatpants
  • 2 swimsuits, 1 coverup (for girls)
  • 1 windbreaker (with hood)
  • 1 to two pairs of PJs (or separate T-shirts for sleeping)
  • 1 hat
  • 1 pair of flip-flops for the pool and shower
  • 1 pair of water sneakers
  • 1 pair of sneakers (plus an extra pair just in case)
  • 1 gigantic zip-lock bag or a trash bag for dirty or wet clothing
  • (Packing hint: place a day's worth of clothing in a large zip-lock bag for easy dressing in the morning)

Other Items

  • 2 water bottles
  • 1 bottle of sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15
  • 1 bottle of bugspray
  • sleeping bag or sheets depending on the facilities
  • 1 pillow
  • toiletries (a plastic pencil box makes a great toiletry kit)
  • don't forget lip balm for sunburned or windburned lips, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo
  • comb, brush (hair clips or pony tail holders for girls)
  • 2 towels
  • 1 small flashlight
  • 1 good book
  • stationary and stamps
  • 1 small notepad (and a pen)
  • a few extra garbage bags (just in case)
  • a deck of cards or a very small board game

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