Summer Camp Packing List: How to Prepare Your Children for Camp

Help your children remember their summer camp supplies with this packing list.

You’re excited and a little nervous. Your child is finally old enough to go to summer camp!

Before the summer camp fun can begin, you must ensure your child has all of the necessary supplies packed and ready for camp.

Preparing for camp can seem like a daunting task the first time. To be honest, it can be a little overwhelming the second and third time, too. The good news is that it gets easier with practice, especially when you have a useful guide to help you plan!

To start, make a summer camp packing list of all the things your camper will need. Most summer camps for kids have general information about what participants should bring on their website or in an informational packet. Be sure to consult this information as you’re creating your own list.

It helps to divide your child’s camping supplies into broad categories. For example, you might have categories for clothes, toiletries, and special gear for activities like swimming.
Let’s break down the different categories you’ll need on your child’s summer camp packing list to see what you’ll want to pack.


You’ll want to include enough clothes for your camper to make it until the end of camp (or laundry day, if the camp has one). In general, you should have on your list:

  • Shirts
  • Shorts/pants
  • Socks
  • Shoes (at least two pairs in case one gets wet/dirty)
  • Underwear of all types your child wears
  • Pajamas
  • A light jacket
  • Rain gear
  • A laundry bag


Include a few extra sets of clothes above what you think your camper will need. Camping and dirt go together naturally, and nowhere is this truer than at a summer camp for kids. Your child may need to change into different clothes more than once during the day.

Know what kind of climate and weather your child will experience at the camp. The summer camp may require different clothing choices, for example, particularly when it comes to dressing for evening activities or rainy days.

Special Gear

If your child will participate in special activities at the summer camp, you may need equipment specific to those activities (for example, shin guards and a ball for soccer camp). Also, include items for swimming, hiking, and other camp pastimes. Some ideas for this section of your summer camp packing list include:

  • A swimsuit (including a swim shirt if needed)
  • A swimming towel
  • Swim shoes
  • Goggles


Some summer camps for kids supply toiletries. Others expect you to bring everything yourself. In general, it’s a good idea to pack:

  • Body soap
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Other hair products and accessories (if needed)
  • Feminine hygiene products (if needed)
  • Shaving gear (if needed)
  • Shower shoes
  • A bathrobe (if preferred)
  • Washcloth(es)
  • Towel(s)
  • A shower caddy or bag to carry everything to/from the shower

Comfort Items

What you list in this category is going to depend on your child and on the camp’s policies. Some options you might want to pack include:

  • Sunglasses
  • A hat
  • Sunscreen
  • A water bottle
  • Bug repellent
  • Anti-itch gel/cream
  • A special blanket or other reminders of home
  • Books, small games, or other “downtime” items

Medicines/Assistive Devices

The camp will have a policy about how to handle any medicine your child will need. Make sure to include medicine on your list to be packed, including any over-the-counter allergy or pain medication. Also, add to your list any assistive devices (hearing aids, glasses, etc.) and anything needed to clean them or keep them running.

Additional Items

  • A flashlight and batteries
  • Bedding if the camp doesn’t supply it: a sleeping bag or sheets, a pillow, and an extra blanket
  • Paper, pens, and stamps
  • A disposable or inexpensive digital camera, plus batteries
  • If your child wears them: an extra set of glasses or contacts and contact cleaning kit, etc.


This is another area where the camp policy will rule. Many summer programs for kids don’t allow any electronics while others allow only certain types. If you send any electronics, be sure to also send batteries or chargers, and make sure you label everything.

Label Everything!

Maybe this sounds a little repetitive, but it truly bears repeating. Once you have your summer camp packing list made and start collecting your child’s camp supplies, remember to label everything! Labeling items will help prevent items from getting lost or misplaced. It will also help the counselors sort out who an item belongs to if there’s conflict over it. Label makers are helpful, but a plain old permanent marker will get most of the job done.

With a plan in place and a summer camp packing list complete, you can get over this hurdle and get your child off to camp with everything he or she needs. Whether or not that child returns home with everything you sent is another story, but you’ve got the entire camp session before you have to worry about it.

Enroll Your Children in Staten Island Day Camp Today!

If you’re ready to enroll your children in a one of a kind summer camp, contact Staten Island Day Camp today! Our summer camp in Staten Island, New York is the perfect place for your children to learn valuable skills, including swimming free swimming lessons in our summer camp pool!