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 from home - Wii, Nintendo DS, cell phone, etc. - 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.


  • 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

    • 2 water bottles
      • 1 bottle of sunscreen with at least SPF 15
      • 1 bottle of bugspray
      • Sleeping bag or sheets, depending on the facilities
      • 1 pillow
      • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lip balm for chapped lips, etc.)
      • Comb or brush
      • Hair clips and hair ties
      • 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 or a deep, roomy trunk. Here are a few packing tips that will save you time and a little stress:

      • Make for easy dressing in the morning. Pack outfits inside large, resealable plastic bags. 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.

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