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10 Summer Camp Essentials for Kids — The Ultimate Packing List
May 25, 2022

Get your packing list ready and keep your little ones excited with these summer camp essentials for kids!

This year’s summer camp season is just around the corner! Perhaps, you’ve already picked a summer camp for your kids, so now it’s time to prepare for their needs. Depending on the camp’s program, your child’s age, and their length of stay, the packing list of summer camp essentials for kids can be very long. But first, check with the camp coordinator to know precisely what is and isn’t provided.

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We can’t wait for kids to take a break from school this summer. Your kids’ excitement about the summer camp they look forward to can be very overwhelming. It may be their first time away from the family, or they may be reunited with camp friends from previous summers. And as for parents, the pressure over packing the things their kids need is quite challenging.

Sorting out the must-haves for your kids can get a bit perplexing. Avoid the last-minute rush by planning early and being prepared. Having everything they need for their stay is significant. So, we’ve put together a comprehensive packing list of summer camp essentials for kids to make a fun and enjoyable experience!

The Ultimate Packing List of Summer Camp Essentials for Kids

Packing list of summer camp essentials for kids - Backpack or Duffel Bag

1. Backpack or Duffel Bag

Topping our packing list of summer camp essentials for kids are bags. If your child is carrying a lot of gear to the summer camp, you’ll need something to pack everything in. Choosing the right bag is crucial, whether it’s a backpack or a duffel bag. It should have multiple storage areas with ample compartments to hold the extra set of clothes, swim gear, and towels that your little camper will need.

Choose one made of sturdy fabric or nylon, and make sure all zippers work properly. There should also be a side bottle holder to make your camper stay adequately hydrated all day long.

2. Clothing

Summer camp can get wet and messy, especially if your kids spend a lot outdoors. Bring clothes for all types of weather, from hot or rainy days to chilly nights. A mix of long and short sleeve shirts, pants, underwear, and socks for each day at the camp. A jacket or sweater dependent on the weather. A pair of pajamas for every night stay at camp.

Pack the spare clothes in an extra-large resealable plastic bag so that your kids have somewhere to stuff their dirty or wet clothes. Be sure to add any extra clothings based on any special summer camp activities available. It would help if you also consider their length of stay at the camp to determine the amount of clothing they need to bring.

Packing list of summer camp essentials for kids - Swim Gear

3. Swim Gear

Summer is prime time for jumping in lakes, kayaking in streams, and hitting the camp pool. Swimming activity could either be weekly or even daily at the camp. So, don’t forget to bring a bathing suit or trunks, swim shoes, goggles, and of course, towels. Include an empty plastic bag in your child’s backpack to hold their wet swimsuits and towels. Pack two smaller towels for your child, one to sit on and one to dry off with after swim time.

4. Laundry Bag

Your kid’s clothes will surely get sweaty and stinky after so many outdoor activities. So, don’t forget to include a laundry bag in your packing list of summer camp essentials for kids. Keep dirty clothes separate from clean ones. A designated bag for dirty clothes ups the odds that every item makes it home, and it also keeps dirty laundry from being tossed in with the clean clothes in their suitcase during cabin clean-up time.

Packing list of summer camp essentials for kids - Shoes and Flip Flops

5. Shoes and Flip Flops

Summer camp is ramped up with outdoor activities, such as hiking and recreational sports. Your kids will need a durable shoe to tackle it all. A good pair of running shoes will come in very handy at summer camp. Store these extra shoes in a plastic bag, separate from the rest of the clothes.

Some of this depends on your plans while you’re camping, but a good bet is to bring a pair of flip-flops or other easy slip-on shoes. Flip flops are suitable for the pool or lake, and you’ll wear them right into the shower at night. Make sure to get a waterproof pair.

6. Reusable Water Bottle

Hydration is crucial for kids romping around in the sun during the summer day after day. A reusable water bottle should definitely be included in your packing list of essentials to bring to summer camp for kids for more reasons than one. It is the perfect opportunity to do right by the environment and prevent any plastic waste, it’s also practical.

Summer camps may not always have water bottles handy, but they typically have water fountains. Having a reusable water bottle ensures your child will always have water accessible in a hygienic bottle that is just for them. Be sure to pack a water bottle that keeps beverages cold.

Toiletries

7. Toiletries

You’re going to want to send your kids off with all the summer camp essentials to get by. You might consider a basic first-aid kit, a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, wet wipes, etc. Travel-sized or sample bottles of the said essentials is ideal.

There is no time to waste at summer camp, so keep your toiletries organized with a caddy. This one makes it easy to grab what you need and head for the showers.

8. Flashlight

This is very essential for campers. Flashlights are on almost every summer camp packing list for kids and are usually required at the camp. It comes in handy when kids camping outside need to make their way to the restroom after dark. They’re also used in all kinds of fun evening games. You can opt for a traditional flashlight or an electric lantern-style nightlight. Either way, don’t forget to send spare batteries.

Sunscreen

9. Sunscreen

If your camper is going to be spending any amount of time outdoors, sun protection is a must. There are dozens of options on the market, so do your research to ensure you’re picking the right sunscreen for your child’s skin type. It’s also best to include a pair of sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat so your kids won’t be returning home at the end of the camp chapped with sun burns all over the body.

10. Bugspray or Insect Repellent

Keep those pesky mosquitos away from your kids this summer, so they don’t go home covered in bug bites. Consider sending insect repellent wipes to ward off bug bites with forests to explore and grassy knolls to run around. They will make it easier for your child to apply the insect repellent and avoid the possibility of spraying bug spray in their eyes or those of a fellow camper. Another option is an insect repellent wristband.

Summer Camp Essentials for Kids

Summer camp is an exciting adventure for kids, and there can be loads of fun if you plan and come prepared. The earlier you begin packing, the less stressful it can be for parents. And once you’ve got the right supplies and camping gears covered, make sure to label your little camper’s belongings. This ultimate packing list of essentials for your kids can make your little one’s summer camp as smooth and seamless as possible!

4Kids.com offers a wide variety of opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all year round! Check out our list of resources for kids. Still looking for more summer camp activities for kids? No problem! Check out our comprehensive listing of summer camps for kids near you. If you’re even more curious and seeking to learn more about kids’ topics, tips, and guides, check out more blog posts in the Parenting Category.

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