Your Overnight Camp Survival Kit

Here are some extras to consider for first-time overnight campers.

Just the idea of going to camp might have your little one full of excitement and butterflies – and you a wee bit anxious about them being away. Don’t worry, it’s not just you. Those are common feelings, even for summer camp veteran families.

With the countdown to camp on, it might be easy to over think what to pack or put off packing until the very last minute. Don’t. Consider this list first.

Download or request the packing list suggested by the camp

We’ve known too many parents who couldn’t find the list or didn’t bother with the list, only to find their kids really needed something on the list. That includes a light coat and sweater/heavy sweatshirt for chilly, rainy summer nights.

This year, if it’s not on the camp-provided list and even if the camp provides these items, you probably will want to include multiple masks to give them a fresh mask each day, plenty of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes. Plus, consider sending multiple pillowcases to give them a fresh pillowcase more frequently (these are small so won’t take up room even if they don’t end up changing their pillowcase at all).

Label everything

We’re partial to Mabel’s Labels because the campers in our lives have never lost an item at camp thanks to the labels, which are even tough enough to endure several summers of camp from one package. The company offers a camp combo pack for both day camp ($19.95) and overnight camp ($39.95). What you don’t use this year can be used for other occasions (school, perhaps) or throughout their camp years. Find them at

Plan to send at least one surprise box

Mail full of goodies and your camper’s favorite things can help them overcome any homesickness, but also can help them make friends in their cabin or cohort. Send enough allergy-free treats to share (for older campers who have jumped on the vegan wagon, you might consider also adding vegan-friendly treats such as Oreos). You may even have to mail this package to camp before your camper leaves home, so it takes some preplanning on your part. Make sure to include a photo of their pet if they have one.

Provide a solid, good-sized refillable water bottle or jug.

That’s a given, but also consider sending along a case of bottled water (especially if you are the one unpacking the car and moving into the cabin.) Sometimes kids don’t like the taste of the water at camp, so they won’t drink it and risk instead becoming dehydrated. No one wants that.

Feminine products for your daughter.

If your daughter is at the age where her period might start, make sure to pack products that she knows how to use (just in case). Same goes even if their period isn’t expected to happen during camp. Send them. Experience talking here.

A deck of playing cards

Kids who love tech will wonder what to do during quiet times built into the camp day. The kids with the playing cards who know a few card games will be the ones with ideas for filling that time. If your camper likes Sudoku or crossword puzzles, pick up a book for them at the Dollar Store (don’t forget a sharpened pencil or pen).

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