We are getting closer and closer to camp, so here in Flat Rock we are full steam ahead getting ready for campers to arrive! As you are making your own preparations, you probably have a mental checklist of tasks related to camp. Forms? Done. Sorting out travel plans to camp? Done. Packing? Let’s talk about it.
Although it can feel overwhelming at first, especially for first time families, packing is an excellent way to build excitement and anticipation for camp. We strongly encourage you have your campers participate in the packing process so they know where everything is and also to help them feel prepared for camp.
The first place to begin is by checking out the packing list. Even if you are returning to camp for the umpteenth summer, start at the packing list because it does change from year to year. Items of note for this year include a small bottle of hand sanitizer and washable face masks. You can feel confident sticking to the packing list- if it’s not on the list, don’t bother packing it! It’s tempting to overpack to ensure your camper is totally prepared, but in reality that will make it harder for your camper to stay organized and find the items that they do need.
After everything that is on the packing list has been gathered, it’s time for the gear shake down. Together with your camper, go through every item and evaluate if it’s something you are both comfortable getting dirty or potentially damaging or losing. Also make sure that the items are things the campers will actually use. Bringing all seven of the Harry Potter books might be fun to have on hand, but they’ll never make it out of the bottom of their trunk or duffel.
Speaking of trunks (no higher than 16 inches tall) and duffels, you can choose between packing in either. Team Trunk touts the benefits of having rigid storage, which can make it easier to find the items within it. Team Duffel notes that duffels are lightweight and will conform to the items you pack in them. Regardless of what you choose, we have now reached the most important part of the packing process! Once an item is deemed worthy of coming to camp, before it enters the trunk or duffel make sure to LABEL IT! This will help make sure that everything belonging to your camper before camp returns home at the end of the session.
Another pro-tip for packing, especially for younger ages, is to package whole outfits (shirt, shorts/pants, underwear, socks) in a plastic bag. That way a camper can simply retrieve a bag and don the clothes without digging around to find their favorite pair of socks. Even further, once those clothes are worn and dirty, they can simply be put back into the plastic bag without fear of dirtying the clothes near them.
Other things to keep in mind:
- “Flair” is anything special or silly that can be worn during some evening activities and special days. This could be anything from knee-high socks and silly glasses to a superhero cape or tutu. The sky’s the limit when it comes to flair!
- A backpack means a “day pack”. Be sure your camper’s backpack can be worn on their back on both shoulders. It should be sized to carry everything your camper may need for a day hike: lunch, water bottle, rain jacket, change of clothes, etc. For the comfort of your camper, please do not pack string bags or messenger bags. Typically the backpack your camper uses for school will get the job done!
- We send off laundry in the middle of the session, twice for our three-weekers! That way you don’t need to pack enough clothes for every single day your campers are at camp. Returners: make sure to bring your laundry bags back for camp! If you are new to camp this year, we will provide your camper with their own laundry bag.
- We provide sheets and blankets for our bed and all equipment needed for camping: the tent, sleeping pad, backpack (a larger pack for overnight camping), cooking stoves, utensils, etc. You should pack a sleeping bag for your camper’s overnight camping trip, but we do have spares available if a bag gets forgotten.
- We are a tech-free camp, so leave that tablet at home! If your camper is flying home, we will collect their phone and phone charger upon arrival and keep it in the office. We will make sure it is fully charged for them before they depart to the airport on Closing Day.
For more insight on how to pack, check out our blog with advice from returning Camp Pinnacle families.