10 Packing Tips for Sleepaway Camp


The time has come – you have picked a camp, submitted forms, pick electives – and now it is time to start packing.  Think of this more as a marathon than a sprint.  Start early – don’t wait until the last minute!

  1.  Buy high quality labels.  Labels have come a long way since my mother had to sew millions of printed labels on every piece of clothing.  I have used these labels for years and they stay on the tags of clothing really well.  They also make labels for water bottles, shoes and anything else you can think of.  The biggest problem I had was labeling black socks.  If you want socks back – buy white ones where you can use a black sharpie.
  2. Involve your camper.  Bring him to target, let her pick-out her shampoo.  Most importantly your kid needs to be involved in the packing.  It was actually a great bonding time for my son and I.  Running through target at night – and getting his opinions on bedding.
  3. Follow the camps suggestions carefully.  There is limited space for your camper to keep their things in the bunk.  If you decide to send 4 sets of sheets instead of 2 there will be no place to put it.  This list will also contain special items that they might need.  My camper needed a plain white shirt for a tie-dye project.  It might also tell you special color items of clothing for color wars or special dress-up items.
  4. Buy good quality duffel bags – I was going back and forth with whether to buy cheap bags or nice ones like these.  I decided with the nice ones.  I don’t want to waste money buying new ones every year if the cheap ones break.  These bags will last and I figured he can take them to college!
  5. Pre-stamp, pre-address, and pre-return address all stationary.  The goal is to remove all barriers to letter writing.  It is the most wonderful thing when you get that letter from your camper.  It might be totally spelled wrong, or it might say almost nothing – but it is still awesome!
  6. Find a Mom from your camp to pick her brain!  If you have a friend with an older kid at your camp – take them out to coffee and ask all of your questions.  If not, ask the camp to introduce you to someone.  This person can give you all the tips about the best way to pack and of course the things your camper “needs” that isn’t on the list.  Some wise Mom’s last year told me that the campers love to bring pillow “husbands,” a rug for the end of their bed, and a plastic drawers to go on top of the cubby.
  7. Find out what the “currency” is.  In my day we all brought “cool” stationary to trade and pet when we played card games.  My son was allowed to bring gum last summer.
  8. Make your camper try on all of the clothes they are planning to bring – new or old.  These kids can grow a lot in a year.  Make sure everything fits and that they actually will wear it.  Don’t send fancy stuff – it all comes back pretty lived in.  
  9. Start gathering things now!  Packing for camp is more like a marathon then a sprint.  If you start buying things now – labels, duffles, camp t-shirts and pile them in a closet you will be in good shape when camp begins.
  10. While writing this list I asked my son for his tips.  He said….  Extra underwear!!!  I followed the packing list closely but for whatever reason that was not enough underwear for my son. Whoops….

Tips for Sleep-away Camp

The countdown has begun – only 50 days until we send #1 to sleepaway camp for a month.  This is only his second summer but I feel like we learned so much about packing, letter writing, and coping with our baby away that I want to do a series of posts that could be helpful if you are sending a child away for the first time or for the fifth time.

Coming soon…

10 Packing Tips for Sleepaway Camp

10 Letter Writing Tips for Sleepaway Camp

10 Parent Survival Tips for Sleepaway Camp

10 Re-entry Tips after Sleepaway Camp


Other topics you want?  Let me know….


Ultimate Pool Bag with Packing List

Ultimate Pool Bag


I have three kids and a husband who all loves to swim.  They like to stay at the pool as long as possible and go as much as possible.  With all of these people and equipment I needed a big and durable bag.  After our first day at the pool last summer I hit the internet and searched and searched.  I finally found the Ultimate Pool Bag!  The Original Deano bag from Scout.  It comes in a ton of different patterns and is made out of  polypropylene which is durable and easy to wipe clean.  The only downside is that the bag has no pockets in it.  To get around this I have a variety of bags I keep in my big bag for different purposes.


I have the 3-way cosmetic bag also from Scout.  In this bag I keep suntan lotion, purell, a small first aid kid, tissues, and a small altoids tin filled with extra Band-Aids.  I also keep my new favorite activity when we need a little break from the pool.  Waterproof playing cards and waterproof Uno cards.


I have a waterproof bag that is marketed for wet bathing suits.  In this I keep all the diving toys and goggles.  Even if they come home wet they won’t bother the other items in the bag.


I also bring a mesh bag that I got for $5 from the Five and Below store.  I put the clean dry towels in the bag on the way to the pool.  On the way back, all the wet towels and bathing suits go in the mesh bag.


The Ultimate Pool Packing List

  1. Suntan Lotion
  2. Purell
  3. First-Aid Kit
  4. Extra Baind-Aids
  5. Goggles
  6. Diving Toys
  7. Towels
  8. Sunglasses
  9. Hats
  10. Water bottles
  11. Snacks (lots of snacks! swimming makes everyone hungry)
  12. Poolside games