The emotional preparation of going to overnight camp for the first time was pretty easy for my son. “No big deal, mom — it’s going to be great.” The emotional prep for me? A bit harder. I was so incredibly proud of him, and thrilled that he was going to have this opportunity for incredible personal growth and memories for a lifetime (yeah, yeah, yeah …I knew I WANTED to be thinking these things). BUT after dropping him off I seriously (yes…totally seriously) considered driving right back with my binoculars and hiding out in the woods on a daily basis just to “make sure” he was doing okay. As we all know, mama bear instincts run strong.
I still haven’t found a way to really mentally prepare for that moment I have to say good-bye, so I choose instead to throw myself into the more tangible physical preparation of the “stuff”. Hours of researching flashlights and quick drying towels and pushing my feelings down down down. Healthy coping, right?
The “stuff” they need the first time they go to camp, though, IS completely overwhelming, so you do kind of need to throw yourself into the preparation. My son has been to two different camps that focus on the value of simplicity, but even those camps have two-page packing lists!
If you’ve got a good used camping store near you, use that, or if you can borrow or use hand-me-downs even better. But if you need to buy some new stuff or if you just want to make a few clicks and be done with it all, I’m hoping some of my research from previous years will help.
The ULTIMATE Sleepaway Camp Packing List
1. General Camp Supplies
2. Overnight Wilderness Equipment
3. Summer Camp Bedding
4. Summer Camp Basics
5. Summer Camp Tops & Bottoms
6. Summer Camp Swim Gear
7. Summer Camp Toiletries
8. Quiet Time Activities
1. Shop General Camp Supplies
2. Shop Overnight Wilderness Equipment
3. Shop Summer Camp Bedding
4. Shop Summer Camp Basics
6. Shop Summer Camp Swim Gear
7. Shop Summer Camp Toiletries
8. Shop Quiet Time Activities
(To Be Packed or Sent in Care Packages)
I’ve been totally fine emotionally as I have been putting this list together, but I know that in a few weeks things will look a bit different with my ugly crying situation. I will add to this list as I find new things that we love, and as always, please share with me your own favorite finds. Any other suggestions on little fun things to send in care packages?
** The amazing photo at the top of this post was taken by the lovely Shana at Twin Creeks Camp when she was living the camp life with her kiddos.**
If you want to share on Pinterest (or anywhere, really)…the complete summer camp packing list is all together below!