By Nicolette Brick
Packing is possibly the most stressful part of my summer. I always look at my pile of clothes and tell myself what I already know, that it is definitely too much stuff and I will not use/ wear it all. But does that stop me from bringing it all? No. We all get the packing list before the summer comes. We pack our sneakers, our socks, water bottle, 7 T-shirts and 5 shorts, 1 sweatshirt, sunscreen, and everything else on the list, but what about the things not on the list? Or how about the things that we don’t think we will really need? Sometimes you just don’t think about something until you need it right then and there. So here is a (non-exhaustive) list of things you might want to add to your packing list. Whether you are camper, parent, or staff, this list is for you.
I wish I knew to get a pair of these my first summer as a camper. Our storage space in the cabin is limited, especially when you’re sharing a bunk space with another person, and a whole cabin with 11 other people. Getting a pair of plastic drawers will make organization a breeze. Throw the random items you don’t want floating around your trunk in there, keep your socks and undies in a drawer for easy access, you name it. You can’t go wrong with a set of drawers. A set like this is what is most commonly used.
It’s not something you would necessarily think about, but there are no clocks in the cabins. We run by the time of the bugler, and his time is law. But if your child is someone who likes to know what time it is at all times, go ahead and invest in a decent waterproof watch. (Staff, you’re going to want to go ahead and hop on this one too). It’s a simple premise but makes a world of difference. You can’t go wrong with one like this.
Face Paint/ Color War Clothes
For those of you that might not be aware, camp has a century-old color war that actually runs through our bloodlines. If your great great great great great great grandpa was on the Blue Team, you and any other relatives that you have at camp will be too. So you can imagine the competitiveness of an event that is fueled by our ancestors need to win at dodgeball. If your child is the first person in the family to attend camp, they will be assigned a color and they will be the start of it all! (How exciting is that!?) And don’t worry Staff, you get sorted on to a team as well. So prep with a couple of shirts that are blue, and a couple that are white. They don’t have to be anything special, they just have to be mostly solid in color. You also can’t go wrong with some washable face paint, colored hair spray, or knee-high socks in your team color. HOW BLUE – HOW WHITE!!!!
You know what they say about duct tape? If you can’t fix it with duct tape, then you’re not using enough duct tape. Duct tape can fix almost anything at camp from a hole in the bug net, to a broken flip flop. It’s a quick fix and saves lives. Duct tape can also be used as fashion and for crafts. Don’t underestimate the power of some tape with cherries or flying pigs on it. I still have some Camp duct tape holding together a fan from when I was a camper. Send your camper to camp with some duct tape and you won’t have to send a care package every other week with two new pairs of flip flops in it.
I highly recommend a headlamp over a flashlight. It’s hard to find that black pair of pajama shorts at the bottom of your giant trunk when it’s pitch black outside with a flashlight in your hand. It’s as simple as that. It’s just so much easier to do anything when you have two hands- that’s scientifically proven. They also come in handy at the Perch or reading a book in bed at night. Getting one with a red light setting like this one is also your best bet so that you can read in bed without disturbing anyone who is sleeping around you. And while you’re ordering one, you might as well go ahead and get two.
Shower Caddy/Shower Shoes
It may seem like an obvious thing to pack, but trust me, it is one of the most forgotten, and most important things to put on your packing list. Our cabins do not have bathrooms attached, which means that campers and staff are walking from their cabins to the Perch (what we call the bathrooms). It’s not a long walk, but carrying your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, and any other miscellaneous toiletries any distance is a hefty feat without a little tote to help you out. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, some staff even use a child’s sand bucket because it gets the job done. If you’re nervous about packing a bulky shower caddy in a suitcase or trunk, don’t stress! You can get a soft caddy just like this one here.
To go along with the caddy, don’t forget those shower shoes! You don’t want to be walking to the showers barefoot, and we all share showers, so you want to make sure our feet are getting clean just like the rest of our bodies. Get a cheap pair just like these. They come in a bunch of different colors and in men, women, and kids sizes.
This one tends to speak for itself. Camp beds are not your beds at home with beautifully fluffy memory foam mattress toppers. Bring an egg crate and make outdoor slumber even more peaceful. (Pro tip: buy a queen size and fold it in half for double the comfort).
My motto for this one is: go to a thrift/second hand shop and go nuts. Anything from bunny ears, to a tutu, to neon zebra striped leggings, construction vests, American flag button ups, or a onesie. If it’s crazy, you’ll want it. If it’s something you don’t necessarily have the guts to wear on any given Tuesday out in the real world, bring it. The crazier the better. We have themed days, dances, and every other excuse to wear that 4XL tye-dye t-shirt with a glow in the dark cat floating through space on it that you bought for Halloween one year and never wore again.
A Delicates Laundry Bag
Each cabin is given 3 laundry bags for whites, colors, and darks. The whole cabin’s laundry is put into these three bags and then sent to be washed. It is pretty easy to pick out which shirt is yours, but pretty difficult to know which pair of white socks are yours. That’s why getting your hands on a delicates bag will make sure that your child will come home with all, or most;), of their socks and undies.
Ah, the Crazy Creek. It is probably my favorite Camp item that I own. This is one item that I didn’t even know existed until I was already at camp. They just look like soft chairs without legs, but trust me, they are life savers when we have to sit on log benches or on the ground for an extended period of time. I use mine almost every day at camp. They also last forever. I have had mine for 10+ years.
Though this list may seem hefty, and like all this stuff isn’t going to fit in a suitcase or trunk, fear not! When Camp gets closer, you can have all of these things shipped straight there so it’ll be here when you arrive, and if something urgent is left at home, there is no needs to fret for a quick email can fix that. We’re here to make your life easier, and hopefully, this list helps with that!
Let us know down in the comments if there is an item that you can’t live without at Camp!