Expert Picks: Tips for Preparing for Sleepaway Camp

May 03, 2018

Expert Picks: Tips for Preparing for Sleepaway Camp

Our top 5 how-tos for getting parents and kids ready.

The days are getting longer, the school year is coming to an end, and it’s almost time to make the transition into sleepaway camp season. That means packing. A lot of packing. And that can be overwhelming, especially if your child is a first-year camper. We spoke with Laurie Kaiden, the Maine Camp Experience Campcierge™ who gave us some advice on how to set your child up for a happy summer.


Use the list provided by the camp

Lots of camps give specific requirements as far as what to bring and what not to bring. Stick to it! They know what they’re talking about, and if they say to pack something, that means your child will probably need it. If the camp asks you not to pack something, they probably have a good reason too (such as limited space and the desire for campers to focus on activities). The item may be taken away or remain unpacked. Laurie also recommends asking a current camp family about any “extras” that you should include.


Add flair where you can

Even if you’ve chosen a camp with a strict dress code or uniform, there are ways for your child to flaunt his or her personal style. For example, every camper needs a water bottle to stay hydrated. We love the Manna Vogue® Double Wall 17oz Stainless Steel Water Bottle since it comes in fun designs and is functional. It keeps water cold for up to 24 hours—perfect for those long summer days!


Let your child show her or his true spirit on special camp occasions: pack some red, white and blue for the Fourth or a favorite T-shirt for Color War.


Adding a decorative toss pillow—like this bright, sunny emoji one—to their sleeping area is another fun way for campers to express themselves.



Whiteboards are a great way to share messages with bunkmates and to keep track of activity schedules. Adding vinyl wall decals gives kids even more ways to show their personality.



Make things easy

Your camper probably isn’t going to remember to write home as much as you’d like. One way to make it easier is with fun stationery and pre-addressed envelopes. A colorful, personalized clipboard is also great.


Pack smart

Organizers can be helpful when packing and will make it a breeze when unpacking. Separate out different items into organizing bags to make it easy for your camper to find. And because camp trunks are usually kept outside, Laurie suggests putting items in large organizers like the Ziploc® Space Bag® Travel Bags. This way, if it rains, your child’s clothes will be dry and mildew-free.


Label everything

“Don’t forget to label everything!” Laurie says. “Use iron-ons and/or stick-ons. For items where these don’t work, use permanent marker.” People have the same stuff at camp, and it’s important to know whose is whose! And don’t forget to wash dark clothing at home before sending the kids to camp; the colors may bleed in the wash.


Shop camp essentials on our site or in our stores!


Photo credit: Maine Camp Experience

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