Summer Camp Packing List for Tweens

This List Doesn't Miss a Thing!

Camp counsellor and children sitting on log in forest
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If your tween is registered for sleep-away camp this summer, you may be wondering what he or she should bring for their stay away from home. While your tween will likely want to bring all the comforts of home, including technology, you, or the camp, may prefer to stick to the basics.

Some camps have very specific packing suggestions. For example, your tween may have to bring all of their belongings in a locker or trunk, rather than a suitcase.

Trunks stack easily in a bunkhouse and can be repurposed as a table or nightstand after it's been unpacked.

Before you send your tween off, be sure you know that camp's rules concerning food. Some camps may allow campers to bring food from home, while others may not. Also be sure to ask about care packages, what you're allowed to include and what you are not.

Packing is hectic. Fortunately, many camps help ease the burden by providing a very detailed packing list or what clothing and items to bring, and what you should leave at home. Below is a list of what many camps consider "must-have" necessities for sleep-away campers.


This packing list is based on a 1-week stay but includes most of what your child will need for a longer stay assuming they have the option of doing their laundry.

  • 1 T-shirt for every day at camp, plus 2 extra
  • 1 pair of socks for every day at camp, plus 2 extra
  • 1 pair of shorts for every day at camp, plus 1 extra
    • 1 pair of jeans, khakis or sweatpants
    • 2 swimsuits
    • 1 windbreaker (with hood)
    • 1 to 2 pairs of pajamas (or separate T-shirts for sleeping)
    • 1 hat
    • 1 pair of flip-flops for the pool and shower
    • 1 pair of water sneakers
    • 1 pair of sneakers, plus an extra pair just in case
    • 1 gigantic resealable plastic bag or a trash bag for dirty and/or wet clothing

      Toiletries & Other Necessities

      If your tween is a girl, she may need hair clips or ties. If she is llikely to get her period during camp, she'll also need feminine hygiene supplies.

      • 2 water bottles
      • 1 bottle of sunscreen with at least SPF 15
      • 1 bottle of bug spray
      • Sleeping bag or sheets, depending on the facilities
      • 1 pillow with pillow case
      • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lip balm for chapped lips, etc.)
      • Comb or brush
      • 2 towels
      • 1 small flashlight
      • 1 good book
      • Stationary and stamps
      • 1 small notepad and a pen
      • A few extra plastic bags or garbage bags, just in case
      • A deck of cards or a small board game

      Packing Hacks for Sleep-Away Camp

      The nice thing about so many camps requiring campers to pack their belongings in trunks is the sheer amount of gear you can fit in them. A week's worth of sleep-away camp supplies fits comfortably in the confines of a deep, roomy trunk. Here are a few packing tips that will save you time and a little stress:

      • ┬áPack outfits inside large, resealable plastic bags for each day. Your tween will be ready to go in a flash.
      • Repurpose your child's plastic pencil case. This and other similar storage containers make great toiletry kits.
      • Include extras. You don't need to pack an extra week's worth of supplies, but there's nothing wrong with being prepared. Be sure to include extra underwear and socks, as well as plastic bags to store wet clothes or muddy shoes.
      • If your child is likely to be homesick, pack along a special comfort item. Choose something discreet that isn't likely to invite teasing.

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