Packing from a Parent Perspective - New Camper Blog Series

Hello everyone! I am Blair May, a mother of two girls who love everything about Greystone! I’m taking over the blog this week to give you a mom’s perspective on everything you need to know about packing for camp.

Packing for camp can be an overwhelming task. Do they really need clothes for 10 days, the costumes, rain boots, and bathing suits? And how should you pack: trunk vs. duffel? It is a lot to process, but yes, everything on the list is a must.

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For Junior Camp and August Camp:

  • The items listed on the packing list were all they needed and nothing more.
  • The only alteration to the list I would make is a set of p.j.’s for every night if your daughter likes a fresh set every night. Both of my daughters fall into this category.

For June and Main Camp:

  • 10 days of clothes was not enough. Between playing in the rain, changing after an evening shower, or a messy EP, there were never enough clean clothes to go around! I now pack around 12-13 days for June Camp and 15 days of clothes for Main Camp.
  • Three pairs of whites are probably enough for older campers, but younger ones can benefit from an extra set. My daughters love all the messy treats at Candy Shoppe. There are times when Council Fire falls near a Sunday and their other set of “clean” whites is at the bottom of their laundry bag. A backup set is always a plus!
  • My oldest daughter has of love for Waterpark, so four bathing suits worn every day in Lake Edith did not cut it. This year I will send her with six to match her schedule of Waterpark every day for five weeks. Talk to your daughter about what she is interested in. Show her the pictures on the website to get a feel for what she might want to try out and alter your packing to fit her needs.

For all sessions:

  • Costumes, costumes and more costumes. There is always an occasion to dress up at camp! We usually use costumes we have at home unless there is a specific event mentioned in Sparks {Decades Dance or dressing up as dogs to get into the Guinness Book of World Records}.
  • Don’t stress over name brands. While yes, most girls will be rocking Chacos and other items that are “so Greystone,” both of my daughters agree that once you are in the camp bubble it doesn’t matter what you are wearing. They are having too much fun to care!
  • You can pack all the rain gear {or insert any other item on the packing list} you want, but there is no guarantee your daughter will wear it! I have so many pictures of my oldest from last summer having a blast in the pouring down rain not wearing her rain jacket or her rain boots. I asked her when she got home why she didn’t wear rain gear and her response was, “It was so much more fun to get soaking wet!” You can’t argue with that logic. The best part about the camp bubble is that your daughter will gain independence and confidence by making her own choices while having the time of her life!
  • If you want something to make it back home, put a label on it! I love the Name Dropper Stamper for all light colored clothes and Oliver’s Labels (which you can order straight from your Greystone account) for p.j.’s, dark colored shirts, shoes, and camp gear.
  • Pictures from home. I put our pictures from home in an album and my daughters decorate their bunk with them when while they are at camp. However, I have seen some girls arrive at camp with pre-made collages ready to hang on opening day. Either way, your daughter will love having pictures of family members back home.
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The next big question is trunk vs. duffel. We use both. The first year I started small with a plastic trunk from our sporting goods store. It was inexpensive and did the job for Junior Camp. We didn’t buy an expensive trunk until this past summer. Both girls agree that the biggest perk of a metal trunk is that they get to decorate it with their stickers from camp.

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Over the years, I have found that the trunks are best for packing towels, blankets, pillows, rackets, and other items you don’t want to break in transport to/from camp. The duffel bag is great for packing their clothes. Once at camp, all of their clothes will go in the BIG drawer under their bunk bed (dimensions for the drawer are 32 x 32 x 9.5 inches). The trunks stay on the porch and can hold bulky items such as pool towels, rackets, and boots that don’t fit on the shoe rack. Bath towels will go on the shelves in the closet. The closet also has a bar for any hanging clothes (Sunday dresses).

Remember there is no “best way” to pack. Younger campers will have different needs than older ones. Some kids do better with outfits paired up and put in zip lock bags for each day; others want to rock their own style and wing it day by day. Pack whichever way will be less stressful for your daughter. Have your daughter help you pack their bags so they know what they have and where it is located. We have used a various mix of all the packing methods over the years:

  • Zip lock bags: You pack a complete outfit (shirt, shorts, underwear, socks, etc.) in a zip lock bag and label the bag for which day your daughter should wear it. This is great for younger campers and those who aren’t worried about what they are wearing (my oldest, but not my fashionista younger daughter!). Once at camp, you can line up the bags in day order in the drawer under your daughter’s bunk.
  • Just winging it: Shirts in one part of their drawer, shorts next to that, then socks and underwear, and so on. Both girls said this was way too messy after the first round of laundry at camp. However, older campers might enjoy the freedom to find their own style and organization methods while away at camp.
  • Zip lock bags for just smaller items: Last year I put socks, underwear, and bathing suits each in their own gallon-sized zip lock bags. All other items were simply put into their drawer. The girls agreed this was a great method until laundry day when Mom wasn’t there to separate each item back into the proper zip lock bag. Then their drawer became one big mess. Imagine that!
  • Shoe-box sized plastic storage bins: This is a new method we will be testing out this year and is the brainchild of my oldest. She wants her shirts in one or two bins, shorts in another, and so on and she will lay them side by side in her drawer. There is enough room in the drawer for this and she is confident she can sort better just “throwing things back into a bin.” She might right and it is worth a try!

Packing for camp is always hit or miss whether it is your first year or your fifth! Just relax and know that it is okay if you forget to pack something. The best part about tentalow/bungalow/cabin living is working with your new BFFs to find the perfect costume for EP. Sometimes that means wearing what you packed, but most of the time it means wearing a modge podge outfit combining the greatest items from your cabin mates!