Parent Blog: Packing for Camp - New Camper Blog Series

Hello everyone! I am Sarah, a mother of three girls, two attending Greystone and one anxiously awaiting her turn. 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, especially if you live far away.

Packing for camp can be an overwhelming task. Let’s start with the first, most divisive question, should you pack in a duffel or a trunk?

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Trunk vs. Duffel

There are lots of opinions on the best way to pack your items for camp and whether it is better to use a trunk or duffel. The Greystone Parents Facebook page has dozens of posts on this question with passionate promoters on both sides.

From the perspective of a parent coming on a plane, we use both a trunk and a duffel. We pack everything that we can into our trunk and ship it through FedEx about two weeks before camp. We pack a duffel with the bedding, towels, and pillows and bring that on the plane. I’ve considered shipping everything and traveling with just a backpack so maybe that is what we will do this year. We also used compression bags for the bedding, which helped with space.

Just remember, there is no right answer on how to pack and what to pack those items in before camp!

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Packing Methods

Once at camp, all of the clothes will go in the BIG drawer under the bunk bed (dimensions for the drawer are 32 x 32 x 9.5 inches). The trunks stay on the porch and hold bulky items such as pool towels, tennis rackets, and boots that don’t fit on the shoe rack.

Younger campers will have different needs than older ones. Pack whatever way will be less stressful for your daughter. After reading every post from Greystone’s blog on this subject, here are some of the packing methods that we have tried:

  • Ziploc bags: You pack a complete outfit (shirt, shorts, underwear, socks, etc.) in a Ziploc bag and label the bag for which day your daughter should wear it. Once at camp, your daughter can line up the bags in day order in the drawer under her bunk. This system all falls apart after laundry day so it did not make much sense for my girls. I think it makes sense for Junior Camp because of its shorter duration.
  • Bins: Last year, we bought plastic bins for the camp drawer and each of the bins was for a separate category of clothing. This system worked, but the bins were bulky to transport. This year we are improving on this bin system by using foldable bins. We bought fabric bins on Amazon and the girls can use those to separate shirts, shorts, socks, bathing suits, etc.
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What to Pack?

The Greystone packing list is very comprehensive and helpful. I print one for each of my girls and write their name on the top. As I pack items for each girl, I check them off on her list. I also go through the packing list with my daughters and ask them if there is anything else that they think will help them feel more comfortable. Just to ease any nerves, big girls still have lovies at camp. Your daughter won’t be the only one with her lovie.

When you start to count t-shirts and shorts, I recommend adding one or two extra in case your daughter wants to change her clothes more frequently. If applicable, I would also add sports bras on your Greystone packing list.

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! My daughters were wearing mismatched clothes and pajamas in so many photos that, at one point, I thought they were doing it on purpose to drive me crazy.

If you want to cut down on space, try using microfiber towels. They are lightweight and take up much less room than normal bath and pool towels. And they dry faster!

Costumes, costumes, and more costumes. There is always an occasion to dress up at camp! We don’t pack a lot of costumes because we are coming from far away, but I usually pack one costume and then a lot of smaller accessories like funny headbands or sunglasses that they can share with their cabinmates.

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A previous Greystone mom wrote a blog post about packing and had a great tip about the Odds and Evens clothing and accessories. This genius mom said that she packed one bag of green items and one bag of gold items for each of her kids. At drop off, when the girls find out if they are an Odd or an Even, she gives the girls the right bags and keeps the other ones with her to take back home. This tip worked well for us and we plan to do it again, especially because we have so many items leftover from last year. You can also order an “Odds or Evens” bundle through the online Greystone Store that will be there on Opening Day for your daughter.

A few other random things that my daughters liked at camp…My daughters loved having watches on at camp to keep track of time. There are a bunch of cute ones for sale through the online Greystone Store or you can bring one with you. My daughters also loved having items for Rest Hour like markers and paper, journals, hangman games, and books. If you really want to make your daughter smile and make your life easier, you can send your daughter’s summer homework for rest time! Also, if you have a bookworm, you do not need to pack five books. There is a Greystone Library that the girls can visit.

My girls made small collages with photos of our family and their friends that were ready to hang in their bunk on Opening Day. A pre-made collage is great, but photos are just as good; just make sure to pack tape that will stick when they put them around their bunk. A friend packed command strips for her bunk and that was helpful for photos and also for hanging up things around the bunk like tennis rackets and towels. Also, if you have a tennis player, I’d recommend bringing your own racket. My girls used the camp rackets and they were fine, but they asked to bring their own rackets this year.

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 friends to find the perfect costume for EP. Sometimes that means wearing what you packed, but most of the time it means wearing an outfit combining the greatest items from your cabin mates! One of my daughters created a duck costume for the Talent Show out of items from the “Greystone Closet”. It must have been a pretty good impersonation because she got a shout out from JimBoy in his blog that day! Also, the girls get extra t-shirts at fun camp events, and you can also visit the Greystone Store to buy another sweatshirt.

Lastly, if you want something to make it back home, put a label on it! You can use a name stamp or an iron-on label from Oliver’s Labels (which you can purchase through your Greystone Account) or Name Bubbles.

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Final Helpful Advice

One last piece of advice is to start packing early and don’t save everything until the last minute. Especially for your first year, it takes a lot of time to make sure you have everything! The shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits from last summer may not fit this summer. If you are in an earlier session like Junior or June Camp, have your daughter start trying things on early! And, remember, it will be a GREAT time at Camp Greystone!

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